Press Releases

Pérez Jointly Authors Renewable Energy Grant Bill

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AB 1060 reauthorizes funds for planning grant program created by Pérez in 2011

(SACRAMENTO) – A new bill by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez that secures funds for renewable energy planning grants is in print today.  AB 1060 reauthorizes a grant program created by Pérez in 2011 that provides funding to local jurisdictions in in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area to facilitate renewable energy development.

“In Imperial County and elsewhere, this grant program has been very helpful in helping local jurisdictions to make the revisions and updates to planning documents needed to support renewable energy build out,” said Pérez. “But not all those eligible have been able to benefit from these grants, and this bill extends the program and funding authorization to allow enough time for them to apply.”

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Pérez Exchange Wagering Bill Signed into Law

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AB 432 maintains current revenue sharing system when new form of betting is adopted

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez is pleased to share the news that his bill AB 432 related to California horse race betting was signed into law today by the Governor.

“AB 432 clarifies that when the Horse Racing Board implements exchange wagering at tracks in California, the traditional payouts will continue to be funded as per the historic splits, maintaining fairness and standard practice,” explained Pérez.

Exchange wagering is a form of parimutuel wagering (mutual betting), in which two or more persons place identically opposing wagers in a given market. This practice is used for gambling on horse racing, greyhound racing, and other sporting events of relatively short duration in which participants finish in a ranked order.

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Pérez Joins Senator Rod Wright on bill to Elevate Salton Sea Geothermal Resources

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SB 760 directs Public Utilities Commission to consider Salton Sea geothermal energy

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez presented amendments to a bill by Senator Rod Wright (D-Inglewood) that elevates Salton Sea geothermal resources in the state’s energy procurement process.  As amended, SB 760 (Wright/Pérez) directs the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to consider base load renewable energy resources in the Salton Sea basin as a means to achieve the state’s 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard, while maintaining the reliability of the electrical grid and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

“With the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Facility and the anticipated retirement of other power plants, we have an opportunity to pursue a path of clean, green energy,” said Pérez. “I firmly believe that Salton Sea geothermal resources can help anchor Southern California energy needs, improve air quality, and maintain the state’s progress in reducing greenhouse gases, while facilitating the growth of the desert renewable energy economy.”

Rather than a mandate, the bill instead requires the PUC to consider geothermal resources given the energy source’s ability to provide reliable, non-greenhouse gas emitting power to meet the state’s energy needs. The amendments were approved on the Assembly Floor today with a vote of 52-24.

State policies adopted by the Legislature and through Executive Order to reduce fossil fuel dependence and expand renewable energy are reshaping California’s electricity system.  At the same time, the replacement and/or retirement of several Southern California power plants have created opportunities to aggressively pursue non-greenhouse gas emitting energy to help replace that power.

Pérez sees this as an ideal time to advance this dialogue with the PUC.  He is the author of AB 177, a bill that directs all retail sellers of electricity to adopt a long-term procurement strategy to achieve a target of procuring 51% of their electricity from renewable resources by December 31, 2030, and also requires the state to continue to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Pérez represents the 56th Assembly district, a region with an abundance of renewable resource potential.  He is the author of a series of bills to facilitate responsible renewable energy development while balancing economic opportunity, environmental protection, and job creation.

Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) serves as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader of the California State Assembly and as Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.  He represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

Contact: Amy L. Wilson, 916-319-2056

Legislative Latino Caucus Briefing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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SACRAMENTO, CA–Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus (D-Bell Gardens), Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez, Vice-Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus (D-Coachella) and members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus held the Caucus’ first public informational briefing on the status of a comprehensive immigration reform. Individuals and organizations from different sectors of the state gathered to hear a historical narrative of immigration reform and were provided a forum to voice comments and concerns.

“The power and importance of a comprehensive immigration reform was reflected in the diversity of individuals and organizations that came to today’s hearing. From the agriculture industry, to labor community, the message is clear- immigration reform is critical to our economy, our communities and our social fabric,” stated Senator Lara. “I would like to thank everyone who participated, particularly Governor Brown and my Republican colleagues. The Caucus now looks forward to assimilating all of these recommendations and moving forward a united Caucus position to Congress.”

Despite being home to approximately 10 million immigrants, California has not put forward a bold comprehensive approach to fully integrate New Americans into our state. Historically the nation launched a movement involving federal, state and local governments, business, labor, unions, schools and social organizations to help integrate immigrants or New Americans into society. Currently, however, few of these programs exist or are poorly funded and uncoordinated.

At the state level, immigrants pay roughly $5.2 billion in state income taxes and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year. Additionally, the State’s local economies benefit from economic contributions of immigrants. It is vital that California be ready to receive and help integrate New Americans when immigration reform is passed.

“With our large immigrant population and an economy so reliant on the immigrant workforce, California has an important role to play in helping to shape the immigration reform debate,” said Assemblymember Pérez, who chairs the Latino Caucus Taskforce on Immigration Reform. “Today’s briefing, with its diverse stakeholder perspectives, has helped enrich understanding, promote dialogue, and find areas of common ground that will help the Immigration Taskforce focus on key policy elements within the debate where the Latino Caucus can engage with a unified voice.”

Comprehensive Immigration reform is a top priority for the California Latino Legislative Caucus and one of the most important policy issues of our time. Given the importance of this topic, the Caucus created a Taskforce spearheaded by Vice-Chair Pérez. The Taskforce is comprised of Latino Caucus members and is advised by a coordinating committee comprised of representatives from labor, business, agriculture and civil rights organizations. This is the first briefing the Taskforce has held this year.

The California Latino Legislative Caucus serves as a forum for members of the State Senate and Assembly to identify key issues affecting Latinos and develop avenues to empower the Latino community throughout California. Following in the footsteps of generations of pioneering Latinos who settled and helped build this great state, Latino legislators united in 1973 to maximize their power notwithstanding their limited numbers.  Since its creation 40 years ago the Caucus has grown in both numbers and stature.  It boasts a rich history of legislative and political success and serves as one of the most influential and strategic organizations in the state.

Assemblyman Pérez Announces Inclusion of Salton Sea Funds in New Water Bond

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Framework now includes Dedicated Funds to Meet State’s Obligations under the QSA

(SACRAMENTO) – State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez is pleased to announce that amendments have been made to the 2014 water bond legislation to include dedicated funds for the Salton Sea.

“My position has been that the State cannot overlook its commitments related to Salton Sea mitigation, that they must be built into the bond,” said Pérez. “The new amendments, together with the competitive funding available in the bond, demonstrate that the State intends to keep its word to our communities. I’m very pleased and appreciative that the Committee took my concerns seriously and responded so quickly to my request. ”

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Pérez Exchange Wagering Bill Heads to Governor

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Maintains established revenue sharing system when new form of betting is adopted

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez reports that his bill related to exchange wagering was approved today in the Legislature and now makes its way to the Governor. AB 432 will ensure that the system for revenue sharing is maintained with the advent of this new form of betting in California horse racing.

“AB 432 simply ensures that when the regulations promulgated by the Horse Racing Board are approved to enable exchange wagering at tracks in California, the traditional payouts will continue to be funded as per the historic splits, maintaining fairness and standard practice,” explained Pérez.

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Physician Licensing Bill by Pérez Heads to Governor

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Prioritizes licensing for doctors seeking to serve medically underserved populations

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez is pleased to report that his bill to help increase the number of doctors in medically underserved areas is on its way to the Governor.

AB 1288, Priority Licensing for Medically Underserved Populations, would require the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Board of California to develop a process to give priority review status to applicants that can demonstrate they intend to practice in a medically underserved area or serve a medically underserved population.

“Rural and underserved areas face a number of barriers in recruiting and attracting physicians, but slow state bureaucracy should not be one of them,” said Pérez. “We as a state should be doing all we can to build the ranks of physicians practicing in medically underserved communities, and AB 1288 is one part of the solution.”

Currently, just 16 of California's 58 counties have the federal government's recommended supply of primary care physicians. Riverside County – the fastest growing county in California – is the only county with a population of one million to have fewer than 100 physicians per 100,000 people. Rural areas suffer in particular from low physician practice rates and from a diminishing supply of primary care physicians. In general, rural counties tend to have far fewer physicians per capita than urban counties.

One of the barriers to responding to the physician shortage is the slow state licensing process, which can be lengthy from start to finish.  In fact, applicants are encouraged to start the application process at least six to nine months before they need licensure.  AB 1288 would not change the vigorous standards of the Medical Practice Act but instead focuses the Board’s resources on the areas and populations with the greatest need.

The demand for primary care physicians in the state will only increase with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, with millions of Californians becoming insured and millions more with improved benefits and other consumer protections.

To read the text of the bill, please visit the state’s legislative information website.

Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) serves as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader of the California State Assembly and as Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.  He represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

Contact: Amy L. Wilson, 916-319-2056

Palo Verde Irrigation District Bill Heads to Governor

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(SACRAMENTO) – A locally relevant bill by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez related to the Palo Verde Irrigation District passed its final legislative hurdle today and now heads to the Governor’s office.

“AB 1156 ensures that voting power in the Irrigation District is equitably distributed among all land owners,” explained Pérez.  “As renewable energy development occurs in the Palo Verde region, it’s essential that we avoid unintentional impacts by updating procedures and processes that protect and maintain the agricultural heritage of the area.”

At the request of the Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID), AB 1156 modifies the voting apportionment rules governing the district, entitling each property owner to one vote for every one acre of land owned, rather than one vote for every $100 of assessed valuation on the equalized assessment roll.

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Assemblyman Pérez Advocates for Salton Sea in New Water Bond

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Reminds Committee of State’s Obligations under the QSA

(SACRAMENTO) – Today at the State Capitol, State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez argued that the new water bond framework must ensure the State of California can meet its existing obligations related to the Salton Sea and other water settlements of statewide relevance.

“In planning the new water bond, it is important that the focus remain on meeting California’s long term water needs and effectively managing our resources for the future,” noted Pérez.  “Therefore, we cannot overlook existing commitments made by the State related to Salton Sea mitigation, and we must build these obligations into the bond so that they can be fulfilled.”

Since last year, the State Legislature has convened a series of working groups and hearings to inform the development of the 2014 water bond.  As part of the process, the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife held today’s informational hearing, “Framework for a Water Bond.”

Pérez has been monitoring the process closely and requested to provide testimony at the hearing.  Specifically, he urged the Committee to ensure that the bond framework provides for the obligations made by the State in three settlement cases from the last decade:  the Salton Sea Quantification Settlement Agreement (2003), the San Joaquin River Restoration (2006), and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (2010).

“The State intervened in these cases because they involve statewide public water assets and there are compelling statewide economic, environmental and public health interests at stake,” explained Pérez. “As we develop a new water bond, it is imperative that the State has the resources to meet its commitments under these agreements.  The State must keep its word to the communities impacted by these agreements.”

The three settlement cases are explained briefly below:

The Quantification Settlement Agreement
In 2003, the State intervened to settle a dispute among several water agencies using Colorado River water in southern California.  At stake was a water transfer agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and the San Diego Water Authority (San Diego), whereby IID would agree to conserve and transfer to San Diego water that would have otherwise gone into the Salton Sea.  To bring the parties to settlement, the Legislature passed the Quantification Settlement Agreement (Statutes 2003, Chapters 611, 612, 613), declaring the intent of the State to undertake the restoration of the Salton Sea ecosystem and the permanent protection of the wildlife dependent on the ecosystem.  In addition, the State executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the litigating parties, making itself “unconditionally liable” for mitigating the environmental impacts related to the transfer above the first $133 million in costs (Quantification Settlement Agreement MOU, Section 4).

The San Joaquin River Restoration
In 1988, the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the federal Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the Friant Water Users Association (FUWA), alleging that the operation of Friant Dam (Dam) violated the state’s Fish and Game Code with respect to historic fish populations in the San Joaquin River. The Dam, which was used to store water for agriculture, was operated by the BOR.  In 2006, the State acted through the Department of Fish and Game and other state agencies by entering into a MOU with the litigating parties, committing up to $100 million to implement a settlement among the parties whereby the San Joaquin River would be restored. (San Joaquin MOU, Section 4, Subparagraph d).

The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement
In 2010, PacifiCorp, along with representatives of more than 40 organizations (including Federal agencies, the States of California and Oregon, Native American tribes, counties, irrigators and conservation and fishing groups) signed the historic Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA). The KHSA laid out the process for additional studies, environmental review, and a decision by the Secretary of the Interior regarding whether the removal of four Klamath River dams owned by PacifiCorp should proceed.  Under the KHSA, the State of California, through the Natural Resources Agency, committed up to $250 million to fund dam removal costs in excess of the $200 million that would be contributed by California PacifiCorp customers (KSHA Settlement Agreement, Sections 2.3 & 4.1.2).

Background on 2014 Water Bond
In 2009, the Legislature approved a water bond package of $11.14 billion in general obligation bond funding for water infrastructure to be put before the voters in 2010.  That proposed measure included funding for drought relief, integrated regional water management, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, watershed protection, ground water cleanup, and water recycling.  In 2010, the Legislature postponed the bond measure vote to November 2012, and then did so once again, moving the measure to November 2014. At the same time, Legislative leaders initiated a process to reformulate the bond, reducing its size and scope. They have convened working groups with water bond stakeholders to identify key funding priorities.  Earlier this year, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez appointed Assemblymember Anthony Rendon to chair the Water Bond Working Group, which has organized water policy briefings and hearings organized around regional priorities, gathering input from water stakeholders and community organizations. This process has informed the development of a framework for a new water bond that identifies key priorities for building California’s future and for the management of California’s water resources.

Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) serves as Assistant Majority Floor Leader of the California State Assembly and as Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.  He represents the 56th District, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

Contact: Amy L. Wilson, 916-319-2056

Coachella & Imperial Valley Businessman Nachhattar Singh Chandi Honored

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56th Assembly District’s Small Business of the Year

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the Chandi Group USA was honored by Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez was the 56th Assembly District’s “2013 Small Business of the Year.”  Owner and long-time Coachella Valley resident Mr. Nachhattar Singh Chandi traveled to Sacramento to participate in the recognition event held at the Sacramento Convention Center and sponsored by the California Small Business Association.

“Mr. Chandi’s work ethic and vision are exemplary of the contributions of immigrants in our country,” noted Pérez.  “He has brought investment and jobs to the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, contributing to the economic well-being of our communities.  He is also always willing to lend a helping hand to support local community and school events.”

Mr. Chandi immigrated to California from India more than two decades ago.  After marrying his wife Susana, an immigrant from Mexico, they chose the Coachella Valley as their home. Together, the Chandis worked long days to establish their first business, a gas station in the city of Coachella. Over time, Mr. Chandi grew his business, opening others in the Coachella Valley.  He eventually built the Mecca Travel Center on Hwy 86, becoming the town of Mecca’s largest employer.  After 22 years, the Chandi Group now consists of numerous enterprises.  Mr. Chandi’s latest investment is a 90-acre mixed-used project, Northgate Corner in Indio.

“I deeply appreciate this honor. It’s really special because small businesses are the people who contribute most collectively to the cities where we live and work. I’m very happy to be a part of that community,” reflected Mr. Chandi. “Looking back since we first began in Coachella, I would have never imagined the success that my company has reached. This award is a tribute to the hours of hard work and dedication we put in as a family, with our staff and our local employees.”

To give back to the community, over the years the Chandi Group has sponsored many local activities, including youth soccer, track and baseball programs, local food distribution programs, and serving as platinum sponsor of the Dr. Carreon Foundation, which provides scholarships to local students. Mr. Chandi is a member of the Indio, Coachella and Brawley Chambers of Commerce.  The Chandis reside in La Quinta with their four children.

The 2013 Small Business Day’s Salute to Small Business is an annual opportunity for the Legislature to honor the contributions of small-sized businesses to the economic growth in the state of California.  The day’s program includes a workshops, a luncheon awards presentation with the Assemblymember, and a networking session.

Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) serves as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader of the California State Assembly and as Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.  He represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.

Contact: Amy L. Wilson, 916-319-2056

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Contact

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0056
Tel: (916) 319-2056
Fax: (916) 319-2156

District Office:
45-677 Oasis Street
Indio, CA 92201
Tel: (760) 342-8047
Fax: (760) 347-8704
(Mon - Fri, 9:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.)

Imperial Valley Office:
1625 West Main Street,
Suite 220
El Centro, CA 92243
Tel: (760) 336-8912
Fax: (760) 336-8914
(Mon - Fri, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m)

Mobile Office Hours:

Indio office representatives are available to meet constituents in Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs. Please call the Indio office to schedule an appointment.