AD 16 Updates: 2023 Bills, Our Poet Laureate, and More!
Happy Spring! The 2023-2024 legislative session is now in full swing in Sacramento and my 2023 legislative package is beginning to work its way through the process. This year, I have introduced legislation to protect Californians from toxins found in everyday products, protect sensitive reproductive health information, combat water waste, and so much more.
In this newsletter, you can learn more about my bill package, our past community events, Assembly District 16's Youth Poet Laureate, and other state programs and opportunities.
2023 Legislative Package
My legislative package for the year is out! I am building on the momentum of last year's ambitious legislative package to take action on some critical issues facing California.
In order to protect the environment and human health, I introduced my Clean California bills - a set of three pieces of legislation to eliminate toxic chemicals from everyday products. AB 234, the Microplastics Elimination Act, bans the sale of products that contain intentionally added microplastics. I'm back this year with another piece of legislation to address the issue of neonicotinoid pesticides, chemicals that have detrimental impacts on human health and the health of our critical pollinators. AB 363, the Pollinator Protection Act, directs the CA Department of Pesticide Regulation to take action to address these pesticides. Rounding out the Clean California package is AB 267, the No Toxic Tent Act. Currently, children's tents must be treated with fire retardant chemicals, but these chemicals have now been shown to have serious health impacts and no meaningful impact on fire safety. This legislation ends that practice in order to protect the health of our children.
Last year, I collaborated with the California Future of Abortion Council to carry legislation that would help protect patients who come to California to seek abortions or reproductive care. With the fall of Roe v. Wade and the influx into California of out of state patients, this work remains a high priority. This year, I am working to defend Californians' privacy and reproductive rights. AB 254 extends powerful privacy safeguards to digital reproductive health services like menstrual tracking apps. AB 315 protects Californians from misleading advertisements by Crisis Pregnancy Centers, groups that masquerade as being reproductive health clinics but then mislead patients about their pregnancy options and pressure people away from accessing abortion.
I am continuing my work on gun violence prevention through AB 301. This important legislation adds the possession of body armor to a list of circumstances that must be reviewed when a judge is considering the issuance of a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO.) Body armor has been used in recent mass shootings by perpetrators and has made it more difficult for law enforcement to stop the violence in progress.
As Chair of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, I am tackling the drought and ensuring access to the outdoors for all Californians. AB 460 goes after bad actors who are illegally diverting water in order to benefit at the expense of the environment, our communities and our farmers. This legislation gives the State Water Board more oversight and power to conserve our resources. Over the last few years, many constituents have noted difficulties booking campsites in the state parks system. AB 618 modernizes our reservation processes to improve access for all Californians.
Those 8 bills are only part of this year's ambitious legislative package. You can explore the rest of the legislation I am carrying on my website.
Over the past decade, our state has shored up our Rainy Day Fund and reserves in preparation for the revenue volatility we are facing now. California's projected revenue for FY 2023-2024 is not as substantial as in years past, but my colleagues and I in the Legislature are dedicated to fulfilling our promises to our students, to our environment, and to the communities that need us most. We will continue to work to bolster our systems to deal with drought, flooding, and wildfire. Climate change is our present and our future, and it is integral that we have funding in place to protect our habitats, invest at the regional level, and provide immediate support to communities in need.
As a mother to three young kids, I was delighted to see that education is a priority in this year’s budget, with a goal of maintaining support as much as possible for our students and investing into key programs to support them. The budget includes a total of $128.5 billion for all K-12 education.. The Governor’s proposal addresses the achievement gap by ensuring that Special Education programs get the resources they need, and includes funding to implement universal transitional kindergarten by 2025-2026. As leaders, we need to ensure that there are adequate investments towards our children and their education. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Governor for the upcoming May Revise of the budget.
Joint Town Hall with Senator Glazer
Join Senator Steve Glazer and I for a legislative update. We will share the work we're doing in Sacramento on behalf of our East Bay communities and answer your questions. We want to hear from you, so please join us.
Mental Health Workshop
I partnered with the Discovery Counseling Center of the San Ramon Valley to host a Mental Health Information Workshop. Anyone who has ever struggled with their mental health or had a loved one struggle with their mental health knows just how hard it can be to get connected to the help you need. In this workshop, recorded in the above link, Dr. Dimitrakos of DCC shares information about signs of mental health challenges and resources for our community members.
Bishop Ranch Lunar New Year
Happy Year of the Rabbit! I had the honor of joining in the fun for this year's Lunar New Year Celebration.
Livermore Community Roundtable
Thank you to the Livermore Community Members who took the time to join me and share their thoughts at my Livermore Community Roundtable. It was great to hear from so many of you.
San Ramon Valley Diversity Coalition, Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
I enjoyed the chance to join with the San Ramon Valley Diversity Coalition and local leaders to come together in celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
Walnut Creek Community Coffee
The AD 16 boundary lines shifted following redistricting, bringing the entire city of Walnut Creek within the district. I held a community coffee to welcome new constituents into the district and connect them with my district office team.
Assembly District 16's 2023 Poet Laureate
It's my distinct pleasure to announce the AD 16 inaugural Youth Poet Laureate, Mae Le Bouder. She is a local high school student in a Justice and Community pathway at her school, and enjoys playing soccer when she isn't writing. You will be moved by the poem she recited at this year's MLK Jr. open mic event, which I co-hosted with San Ramon Valley Diversity Coalition and others.
Middle Class Tax Refund
Our office has heard from constituents who have been having difficulties finding the status of their Middle Class Tax Refunds. To determine your eligibility, please check the Franchise Tax Board website. If you have any questions, please feel free to give my office a call at (925) 244-1600.
If you ever want to share your perspective on legislation or request assistance with a state agency, such as EDD, the DMV, or the Franchise Tax Board, please reach out to my District office by calling (925) 244-1600 or by submitting a form on my website.