Legislative updates for 2021
Last updated 3/1/2021 at 5:46pm
COVID relief legislation
I have recently co-written multiple legislative measures aimed at assisting California workers, business owners, parents and students‚ as well as placing some checks on Gov. Gavin Newsom's state of emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first of these measures, Assembly Bill 54, would prohibit state agencies from revoking a business license for non-compliance with shutdown orders without first proving the business was a cause of widespread COVID-19 transmission.
Senate Bill 74 would create a grant program for small businesses and nonprofits that have sustained financial losses due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the forced government shutdown.
Lastly‚ Assembly Bill 76 would assure that every California child has the right to in-person instruction. "Virtual" or "digital" education should be an option‚ not a replacement‚ for in-person instruction in a public school.
I recently introduced Senate Bill 218 to allow small‚ owner-run corporations to handle ministerial paperwork corrections in a more simplified and uniform procedure. The state should make it as quick and easy as possible for business owners to correct technical‚ non-compliant paperwork issues that were simple‚ honest mistakes. Business owners should be focusing on running their businesses and providing jobs rather than doing paperwork.
I have also introduced Senate Bill 227 to save off-highway vehicle competitions in California. Off-highway competitions are a treasured sport that plays a key role in the economies of suburban and rural California‚ which is of great importance given the current economic downturn. Competition off-highway vehicles have long been registered under the Red Sticker program under the California Air Resources Board, which sunsets this year with no plan to replace it. SB 227 creates a new‚ off-highway vehicle identification program under the California Department of Parks and Recreation that is narrowly tailored for legitimate competitors only.
Another legislative measure I introduced, Senate Bill 358‚would increase the penalties on persons who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someone's home. Because of the COVID-19 crisis‚ home delivery of goods has increased all across the nation. In particular‚ seniors and disabled Californians rely on package delivery for fundamental items such as medication of food. This "porch piracy" epidemic is serious and must be addressed by our criminal justice system.
"Let Them Play" resolution
For almost a year, organized sports for youth have been locked-down by the governor. The negative and mental health effects on young people have been devastating. Other states are safely letting their children play‚ so why can't California?
I recently signed on to co-write an Assembly Concurrent Resolution calling for the resumption of youth sports in California. The "Let Them Play" Resolution recognizes that certain safety protocols and precautions to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19 should and easily can be part of the resumption of organized sports.
EDD oversight hearing
I joined several of my colleagues in writing a letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 5 calling for an immediate oversight hearing regarding the problems at the Employment Development Department.
Recent reports show an increase in the number of backlogged claims and that rampant unemployment claims are now at a staggering $11 billion and could rise as high as $30 billion.
The oversight hearing should focus on how the EDD can best implement the recommendations from the state auditor reports to bring help to Californians and prevent future fraud.
VFW and American Legion Posts
San Diego County alone is home to 27 Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts. These posts are not being permitted to operate, and a number of posts in the county may close for good.
I signed onto this bipartisan letter urging Newsom and the California Department of Public Health to reduce the number of Californians struggling during this pandemic by allowing VFW and American Legion posts to open their doors.
Recognizing community members
One of the most rewarding parts of being a senator is to honor members of our community for achievements in their life, organization, education or career. If you have friends, family or neighbors that go above and beyond to help others or have achieved a milestone, I want to recognize them. You can send an email at https://jones.cssrc.us/e-mail-senator to request recognition. Please be sure to include that you are requesting senate recognition and the names of those you are requesting to be honored.
Seniors' driver's licenses
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is offering eligible senior drivers who are 70 years of age or older the option to renew their non-commercial driver's license online during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information, visit https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/special-interest-driver-guides/senior-drivers/.
Recovered COVID patients needed
The San Diego Blood Bank has seen a sharp increase in hospital orders for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to meet demand.
For some frequently asked questions and to see if you qualify to donate‚ visit https://www.sandiegobloodbank.org/covid-19-and-convalescent-plasma-donation.