Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Frazier bill increasing representation for individuals with disabilities on Apprenticeship Board signed by governor

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Assemblyman Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO – Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1019 by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) that would add two additional seats to a statewide advisory committee on apprenticeships and had overwhelming and bi-partisan support in both the Assembly and Senate.

AB 1019 would add both the Director of Rehabilitation and the Executive Director of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities to the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships (IACA). This move would be to specifically address job and apprenticeship rates for Californians living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) by the creation of a subcommittee with that exact purpose.

“Since 2013, California has had an employment first policy for the IDD community,” Assemblymember Frazier said. “Yet California has seen minimal growth in the employment rate for persons living with disabilities despite continued economic growth since the great recession.”

The American Community Survey reports that in 2017, the employment rate of working age people living with a disability (ages 21 to 64) in California was 36.9 percent compared to the percentage of working age people without a disability which was 77.3, a stark difference of 40.5 percent. Additional data from 2017 shows that 23.1 percent of working age people living with a disability on California are living in poverty.

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DeSaulnier manages rule to make Special Counsel Mueller’s report available to public, Congress

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Rep. DeSaulnier

Washington, DC – On the House floor today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11) managed the rule to begin consideration of H.Con.Res. 24, a straightforward Democratic resolution sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10), expressing the sense of Congress that the report by Special Counsel Mueller should be made available to the American public and to Congress.

Highlights of Congressman DeSaulnier’s remarks are included below and video of the full speech is available here.

“When the Justice Department named Robert Mueller to Special Counsel for the Russia investigation, acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, ‘A special counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly.’

This resolution does not predetermine the outcome of the Mueller investigation. It simply expresses that the report of the Special Counsel should be made available to Congress and to the American people.

The public, including my constituents in Contra Costa, wants to know what happened. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans – in both parties – say the Mueller investigation should produce a full, public report on the findings.

Not only do people want to know, but they deserve to know.

To date, Mueller’s investigation has resulted in:

o   34 people and three companies being criminally charged;

o   Nearly 200 charges filed;

o   Seven guilty pleas;

o   And one conviction following a jury trial.

o   The investigation cost over $25 million, but recovered approximately $48 million in assets from tax evasion.

Eight federal and congressional intelligence and national security groups believe Russia interfered in the election. With the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the F.B.I., and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluding that Vladimir Putin personally ‘ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election’ to ‘undermine public faith in the democratic process.’

The last time our country had a Special Counsel operating under the same rules as the Mueller Probe was in 1993 to investigate the Waco siege and allegations of government wrongdoing. Prosecutors posted their final report directly on the Internet with hundreds of pages of exhibits and timelines.

The American public should receive the same transparency when the Mueller report is released.

I encourage my friends across the aisle to support the release of the Mueller report. We have commitments to support it from three House Republican Leaders including the Minority Leader, Minority Whip, and Republican Conference Chair, and I hope all of the Republican Caucus will join Democrats in this vote to ensure we share one of the most important investigations of our time within these halls and with all of America.”

DeSaulnier is also a Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is investigating any possible criminal activity related to President Trump or his associates.

DeSaulnier represents portions of Contra Costa County including portions of Antioch.

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To prevent wildfire Frazier bill would require utilities to move electrical equipment, bury or fireproof it

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Says “PG&E must be required to pay every cent it owes victims”

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) has introduced a bill to require the state’s electric utility companies to move their equipment and transmission lines out of forests, and other regions where the potential for fire is high, or bury or fireproof it, to prevent the ignition of devastating and deadly wildfires.

“Like all Californians I am horrified that our state has become increasingly powerless against wildfires indiscriminately destroying communities and taking lives every fire season,” Frazier said. “Climate change has made us more vulnerable and California’s major utility companies have failed to keep up with this new reality. Their equipment has ignited thousands of wildfires in recent years and many of these blew up into destructive and deadly infernos. The environmental damage caused by these fires is appalling. Forests are scarred for decades. The loss of life due to an inattentive safety net is unconscionable. We need common-sense solutions now. Requiring utility companies to take responsibility for their equipment in order to safeguard California is reasonable and just.”

AB 281 would require utilities to relocate their transmission lines out of forests and other areas where the potential for fire is high. If relocation is not possible, they would be required to bury the lines. If it’s not possible to relocate or bury the lines, they would be required to improve the equipment to “prevent, and minimize the risk” of the equipment igniting fires.

A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found that equipment owned by California’s three largest utility companies started more than 2,000 wildfires in a 3-1/2 year period ending in 2017. The report found the state lacks the resources to monitor whether utility companies are properly maintaining their transmission line right-of-ways to protect against vegetation coming into contact with their equipment and sparking fires.

“The current system, with the state relying on the utility companies to police themselves, is not working,” Frazier added. “There is no bigger issue facing our state than this right now, and we cannot wait to take action any longer. The way of doing business with these utilities needs to change by recognizing what’s been done in the past doesn’t work anymore.”

Frazier issued the following statement after California’s largest investor-owned utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

“PG&E is solvent with a guaranteed revenue stream. To evade responsibility for the devastation caused by the company’s negligence would be unconscionable. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and came back stronger than ever. Whatever happens, PG&E must be required to pay every cent it owes to victims of the devastating wildfires the company caused.”

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

 

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Bill introduced to grant Contra Costa Water District ownership of canal system

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Contra Costa Water District canal. Photo from CCWatercom

Title transfer would advance modernization of the 81-year-old facility

This week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier introduced legislation to transfer federal ownership of the Contra Costa Canal System to Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), taking an important step toward modernizing the aging water supply aqueduct.  CCWD is pleased to strongly support the introduction of this legislation.

The canal system serves as the primary water delivery system for 500,000 people in central and eastern Contra Costa County. It was first constructed in 1937 as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project.

The canal system includes the 48-mile Contra Costa Canal, the Shortcut Pipeline, two reservoirs, and other related facilities. Under the companion bills, CCWD receives ownership of assets it has operated since 1972 and has 100% paid off (principal plus interest) since 2010. Ownership of the canal system on the local level means CCWD can more efficiently operate and maintain the system and will reduce federal administrative burdens and associated costs.

In addition, CCWD would be more secure in investing millions of dollars to modernize the aging canal.  CCWD is studying options to modernize the main canal that stretches from Rock Slough Intake near Oakley to Concord. “For those investments to be made,” said CCWD Board President Lisa Borba, “CCWD is awaiting ownership of the canal system.”

Because the canal system is currently owned by the federal government, title transfer requires an act of Congress. This canal system is an ideal unit for title transfer because, its single beneficiary, CCWD, has paid for the facilities and will continue to operate for the benefit of customers currently served.

“The canal system has reliably served the people and businesses of our community for 80 years,” President Borba said. “We appreciate the leadership from Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris and Congressman DeSaulnier to help us gain ownership of a system we can modernize to serve our customers for the next century.”

The canal system also includes recreational trails, Contra Loma and other facilities that will be maintained for recreation with the transfer. This action has gained support from local recreation managers, including East Bay Regional Park District and the cities of Walnut Creek and Antioch.

To learn more about studies to modernize the Contra Costa Canal System, visit www.ccwater.com/688.

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Rep. DeSaulnier to hold Town Hall on GOP Tax Plan Monday, Nov. 20 in Orinda

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Washington, DC – Monday night, Nov. 20th Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) will host a town hall meeting on the Republican tax plan. Since coming to Congress in January 2015, Mark has hosted 50 town halls and mobile district office hours throughout Contra Costa County.

Congressman DeSaulnier will host two town halls. Details are below:

ORINDA IN PERSON TAX TOWN HALL

Monday, November 20th

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PST

Miramonte High School, Theater

750 Moraga Way

Orinda, CA 94563

RSVP Using the Link Below:

https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp

 For more information on these events or to request ADA accommodations contact Congressman DeSaulnier’s offices in either Walnut Creek, Richmond, or Washington, DC. DeSaulnier represents portions of Antioch and Contra Costa County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Governor vetoes “Jeff Belle” bill that would have increased penalties for ballot statement lies

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Nicknamed for county school board member; Brown “not convinced it’s a widespread problem…”

By Allen Payton

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier to increase penalties on candidates who lie on their ballot statements was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday, Oct. 15. The bill, AB 894 was introduced in response to the ballot statement by Contra Costa County Board of Education Trustee Jeff Belle during his 2014 campaign, in which he wrote that he had earned a degree in political science, when he had not been awarded one by his alma mater.

The county District Attorney’s office prosecuted Belle who could have been fined a maximum of $1,000 for the violation. However, both sides agreed to a diversion program of community service, instead. (See related article).

Belle, through his attorneys, argued that he had done all the course work to earn the degree and even walked during graduation ceremonies, but that due to not paying some fees it was never conferred on him.

Frazier, who represents portions of Eastern Contra Costa County where Belle resides, was elected and also represents portions, wanted to increase the maximum penalty to $5,000. The legislation passed easily through both the Assembly and the Senate.

But, the governor didn’t believe it was necessary, stating in his veto message for the bill, that he was “not convinced that this is a widespread problem in California elections or that this bill would be much of a deterrent.”

That leaves in place the current maximum fine for lying on a ballot statement that is sent to all voters in a district. It also means that there is a greater, maximum fine of $1,000 and penalty of up to three years in prison for lying on a candidate’s nomination papers which remain with the elections official and is not made available to the public. Frazier considered that backwards.

An attempt to reach the Assemblyman for comment for this report was unsuccessful.

Belle’s term in office ends in 2018 and the election will be held next November.

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Governor signs Sen. Glazer bill to return greater local control to school districts

Friday, October 13th, 2017

SB 751 would eliminate the limit on reserves for most small school districts and raise it to 10 percent for others

SACRAMENTO – School districts will have a greater ability to manage their own fiscal affairs under a bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Wednesday.

The bill, SB 751, jointly authored by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, eliminates the reserve cap for most small school districts and substantially reduces reserve fund obligations for large school districts.

“This measure significantly reverses an ill-advised law limiting local school reserve funds. School districts will now be able to more fully prepare for a rainy day, which may be right around the corner,” Glazer stated. “I would hope that eventually we can eliminate any type of cap on school reserves and keep the state out of micromanaging local school districts’ budgets. I want to thank Senator Hill and the California School Board Association for their leadership on this critical local control issue.”

Glazer represents most of Contra Costa County including all of Antioch in the California State Senate.

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Gov. gives Bay Area voters chance to increase bridge tolls by $3 to fund transportation on next year’s ballot

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

The setting sun reflects off of the Carquinez Bridge’s towers. This bridge project was funded through Regional Measure 1. Photo courtesy of MTC.

Some of the $4.5 billion in projects would benefit Antioch, East County

By Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Governor Brown’s action today to sign into law Senate Bill 595 clears the way for Bay Area voters to decide – potentially as early as next June – on Regional Measure 3 (RM 3), which would raise tolls by up to $3 on the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges to finance the sweeping $4.5 billion package of congestion relief and mobility improvement projects identified in the bill. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in its role as the Bay Area Toll Authority, is expected to decide by early 2018 when the RM 3 question will appear on ballots in the nine Bay Area counties. The Commission also will decide the amount of the proposed toll increase and whether the proposed increase would be instituted all at once or phased in over several years.

The RM 3 expenditure plan provides mobility improvements in each of the region’s seven state- owned bridge corridors, helping to speed up commutes and provide better travel options, particularly for those traveling to major job hubs, such as San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The plan includes numerous congestion relief projects in the bridge corridors, including new express lanes, a direct freeway connector from northbound U.S. 101 to eastbound Interstate 580 in Marin County to improve access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge as well as improvements to the westbound approach in Contra Costa County; constructing a direct connector between Interstates 680 and 880 in Fremont and improvements to the I-680/State Route 84 interchange in Alameda County serving the Dumbarton Bridge; upgrading the I-680/State Route 4 interchange in Contra Costa County serving the Benicia Bridge corridor and the U.S. 101/State Route 92 interchange in San Mateo serving the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge; various improvements to relieve congestion in the Dumbarton Bridge corridor and improve State Route 37 in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties; completing the widening of U.S. 101 to three lanes in each direction through the Marin-Sonoma Narrows. Major public transit improvements that would be funded by the measure include 306 new BART cars that will expand the fleet to accommodate record ridership; new ferries and expanded service and terminals across San Francisco Bay; further extension of BART’s Silicon Valley service to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara; extending Caltrain to downtown San Francisco; expanding transbay bus service and AC Transit’s bus rapid transit lines serving the transbay corridor; extending the new SMART rail system to Windsor; and expanding San Francisco’s fleet of Muni Metro rail cars to improve transit access not just to San Francisco, but within it as well. RM 3 also would fund a $150 million grant program to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to regional transit hubs and to close gaps in the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Proposed projects that would benefit Contra Costa County, Antioch and East County.

“Nobody likes higher tolls,” commented MTC Chair and Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie. “But nobody likes traffic jams or crush-loaded train cars either. The Bay Area has been blessed by seven straight years of strong economic growth. But the price we’ve paid is the growing congestion on our freeways, railways and ferries. If our region is going to maintain its economic leadership, we have to invest in projects that will keep businesses and their workers moving. Gov. Brown and the state Legislature deserve a lot of credit for shaping RM 3 into a comprehensive and integrated strategy that will modernize both our highways and our transit networks.”

For details on the complete range of investments that would be funded if a majority of voters in the nine Bay Area counties approve RM 3, go to the MTC website or see the complete list, here.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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