SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins concluded the 2015 legislative session by highlighting the significant gains for Californians made by the Legislature this year.
“When the PPIC report came out last year showing that half of California’s children live in poverty or near poverty, I was moved to act,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “That motivation pushed the Assembly to include the $380 million state Earned Income Tax Credit in the budget for 2 million workers. Struggling Californians looking for work will be aided by the $263 million we provided for a comprehensive package of child-care services.”
2 million Californians will now benefit from the Assembly Democrat-championed $380 million state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
50,000 Californians will be lifted out of poverty and another 50,000 will be lifted out of deep poverty.
More families will be rescued from homelessness due to a $15 million increase in funding to the CalWORKS Housing Support Program to last year’s $20 million.
Affordable Housing: Legislation by the Assembly Democrats expands California’s very-low and extremely low-income housing credit, designates a state agency to administer the funds received from the Federal Housing Trust Fund and seeks to reduce recidivism by providing housing for formerly incarcerated inmates through Proposition 47 savings.
Investments in Education
From Early Education to Higher Education
More than 84,000 students have benefited from the Middle Class Scholarship for the 2014-15 school year, totaling over $56 million in grants.
The Middle Class Scholarship is set to award $80 million in grants for the 2015-16 school year.
The California State University system received $97 million to increase enrollment and fast-track graduation.
The Assembly instituted zero-based budgeting for the University of California system, allowing the public and Legislature to scrutinize whether the UC is spending its money efficiently and whether tuitions could be frozen at current levels.
More than 85,000 community college students stand to benefit from a substantial increase in Cal Grant funding.
This year’s budget includes nearly $500 million for a one-time teacher-effectiveness block grant to help improve performance in the classroom.
The state budget appropriates $265 million to fund an additional 7,130 preschool slots and 6,800 child care slots.
Areas hit hard by the drought were provided immediate relief through a $1 billion drought package in March.
The budget includes $10 million from Proposition 1 aimed at increasing water efficiency.
California also moved to: consolidate the drought water system; give a CEQA exemption for recycled water projects, water codes and well ordinances; expand local enforcement and penalties for drought violations; and require drought monitoring and reporting for some water diversions.
The Legislature passed SB 350, a landmark climate-change bill that pushes for stronger standards for renewable energy and building energy efficiency.
Legislation that ensures diversity on the state Air Resources Board was passed.
(Sacramento) – The California State Assembly has approved landmark climate change legislation that will ensure a cleaner, healthier environment for our children and our grandchildren. Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) says SB 350 extends California’s renewable energy portfolio standard to 50-percent by 2030 and requires the doubling of our energy efficiency activities statewide by 2030. Speaker Atkins told her colleagues, “With SB 350 California is leading by example once again. It sets the course not only for our state but for the nation. And, quite frankly, for the world.” Here’s more from Speaker Atkins in this Assembly Access video.
SACRAMENTO—A bill by Speaker Toni G. Atkins that would make it easier for communities to hold outdoor markets that feature locally sourced seafood – similar to farmers markets – passed the Senate floor today. AB 226, the Pacific to Plate bill, would keep red tape from preventing consumers from buying seafood directly from the local men and women who caught it.
“As we’ve seen by the massive growth of farmers markets across the state, allowing direct sales of produce benefits farmers and consumers,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “These small-business owners and coastal communities throughout California deserve these same opportunities. Pacific to Plate does this by removing unnecessary hurdles in state law.”
The Pacific to Plate bill allows fishermen’s markets to operate as food facilities and fresh fish to be cleaned for direct sale, and it streamlines the permitting process so that commercial fishermen can organize under a single permit—just like certified farmers markets.
“The success of San Diego’s own Tuna Harbor Dockside Market shows that people want access to fresh and sustainable seafood,” said County Supervisor Greg Cox, whose efforts last year aided in the launch of the market, the first of its kind locally. “This legislation will make it easier for fishermen to open more dockside markets in San Diego County and throughout the state.”
The Pacific to Plate bill also establishes guidelines, including compliance with the California Retail Food Code and food-safety requirements.
San Diego’s market celebrated its anniversary in August. It has expanded to include 17 vendors selling their catch, made up of 22 species caught in local waters, including swordfish, yellowtail, squid and white sea bass.
“This law that streamlines the establishment and functioning of fishermen's markets will benefit the environment, fishermen and consumers,” said Peter Halmay, one of the founders of the Tuna Harbor market.
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) announced today that the Assembly Democratic Caucus has selected Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to become the 70th Speaker of the Assembly. The leadership change will occur after a floor vote in January and a transition period to be determined by the Speaker and the Speaker-designate.
“With the crush of business facing us in the coming final week of the legislative session, I decided it’s time to end all the suspense and speculation so we can focus our undivided attention on the critical issues before us,” Speaker Atkins said. “The Caucus has made an excellent choice, and I’m delighted to see everyone uniting behind Assemblymember Rendon. I know he will find the job as rewarding and challenging as I do.”
“I am deeply honored to have the support of my colleagues to become the next Speaker,” Assemblymember Rendon said. “I also know I have a very tough act to follow, which is why I’ll be working to learn as much as I can from Speaker Atkins as she leads us through the end of session and into next year. I am proud to be part of the Speaker’s team as we finish a very productive year and prepare for more successes in 2016.”
Rendon currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Prior to serving in the Assembly, he was an educator, non-profit executive director, and environmental activist.
SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) issued the following statement after being selected to be the next Speaker of the California State Assembly:
“I am deeply honored to have the support of my colleagues to become the next Assembly Speaker.
“The Assembly remains focused on doing the people’s work over the last week of this legislative session and finding solutions to the challenges Californians face every day.
“I thank Speaker Toni Atkins for her incredible grace in leading this house and continuing California’s role at the forefront of the nation and the world.”
Assemblyman Anthony Rendon is serving in his second term representing the 63rd Assembly District, which includes the cities and communities of Bell, Cudahy, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, North Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, and South Gate.
LOS ANGELES—Declaring the urgent need to keep California moving, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature's special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to the state.
“Currently, the state has $59 billion in deferred maintenance for transportation projects,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “We've been working with a broad bipartisan coalition that includes business and labor leaders, transportation experts and officials from the state, cities and counties. Our next steps will be working with Republicans in the Legislature. It may be a bumpy road, but we believe that we can find a solution that will concretely and tangibly make Californians' lives better by making safer roads that keep goods and people moving.”
OAKLAND—Declaring the urgent need to keep California moving, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature’s special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to the state.
“California cannot have a strong middle class or a thriving economy if our roads are congested and people and goods aren’t moving efficiently,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “That’s why in the special session, I am hopeful we can set aside rigid ideology and consider serious proposals that provide a new, fair funding stream that benefits all California communities.”
AB 162 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) was signed into law by Governor
Brown on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. This bill instructs that the California Department of
Transportation to study wrong-way driving accidents-which has not been done in California since
1989-and look at safety measures pursued by other states that could prevent wrong way driving
accidents. Contact: Shanna Ezzell, (916) 319-2052. Press release
here. Audio PSA available here.
AB 47 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) passed out of the Senate Education
Committee and has been re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Preschool for All
Act requires the state to provide funding for all children who are eligible for the state preschool
program, who do not have access to Transitional Kindergarten or Head Start, with the opportunity to
enroll in the program. Contact: Bryan Singh, (916) 319-2007. Press release
(Sacramento) – A new law, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which guarantees at least three paid sick days to every California private sector employee took effect July 1, 2015. “For years, hardworking men and women fighting for decent working conditions told me paid sick days was what they were most excited about at work. So, when I had the opportunity to join the Assembly, passing a paid sick days law for Californians was at the top of my priority list,” Gonzalez said. California is the first state in the nation to pass such expansive paid sick days legislation. Under the new law all full-time, part-time, per diem, and temporary employees in California’s private sector will accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked. Employers can limit the time off to 24 hours or three days. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
“This bill brings California’s election recount process into the 21st century. Elections are a fundamental democratic principle and we must make every effort to ensure their integrity. I believe AB 44, will do just that.”
As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I know the importance of college affordability and safety. We must ensure students are provided with safe learning environments. In addition, students need transparency in higher education costs in order to make informed financial decisions for college."
"We know that students in foster care are more likely to achieve their full potential when they are provided services designed to meet their particular needs. It's imperative that foster youth get the support and resources they need to succeed academically."