Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Rep. McNerney secures funding for critical energy and water programs

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

House-passed legislation includes McNerney-sponsored provisions

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Stockton, CA – Included in the $1.3 trillion spending package recently passed by the House of Representatives are a number of key provisions championed by Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) to tackle the climate crisis in addition to addressing the stability and modernization of America’s energy and water systems.

Among the funding secured by the Congressman are several national projects, including:

  • funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) to bolster their work to combat the climate crisis, including through robust investments in grid modernization and security;
  • funding for continued cloud aerosol research through the DOE, which will provide useful information for our carbon reduction plans, and for continued research through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study atmospheric climate intervention modeling and technologies;
  • and funding to strengthen our water infrastructure and for authorized flood and storm damage reduction, navigation, and environmental restoration projects.

Congressman McNerney also secured increased funding for operation and maintenance of the Port of Stockton to help the port ensure that its shipping channel – which is also the largest flood conveyance channel to the Delta – continues to be operational for navigation purposes.

“Climate change is accelerating and poses a growing threat to our country and the world,” said Congressman McNerney. “That is why I secured funding in this bill to ensure that federal agencies work to prepare for the climate crisis, including through research into carbon reduction and water sustainability, and to address regional issues facing our community such as flooding and annual maintenance dredging at the Port of Stockton.”

Additionally, the legislation includes an amendment from the Congressman which would direct DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) to gather more robust analysis and data collection from EIA’s commercial and residential surveys – specifically with regards to water consumption – and would make water consumption data for commercial buildings publicly available and broken out by principal building activity and region.

Rep. McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.

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Sen. Glazer touts latest legislative accomplishments, including placing $1 billion tax increase on November ballot

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Steve Glazer’s legislative agenda – including a three-bill package to help residents survive power outages – cleared the Senate this spring and moved to the Assembly despite challenging conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the power outage bills, Glazer carried measures to deter unsafe house parties in short-term rentals – prompted by an Orinda tragedy in which five people were killed – and another to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, which have been used to lure kids into the nicotine habit.

Behind the scenes, the senator also played a key role in passing a constitutional amendment (ACA 11) that could make it easier for seniors to sell their house and buy another without incurring huge increases in their property tax bills. That measure would increase taxes in the state by $1 billion per  year, raising money for fire protection by closing a loophole that has allowed out of state investors and absentee landlords to take advantage of a law meant to help people pass on their family home to their children.

The power outage package was intended to address issues with cell phone service, medical devices and hospitals during shutdowns triggered by utilities trying to avoid sparking a fire during high-wind events.

The bills were:

SB 431– (co-authored with Sen. Mike McGuire) to require a 72-hour backup power for cell towers to ensure people have access to cellphone communications during a wildfire power shutdown;

SB 801 – to require utilities to provide backup power sources to protect residents who rely on electricity to power life-saving medical devices;

SB 1099 (co-authored with Sen. Bill Dodd) – to allow hospitals to use backup power without facing local penalties.

“Senator Glazer has truly been a champion of persons with disabilities, older adults and wildfire victims and we commend his work in carrying legislation to ensure that power companies are required to provide backup power to many of them during Public Safety Power Shutoff events,” said Curtis Child, legislative director for Disability Rights California, referring to SB 1099. “This legislation will save lives.”

The Senate also approved Senator Glazer’s bill, SB 1049, increasing penalties for short-term rentals that allow disruptive and dangerous events. Last Halloween in Orinda a mass shooting left five people dead at a party hosted at an AirBnB property.

“In a few short months amidst a deadly crisis, lawmakers were asked to scale back their legislative agendas,” Senator Glazer said. “So, I am thrilled with how much important work we were able to get done, and am especially glad I could address some critical issues for residents in my district.”

The Senate also approved SB 793, which Glazer co-authored with Sen. Jerry Hill, to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. This bill is similar to previous legislation Glazer has co-authored with Hill banning tobacco and e-cigarette companies from marketing flavored products to children.

The Senate also approved Senator Glazer’s bill, SB 1232, to help student parents pay for books and college supplies with a Cal-WORKS grant. It would also exempt these students from having to meet work requirements.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11, which Glazer helped push through the Senate, allow seniors and disabled people to sell their home and buy another one without having to pay the substantially higher property taxes that would typically be assessed on the new purchase. This will allow more empty-nesters to move out of larger homes that have more space than they need while freeing up homes for young families who have been squeezed out by the housing shortage. It appears on the November ballot as Proposition 19.

The constitutional amendment, if approved by voters in November, would also close a loophole that gives people a property tax break when they inherit a home from their parents. People who live in the home they inherit would still get the benefit but it would no longer be available to landlords.

According to the California Board of Equalization, “Proposition 58, effective November 6, 1986, is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property between parents and children.

Proposition 193, effective March 27, 1996, is a constitutional amendment approved by the voters of California which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property from grandparents to grandchildren, providing that all the parents of the grandchildren who qualify as children of the grandparents are deceased as of the date of transfer.”

According to Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in his latest California Commentary, “the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the repeal of the ‘intergenerational transfer protections’ guaranteed by Props. 58 and 193 will result in 40,000 to 60,000 families getting hit with higher property taxes every year.”

The two changes could eventually raise $1 billion a year in new revenue that would be dedicated to fire protection.

“Senator Glazer’s efforts to create a dedicated fund to support underfunded fire districts in California show how effective a resourceful and persistent lawmaker can be in delivering much needed funds to his fire districts,” said Brian K. Rice President, California Professional Firefighters. “We are grateful for the support Senator Glazer has provided us and should ACA 11 (Proposition 19) be passed by the voters, we look forward to working with him to secure funds for his district.”

Glazer worked with the authors of the measure to ensure that a portion of the revenue would be available to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, which has been forced to reduce services and close a number of stations because state funding formulas gave it far less property tax revenue than a typical fire district.

“This fire district has never had the revenue it needs to serve the fast-growing East County,” Glazer said. “ACA 11 is a smart, fair tax reform that will help seniors while generating more resources for fighting fires. If it passes, I will work with my fellow legislators to make sure that the East County district gets its fair share.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Rep. DeSaulnier misses coronavirus relief bill vote while in hospital for pneumonia from fractured rib caused by fall while jogging Friday night

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier

The following Statement on Congressman DeSaulnier Missing Families First Vote was issued Monday morning, March 16, 2020:

Washington, DC – “On Friday night, Congressman DeSaulnier was admitted to a local hospital to treat complications of pneumonia from a traumatic rib fracture that occurred after falling during a run. He is in serious, but stable condition and will likely be in the hospital for at least the next several days. The office operations remain unchanged and staff will continue to serve our constituents. We are grateful for your thoughts and well wishes during this time. We will provide additional updates as they come,” said Betsy Arnold Marr, Chief of Staff for Congressman DeSaulnier.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, was passed early Saturday morning, March 14 by the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 363-40 with one Member voting Present. According to the bill summary, it provides “paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.

Specifically, the bill provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for nutrition and food assistance programs, including

  • the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP); and
  • nutrition assistance grants for U.S. territories.

The bill also provides FY2020 appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services for nutrition programs that assist the elderly.

The supplemental appropriations provided by the bill are designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits.

The bill modifies USDA food assistance and nutrition programs to

  • allow certain waivers to requirements for the school meal programs,
  • suspend the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program), and
  • allow states to request waivers to provide certain emergency SNAP benefits.

In addition, the bill requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard that requires certain employers to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect health care workers.

The bill also includes provisions that

  • establish a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak,
  • expand unemployment benefits and provide grants to states for processing and paying claims,
  • require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees,
  • establish requirements for providing coronavirus diagnostic testing at no cost to consumers,
  • treat personal respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures that are eligible for certain liability protections, and
  • temporarily increase the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).

The bill is now with the Senate for their vote. If it passes, it will then move on to the president for him to sign into law. This is in addition to H.R. 6074, the $8.3 billion Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on Friday, March 6.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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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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