Press Releases

Statement from Speaker John A. Pérez on California High Speed Rail Business Plan

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Sacramento - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) made the following statement today regarding the updated California High Speed Rail business proposal:

"Today's release of the High Speed Rail Business Plan underscores the fact that building a project of this scale will require a major investment to make high speed rail a reality and a success in this state. The plan will be thoroughly reviewed by the Legislature and I am committed to working with Governor Brown and President Obama's administration to move High Speed Rail forward and create hundreds of thousands of jobs for Californians while dramatically reducing congestion along our roads, highways, and airports."

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

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Statement from Speaker John A. Pérez on Governor's Pension Proposals

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Sacramento - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) made the following statement today regarding Governor Brown’s proposals to reform California’s public employee pension system:

"I appreciate Governor Brown's efforts to ensure the long-term stability of California’s pension system, and the Joint Conference Committee will carefully consider all aspects of his proposal. I believe the Governor is working hard to solve California's long term fiscal challenges, and the Assembly will work with him to bring stability to our pension system in a manner that does right by taxpayers and public servants alike."

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

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Pension Conference Committee Explores Current State of Benefits and Enacted Reforms

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Sacramento - The Joint Legislative Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions held the first of three public hearings today in the city of Carson to discuss the current condition of the public pension system, including reforms recently implemented at both the state and local level. Members heard directly from state and local employers and employees who detailed recently enacted reforms aimed at reducing long term pension liabilities and employer costs while ensuring employees can retire with fair and adequate benefits.

The conference committee is working through the legislative interim recess to deliver a conference report for consideration early next year. "This hearing is very well timed as the Governor is set to release his proposal tomorrow. It offers a chance to take a detailed look at the foundation of the pension system," said Co-Chair Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino). "I am hopeful that the final outcome of these hearings will be a package that achieves real and measurable reforms that has broad support and represents a consensus agreement."

"A comprehensive package to address the reliability of pension funds is more effective than a piece meal approach," said Co-Chair Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-South Los Angeles County). "Today we heard from the people most directly affected. They are the ones who have been working towards and paying into the funds. We need to ensure these pensions are viable and available for years to come."

Panelists underscored how recent reforms to state employee pensions are projected to save at least $13 billion over the next 30 years while preserving the ability to attract the best and the brightest applicants.

"Earlier this year, the Legislature began to tackle some of the most significant issues with regard to public pensions, such as targeting ‘pension spiking' and other egregious examples of abuse in the system," said Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa). "Public employees at the state and local levels have taken a major step toward helping to address the problem by agreeing to pay higher contributions toward their pensions, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Going forward, the committee will look to develop further solutions to save taxpayer dollars without needlessly destroying the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of working men and women."

Local government representatives discussed some of the actions taken to reduce and contain costs such as layoffs, reduced benefits, the creation of a second tier of benefits, and the elimination of employer pick-up of employee contributions. These concessions were reached after months of difficult and intense negotiation between counties and employees.

Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) raised questions about the impact of decisions made at the state level to those at the local level. "We have a challenge of the diversity of circumstances of employees. The challenge is; if we take action at the state level, how do we take unilateral action that is thoughtful and fair and appropriate across such a wide range of individual circumstances and positions? Most constituents I talk to don't have a problem with a basic retirement system. It is the egregious examples they read about in the newspaper they have a problem with."

The committee will hold two more hearings in the coming weeks in both the Bay Area and at the State Capitol to discuss the Governor's proposal as well as other ideas, and to provide the opportunity to hear feedback from stakeholders and the public on the Conference Committee's draft report once completed.

CONTACT: Alfonso Sanchez 916-651-4032 (Negrete McLeod)
Sandra Sanchez 562-989-2919 (Furutani)
Annette Porini 916-651-4011 (Simitian)
David Miller 916-319-2007 (Allen)

Speaker Pérez Highlights Day of Community Events with School Supply Giveaway

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Speaker John A. Pérez shakes hands with a member of the Boyle Heights Wolfpack youth football team while distributing athletic bags and school supplies at a team practice in Los Angeles. Pérez spoke to the players and parents about taking an active role in the community.

LOS ANGELES - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) recently gave out athletic bags with school supplies and spoke to the Boyle Heights Wolfpack youth football team, urging players and parents to be active in the community. The visit was the latest in a full day of community outreach, as Pérez took the opportunity to discuss key issues with community members.

"Our students are one of our greatest assets," Speaker Pérez said. "It's clear that keeping them involved in extra-curricular activities develop skills like teamwork and collaboration, producing long-term benefits. I believe all students deserve an opportunity to succeed, and providing them with a quality education and the resources they need to learn are essential to achieving that."

Speaker John A. Pérez engages members of the Korean Churches for Community Development in Los Angeles, discussing opportunities for community economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

In addition to Pérez's school supply giveaway, the Speaker also met with key members of the Centro Medico MacArthur Park Facility, the Korean Churches for Community Development, and the Hollenbeck Palms Facility while touring each area.

"While our individual needs may differ, every group I meet with looks toward the same goal—to bring jobs and opportunity to our neighborhoods, and to move our local and statewide economies along while continuing to take care of our most needy," Pérez added. "Having the chance to meet with individuals and to see things from a local perspective only helps to inform the larger discussion of how we get Californians working again."

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

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Speaker John A. Pérez, Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg Announce Joint Public Employee Pension Committee Members, First Hearing

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SACRAMENTO - Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) have announced appointments to the newly formed Joint Legislative Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions.

The committee is tasked with examining the current public pensions systems, the efficacy of recent reforms, and options going forward to help bring fiscal stability to the systems in a way that’s fair to both workers and the citizens of California. Three separate hearings will be held over the next several weeks. To increase outreach throughout the state, those hearings will be conducted in the Los Angeles area, the Bay Area and at the State Capitol.

Assemblymembers appointed to the committee are Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa), Warren Furutani (D-South Los Angeles County), and Jim Silva (R-Huntington Beach). Senate appointees are Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino), Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), and Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Hills).

The committee’s first hearing will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at the City of Carson council chambers, 701 East Carson Street in Carson, CA. Dates, times and locations of subsequent hearings are yet to be determined.

Website of President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg: http://dist06.casen.govoffice.com/

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

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408 (Pérez) Mark Hedlund (916) 651-4006 (Steinberg)

Joint Statement: Pro Tem Steinberg and Speaker John A. Pérez Set the Record Straight on SB 922

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) made the following statement today regarding SB 922, a fairness bill that establishes parameters for the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) for publicly-funded construction projects:

"SB 922 is one of the most mischaracterized laws of this legislative session. In reality, SB 922 is simply a fairness bill for taxpayers and all contractors when public construction is being undertaken.

"Project Labor Agreements, known as PLAs, have been used by both business and government to save money on construction of municipal projects for over 70 years. Governments also use them to achieve additional goals such as local hiring, assuring our returning veterans a job on a project, and creating viable apprenticeships and other training programs for the community.

"So what is a PLA? It is a collective bargaining agreement which sets the hours of work, wages, working conditions and safety procedures. It also prescribes a method to resolve disputes on the project.

"SB 922 does not require any city to enter into PLAs. Rather, the law makes it illegal for any public entity to pass a local ordinance creating a blanket prohibition of utilizing a PLA to take advantage of the taxpayer protections that can occur. The bill does not require any entity to use a PLA. PLAs do not lend themselves to every project, but it is wrong to pass an unfair ordinance restricting government from obtaining the same savings the private sector receives when they build complex projects. The law clearly addresses these issues, mandating several commonsense taxpayer protections if public entities decide to use them.

"So what are the protections? First it establishes fair and open competition on PLAs for both union and non-union contractors' to protect their rights to bid on and be awarded work on a project. It mandates that any person can work on a project, regardless of their gender, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, national origin, or whether or not the person is part of a union.

"Since delays on any public construction project can be costly for the taxpayer, SB 922 prevents such delays by barring strikes, lockouts and other work stoppages. It requires disputes to be submitted to impartial arbitration for resolution, saving taxpayers' money and insuring the project proceeds on time. Since construction is one of the most hazardous professions, SB 922 also requires PLAs to contain a drug testing policy.

"Charter cities by their nature have the ability to prohibit PLAs. So to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are not wasted, SB 922 states that if any entity enacts a blanket ban on the governing body from considering PLAs then that entity will not be entitled to receive any state construction dollars while the ban is in place.

"Many charter cities have said they should not be required to enter into a PLA and we agree; which is why the bill does not mandate any city to enter into a PLA. Some creative lawyers have claimed there is a loophole in the bill which would allow a city to institute or continue a blanket ban on PLAs while maintaining access to state taxpayer dollars.

"Critics claim the measure will take away local government's control of municipal projects. It does not.

"Critics claim it will drive up project costs by mandating organized labor to work on such projects. It does not.

"And critics claim it unfairly tilts the table in favor of some contractors at the expense of others. It does not.

"We believe the law is clear. If there is a need for further clarity, we intend to immediately address that issue. We will not allow a few cities to throw away our scarce taxpayer dollars, unfairly tying the hands of their elected officials from considering a method which can give taxpayers the most bang for the buck."

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

Website of President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg: http://dist06.casen.govoffice.com/

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408 (Pérez) or Mark Hedlund (916) 651-4006

Assembly Democrats Applaud Governor Brown's Signing of the California Dream Act

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SACRAMENTO - Today, California's Assembly Democrats led by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), praised Governor Brown for signing the California Dream Act into law. The new law allows California students to be eligible for state financial assistance to attend California colleges and universities. Governor Brown signed the bill on Saturday, October 8th, after it passed both houses of the Legislature with strong support from Democrats.

"I am very pleased the Governor has signed the California Dream Act, ensuring that the doors of higher education remain open to every Californian," said Speaker Pérez. "This is the right move for millions of individuals who were raised here and want to live their lives here as productive Californians."

The measure, AB 131, is companion legislation to AB 130, which was approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown earlier this year. AB 130 allows public universities to permit eligible undocumented students to qualify for private scholarships administered by the public universities. AB 131 extended that eligibility to institutional financial aid administered by UC, CSU and the California Community Colleges, as well as to CalGrants, which students can use at any eligible California college or university.

"Governor Brown has signed historic legislation that will ensure every child in California has the opportunity to go to one of California's world-renowned universities," said Assemblymember Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Ray). "I am very proud of the Governor for taking this important step on an issue of fundamental fairness."

"This is a wonderful day for California," said Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego). "By signing the Dream Act into law, Governor Brown has ensured that every Californian will have the opportunity to go to the best universities in the world and help contribute to California's recovery."

Website of the Assembly Democratic Caucus: www.asmdc.org

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

Below are links to audio of Assemblymembers Block and Butler:

Assemblymember Marty Block says the state's economy will benefit from the implementation of the California Dream Act. (:32)
http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20111011DreamActBlock1.mp3

Assemblymember Block, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, says expanding the number of people who can apply for CalGrants will not cost the state additional funds. (:26)
http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20111011DreamActBlock2.mp3

Assemblymember Block says the Dream Act is an investment in one of California's most precious resources. (:06)
http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20111011DreamActBlock4.mp3

Assemblymember Betsy Butler says she's proud of the Governor's decision to help California students reach their potential. (:13)
http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/Newsline/Audio/20111011DreamActButler1.mp3

Speaker Pérez, Assembly Democrats Push Job Creation Agenda

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First Year of Legislative Session Ends with Passage of Economic, Employment Development Legislation

SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today released a compilation of key bills passed during the 2011 Legislative Session to help keep Californians working and stimulate the state’s economy. The passage of a historic on-time budget package was also critical to move California toward economic recovery.

“Our highest priority throughout every level of government right now is to create and protect jobs,” Pérez said. “We have taken additional steps during this first year to make that goal a reality; however we must continue to drive for greater economic development and more job creation.”

Speaker Pérez noted that the legislation passed by the Assembly covered a variety of sectors, from supporting construction projects to bring jobs and development, to streamlining government procedures, to protecting child care workers and brick and mortar businesses in the state.

“California is a diverse state with many different economic areas—all of which are eager to help put our state back on the road to economic recovery,” Pérez added.

The Assembly continues to help push job creation by allocating over $1 million in Assembly budgetary savings to the California Secretary of State to confront the massive delay in the processing of business filings.

Highlights of jobs-related bills passed in the 2011 legislative session are attached.

Key 2011 Job Legislation Passed by Assembly
(Partial list)

  • AB 29 (John A. Pérez) implements recommendations by business leaders to create the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (or “Go Biz”) as the lead agency to develop economic strategy and marketing of California’s inherent advantages for commerce. The bill would simultaneously create a California Business Investment Services Program to assist people and businesses who want to invest in, and expand, California trade and industry.

    Status: Chaptered
  • AB 101 (J. Pérez/Steinberg) creates jobs in California’s child care system and gives child care providers and parents a voice to speak up for the children and families they serve.  The bill will enable thousands of California working families to stay employed or get back to work by ensuring that California’s child care system is efficient and productive.

    Status: Vetoed
  • AB 155 (Calderon/Skinner) requires out-of-state online retailers to begin collecting sales taxes that are legally owed under existing law for purchases by California customers in order to keep thousands of jobs in the state.

    Status: Chaptered
  • AB 624 (John A. Pérez) extends the sunset to 2017 on the California Organized Investment Network (COIN).  The collaborative effort between the California Department of Insurance, the insurance industry, community affordable housing and economic development organizations, and community advocates is a voluntary program that facilitates insurance industry investments that provide solid returns to investors and economic and social benefits to California’s underserved urban and rural communities.

    Status: Chaptered
  • AB 40x 1 (Allen) outlines the California Jobs First Package; a series of bills that offer over $1 billion a year in tax relief for local businesses, standing to spur job creation throughout the state.  The bill directs a three pronged approach towards stimulating job growth. The first component is an amendment of the qualifications of California’s current jobs creation tax credit. The second component creates a sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing equipment in California. The final component of AB 40x 1 is the mandatory implementation of the single sales factor.

    Status: Died in Senate
  • SB 292 (Padilla/J. Pérez) provides for the construction of a stadium and convention center in downtown Los Angeles that will bring more than 23,000 jobs and over $600 million in economic activity to the state without violating California’s environmental laws.

    Status: Chaptered

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

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

Statement from Speaker John A. Pérez on Governor’s Signing of Senate Bill 202

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) made the following statement today on Governor Brown’s signing of Senate Bill 202, legislation that affirms the California Constitution’s assertion that an initiative that qualifies for the ballot shall be submitted to the voters at the next general election.

“I want to thank Governor Brown for signing SB 202, and making sure that initiatives — some of which are measures that affect everyone in the state including schools, the environment and businesses — are on the ballots of traditionally higher turnout elections, where the greatest number of Californians participate. In the past, we have had instances where far reaching proposals are determined in the lowest turnout elections and SB 202 solves that problem.”

The new law brings California in line with 18 out of 24 other initiative states that do not allow initiatives to be placed on primary or special election ballots because of low-voter turnout in these elections.

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

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

Speaker Pérez’s Business Development Bill Becomes Law

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New GO-Biz Office Will Help California Create Jobs, Promote Economic Recovery

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced that Governor Jerry Brown signed his Assembly Bill 29 into law. The legislation implements recommendations by business leaders to create the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (or “GO-Biz”) as the lead agency to develop economic strategy and marketing of California’s inherent advantages for commerce.

“With an almost 12 percent unemployment rate in California, there’s no more critical issue to our state than to improve the job market,” Speaker Pérez said. “AB 29 creates the sort of one-stop shop that businesses in our state can use to develop and grow, in addition to attracting new businesses to California. I want to thank the Governor for his leadership on this issue and for mapping out a path of collaboration between Go-Biz and California’s multiple economic development efforts. ”

AB 29 lays out a number of responsibilities and objectives for the new office that include making policy recommendations to the Governor and Legislature, marketing the advantages of business in California, assisting the Department of Finance and other departments with economic goals, maximizing federal resources to advance economic goals and objectives, and working with various entities to encourage business development and investment in California.

In addition to outlining those goals, AB 29 reorganizes such entities as the Small Business Advocate and CalBIS into the new Office of Business and Economic Development  and ultimately, codifies Go-Biz’s objective to establish long-term economic goals and strategies as well as specific and effective services to California’s businesses both large and small.

“AB 29 increases coordination in all levels of government, focusing attention on California’s biggest priority in job creation while making our state more efficient and providing assistance for all businesses,” Pérez added.

CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408

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

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