August 2015 Newsletter
It’s been another busy month in the California State Legislature. We’re working hard to do more for public transit, find a quick solution for our high school seniors who were marginalized by poor bureaucratic decision making, take another step in the right direction with equality for all families, and make progress for our vulnerable workers in the nail salon industry. I’m excited to see how far we’ve come and energized to take on challenges in front of us.
As always, if you have any state-related issues, please contact my district office. Hope you are enjoying the summer!
- Fixing Public Transit
- Helping Students Graduate - High School Exit Exam
- Equal Protection for All Families Act Passes the Legislature
- Pretty Shouldn't Stink
- District Swap!
- SOMA Office Hours
- Interested in State Government Appointments?
Member, 17th District
We all know that bridge and road infrastructure is extremely important here in California. This month, Governor Brown convened a special session of the legislature to work out some solutions to California’s major infrastructure problems. Not only is there a $59 million shortage over the next 10 years in current necessary maintenance but we have a $72 billion estimate to handle the backlog of public transit maintenance and expansion needs. The road and bridge maintenance is incredibly important, but I have asked that we do more.
Assemblymember Chiu speaks at the transportation roundtable discussion in Walnut Creek.
Transportation is not only a safety concern, but also impacts the environment. Forty percent of greenhouse gases come from transportation, and improving not only our roadways but alternative modes of transportation will clear our air.
I’d like to thank all the local and state leaders who showed support for bringing California up to speed with capable and modernized public transit.
Part of the Solution
I have introduced a measure to help fund maintenance and public transit enhancements. I believe strongly that a robust and efficient public transit system is a core necessity to keep our economy growing. This is something that means a great deal to all working Californians but especially San Franciscans who use public transit every day. Let’s keep California moving!
Roughly 5,000 of our graduating high school seniors, including high school seniors in San Francisco, were caught in bureaucratic limbo when the high school exit exam was canceled, despite the requirement that the exit exam was needed to receive their diplomas. Many of the San Francisco students that were caught in this mess are first-generation immigrants who overcame unique difficulties. I was pleased to work with our San Francisco school board members, our school superintendent, and my legislative colleagues to co-author SB 725 to remedy this catch-22 situation. It was passed by both the Assembly and the Senate.
AB 960 Passes the Assembly with an Overwhelming 68-0 Majority
Our LGBT community is such a vibrant and important element to our district, and I am proud to announce another step has been taken by the legislature to bring equality to all facets of life. AB 960 takes steps to clarify a host of issues regarding assisted reproduction and provides additional protections for families that look to assisted reproduction to grow their own family.
This legislation ensures that the language is clear: a donor is a donor and that the intended parents are the legal parents. Current legislation also does not address unmarried couples who decide to start a family or those without the resources to use a physician for assisted reproduction. These people are left out, and AB 960 provides them same protections that are already offered to others.
I had the pleasure of meeting with some great leaders in San Francisco and the Bay Area to highlight some of the dangerous working conditions that our nail salon workers face. As I’ve said before, “there are hidden costs to polished nails.” It’s time we took a serious look at doing more to protect these workers and to eliminate hazardous chemicals from beauty products.
In 2010, I worked with environmental, labor and immigrant advocates to establish the first Healthy Nail Salon program in the country. San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, implementing our program with its “Pretty Shouldn’t Stink” slogan, has worked with nail salons throughout the Bay Area to recognize those that have taken extra steps for safer working conditions and removing products with the harshest chemicals. At the Sophia’s Beauty Lounge on Cesar Chavez Street, as an example of a safer workplace, we recently announced the formation of a Healthy Nail Salon Task Force to work through the fall on this issue, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue.
What started off as a friendly rivalry between San Francisco and Los Angeles turned into a district rivalry between Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D - Los Angeles) and me for three days. Both of our districts include our city’s respective Chinatowns, significant LGBT and Latino communities, and unique neighborhoods.
I was excited to be in Assemblymember Gomez’s district to learn about the shared challenges in both of our communities, especially around a lack of affordable housing and adequate public transportation. A big thank you to my hosts in Los Angeles, including elected officials, businesses, communities of color, LGBT leaders, environmental leaders, and labor leaders throughout the City of Angels.
I look forward to meeting with you at our monthly district office hours, this month in SOMA. Please email Jen Kwart at Jennifer.Kwart@asm.ca.gov if you plan to come by, since office hours occasionally need to be rescheduled.
Saturday, September 5
270 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Are you ready to make a difference for California? Do you know a great community leader? Right now there are many openings for appointments by the Governor. Applications can be found here.