January 2016 Newsletter
The first month of the year is a time for resolutions and renewal. With that in mind, I hope you'll join me at our office's upcoming health fair. We can help you sign up for healthcare and access other services like vision and dental screenings. The first 100 families to attend will receive a free bag of groceries!
On the legislative front, we've already introduced bills to close loopholes in California's assault weapons ban (AB 1663) and to make tour buses safer (AB 1574) - see more below. As the new Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, I am working with my office to craft a robust legislative and budget agenda for 2016 to address our housing affordability crisis. We're also working on bills to protect the environment, improve education, and ensure civil rights, among other efforts.
Keep in mind that the deadline for our "There Ought to Be a Law" program has been extended to February 12. You can learn more here.
Please be in touch with my district office if you need assistance with state issues. I look forward to hearing from you!
In this newsletter:
- Reducing Gun Violence (AB 1663)
- Making Tour Buses Safer (AB 1574)
- Governor's Budget
- Upcoming Events
Assemblymember - 17th Assembly District
Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore
One of these guns is considered an illegal assault weapon and the other is not, though they are functionally the same.
Assembly Bill 1663, which I introduced with California Attorney General Kamala Harris's sponsorship, will effectively close the "bullet button" loophole and fulfill the intent of California's assault weapons ban, first passed in 1989. This loophole has enabled gun owners to use a bullet or other "tool" to quickly detach and replace a weapon's ammunition magazine, thus converting a semi-automatic rifle into an assault weapon. An individual can switch magazines on a gun with a bullet button within seconds, making them especially deadly in a mass shooting situation. A firearm with a bullet button was used by one of the San Bernardino shooters late last year.
My bill is part of a larger collaborative effort by our State Legislature this year to address the gun violence epidemic. Since the introduction of my bill, other Assemblymembers and State Senators have introduced several common sense measures to address gun violence in our state, including limiting the number of long guns that can be purchased by a person per month and regulating firearms that can be built at home. I look forward to a productive year working with my colleagues and the Governor to reduce gun violence in our state.
Last November, a tour bus crashed in Union Square, injuring 20 people, including pedestrians, passengers, and bicyclists. The bus in the Union Square crash was a so-called "ghost bus," which means the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which regulates the tour bus industry, didn't know the bus was in the company's fleet. That's why I'm authoring a bill to close this regulatory shortcoming that leads to ghost buses on our streets.
My bill, AB 1574, is very simple: it requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to let the CPUC know when a bus is registered. It also requires the CPUC to continuously check with the DMV to see if new buses are registered. This is about accountability -- tour buses in San Francisco and California must be safer, and we can't have another crash happen like the one in Union Square. In addition to AB 1574, I'm working on a package of legislation with State Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymember Phil Ting that will bolster tracking and inspections of tour buses across California.
Earlier this month, Governor Brown released his proposed budget for 2016-17. The Legislature's review of the proposal began on January 20 with a hearing by the Assembly Budget Committee (which I serve on), and it will be fully vetted in the months ahead. California's growing economy means that instead of deciding on cuts to vital services, we're focused on how to make smart spending decisions that will improve the lives of our residents.
The Governor's proposed budget includes many worthwhile investments across a range of areas, from health and infrastructure to education and climate change. But on one critical issue of our time – affordable housing – the proposal falls far short of what California needs. We are experiencing an intense housing affordability crisis, not just in San Francisco and the Bay Area, but throughout the entire state. When you include housing costs, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. That must change. I look forward to working with the Governor as well as my legislative colleagues to increase our commitment to ensuring that every Californian can afford to thrive and not just scrape by in our Golden State.
The Governor's proposed budget can be found here.
Please join our office and San Francisco Health Plan for a citywide enrollment and health fair. We can help you sign up for Covered CA, Medi-Cal, Healthy San Francisco, Healthy Kids, and CalFresh. In addition to accessing health coverage, free vision and dental screenings will be available, and the first 100 families to attend will receive a free bag of groceries.
Health Fair and Enrollment Event
Saturday, January 30
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
San Francisco Health Plan Service Center
7 Spring Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
(between Kearny/Montgomery and California/Sacramento Streets)
Feel free to call our office at (415) 557-3013 with any questions.
Senator Leno, Assemblymember Ting and I will be ringing in the Year of the Monkey, and we want you to help us celebrate! Please join us for food, friends and fun.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Friday, February 12
2 - 4 p.m.
Hiram Johnson State Office Building
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 14th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
I look forward to meeting with you at our February district office hours in the Castro. Please email Jen Kwart if you plan to come by, since office hours occasionally need to be rescheduled.
Saturday, February 13
12 - 1:30 p.m.
549 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114