Releases & Statements

Speaker Pérez Honors Veterans in Observation of Memorial Day; Highlights Legislation to Help Those Who Served Our Country

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SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic Weekly Radio Address, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) discusses the importance of Memorial Day, and takes some time to thank “those brave individuals stationed throughout the world fighting for American values and our way of life.” Pérez highlights efforts in the Assembly—specifically allocating Assembly operating budget savings—to fund programs that include aiding vets in federal benefit collection, expanding current social service programs that help homeless vets gets back on their feet, and increasing mental health counseling for National Guard members and their families. Pérez also speaks on AB 557, legislation he has sponsored that creates the California Interagency Council on Veteran Services and Programs, aimed at better coordination of existing veterans’ programs and more efficient delivery of services through all levels of government. Pérez closes by stating that Californians “must continue to care for our veterans just as they have fought for us” and encourages every Californian to take a moment and thank all of those who have served and given their lives for our country.

Click onto the following link for the English language MP3 file. The running time is 2:34. mp3

Click onto the following link for the Spanish language MP3 file. The running time is 2:58. mp3

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: http://asmdc.org/speaker/

Transcript:

This is Assembly Speaker John Pérez.

This weekend brings our celebration of Memorial Day, and with it comes the opportunity for our nation and state to take some time to thank those brave individuals stationed throughout the world fighting for American values and our way of life.

We must also remember and honor those brave souls who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, as well as the men and women and children who are left behind while their loved ones are deployed oversees.

California is home to almost 2 million veterans, from every conflict since the Second World War.

These Veterans and their families have unique needs and challenges including homelessness, unemployment, and high suicide rates — all of which affect veterans in greater numbers than the average population.

The Assembly is committed to supporting those who have fought for our nation, and in keeping with that commitment, I’ve approved the use of some of the cuts I made to the Assembly’s operating budget  to support several veteran programs.

These programs include aiding vets in federal benefit collection, expanding current social service programs that help homeless vets gets back on their feet, and increasing mental health counseling for National Guard members and their families.

However, given the budget challenges we have and the impact of the recession, we must also focus our attention on better coordination of our existing veterans’ programs and more efficient delivery of these services through all levels of government.

That’s why I’ve introduced AB 557, which would create the California Interagency Council on Veteran Services and Programs.

The purpose of the council would be to create better coordination between all levels of key state agencies and departments, federal officials, legislative representatives, local governments, and stakeholder organizations.

This is especially important with respect to federal disability compensation and pension payments, given that only approximately 13 percent of California’s veterans collect these payments from the federal government.

It’s estimated that if California could increase its participation rate to the national average, over $200 million in benefit payments could be returned to the state and local economy which would have measurable impacts on veterans and their families.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and a day of gratitude — we must continue to care for our veterans just as they have fought for us — and I encourage every Californian to take a moment and thank all of those who are serving, have served, or will serve in the future.

This is Assembly Speaker John Pérez, Thank you for listening.

Presidente John Pérez y Asambleístas Demócratas Honran a los Veteranos de Guerra en el Día de Conmemoración a los Caídos: Destacan Legislación que Ayuda a Aquellos que Han Prestado sus Servicios a Nuestra Nación

SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal destaca la importancia del Día de Conmemoración a los Caídos y la necesidad de darnos un momento para agradecer a “aquellos bravos soldados emplazados a través del mundo que luchan por los valores de los Estados Unidos y nuestro estilo de vida.” El bloque demócrata destaca los esfuerzos en la Asamblea, especialmente el del presidente John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) que destina fondos de los recortes que se hicieron al presupuesto de operaciones de la Asamblea, para respaldar varios programas para los veteranos de guerra—estos incluyen ayuda a los veteranos a recaudar sus beneficios federales, expandir los actuales programas de servicio social que ayudan a los sin vivienda a ponerse de pie, aumentar las terapias de salud mental para nuestros miembros de la Guardia Nacional y sus familias. Los demócratas también mencionan la legislación AB 557 del presidente Pérez, la cual crea el Consejo Interagencial de Programas y Servicios para los Veteranos de California, con el propósito de una mejor coordinación entre los programas existentes para los veteranos. El mensaje concluye instando a los californianos a “seguir cuidando a nuestros veteranos de guerra tal como ellos lo han hecho y luchado por nosotros”, y alentar a todos los californianos a tomarse un momento y agradecer a todos los que prestan su servicio militar, a los que lo han hecho en el pasado, y a los que continuarán haciéndolo en el futuro por nuestro país.

El discurso radial en archivo de MP3 puede ser localizado en el sitio de Internet. Tiempo de duración es: 2:58. mp3

Portal del presidente de la Asamblea John A. Pérez: http://asmdc.org/speaker/

MENSAJE RADIAL

Que tal, a continuación el mensaje radial del bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal de California.

Esta semana observamos el Día de Conmemoración a los Caídos, y esto trae consigo la oportunidad para que nuestra nación y estado destinen un tiempo para agradecer a aquellos bravos soldados emplazados a través del mundo que luchan por los valores de los Estados Unidos y nuestro estilo de vida.

Nosotros también debemos recordar y honrar a todas esas almas bravas que han entregado su último sacrificio en defensa de nuestra nación, así como también a todos esos hombres, mujeres y niños que deben quedar atrás mientras sus seres amados son destinados a servir en el extranjero.

California es el hogar de casi 2 millones de veteranos de guerra, de todos los conflictos bélicos a partir de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Estos veteranos y sus familias se ven afectados con desafíos y necesidades particulares tal como la falta de vivienda, desempleo, y altos niveles de suicidio — todos ellos afectando a los veteranos en números mayores que al resto de la población.

La Asamblea está comprometida en respaldar a todos aquellos que han luchado por nuestra nación, y en el espíritu de ese compromiso, el presidente de la Asamblea John Pérez  ha aprobado el uso de algunos de los fondos de los recortes que se hicieron al presupuesto de operaciones de la Asamblea, para respaldar varios programas para los veteranos de guerra.

Estos programas incluye la ayuda a los veteranos a recaudar sus beneficios federales, expandir los actuales programas de servicio social que ayudan a los sin vivienda a ponerse de pie, aumentar las terapias de salud mental para nuestros miembros de la Guardia Nacional y sus familias.

Sin embargo, dado los desafíos presupuestarios que tenemos y el impacto de la recesión, nosotros también debemos enfocar nuestra atención en cómo coordinar mejor los programas existentes para nuestros veteranos y ser más eficientes en la entrega de estos servicios en todos los niveles del gobierno.

Es por esa razón que el presidente John Pérez presentó el proyecto de ley AB 557, el cual crea el Consejo Interagencial de Programas y Servicios para los Veteranos de California.

El propósito de este consejo será el de crear una mejor coordinación entre todas de las agencias y departamentos claves, funcionarios federales, representantes legislativos, gobiernos locales, y organizaciones interesadas.

Esto es especialmente importante con respecto a la compensación por discapacidad federal y pagos de pensión, dado que solamente aproximadamente un 13 por ciento de los veteranos de California reciben estos pagos del gobierno federal.

Se estima que si California pudiera incrementar su índice de participación al promedio nacional, más de $200 millones de dólares en pagos de beneficio podrían regresar a las economías locales y del estado lo cual tendría un impacto mensurable en los veteranos y sus familias.

El Día de Conmemoración a los Caídos es un día del recuerdo y un día de agradecimiento—nosotros debemos seguir cuidando a nuestros veteranos de guerra tal como ellos lo han hecho y luchado por nosotros—y alentamos a todos los californianos a tomarse un momento y agradecer a todos los que prestan su servicio militar, a los que lo han hecho en el pasado, y a los que continuarán haciéndolo en el futuro.

Gracias por su atención. Aquí concluye el mensaje radial del bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal de California.

Budget Summit Overview

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Assembly Democrats have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to funding schools, public safety and creating jobs for Californians.

To ensure that the 2011-2012 state budget prioritizes these goals, Speaker John A. Pérez convened three budget summits to discuss the best strategies with key leaders in each of these fields. An education summit was held in Rialto, followed by a public safety summit in Fresno. The series concluded with a meeting of business leaders in the Silicon Valley.

Rialto

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Fresno

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Redwood City

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Speaker Pérez, Assembly Democrats, Tech Leaders Convene Jobs Summit; Call for Balanced Approach to Budget to Protect Jobs, Schools and Safety

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Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), Assemblymembers Jim Beall, Jr. (D-San Jose), Nora Campos (D-San Jose), Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) convened a March 12 summit with several Silicon Valley technology leaders as part of Assembly Democrats' efforts to ensure a balanced approach is taken to the state's budget deficit by the June 15th constitutional deadline.

The summit, held at Silver Spring Networks, was one in a series held throughout California aimed at ensuring passage of a timely budget that protects jobs, schools and public safety. The summit focused on the importance to California's economy and business climate of a balanced approach to solving the deficit that combines revenues in addition to the $14 billion in cuts and solutions Democrats have already approved.

"We cannot discuss the budget without talking about job creation, because we cannot close the book on this recession until Californians have quality, decent jobs that allow them to provide for their families," Pérez said. "The people of our state are willing to make the kinds of investments that are needed to adopt a balanced budget that doesn't harm the recovery and works to create the kinds of 21st century jobs vital to California's future."

The summit included roundtable discussions on the Assembly's objective to pass a budget that works to aid—not undermine—the continued signs of economic and employment recovery, and the need to protect education as a key component of a well-educated, competitive workforce that is critical to California's return to long term economic prosperity. It soon became clear that Democratic Assemblymembers and the business participants shared not only the same goals, but many of the same ideas on how to accomplish them.

"California was the natural home for the technology companies who have revolutionized the world, and as we see these companies and industries like biotechnology and green manufacturing continue to grow and evolve, we know that we must keep those industries right here in California," Pérez added.

The Silicon Valley roundtable was the third summit conducted by Assembly Democrats—following an education summit in Rialto and a public safety summit in Fresno—all bringing together different community leaders supporting a balanced budget approach to solve the budget deficit.

Summit Participants included:

  • AT&T
  • Better Place
  • Bloom Energy
  • CMEA Capital
  • eBay
  • iControl Networks
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • Silicon Valley Education Foundation
  • Silver Spring Networks
  • Solyndra
  • TechNet
  • Visa

Pérez Announces Additional Funding for Key Veteran Support Programs

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Speaker Also Sponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Coordination Between Existing Veteran Programs

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced the allocation of $1.2 million of Assembly budget savings for several programs to strengthen support for veterans and their families, who have unique needs and challenges including homelessness, unemployment, and high suicide rates — all of which affect veterans in greater numbers than the average population.

“One of the highest obligations we have is to do right by the men and women who donned our nation’s uniform,” Pérez said. “The Assembly is committed to supporting our veterans and their families, and in keeping with that commitment, I have approved the use of some of the cuts I made to the Assembly’s operating budget to support several veteran programs.”

The programs include aiding vets in federal benefit collection, expanding current social service programs that help homeless vets gets back on their feet, and increasing mental health counseling for National Guard members and their families.

Pérez also has sponsored bipartisan legislation, joining co-authors Colonel Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) and Dr. Richard Pan (D-Natomas), to create better coordination between key state agencies and departments, federal officials, legislative representatives, local governments, and stakeholder organizations. The bill, AB 557, would create the California Interagency Council on Veteran Services and Programs.

“These are hard times for everyone,” Colonel Cook, Chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee said. “If we can find savings in our own house and put it toward veterans’ programs that desperately need it, I’m all for it. I’m excited that the Assembly is helping to fund job opportunities and necessary services to our nation’s heroes.”

“Speaker Pérez has shown a profound commitment to veterans by working so hard to secure funding for veterans,” Dr. Pan, Vice-Chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee said. “AB 557 is an important common sense measure to coordinate our efforts and ensure that our brave veterans receive the support they deserve when they return home. It is also a great efficiency measure that will help to do more for our growing veteran population.”

“Given the budget challenges we have and the impact of the recession, we must also focus our attention on better coordination of our existing veteran programs and more efficient delivery of these services through all levels of government,” Pérez added.

Increasing coordination is especially important with respect to federal disability compensation and pension payments, given that only approximately 13 percent of California’s veterans collect these payments from the federal government. Raising California veterans’ participation rates to the national average would result in over $200 million in benefit payments, which would have a measurable impact on veterans and their families.

Under the direction of Speaker Pérez, the Assembly has cut its operating budget by 15%, which has allowed the Assembly to help fund other priorities.

See below for Veteran Program Funding Summaries:

  • California Veterans Services Representative Academy – New funding allows for the creation and implementation of a new five week training program. This program assists the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CDVA) in establishing a Veteran Service Representative Academy (CVSRA) that will train Veterans Service Representatives (VSR) for the job of preparing veterans claims for benefits, primarily federal disability compensation and pension benefits.
  • Homeless Veteran Stand Downs – Increased funding for Local Stand Downs — a popular and effective resource made available to veterans, particularly, homeless veterans, where they are provided a wide variety of social services from local businesses, government agencies and community and faith-based service providers.
  • Mental Health Counseling for National Guard Members and their Families – New funding adds additional counselors for the California National Guard and its almost 20,000 guard men and women, many of whom are returning from, or preparing for, active duty and may be experiencing mental health issues associated with their service.
  • California Conservation Corps – Veteran Back Country Trail Crews – New funding allows for the training of new crews for the California Conservation Corps (CCC) and the U.S. Forest Service. Through participation in the CCC, veterans will receive training and gain hands-on work experience in areas with considerable potential for post-corps employment. The Veterans’ Back Country Trail Crew for returned veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan will work on the following program elements: 1) forestry and fire training with the US Forest Service; 2) energy efficiency work including, but not limited to, CCC’s Energy Smart Jobs Program; and 3) other public land management work.

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Assembly Speaker John Pérez: Honoring and Helping Veterans

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(Sacramento) – The millions of men and women who have served in the U.S. military deserve the highest level of support and services from all levels of government. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez wants to insure that's the case for the more than 30-thousand men and women who leave the armed forces and return home to California. That's why he's carrying legislation (Assembly Bill 557) to create the California Interagency Council on Veterans Services and Programs, which will bring together all the key state, local and federal agencies needed to efficiently administer and properly integrate all the services our heroes deserve. Learn more about California’s veterans and the Speaker's AB 557 in this Assembly Web Report.

Speaker Pérez Announces Subcommittee Vote to Restore Funding to Child Care and Preschool Programs

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Funding Restores Services to 66,000 Children and Their Working Parents

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced that the Assembly Budget Subcommittee voted to restore the child care cuts made in the Governor’s May Revision, while increasing budget debt payments and maintaining a budget reserve consistent with the Governor’s proposal.  This funding restoration will restore services to 66,000 children and their working parents.

“Restoring funding to these important programs for California families will protect children and help working parents during these tough economic times,” Pérez said.  “It’s not only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense by providing parents the critical child care resources they need to stay in the workforce.”

The March budget agreement resulted in significant programmatic cuts to the child care and preschool programs. These cuts, totaling over $440 million primarily came from Proposition 98 revenues, and therefore were on top of the roughly $13.4 billion in regular General Fund solutions approved in March.

The Assembly has been working for months with providers, funders and others, including the Governor’s Office and the Department of Finance, to find an ongoing solution to the child care issue, recognizing child care cuts will not only be devastating to the families that rely on these programs to remain employed and become self-sufficient, but will also undermine economic recovery by forcing parents out of the workforce, shutting down small business providers and putting their employees out of work. (The specific impacts of the cuts are listed below.)

Instead of letting these negative impacts of the child care cuts take effect, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee has reversed the cuts without harming the bottom line General Fund reserve and by building on Governor Brown’s “pay down debt” budget proposal.

Here is how it works:

  • The Governor proposes to repay $744 million in internal special fund loans.  While repaying debt is always a good idea, the first debts repaid should be repayments that will have an immediate economic benefit for our state.
  • Therefore, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee’s action repays $1 billion in Proposition 98 “Settle-up” debts, rather than the proposed $744 million in internal borrowing.  Settle-up occurs when the state funds Proposition 98 below the annual minimum.  According to the Governor’s May Revision, “settle-up” debts make up about $3 billion of the roughly $35 billion in budgetary borrowing.
  • With this action, the Assembly Budget Committee has approved the restoration of the Child Care cuts, and will be able to also allocate over $550 million to community colleges and K-12 schools through actions later in the week.

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Pérez Requests California State University to Review All Policies Intended to Protect Students and Promote Safer Campuses; Praises Trustees for their Commitment

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SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today commended the California State University Board of Trustees for initiating a review of their system wide policies, programs and services intended to promote safer and more tolerant college campuses across the state, following a string of suicides by college students over the last year.

The Trustees tackled the issue today at a meeting in Long Beach after Speaker Pérez requested that the Board of Trustees report on what the California State University is doing to provide historically underrepresented and marginalized students with a safe learning environment as well as how it can could prevent tragedies such as the suicides of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students.

“I want to thank the CSU Trustees for addressing this important issue,” Pérez said. “These days, there are so many ways for students to feel bullied and alienated. Our campuses must provide every possible level of support for all of our students, and I’m so pleased that the leaders at CSU share that determination. I look forward to continuing to working with the systems on this important issue.”

Assemblyman Marty Block (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, attended the meeting on the Pérez’s behalf and spoke to the Trustees about the importance of reviewing campus policies.

“We are encouraged by the strong responses to mitigate intolerance and discriminatory activities on California’s campuses and promote a safer and more inclusive learning environment for students,” Block said. “However, our work is not done today. The racist, homophobic, sexist and anti-Semitic incidents at various campuses in California last year are a cause for concern for all of us. We must continue to keep our commitment to providing safe campuses for all students and be vigilant in our response to any hateful acts.”

Pérez urged the Trustees to act in light of a series of LGBT student suicides and reports that LGBT students face significant hardship during their university experiences. In September, Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide after he was outed as gay by his roommate and another student.

In March, Adam Johnston Wood, a 19-year-old native of Calaveras and a second year UC Merced student, used a rope to hang himself.

Pérez believes these tragic incidents further highlight the importance for California’s universities to be even more tolerant and welcoming of all students, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

In his November letter to California’s University systems, Pérez—the first openly gay legislative leader in California’s history—requested that the following questions be discussed at UC Regent and CSU Trustee meetings, aimed at stimulating discussions on the actions taken to promote tolerance and analyze the existing conditions of college campuses:

  1. What policies or programs do the UC and the CSU have that promote a safe and hostile-free environment for students, including LGBT students, both on campus and in dormitories?
  2. What is the UC and the CSU code of conduct with respect to student privacy issues and what is the recourse if a student violates this code?
  3. What is the expectation of privacy for students that reside in dormitories and are those students aware of the level of privacy to which they are entitled?
  4. How have the systems and the campuses funded critical student services like psychological services, resource centers, and retention services—particularly in light of state budget reductions and significant student fee increases?
  5. How did the UC and the CSU respond administratively, programmatically, and from a policy standpoint to what happened at Rutgers (e.g. review policies, send out reminders about UC and CSU policies to faculty, students and administrators, etc.)?

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Speaker Pérez, Commissioner Jones Announce Major Community Development Investments

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(Sacramento) - Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones have announced $11 million in new insurance company investments to benefit underserved communities across California. The investments are coordinated through the California Organized Investment Network (COIN), administered by the California Department of Insurance (CDI). Speaker Pérez has authored Assembly Bill 624 to extend the sunset on the COIN program, which is currently set to sunset in 2012. The collaborative effort between the California Department of Insurance, the insurance industry, community affordable housing and economic development organizations, and community advocates facilitates insurance industry investments that provide solid returns to investors and economic and social benefits to California's underserved urban and rural communities. Here's more from the Speaker in this Assembly Access video.

California Holocaust Memorial Week Resolution

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JANUARY 11, 2011 Relative to California Holocaust Memorial Week.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

ACR 4, Block. California Holocaust Memorial Week.
This measure would proclaim May 1 through May 8, 2011, as California Holocaust Memorial Week and would urge Californians to observe these days of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust in an appropriate manner.

WHEREAS, The Holocaust was a tragedy of proportions the world had never before witnessed; and
WHEREAS, More than 65 years have passed since the tragic events we now refer to as the Holocaust transpired, in which the dictatorship of Nazi Germany murdered six million Jews as part of a systematic program of genocide known as "The Final Solution of the Jewish Question"; and
WHEREAS, Jews were the primary victims, but they were not alone. Five million other people were murdered in Nazi concentration camps as part of a carefully orchestrated, state-sponsored program of cultural, social, and political annihilation under the Nazi tyranny; and
WHEREAS, We must recognize the heroism of those who provided assistance to the victims of the Nazi regime, including the many soldiers who liberated concentration camps and provided comfort to those suffering; and
WHEREAS, We must teach our children, and future generations, that the individual and communal acts of heroism during the Holocaust serve as a powerful example of how our nation and its citizens can, and must, respond to acts of hatred and inhumanity; and
WHEREAS, We must always remind ourselves of the horrible events of the Holocaust and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny lest these atrocities be repeated; and
WHEREAS, We, the people of California, should actively rededicate ourselves to the principles of human rights, individual freedom, and equal protection under the laws of a just and democratic society; and

WHEREAS, Each person in California should set aside moments of his or her time every year to give remembrance to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust; and
WHEREAS, The United States Holocaust Memorial Council has designated May 1 through May 8, 2011, as the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, including the International Day of Remembrance, known as Yom HaShoah, on May 2, 2011; and
WHEREAS, According to Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and nationally recognized scholar, "... a memorial unresponsive to the future would violate the memory of the past"; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That May 1 through May 8, 2011, be proclaimed "California Holocaust Memorial Week," and that Californians are urged to observe these days of remembrance for victims of the Holocaust in an appropriate manner; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit sufficient copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

 


Visit the California Assembly Holocaust Memorial Project Website


 

Assemblymember Perea, Budget Chair Blumenfield Convene Public Safety Summit;Call for Balanced Approach to Budget to Protect Jobs, Schools and Safety

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FRESNO - Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) today convened a summit with Central Valley public safety leaders as part of Assembly Democrats' efforts to ensure a balanced approach is taken to the state's budget deficit by the June 15th constitutional deadline.

The summit is part of a series planned throughout California aimed at ensuring passage of a timely budget that protects jobs, schools and public safety. The summit focused on the importance to police and fire services and criminal justice programs of a balanced approach to the deficit that combines revenues in addition to the $14 billion in cuts and solutions Democrats have already approved.

"We believe when Californians hear from the frontline leaders who patrol our streets, educate our kids and run our businesses they will make it clear they agree we need a balanced approach to the state's deficit," Perea said. "That's why Assembly Democrats are here today in Fresno bringing together leaders in public safety to talk about the future of our law enforcement, fire protection and criminal justice system. People want to live and work in places that are safe, and, as we heard today, a cuts only budget increases the risks to that safety."

The summit included roundtable discussions on the massive cuts public safety faced in previous years under Governor Schwarzenegger, including the impact to neighborhood police and fire services; a review of recently approved cuts and other solutions, and an examination of why additional revenues are needed to prevent further harm to the first responders and other public safety providers who help keep California's neighborhoods and businesses safe.

"We must have an honest debate about the budget and our priorities and that starts with abandoning the myth that we can responsibly balance our budget only with cuts," Blumenfield said. "Such a budget would eliminate important jobs and be devastating to our schools and public safety. Police, sheriffs and firefighters would not be properly staffed or equipped to serve. It would also prevent badly needed reforms that will ensure the most dangerous criminals are kept off our streets."

Because a lack of action by Republican legislators means a June election on revenues is no longer an option, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has called upon Republicans to produce a comprehensive budget plan of their own by the end of this month. "We believe our Republican colleagues have the responsibility to articulate solutions in a detailed and public manner, and if they produce a plan, I think it will be healthy for California to have the debate," Pérez said. "The people of our state are willing to make the kinds of investments that are needed to avoid laying off thousands of cops, teachers, firefighters and other Californians. We need to approach this problem together, as a state, and these summits are part of that effort."

CONTACT: Bob Sanders (916) 319-2408