SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement today on the Department of Finance’s October Finance Bulletin showing that September was another strong month for California revenues:
“The latest report from the Department of Finance shows that revenues are exceeding the budget projections for the year by over $100 million. Coupled with our ending the 2012-13 fiscal year with $2.1 billion more than expected, this shows the California budget remains very strong. What we’ve accomplished shows what’s possible when you get past the kind of gridlock, hostage taking, and brinksmanship that is paralyzing progress in Washington, D.C., and when elected officials and the public show the willingness to support a balanced approach of tough cuts and new revenues to get things back on track.”
SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. today signed the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014 by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), giving California voters in June 2014 the opportunity to repurpose already existing veteran housing funds for better housing options for today’s diverse and expanding veteran population.
“I am proud of the actions that the Governor and the Legislature have taken this year to tackle veterans’ homelessness in our state,” Speaker Pérez said. “Veterans have devoted their lives to the protection of our country and it is absolutely unacceptable when they cannot afford a place for them and their families to sleep. As citizens, it is our basic obligation to stand up for these men and women who have served our nation, and I look forward to seeing California voters approve this measure.”
AB 639 provides California voters with the opportunity to repurpose $600 million in existing veterans’ bond funds to respond more effectively to the housing needs of today’s veteran population and their families. More than $1 billion of voter-approved funding has been set aside for single family homes and farms, while the need for multifamily, transitional and supportive housing has greatly increased. AB 639, backed by the California Association of Veteran Services Agencies and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, expands on proven and cost-effective supportive housing and service models that will reduce veterans’ homelessness, leverage public and private dollars, and decrease other public costs such as health care and incarceration expenditures.
“In the past California voters have said we should help honor our commitment to veterans by helping them with their housing needs,” said Stephen Peck, USMC Vietnam veteran, President of U.S.VETS and the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies, one of the leading advocates for the legislation. “Old approaches to housing can’t meet the needs of today’s veterans. AB 639 recognizes that and gives voters a chance to fix it. I know veterans across California thank Speaker Pérez for his leadership on our issues and we thank Governor Brown for signing this smart and compassionate bill.”
“Every year in California more than 32,000 veterans suffer deteriorating health, repeated incarceration, and worsening mental conditions because they are homeless,” said Sharon Rapport, Corporation for Supportive Housing Associate Director for California Policy. “They cost our state and local governments almost $3,000 a month in response to repeated crises. Using existing bond authority to create over 10,000 affordable places to live, AB 639 will leverage $3 billion in private and federal funds, will make a crucial commitment to move chronically homeless veterans into housing with services—supportive housing—and will save the lives of veterans now struggling to survive life on the street. For these reasons, we are incredibly grateful to Speaker Pérez for his passionate pursuit of this bill, and to Governor Brown for his insight that investing in supportive housing for homeless veterans makes sense.”
California has the largest veteran population in the US, with almost two million veterans calling California home—a number which is expected to rise by over 200,000 when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down. California also has more homeless veterans than any other state, with 25 percent of homeless veterans in the nation residing in the state. If voters approve of the initiative next year, California will be at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
The bill signing took place at Veterans Village of San Diego, where over 2,000 military veterans are served each year throughout the county of San Diego. It is nationally recognized as the leader in serving homeless military veterans, and has served veterans since 1981 with the dedication to “Leave No One Behind.” Joining in the ceremony were Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Veterans Committee Chair Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), Principal Co-Authors of AB 639, who have both made ending homelessness among veterans a priority.
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced that the new Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment will hold the first in a series of hearings on Monday, October 21 in Sacramento.
Speaker Pérez established the Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment to guide the Assembly’s efforts to work with the Governor in finding solutions to the state’s longtime criminal justice and prison challenges.
“The Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment will investigate whatever might work: updating sentencing laws, strengthening effective local approaches, and improving education and programs that break the cycle of poverty,” Speaker Pérez said. “The Committee’s goal will be real data-based, long-term solutions that will help us stop spending excessive money on prisons and allow us to focus more on investments that grow our economy and provide opportunity.”
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) will Co-Chair the Committee.
The members of the Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment are:
Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima)
Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino)
Assemblymember Rocky J. Chávez (R-Oceanside)
Assemblymember Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo)
Assemblymember Melissa A. Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore)
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance)
Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella)
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay)
Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido)
Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego)
The Committee’s first hearing on October 21 will provide a thorough overview of the problems facing the state and factors that have led to the current situation, while looking at fiscal impacts and potential new directions. Subsequent hearings will focus on the costs, benefits and logistics surrounding applying various solutions in California that have been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions and the effectiveness of the state’s current efforts regarding inmates and parolees.
Future topics include pre-incarceration diversion and sentencing, programming during incarceration, preparing for re-entry in the final months of prison and post-release, and non-corrections based solutions.
“AB 484 is the right educational policy at the right time, and California is the right state to lead this forward.”
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla with Governor Jerry Brown and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson at today’s signing ceremony for AB 484 (Bonilla), which moves California to new student testing system.
(Sacramento) – Assembly Bill 484, legislation authored by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), was signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown.
“This is one of the most important and revolutionary changes to education policy, and California is the right state to lead the way. With this new law, our schools can move away from outdated STAR tests and prepare students and teachers for better assessments that reflect the real world knowledge needed for young people to succeed in college and careers,” said Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord).
“Supporting a transition plan for the new state assessment system is just common sense. Our current testing system is limited measuring only rote memorization of facts, but the new assessments will actually measure how students apply knowledge and solve complex problems,” said David Rattray, senior vice president of the education and workforce division at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “As co-sponsors of this bill, we know that this is what the business community needs in order to have a trained and skilled workforce that will allow us to compete in a global market.”
“California now has the chance to allow more students and schools to get a chance to test drive these new, computer-based assessments, and we need to take advantage of that opportunity,” said State Board of Education President Michael Kirst.
AB 484 was sponsored by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and supported by Assembly and Senate leaders, businesses, school administrators, teachers, parents and, most importantly, students. It enables California to successfully transition to the next generation of school assessments. This bill suspends many of the statewide assessments beginning in 2013-14 and implements new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English and math beginning in 2014-15.
Assemblywoman Bonilla says AB 484 will eliminate the STAR test and replace it with a new assessment system. (:26)
Assemblywoman Bonilla says the new testing system is needed because California’s educational standards have changed. (:25)
Assemblywoman Bonilla explains the AB 484 will mean teachers will have more time to teach. (:22)
Assemblywoman Bonilla explains why the state moved to the new Common Core Education Standards. (:23)
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla was first elected to the Assembly in November 2010, and represents California's 14th Assembly District, which is comprised of the north and central portions of Contra Costa County and southern portion of Solano County.
CONTACT: Dan Okenfuss, (916) 319-2014, Dan.Okenfuss@asm.ca.gov
(SACRAMENTO)—Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 60 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) into law today at the Los Angeles City Hall. This measure grants the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license. AB 60 will increase road safety by ensuring that all drivers are properly trained, pass the DMV driving test, know our state traffic laws, and are insured.
“I am proud to have authored a historic measure for the state of California. I want to commend the Governor for understanding the reality faced by 1.4 million unlicensed drivers who have waited for nearly two decades to have an opportunity to drive to work without fear,” states Alejo. “With AB 60 we are recognizing the needs of many hard-working immigrants living here and contributing so much to our great state. Immigrants who drive legally are more likely to work, spend and contribute to the economy. And those with driver's licenses will have more job opportunities available to them, which will boost businesses in the state.”
Los Angeles City Councilmember and former Senator Gil Cedillo worked on this historic legislation for over a decade. He states, "Today marks an important day in history, and ends a long chapter of fighting for the public safety of all drivers on our roads. I applaud our State Legislators and Governor for doing the right thing in understanding the significance and impact this bill will have on the millions of undocumented workers who simply want to feel safe driving to and from work.”
“The Governor’s signature on AB60 opens a window of opportunity unfairly closed shut to millions of Californians in 1993. The state legislature recognizes a driver’s license makes our roads safer and offers a practical tool for any Californian, regardless of immigration status, that can be used to conduct everyday tasks that greatly contribute to our state’s growth,” states Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) Executive Director.
Earlier this month, Governor Brown indicated strong support for the measure. He stated in a press release, “This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally. Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”
“This legislation will assure that all persons who drive in California are licensed, have insurance, and are subject to enforcement of California’s driving laws,” states Kim Raney, President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “Assembly Bill 60 also provides for needed identification security which will enable those charged with limiting access to secure locations to make the appropriate inquiry of anyone presenting a driver’s license to obtain such access.”
AB 60 passed the Legislature last month with a historic bipartisan vote in both the Assembly and the Senate.
Luis Alejo represents the 30th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, San Benito County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.
SACRMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) was awarded the California Golden Bear Award by the California Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States' (CAL EANGUS) yesterday in recognition for his efforts on behalf of the “Work for Warriors” program, which has helped tackle the issue of unemployment among the almost 20,000 California National Guard members.
“I am deeply honored to receive the California Golden Bear Award,” said Speaker Pérez. “Our most basic obligation as citizens is to stand up for the men and women who have served our nation in the military, and who stand prepared to assist California during natural disasters or other major emergencies, and I have been very grateful for the opportunity to work with the California National Guard on ensuring California’s veterans have access to jobs, healthcare and support services they deserve.”
Speaker Pérez has provided $1 million in Assembly grants to fund the National Guard’s “Work for Warriors” pilot program, which links unemployed National Guard members with participating employers, which has helped reduce the unemployment rate in the California National Guard by 25 percent in the first year.
Speaker Pérez and the Assembly also provided two $300,000 grants to the California Military Department for mental health services, which gave the California National Guard more resources to better support their members.
“I applaud CAL EANGUS for choosing Speaker Pérez for this prestigious award,” said Major General David S. Baldwin, the Adjutant General of the California National Guard. “The Speaker's unwavering support of Work for Warriors is responsible for making the program a success, and has improved the readiness of the California National Guard to respond to state emergencies.”
Speaker Pérez is also the author of the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014, Assembly Bill 639, which will put California at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015 by expanding housing options for veterans, cost-effectively leveraging public dollars and reducing the number of homeless veterans. The bill passed the Legislature on September 11 and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.
In the state budget the Legislature and Governor this year also created state staff teams known as “Strike Forces” to be embedded in the three regional federal Veteran Benefit Administration offices, ensuring disability benefits are approved faster for California veterans.
LOS ANGELES – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement today regarding Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. signing Assembly Bill 10, which will increase California’s minimum wage:
“This is a proud moment for California. Our workers are among the most productive in the world, and with the signing of the minimum wage increase, working people will see significant relief and help California’s economy continue to outshine the rest of the nation. This is money that will be spent in California, on things like school supplies and groceries, ultimately putting more than $2 billion dollars back into our economy annually while giving workers a significant $4,000 increase in their wages.”
Speaker Pérez joined the Governor and Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), author of AB 10, at the signing in Los Angeles this morning at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
SACRAMENTO – In case you missed it, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee both wrote recent editorials encouraging Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. to sign the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act authored by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). Assembly Bill 639 will allow California voters to have the opportunity to repurpose existing bond funds to expand housing options for veterans, cost-effectively leverage public dollars and reduce the number of homeless veterans, putting California at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015
In an editorial by the Sacramento Bee “Give voters a chance to help homeless veterans” published on Thursday, September 19, the Bee writes that homeless veterans “need all the help they can get” when it comes to having access of affordable housing options:
“Gov. Jerry Brown can take a crucial step in that direction by signing Assembly Bill 639, which would let voters decide next June whether to redirect bond money to build affordable housing for homeless and low-income veterans.
An estimated 19,000 veterans in California are homeless, about one-fourth of the country’s entire homeless vet population. There’s also a danger that the number could grow as the military demobilizes with the end of the Afghanistan war….
The most recent source of home loan money is Proposition 12, approved by voters in 2008 to authorize $900 million in bonds. Because so few loans have been taken out, none of those bonds have been issued. Another $230 million in bonding authority is left over from a similar 2000 ballot measure.
Under AB 639, authored by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, $600million of the Prop. 12 bonding authority would be shifted to help build apartments and transitional housing for vets – if voters give their consent.”
San Francisco Chronicle also calls for the Governor to sign AB 639 in their editorial “Welcome our vets home” published on Sunday, September 22. They state that Proposition 12, which was passed by voters in 2008 to allocate $900 million in bonds for veterans, was too narrow to properly serve our veterans:
“As our overseas operations wind down, what many of these vets need is access to multifamily housing they can afford and to units equipped with community support services such as mental health counseling, substance-abuse treatment and help with physical injuries.
The most significant state bill designed to help homeless veterans, AB 639, was pushed by Assembly Speaker John Pérez, who has been visiting hospitalized service personnel recently. The bill would fill in the gaps left by the original ballot measure.
The bill is on the governor’s desk. Approval in both houses of the Legislature was almost unanimous. For reasons that should be obvious, the governor should sign it. Vets who served us and returned home to find that civilian life doesn’t necessarily guarantee a place to live deserve a better welcome.”
In addition to the Chronicle and the Bee, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial as well last week encouraging the Governor to sign the Act.
More than $1 billion of voter-approved funds has been put aside for single family homes and farms, while the need for multifamily, transitional and supportive housing has greatly increased. AB 639 expands on proven and cost-effective supportive housing and service models that will reduce veterans’ homelessness, leverage public and private dollars, and decrease other public costs (e.g. health care and incarceration expenditures).
SACRAMENTO – In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Times published the editorial “A housing fix for California veterans” on Sunday, September 15, 2013, encouraging Governor Edmund Brown Jr. to sign the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act by Speaker John A. Pérez, which will put California at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015 by using existing bond funds to expand housing options for veterans, cost-effectively leverage public dollars and reduce the number of homeless veterans.
The Act provides California’s voters with the opportunity to repurpose $600 million from Proposition 12, existing veterans’ bond funds, to respond more effectively to the housing needs of today’s veteran population and their families, and the Los Angeles Times states that voters should have the chance to vote on this issue.
“By one estimate, more than 32,000 veterans are expected to become homeless at least temporarily in the next 21/2 years, and the supply of affordable housing is far too low to meet the demand. Developers say they can't build affordable housing projects without the government's help because the cost of land, labor and materials is too high, and there's a limited amount of that help available — none of it targeted specifically to veterans.
On Wednesday, lawmakers approved AB 639, a bill by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) that would schedule a vote next June on a ballot measure to restructure Proposition 12. The new measure would cut the amount of bonds for CalVet loans to $300 million [Speaker’s Office Note: an additional $230 million from a 2000 bond measure will also remain available, leaving $530 million for farm and single family home loans], while authorizing the state to issue $600 million in bonds for affordable, multifamily housing for vets. Unlike the bonds for the home loans, which are repaid entirely by the vets who take out mortgages, the ones for apartment projects would be financed by the state at an estimated cost of $25 million a year for 30 years.
By reducing the number of homeless veterans and connecting more of them to the rehabilitation and mental health services they need, the bonds could help the state avoid some of the healthcare and social service costs it faces today. They also could lead to more homeless veterans rejoining the workforce. Granted, $25 million a year is a sizable sum. Yet it's clear that Proposition 12 missed the mark in terms of meeting the needs of the state's returning veterans. Voters should have the chance to rethink it.”
More than $1 billion of voter-approved funds has been put aside for single family homes and farms, while the need for multifamily, transitional and supportive housing has greatly increased. AB 639 expands on proven and cost-effective supportive housing and service models that will reduce veterans’ homelessness, leverage public and private dollars, and decrease other public costs (e.g. health care and incarceration expenditures). California has the largest veteran population in the US, with almost two million veterans calling California home—a number which is expected to rise by over 200,000 when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down. California also has the most homeless veterans than any other state, with 25 percent of homeless veterans in the nation residing in the state.
(Sacramento) – As the 2013 session of the California Legislature adjourned, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) called the session a productive year where the Assembly remained focused on the values and priorities of the people of California. “We passed major bills on a variety of important topics this year, including the Middle Class Scholarship, health care expansion, and affordable housing for veterans,” Speaker Pérez said. “The record shows that we were clearly focused on maintaining fiscal responsibility, increasing prosperity and opportunity, delivering effective, efficient services and investing in California’s future.” Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
SACRAMENTO - As the 2013 session of the California Legislature adjourned early Friday, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) called the session a productive year where the Assembly remained focused on the values and priorities of the people of California.
"After several tough years of weathering the Great Recession, California is clearly on the comeback trail, thanks in large part to the work of the Legislature," Speaker Pérez said. "We passed major bills on a variety of important topics this year, including the Middle Class Scholarship, health care expansion, and affordable housing for veterans. The record shows that we were clearly focused on maintaining fiscal responsibility, increasing prosperity and opportunity, delivering effective, efficient services and investing in California's future."
Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility
The 2013-14 budget was again passed on time-the first time in 30 years a budget was passed on time three years in a row.
The budget is balanced, with a reserve of $1.1 billion, and is structurally balanced throughout the entire forecast period.
The budget also pays down $4.2 billion in budget debt, including over $2.1 billion owed to local schools.
The Assembly also set the stage for crafting a workable Rainy Day Fund for the November 2014 ballot that protects the budget against cycles of boom and bust.
Working to Increase Prosperity
Increased the role of the Governor's Office of Business and Development in strengthening California's economic recovery by requiring GO-Biz to prepare a California Economic Development Strategic Plan during each Gubernatorial Administration. This will provide an ongoing economic development roadmap to guide public policy decisions for economic growth and competitiveness.
Increased the minimum wage$10 hour minimum wage boosts earnings by $4,000 a year and will put $2.6 billion dollars back into the hands of workers. This is money that will be spent at neighborhood markets and grocery stores, on school supplies and invested in education."
To help spur business growth the Assembly led the effort to permanently cut the processing time for the Secretary of State to process business filings from over 60 days to no more than five days.
The budget provided $4 million for Local Coastal Plans to be updated to streamline and improve coastal zone changes in accordance with the Coastal Act.
Passed legislation to modify the enterprise zone program to help areas of the state that were hit the hardest during the recession:
Improving hiring credits for employers.
Adding incentives for employers to hire veterans and people who have been jobless for over six months.
Ensuring companies statewide that purchase equipment for manufacturing, processing, refining, or recycling will not have to pay state sales tax on those purchases beginning in July 2014.
The Assembly worked to find flexibility for local governments to finance key economic development projects following the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. Following the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies $3.9 billion in property tax has been distributed to date to California's cities, counties, schools, and special districts:
Investing in California's Future
The budget provided billions in new investments for schools, including a funding formula to target resources to low income students and English learners.
The Assembly led the fight for the Middle Class Scholarship, which starting in 2014, will effectively slash student fees at UC and CSU up to 40% for families making under $100,000 and up to 10% for families earning $150,000.
The budget invested in higher education by increasing funding for UC and CSU of $250 million, this increase will grow to over $1 billion by 2016-17.
Expanded healthcare to cover more than one million Californians, and made targeted investments to reduce California's worst-in-the-nation child poverty rate. Both steps remove potential drag on the state's ongoing economic recovery.
Responded to court order on prisoner release with thoughtful compromise that complies with the order, includes finding long term solutions to California's corrections problems and prevents the early release of convicts.
Approved ballot initiative allowing for repurposing of existing bonds to help meet Veterans housing needs and reduce the number of homeless veterans.
Increased the ability of veterans to receive benefits by allocating $6 million to fund strike teams to free up the back log of veterans claims and improve local veteran's services.