Legislative Wins for San Diego
We have just completed one of the most transformative, memorable and equitable sessions of my career in the Legislature.
With hundreds of bills awaiting the Governor’s action, I feel such a sense of accomplishment in the important work we were able to achieve these last weeks of the session.
BOLD BUDGET GAINS
This has been an amazingly productive year for California, and while we enacted record-level investments in the budget earlier this summer –– we’ve continued to further address some of our state’s most critical issues. The Senate has taken the lead on many of these issues, with the recent budget trailer bill we just passed showing our commitment to investments in combatting climate change, drought, wildfires, and infrastructure resilience. Among these gains are:
- $3.7 billion over three years for Climate Resiliency to restore wetlands, rejuvenate forests, establish community cooling centers, and fund sea level rise protection projects;
- $3.9 billion over three years to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, including school and transit buses, trucks, and passenger cars;
- $1.3 billion for water infrastructure to improve wells, water sanitation projects, water recycling, and groundwater cleanup.
We will be able to invest further in San Diego’s neighborhoods, parks and libraries, including:
- $2.5 million for the City of San Diego to make road repairs and replacements in Rancho Bernardo due to damage from the 2007 Witch Creek Fire.
- $300,000 for the City of San Diego to complete the design of the new Oak Park Branch Library.
- $2 million grant to allow our neighbors in National City to refurbish and upgrade the Las Palmas Park and Wellness Center.
This also this includes $1 million in funding for a first-of-its-kind Native American Tribal Conservation Corps Pilot Project, which will be facilitated by the San Diego River Conservancy. This is a unique opportunity for our Tribal Partners in the San Diego region. The California Conservation Corps (CCC) sustains California’s natural resources in communities and state and national parks, which is a pathway to careers in firefighting, transportation departments and in fish and wildlife departments.
TACKLING SEA LEVEL RISE & CLIMATE CHANGE
The climate crisis we are experiencing right now – and the threats it poses in the future – demand our immediate and urgent attention. The Senate has led the effort by proposing the largest single expenditure of general fund for climate resiliency, drought, wildfire response, extreme heat, and sea level rise in the history of the state, including:
- $3.7 billion dollars invested into climate from our state budget – largest investment in history.
- Massive investment in water resiliency and drought preparedness/mitigation efforts – $4.6 billion dollars.
- More than $1 billion dollars in wildfire resiliency investments.
We also passed important legislation, including SB 83 by Senator Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles), which establishes a revolving loan fund for buying beachfront houses threatened by rising seas. The fund would provide low-interest loans to beach cities, which then would offer dollars to homeowners. The cities would then rent out the homes until they're eventually demolished.
And with sea level rise becoming one of the biggest threats to California’s 1,100 miles of coastline, including here in San Diego, it is more important than ever to equip our coastal communities with the resources they need to prepare for this imminent threat. My historic legislation, SB 1, will provide tools and resources to address this imminent climate change reality and protect our coastal communities.
We made a commitment to Californians that we would continue to work on police reform and hold officers who misuse their authority accountable, following the murder of George Floyd. That is why I signed on as joint author to Senate Bill 2, which will create a system where officers are held accountable for serious misconduct.
SB 2 is more than just a bill that will effect change in police accountability. It is a bill that will help root out and remove the systemic racism that lurks within our institutions. Our work doesn’t stop here though. We will continue to work to improve our justice system so that California, and all who live here, are safe, and feel safe.
And speaking of feeling safe, California is opening our arms to those seeking refuge from Afghanistan. Our budget includes $16.7 million to assist our partners statewide working with Afghan citizens who have been evacuated to safety in our state.
California was in the throes of a housing crisis long before COVID-19 hit, but the pandemic intensified the need for housing affordability, access, and opportunity. I was proud to lead the Senate in offering a package of housing production legislation, aimed at offering housing opportunities and solutions for California.
This is on top of a $12 billion investment over two years to combat homelessness, with more than $100 million over two years coming to the District, and $3 billion for the creation and preservation of affordable housing.
And in a bold new move, the Senate passed record investments in student housing, allocating $500 million to the Higher Education Student Housing Grant program to provide grants for affordable housing projects–for both students and teachers– at the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges.
In closing, I’d just like to note that public service is about doing all one can to make things better for everyone. No matter how challenging the situation, working together is the key to success, and we have proven that true this year.
Thank you for all of your feedback along the way – your voice is a critical and appreciated piece of this democratic process. With your support, we have accomplished in one year what many would hope to accomplish during their entire tenure in public office. I wish you all the best in the months ahead, and look forward to seeing you around the district!
Senator, 39th District