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SACRAMENTO – As part of his continuing efforts to improve openness in state government, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) took public testimony today at the State Capitol to solicit public comment about how the Speaker should exercise the authority each legislative leader has to strike up to six applicants from the pool of citizens that will eventually make up California’s redistricting commission.
“We are holding this meeting today to invite the public to present their views on what kind of commissioners they believe should serve in this vital role,” Pérez said. “I will be looking for candidates who will ensure that every voice is heard.”
Proposition 11, passed in 2008, requires a 14-member redistricting commission to draw Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts in 2011. Proposition 11 requires the commission to consist of 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 from neither party (i.e. decline-to-state or minor party members).
The Bureau of State Audits was responsible for accepting applicants for the Commission and narrowing the field to 60 individuals - 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans and 20 from neither party.
The next step in the selection process requires the four legislative leaders to exercise up to 2 strikes each for each applicant pool. In other words, the Speaker can strike 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 2 from neither party. Assuming each leader exercises all of his strikes, each pool will be reduced to 12 applicants (for a total of 36 remaining applicants). Legislative strikes must be complete by November 15, 2010.
From these reduced pools, the State Auditor then randomly selects the first 8 commissioners - 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 2 from neither party. That must be done by November 20, 2010. Those 8 commissioners then must pick the remaining 6 commissioners from the remaining applicants - 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans, and 2 from neither party. This must be completed by December 31, 2010.
Assembly Pitches In $6 Million to Keep Child Care Going
LOS ANGELES – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced a new plan to help prevent a crisis for thousands of California working families triggered by the governor’s recent veto of vital child care funding. Flanked by families and small business child care providers, Pérez outlined an aggressive approach to finding bridge funding for the child care program, which keeps parents working and off welfare, keeps child care workers on the job, and keeps children in safe, supervised settings.
“Throughout the long and difficult budget process the Assembly maintained that we must make budget decisions that help, rather than hurt, our economy,” Pérez said. “That’s why we specifically rejected the Governor’s call to cut child care funding because we understood the importance of protecting the jobs of providers and protecting the jobs of the parents who rely on these programs to provide safe, quality care for their children. We are absolutely committed to restoring these cuts, and, until that can be done, I am announcing that we will be aggressively pursuing every option possible to provide bridge funding for this vital program—including the Assembly putting in $6 million that we have realized from cuts to our own operating budget.”
In addition to announcing the Assembly contribution to help avert the crisis, Pérez noted he is reaching out to several prominent organizations including the statewide and county First 5 Commissions to also intervene and help provide funds to keep the child care subsidies going until full funding can be restored by the Legislature. Pérez reiterated his commitment to having legislation restoring the cuts approved as soon as possible.
Pérez was flanked by dozen of parents, child care providers and children who may be devastated by the Governor’s cuts, including Martin Castro from the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and Holly Mitchell from Crystal Stairs, both Los Angeles-based agencies that may be forced to lay off employees due to the Governor’s cuts.
Earlier this month the Governor eliminated subsidized child care slots for 81,000 children in 60,000 working families whose parents have moved off welfare and into the workforce.
In Los Angeles County alone, the cuts mean:
Over 11,000 families who are currently working, paying taxes and contributing to the economy will be forced to make difficult decisions between caring for their children or maintaining their employment.
Over 17,000 young children will be removed from their child care programs beginning November 1, 2010.
Nearly 6,000 providers, including licensed family child care homes and child care centers will lose payment for services, placing their businesses, already hard hit by vacancies because of the struggling economy at risk of closure.
Over $400 Million annually of economic input will be lost to Los Angeles County.
One of California’s big success stories has been helping individuals, particularly single mothers, become more self-sufficient and move from welfare to work. Without swift action to prevent the harm from the governor’s vetoes, that success story may be coming to an end.
See attached for letters from the Speaker to members of the Statewide First 5 Commision and the chairs of the County First 5 Commissions urging the commissions to consider partnering with other organizations in providing bridge funding for child care cut by the Governor. Also attached is a letter from Commissioner Collis to his colleagues on the First Five Commission requesting a hearing and action on the issue at the earliest possible date.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement following the Governor’s line-item vetoes that would harm California’s economy:
"Governor Schwarzenegger's final actions in office were directed at making life more difficult for California's working parents and the poorest, sickest and most elderly Californians. This is disappointing, but not surprising, considering the fact that his budget plan would have wiped out 430,000 jobs."
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) delivered the following remarks as the California Assembly began voting today on a legislative package to close the state budget deficit and prevent hundreds of thousands of layoffs that would have resulted from the Governor’s May Revision:
“From the moment I was sworn in as Speaker, I have consistently said that this budget must be arrived at in an open and transparent process. The people of California have every right and expectation to know what decisions their leaders are making, and in a year where we face such enormous challenges, the expectation of transparency becomes an imperative of transparency.
“We have lived up to that commitment. We have held more than 100 hearings here in the Capitol. We have held forums throughout the state, in Fresno, San Diego, Palm Springs, Orange County, Albany, Reseda and Sacramento.
“Thousands of Californians participated in these hearings and forums. We clearly outlined the scope of the problem, and the impact of the various proposals put forward to close it.
“Within the context of the past several years, and especially last year, this is an unprecedented level of openness and transparency in the process.
“That transparency has fundamentally strengthened the final product we are voting on today.
“From the moment this process began, we outlined the principles we believe the final budget should reflect.
“We said the budget should reflect the values and priorities of Californians.
“We said the budget should protect the 400,000 jobs that would have been eliminated in the May Revise.
“And we said the budget should make good economic decisions that don’t harm our economy further.
“We put forward a number of proposals that met those tests. We vetted them in public, and used the insights we gained to strengthen and inform the final product we are voting on today.
“This budget protects 430,000 jobs from elimination. These are teachers, cops, firefighters, child care providers, health care workers and private business owners who will keep working and contributing to our economic recovery.
“We maintain education funding because a well-educated workforce is essential to California’s future prosperity.
“We set aside 30 million dollars to promote small businesses grow and thrive by freeing up access to the capital that will help them expand and hire new employees.
“We protect public safety programs to keep Californians safe.
“And we reject economically hurtful tax increases on California’s working families.
“This is a solid, but sober, deal for California.
“Now let’s be clear, this is not a perfect budget. In the era of the Great Recession, there is no such thing as a perfect budget.
“Moreover, this is a budget that reflects the compromises necessary to find a two-thirds majority. This is most glaringly obvious in the fact that it has taken us nearly 100 days to approve a spending plan.
“The fact that we have twin supermajority requirements for both the budget and revenues is directly correlated to the fact that California is routinely the last state in the Union to approve a budget.
“However this budget does speak to the values we have articulated throughout the process. It saves 400,000 jobs, makes good economic decisions for California and maintains education funding.
“This vote today is the culmination of a lengthy and difficult process. We have begun an honest conversation with the people of California, and that conversation needs to continue.
“We need to continue laying the foundation for a return to prosperity, and in finding budget solutions that move us forward on that pathway.
“This budget is a natural vehicle to continue that conversation into the next year, both in terms of job creation and retention, and in our budget deliberations.
“As we approach the Budget next year, we need to build on the open and transparent process we implemented with this budget.
“We need to continue the hard work of creating and retaining as many jobs as possible.
“And we need to ensure that the decisions we make will continue to help our economy move further down the pathway towards recovery.
“This budget, while not perfect, was produced in an open and transparent process. It saves hundreds of thousands of jobs, and it doesn’t harm our recovery by taking federal funds out of the economy or more money out of the classroom.
“This is a budget every member can and should support.”
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement after today’s California Supreme Court rulings:
“Today’s rulings by the Supreme Court wipe out decades of precedent by validating a power grab by the Governor. These rulings have disturbing implications for California because they erode the separation of powers that allows our government to function. California needs real reform to how our government operates, not the creation of an imperial governorship that is unaccountable to the Legislature, and today’s actions by the Court take us down that path and away from real reform.”
LOS ANGELES – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) discussed the importance of implementing federal health care reforms in California at today’s signing ceremony for AB 1602, legislation the Speaker authored to create the nation’s first state health benefit exchange as called for under federal health care reforms.
“Close to two million of our family members, friends and neighbors lost their job-based health coverage in the last two years because of the recession,” Pérez said at the bill’s signing ceremony. “As we continue working to save and create jobs in California, we must also work to fix the state’s health care crisis. AB 1602 helps make the possibilities created by health care reform into realities for California families by creating a marketplace where insurers compete for their business based on quality, price and service and where they can claim federal premium subsidies and tax credits to buy affordable coverage.”
Applauding Governor Schwarzenegger for signing the bill, Speaker Pérez added, “In a state with the most uninsured and underinsured in the nation, AB 1602 has been a long time in coming. We will begin working immediately to secure quality, affordable coverage for the hard working people of this state.”
In establishing the California Health Benefits Exchange, California positions itself to help working people and small businesses draw down several billion dollars in available federal tax credits and for the first time, giving them the purchasing power of very large employer groups.
For more information, click here to view the attached fact sheet.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) has directed the Assembly Rules Committee to post online the salaries of the Assemblymembers, officers and employees of the California State Assembly. Speaker Pérez’s action comes in response to a request from Assemblymember Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills), the author of legislation to require all branches of government, including the Assembly and Senate, to disclose salary information online.
“The scandals in the City of Bell have made it clear more public disclosure of public salaries is in order,” Pérez said. “Assemblymember Alyson Huber is leading the effort to make sure this disclosure is required by law. We believe it is important that this disclosure be made while those efforts are continuing, so I have directed that this information be posted immediately on the Assembly website.”
In a letter to the Speaker, Huber states, “I introduced AB 2064 to require all levels of government – including cities and counties, as well as the Legislature and Constitutional Officers – to make the salaries of elected and appointed officials publicly available on their websites,” and notes, “Unfortunately my bill died in the Senate after amendments were made to the bill that I felt compromised what was trying to be achieved, but I look forward to continuing to work with you to bring more transparency and openness to state government. As I continue to work to ensure that this disclosure is required by law, I believe we also need to lead by example and post legislative salaries on our Assembly website.”
SACRAMENTO – As Californians prepare to honor the state’s working men and women on Labor Day, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today released a compilation of key bills passed during the 2010 Legislative Session to help keep Californians working.
“As I have said consistently, our absolute number one priority at every level of government must be getting Californians working again,” Pérez said. “I am proud the Assembly has been responsible for passing a significant number of jobs bills this session, and I am committed to ensuring jobs remain the priority as we work to finalize a budget agreement.”
Speaker Pérez noted that the legislature’s jobs efforts covered a variety of sectors, from emerging green technologies, to health care, to small business, to education.
“Our approach to jobs has been multifaceted,” Pérez said. “In some cases, we looked where we could maximize federal draw down funds for the state’s benefit, in other instances, we looked to which sectors were suffering the most, and actively identified solutions that could revive these industries—like the tax credits for new home buyers that helped boost housing construction.”
Highlights of jobs-related bills passed in the 2010 legislative session are attached.
Key Job Legislation of 2010
AB 177 (Ruskin) increases the penalties for those who fraudulently claim to qualify as a disabled veteran-owned enterprise or small business, when applying for state contracts. At a time when veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and jobs are scarce, we must protect the rights of our servicemen and women. The bill also ensures that small businesses, in general, can compete for state contracts on a level playing field with larger enterprises.
AB 183 (Caballero) provides a $10,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, anyone buying a new home—whether or not they are first time buyers, or existing homeowners looking to purchase in a new development, to be paid out over three years. This legislation especially reinvigorates the stalled building industry that had stagnated due to the drop in home buying over the last several years.
AB 231 (Huber) creates jobs by expediting construction projects by eliminating duplication and reducing time in the CEQA process. AB 231 streamlines CEQA by eliminating duplication and reducing time in the CEQA process without undermining any of its environmental protections. The bill is an ongoing demonstration of the Legislature’s interest in making CEQA as workable and as protective as possible.
SB 847 (Steinberg, J. Pérez) ensures teachers and school employees can star on the job by appropriating $1.2 billion to the state Department of Education as soon as California receives the funds from the federal government pursuant to the federal Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act. The federal legislation provides that these funds can only be used “for compensation and benefits.... necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services, and may not be used for general administrative expenses.”
AB 1830 (Jones) boosts California manufacturing jobs by requiring the California High Speed Rail Authority to make every effort to purchase high speed rail trains and related equipment that are built in California. With more than $11.25 billion in state and federal funding being invested in high speed rail, this bill aims to keep these funds within the state, fostering growth in the manufacturing sector and producing thousands of secure, good paying jobs for Californians. As high-speed rail expands nationally, California could become the national leader in train manufacturing.
AB 1846 (V.M. Pérez) is a regulatory reform bill that benefits business and job creation while assuring environmental integrity. The bill expedites the environmental review process for projects that involve upgrades or retrofits to bring businesses into compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). Specifically, it empowers state water and air agencies with the discretion to use a focused environmental impact report for projects that install pollution control equipment or change to a more sustainable product.
AB 1873 (Huffman) boosts green jobs by making Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs more attractive to local governments by reducing the cost of the loans made through contractual assessments to property owners to finance energy and water efficiency improvements.
AB 1954 (Skinner/Pérez) helps California achieve its long-term renewable energy goals and supports jobs and infrastructure investment. It addresses technical issues that present impediments to renewable energy transmission financing and which could limit the efficient production of renewable energy. Specifically, it authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission to provide administrative pre-approval of utility costs for transmission lines that facilitate achieving the Renewables Portfolio Standard.
AB 2058 (Block) brings more Californians back into the workforce by allowing unemployed workers receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to continue their coverage while enrolled in job training or education courses to develop the skills necessary for our state’s changing workforce. As it stands, some recipients of UI lose their coverage when they seek training, causing an unfair hardship for many Californians in need and discouraging the expansion of job training.
AB 2293 (Torres) boosts home construction jobs by directing the Department of Housing and Community Development to begin to move over $50 million available to fund affordable housing that is held up due to the reluctance of banks to issue construction loans.
AB 2385 (John A. Pérez) creates a pilot program at five community college campuses throughout the state aimed at accelerating the training of healthcare workers from two years or more to 18 months or less. California’s community colleges train 70 percent of nurses statewide but cannot keep up with the growing demand for nurses and allied health professionals.
AB 2398 (John A. Pérez) would boost California’s carpet recycling industry by implementing a carpet stewardship program that will ensure more carpets in California are recycled rather than being a major contributor to filling up landfills in the state.
AB 2437 (V.M. Pérez) implements the California Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which establishes a loan and loan guarantee program that will enable the state to draw down federal dollars to support the retooling and expansion of manufacturing in California. The bill establishes the structure and process for the operation of the loan fund, intended to attract, retain, and grow the state’s manufacturing sector.
AB 2446 (Furutani) promotes career technical education (CTE) in the state’s high schools. Many students will benefit from CTE courses that will prepare them for college and careers that offer a strong living wage. This legislation is a solid step forward in providing a highly trained workforce that can keep the state competitive in many industry sectors.
AB 2581 (Bradford) seeks to bring vital financial services to underdeveloped and low income communities by creating a Banking Development District Program to encourage banks to establish branches in specific locations where there is a demonstrated need for banking services.
AB 2696 (Bass) empowers the state’s Green Collar Jobs Council to take full advantage of federal stimulus funding to promote jobs and boost green technologies in our state. This bill is the second part of an effort started in the previous session with AB 3018 (Bass and Núñez), a bill to create an agency that would exclusively serve as a catalyst for the creation of green jobs. AB 2696 makes it the responsibility of the GCJC to work with a number of organizations to align workforce development services with green economy efforts.
AB 2734 (John A. Pérez) creates the Office of Economic Development within the Governor’s office that will establish long-term economic goals and strategies as well as specific and effective services to assist California’s businesses both large and small. California’s businesses—especially small, family owned businesses—are the workhorses of our economy. This bill makes sure there is an advocate at the state level that will keep the job creating capacity of these businesses at the forefront of the discussion on the state’s economy.
(Sacramento) – The budget crisis is bad news for college students and the state’s economic future. While the budget stalemate persists, students cannot receive the funds distributed through the Cal Grants program, universities and colleges are caught in a financial limbo and California’s workforce training efforts fall further behind. During a recent capitol news conference Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, Assemblymember Tom Torlakson (D-Contra Costa) and students from California colleges urged immediate passage of the state budget. Learn more in this Assembly Web Report.
SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, reports that California college students are caught between a rock and a hard place; instead voting for a responsible budget, Republican leaders are saying they would rather delay crucial Cal Grants because they want to hold out for a discredited budget proposal that decimates education funding.
Click onto the following link for the English language MP3 file. The running time is 2:32. mp3
Click onto the following link for the Spanish language MP3 file. The running time is 2:54. mp3
Hello, I’m Assemblymember Julia Brownley, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education.
This month, California college students are providing an important civics lesson.
Students from up and down the state are making it clear: it is absolutely unacceptable that the Cal Grants they need to further their education are being held up because Republican leaders won’t support a responsible budget.
That puts California students between a rock and a hard place.
Republican leaders are saying they’d rather delay crucial Cal Grants, because they want to hold out for a discredited budget proposal that decimates education funding.
This obstruction has led some schools to look for ways to temporarily advance the money in place of state funding for Cal Grants.
But for many of the lowest-income students at community and independent colleges, there is no back up funding.
What’s left for these students, over 40,000 at community colleges alone, is an educational dead end.
The Cal Grant program, which for decades has helped Californians gain the skills they need to earn a living through a higher education, is in jeopardy of becoming a broken promise.
For California to remain competitive, we have to invest in our future, and Cal Grants is exactly the kind of investment we need.
These students have done everything we’ve asked of them.
They’ve studied hard and achieved.
We need to keep our part of the bargain – both to help them and to secure our own future.
We need Republican leaders to get on board with the responsible proposals legislative Democrats have put forward.
The all-cuts budget Republicans prefer will not work – no matter how long they try and hold students and their families hostage.
Our college students, and all Californians, understand our budget deficit requires a balance of revenues and some cuts, but those cuts shouldn’t decimate the investment we need to make in our future.
Californians deserve this balanced approach, and they deserve to have it implemented quickly and without partisan obstruction.
I’m Assemblymember Julia Brownley and thank you for listening.
Asambleístas Demócratas: Líderes Republicanos Obstruyen Presupuesto y Becas de Cal Grants que Necesitan los Estudiantes
SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje semanal, el bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal informa que los estudiantes universitarios se encuentran entre la espada y la pared en estos momentos; en vez de votar por un presupuesto responsable, los lideres republicanos prefieren retrasar las becas de Cal Grants, porque desean un presupuesto fiscal que perjudique los fondos designados a la educación.
El discurso radial en archivo de MP3 puede ser localizado en el sitio de Internet. mp3
Que tal, a continuación el mensaje radial del bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal de California.
Este mes los estudiantes universitarios recibieron una importante lección de educación cívica.
Los estudiantes de todo el estado han dejado en claro que: es absolutamente inaceptable que las becas de Cal Grants que tanto necesitan para continuar su educación estén retenidas porque los líderes republicanos han decidido no apoyar un presupuesto responsable.
Esa decisión pone a los estudiantes de California entre la espada y la pared.
Los líderes republicanos proclaman que prefieren retrasar las becas de Cal Grants, porque añoran un presupuesto fiscal que perjudique los fondos designados a la educación.
Este retraso ha llevado a muchas universidades a buscar diferentes maneras de proporcionar los fondos de forma temporaria a los estudiantes hasta que los fondos estatales para las becas de Cal Grants sean aprobados.
Pero para muchos estudiantes de bajos recursos en los colegios comunitarios y universidades independientes, esta posibilidad es remota o no existe.
Lo que les queda a estos estudiantes, más de 40,000 en los colegios comunitarios, es un callejón sin salida.
El programa de becas de Cal Grant, el cual por décadas ha ayudado a los californianos a obtener las aptitudes que necesitan para ganarse la vida a través de una educación superior, se encuentra en peligro de convertirse en una promesa incumplida.
Para que California siga siendo competitiva, nosotros necesitamos invertir en nuestro futuro, y Cal Grants es exactamente el tipo de inversión que necesitamos.
Estos estudiantes han hecho todo lo que le hemos pedido.
Ellos han estudiado intensamente para lograrlo.
Nosotros debemos mantener nuestra parte del acuerdo – Ayudándoles y a la misma vez asegurar nuestro propio futuro como estado.
Necesitamos que los líderes republicanos se acerquen y adopten la propuesta responsable que los demócratas hemos puesto en la mesa.
El presupuesto de puros recortes que los republicanos desean no tendrá un buen resultado – no importa cuanto tiempo traten de mantener a los estudiantes y sus familias de rehén.
Nuestros estudiantes universitarios, y todos los californianos, entienden que nuestro déficit fiscal requiere un balance de recursos y algunos recortes, pero esos recortes no deben perjudicar la inversión que necesitamos hacer en nuestro futuro.
Los californianos merecen este enfoque balanceado, y también merecen que sea implementado inmediatamente sin obstrucciones partidarias.
Gracias por su atención. Aquí concluye el mensaje radial del bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal de California.
“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."