SACRAMENTO— Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement regarding conservative groups failing to obtain the necessary signatures to qualify a referendum on the 2014 ballot regarding Assembly Bill 1266, which allows transgender students in public schools to have access to sports teams and school facilities such as restrooms with respect to their gender identity:
“The failure to gain enough signatures for a referendum on AB 1266 shows Californians are committed to defending the rights of everyone in our state to ensure that no one is left without a voice. AB 1266 is about making sure there is a safe place for transgender students to fully participate in their schools. For too long, transgender members of our society have suffered through the indignity of exclusion, and this bill rights those wrongs by giving protections that would keep transgender students safe and give them recognition for who they truly are.”
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee, on Wednesday announced they would push to implement a long-term solution to the funding shortfall in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System this year.
“The Assembly will pursue a solution to the STRS shortfall this legislative session,” said Speaker Pérez. “Further delay only means further cost and further exposure for the state’s general fund. We believe there must be shared responsibility for a funding solution between school districts, the state and teachers. Our end goal is a State Teachers Retirement system that is 100% fully funded.”
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the Assembly Democratic Caucus’s vote to elect Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) as the next Speaker of the Assembly:
“I am delighted that Assembly Democrats have united behind Majority Leader Toni Atkins to become the next Speaker of the Assembly. I supported Ms. Atkins for Speaker because she is a strong leader on vital issues like increasing Californians’ access to health care, creating jobs and strengthening our state’s economy, and ensuring we honor the state’s debt to our veterans. I have also seen, perhaps better than anyone, how hard she works to keep the Assembly on track to take care of the people’s business. We will schedule a vote of the full Assembly early in the spring, and announce a transition date. I will do everything I can to ensure a seamless transition and I know Ms. Atkins will make an excellent Speaker.”
(Sacramento) - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) spoke with the media shortly after Governor Brown delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the California State Legislature.
"The Governor gave a very clear discussion about where we are as a state, the amazing transformation that's happened over the last few years, moving from a place of fiscal instability and $60-billion structural debt to a place where we actually have a multi-billion dollar reserve. But the Governor reinforced the importance for thoughtful movement forward. The need for us to pay down long term debt and the need for us to build a sustainable rainy day fund that we'd put before the voter. I'm very happy to hear this…this notion that my colleagues and I in the Assembly offered up last year. The Governor's embraced it and included it in his budget proposal, included it in his discussions today and I think that argues well for the future of the state where we can move from the boom and bust to ongoing stability."
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
(Sacramento) – Following the 2014 State of the State address from Governor Brown, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said he's pleased the Governor is focused on keeping the state's economy strong and fully funding a rainy day fund. "The Governor gave a very clear discussion about where we are as a state, the amazing transformation that's happened over the last few years, moving from a place of fiscal instability and $60-billion structural debt to a place where we actually have a multi-billion dollar reserve," the Speaker said. "But the Governor reinforced the importance for thoughtful movement forward. The need for us to pay down long term debt and the need for us to build a sustainable rainy day fund that we'd put before the voters"
Below are links to audio of Speaker Pérez.
Speaker Pérez says the Governor's State of the State address laid out a solid road map for California's future. (:50) mp3
Speaker Pérez explains the importance of the Governor's drought declaration. (:38) mp3
Speaker Pérez says California has made substantial progress but more needs to be done to keep the state's economy stable. (1:00) mp3
Speaker Pérez says the Assembly Democrats and the Governor have the same priorities. (:08) mp3
SACRAMENTO - Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the Assembly Democratic Caucus's vote to elect Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) as the next Speaker of the Assembly:
"I am delighted that Assembly Democrats have united behind Majority Leader Toni Atkins to become the next Speaker of the Assembly. I supported Ms. Atkins for Speaker because she is a strong leader on vital issues like increasing Californians' access to health care, creating jobs and strengthening our state's economy, and ensuring we honor the state's debt to our veterans. I have also seen, perhaps better than anyone, how hard she works to keep the Assembly on track to take care of the people's business. We will schedule a vote of the full Assembly early in the spring, and announce a transition date. I will do everything I can to ensure a seamless transition and I know Ms. Atkins will make an excellent Speaker."
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s 2014-2015 budget proposal:
“Assembly Democrats want to maintain stability and expand opportunity. There is much in the Governor’s budget proposal that supports those goals. I’m pleased to see so many areas of agreement between the Governor and the Assembly, particularly how strongly he has embraced the rainy day fund that is the cornerstone of the Assembly’s proposal.
With a strong rainy day fund in place we can avoid mistakes of the past and ensure that education and other vital services in California are protected from the volatility of boom and bust cycles.
I am pleased that the Governor proposes to continue paying down the wall of debt. This proposal completely pays off California’s economic recovery bond debt from 2005, and repays our schools six billion dollars in funds that were deferred during the worst years of the Recession.
This proposal makes smart investments in strengthening our economic recovery, especially with respect to our shared commitment to infrastructure.
The Assembly will work with the Governor and the Senate to finalize another on-time balanced budget. Having agreement on such a major component as the rainy day fund makes that job easier.”
Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker
Below is a link to audio of Speaker Pérez.
Speaker Pérez statement on the Governor’s proposed 2014/15 budget. (1:09)
CONTACT: John Vigna, (916) 319-2408
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced the creation of the Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate, which will investigate issues pertaining to student welfare on college campuses. Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego), who worked as a professor and department chair at San Diego State University for 40 years, will Chair the Committee.
“Over these past few years we have seen too many incidents on California college campuses perpetrated by people with malicious intent to harm or demean others,” said Speaker Pérez. “We need to act vigorously to ensure that our campuses are welcoming to all and reflective of the rich diversity of this great state. I have faith that Dr. Weber and the Select Committee on Campus Climate will work hard to examine the environment at California colleges and universities, so that we can learn how to prevent these terrible incidences from occurring again.”
The Select Committee on Campus Climate will evaluate system-wide and campus-wide policies and practices for responding to student harassment and hate crimes and determine what needs to be done to improve campus climate for California students. The date of the first subcommittee meeting is to be announced.
“It’s clear from this particularly disturbing incident – one that harkens back to uglier times in our nation’s history - that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure California’s college campuses are safe and welcoming educational environments for every student,” Dr. Weber said. “My committee colleagues and I will be holding hearings over the next year to explore the current campus climate for students throughout in CSU, UC and Community College systems and consider what policy changes are necessary to improve it.”
The members of the Select Committee on Campus Climate are:
Assemblymember Shirley D. Weber (D-San Diego), Chair
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica)
Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Gardena)
Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose)
Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton)
Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino)
Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D-Compton)
Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego)
Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto)
Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno)
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton)
Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)
Assemblymember Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)
Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara)
Court Says Gonzalez's AB 1024 Permits California to License Garcia and Qualified DREAMers to be Attorneys
SAN DIEGO - (Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) applauded the California Supreme Court's decision today to grant Sergio C. Garcia a license to practice law after it was rescinded earlier because of his status as an undocumented immigrant.
The historic decision comes just one day after legislation, Assembly Bill 1024 authored by Assemblywoman Gonzalez, became effective. AB 1024 empowers members of California's immigrant community who pass the State Bar exam and are otherwise qualified to practice law as attorneys.
"Today's decision is another leap forward for California in honoring our commitment to Sergio and so many others who want to serve our communities by practicing law as an attorney," Gonzalez said. "This ruling gives tangible hope to the many hard-working, young members of our immigrant community, who, under no fault of their own, have been caught in the middle of a broken immigration system. I am very proud that I was able to play a role in making this happen."
In issuing the opinion, the Court stated, "in light of the recently enacted state legislation, we conclude that the … motion to admit Garcia to the State Bar should be granted."
Having passed the State Bar examination and fulfilled all other requirements, Mr. Garcia was routinely sworn into the legal profession in 2011. Two weeks later, his license was rescinded by the State Bar on the basis that a 1996 federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving professional licenses with the use of public funds, unless state law explicitly overrides it.
Directly inspired by Mr. Garcia's case and the oral arguments heard before the Court last September, Assemblywoman Gonzalez authored AB 1024. The bill states that the State of California can grant DREAMers – who have graduated from law school, passed the moral character inspection, and passed the bar exam – a license to practice law. AB 1024 was passed in both houses of the Legislature with broad bipartisan support last September and signed into law by Governor Brown on Oct. 5, 2013.
"Sergio has paved the way for DREAMers and other aspiring attorneys who have worked hard, studied hard, passed the Bar exam and now just want the right to make a living for themselves in a profession they love." Gonzalez said. "I am very grateful that my colleagues in the Legislature, Gov. Brown and the Court have recognized that California can lead the way in improving the lives of immigrants, even when the federal government fails to lead on the issues that impact the families of our communities."
Below are links to audio of Assemblywoman Gonzalez:
Assemblywoman Gonzalez says today is a great day for all DREAMers, not just Sergio Garcia. (:28)
Assemblywoman Gonzalez says Assembly Bill 1024 was a simple, but important, piece of legislation. (:10)
Assemblywoman Gonzalez says she’s very proud, professionally and personally, to have had the opportunity to write AB 1024. (:43)
Assemblywoman Gonzalez says without comprehensive federal immigration reform, it’s up to the states to take action. (:34)
Contact: Evan McLaughlin, (916) 319-2080 / (619) 850-2790
SACRAMENTO - The Los Angeles Times published an editorial today supportive of the Assembly Democrats' Blueprint for a Responsible Budget, announced by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Budget Committee Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) on Wednesday.
The editorial, "Don't go wild with the budget surplus, Sacramento," while cautious with projected revenue figures, acknowledges the reserve and paying down debt that is included in the Assembly Democrats' Blueprint:
"Top Assembly Democrats have revealed what they'd like to do with billions of dollars in extra tax revenue that the state is projected to receive, and their top priorities were reassuring: expanding the reserve fund and paying down the debts that Sacramento accumulated over the last decade. Their budget blueprint also calls for a lot of new spending on education and anti-poverty programs, however.
….Released by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Budget Chairwoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), the blueprint is built on the bullish revenue and spending projections that Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor released last month. Taylor expects the state's slowly improving economy to generate much more in income taxes (particularly capital gains levies) and property taxes over the coming decade than the Brown administration predicted. In fact, Taylor projects that the multibillion-dollar surpluses will continue even after the temporary tax increases that voters approved in 2012 elapse in three to five years.
That's just a prediction, and lawmakers know all too well how quickly the state's finances can shift from boom to bust. The blueprint starts by calling for Sacramento to build up $8 billion in reserves - roughly five times the amount in the most recent budget - within three fiscal years. Some of that money would be used to pay debts state government racked up to make ends meet, and some to address unfunded retiree obligations. The rest would go into an expanded rainy-day fund designed to buffer the state against the gyrations in revenue."
More information on the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget can be found at www.asmdc.org and click on the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget button.
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) released the 2014 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget yesterday, highlighting priorities Assembly Democrats will focus on in upcoming budget deliberations to ensure stability and expand opportunity in the state. Here is what people are saying about it so far.
California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor Dan Troy:
“After years of disinvestment in higher education caused by a severe economic downturn, the Chancellor's Office welcomes the recognition by Speaker Perez that California community colleges play a central role in the economic vibrancy of our state. Enhanced funding support for community colleges can help restore access to courses and enhance student success for those served at our 112 colleges. This is good news for students, the workforce and for all Californians.”
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White:
“The California State University (CSU) is very encouraged by the 2014-15 Budget Blueprint unveiled today by the Speaker and the Assembly Democratic Caucus that prioritizes higher education funding to expand opportunities for students and bolster the quality of educational programs. Each year, the CSU turns away more than 20,000 fully eligible students. With a continued investment in the CSU, the university is poised to serve more students and expand high-impact teaching practices that advance degree completion. The university looks forward to reviewing this proposal in more detail, and is committed to working with the Governor and Legislature through the budget process.”
University of California Vice President Patrick Lenz:
“We are very encouraged. After years of declining state support during the economic recession, we welcome legislative initiatives to help meet the current and future needs of California by supporting the vital mission of our public university system. Increased state funding beyond a 5 percent base budget increase will address enrollment growth – potentially adding an additional 2,200 freshmen and community college transfers – and the urgent need to reinvest in the academic quality of the University. We thank the speaker for his support of the proposals outlined in our 2014-15 budget request and welcome further collaboration to help keep UC accessible, affordable and academically excellent. This is a promising development for the University of California and, in the long run, for all of California.”
Early Edge California President Catherine Atkin:
“2014 is poised to become a momentous year for early learning. With a powerful body of research, increasing public support, an improving economy and elected officials like Speaker Pérez taking a stand, our youngest learners are a top priority.
We are extremely encouraged by the Assembly Speaker and Assembly Democrats’ commitment to expanding transitional kindergarten to serve all 4 year olds, as well as strengthening early care and education programs serving children from birth through 3 years old. This is an historic opportunity to improve education for California’s youngest learners.
Now is the time to ensure all of California’s children have the strong foundation they need to succeed in school and beyond. Early Edge California is committed to working with our legislators and Governor Brown to make this dream of giving all children the opportunity to succeed in school a reality.”
Executive Director for Health Access California Anthony Wright:
“The Assembly leadership is appropriately looking at restoring the worst of the cuts that were slashed during the budget crisis. It would be financially irresponsible not to revisit and restore some of the cuts made during the depth of the recession, including those that can draw down more federal matching funds.”
County Welfare Directors Association of California Executive Director Frank Mecca:
“We commend Speaker John Pérez and the Assembly Democratic Caucus for highlighting the crisis of millions of children living in poverty across our communities, and outlining effective and practical ways we can improve their lives. Child poverty is a terrible plague that haunts children and families for generations. Mountains of research have conclusively proven that children who suffer the trauma of economic insecurity, destitution, hunger and homelessness too often become adults who deal with the same challenges. We see this every day in our schools and county human service offices.
Clearly, children and families pay the ultimate price for poverty, but our economy suffers too – staggering costs to health, social services and corrections, and billions of dollars annually in lost productivity. And despite California’s improving economy, we have the highest child poverty rate in the country. That’s why we applaud the Speaker and Caucus for identifying strategic, research-supported approaches – such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and adequate child care and employment training support – that can be implemented while prudently building a reserve and paying down debt.
Anti-poverty strategies are critical to achieving the goal of long-term economic health for our communities and our state. We look forward to collaborating with the Speaker and Legislature on proposals for the 2014-15 State Budget.”
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Laphonza Butler:
“After years of austerity budgets that led California in the wrong direction, we are encouraged to see a turn-around plan for our state that prioritizes the critical investments we need today so our state can thrive tomorrow.
Improving Medi-Cal access is a smart use of health care dollars that puts the focus on keeping Californians healthy and reducing chronic care costs. Giving working families tax relief and supporting parents as they transition from welfare to work represent a strong economic boost for our state.
Most importantly, this budget plan recognizes that when it comes to building a strong state for the future, we’re all in this together. The Speaker’s plan wisely invests in educating our children from pre-school through college. Long overdue investments in early childhood education are the foundation needed to ready young minds to absorb their K-12 studies and beyond, while reducing the social costs of poor educational attainment.
SEIU members stepped forward when our state needed us, enduring painful cuts to the services we provide to our communities, and volunteering our time and resources to pass Prop. 30 to secure the revenues needed to stop the cuts and invest in our future. We applaud the Speaker and Assemblymember Skinner’s forward-looking vision and look forward to working with them to flesh out the blueprint in our effort to address our communities’ needs. As the budget process moves forward, Californians can count on us to be champions for smart public services, such as home care, that save money even while improving lives, and for investment in the next generation.”
SEIU – United Healthcare Workers President Dave Regan:
“This is an important and commendable position that the Assembly Democrats have staked out today and, if passed, California patients will be the true beneficiaries and have greater access to quality care.”
California Medical Association President Richard Thorp, M.D:
“The forecasted budget surplus, along with today’s announcement from Assembly Democrats, gives us hope that California will stop balancing the budget at the expense of patients who need care the most but have the hardest time getting it. California has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country – and a commitment to restore cuts made in 2011 will help increase access for the millions of new patients eligible for health care coverage under federal reform.”
California Hospital Association CEO Duane Dauner:
“California’s patients will be better served by this blueprint. Restoring funding to Medi-Cal will increase access to care at a time when patients need it most – this is truly an investment in the health and future of our state.”
For more information on the 2014 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget, visit http://asmdc.org and click on the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget button.