Morrell Monthly: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

We’re here to help

Our office is here to serve you. If you’re an individual or business owner having difficulties with a state agency, need a question answered about pending legislation, or want to know more about upcoming events, please give us a call at (909) 919-7731. You can also email me at Senator.Morrell@sen.ca.gov.

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Learn more about what I’m working on in Sacramento and what’s happening around the district!

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Mobile Office Hours

Members of my staff hold regular monthly office hours across the 23rd Senate District. If you have an issue or concern that you would like to share in person but can’t make it to our main office, please plan to stop by. You can view the entire schedule here.

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Keeping You Posted

"It’s the unconquerable soul of man, not the nature of the weapon he uses, that insures victory."
- General George S. Patton

When the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States military answer the call to service, they do so selflessly in defense of our nation. We owe them a debt that can never fully be repaid.

In this month’s newsletter, I highlight legislation I am authoring to help veterans make the transition back to civilian life, including a bill to waive initial state occupational license fees for those re-entering the workforce. The measure both assists them in securing jobs and encourages them to stay in California, putting their unique skillset to use here and strengthening our economic outlook.

Here in the district, we also have upcoming events next month, including a community coffee in Redlands on April 2 and a series of town halls in Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear regarding the status of the fire tax, which will be held on April 16. Be sure to read on for more information.

As always, it is a privilege to represent you in Sacramento. I’ll keep you posted.

Mike

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At The Capitol & Around The 23rd

Senator Morrell meeting new citizen Jewel from Liberia

Citizenship Ceremony. I was honored to be with 20 children and youth as they took the Oath of Allegiance to become U.S. citizens on the floor of the State Senate. During the ceremony, Senator Jeff Stone and I had as our seatmate a young woman named Jewel from Liberia. It was a day filled with patriotism and pride for them, their families, and all in attendance. Congratulations to our nation’s newest citizens! If you’ve never read the Oath of Allegiance, I encourage you to read it here.

Senator Morrell pictured with Alta Loma Jr. high school Principal Susanne Melton

Alta Loma Jr. High turns 50. I had the privilege of participating in the golden anniversary celebrations at Alta Loma Jr. High. Current and past students shared their experiences and stories from their time at the school. Pictured here with me is Principal Susanne Melton. Congratulations, Warriors!

Senator Morrell pictured with Local constituents with New York Life

New York Life. Local constituents with New York Life came to Sacramento for their legislative day and stopped by our office. From left to right: Anthony J. Vitulli (Riverside), Travis Cross (Riverside), Jeffrey Orwell (Riverside), Jack Ray Knight (San Bernardino), Denise L. Boyce (Redlands), myself, Joy O’Neal-Wolfsberger (Riverside), Austin Bustamante (Redlands), and Gabriel Ramirez (Redlands).

Senator Morrell on the air of Firing Line Radio Show on KTIE

On the radio. Earlier this month, I filled in for host Phillip Naman on the Firing Line Radio Show on KTIE. My guests were Sam Paredes, Executive Director of Gun Owners of California, and Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice Institute. If you missed it, you can listen to it here on the KTIE website.

Senator Morrell pictured on the Senate Floor with doctors from the American College of Physicians

The Doctor’s In. I met this month with doctors from the American College of Physicians including three from the Inland Empire - Sudipta Mohanty, M.D. (UC Riverside), Debra Stottlemeyer, M.D. (Loma Linda), and Anthony Nguyen, M.D. (Loma Linda).

Senator Morrell pictured with the newest Eagle Scouts of Troop 31 and Troop 331

New Eagle Scouts. On behalf of our office, district representative David Matza (front row, second from right) joined Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, Redlands Unified School Board Member Donna West, and Redlands Mayor Paul Foster to recognize the newest Eagle Scouts of Troop 31 and Troop 331. Congratulations to these young men!

Senator Morrell along with Redlands Mayor Paul Foster in throwing out the first pitch on little league opening day

Little League Opening Day. It was a beautiful day for baseball! I joined Redlands Mayor Paul Foster in throwing out the first pitch to open the new season.

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Helping Veterans Transition Home

This legislative session, I am proud to be authoring bills to help ease veterans’ transition into the civilian workforce and protect memorial sites. Our veterans and their families have devoted their lives to our country. While we can never fully thank them for their sacrifices, we can take steps to make their move back home a little easier.

Here is what my proposed measures would do:

  • Senate Bill 1155 removes a barrier for veterans seeking work in California and encourages immediate entrance into the civilian workforce by waiving the application and initial license fees paid to the state in order to receive an occupational license. This policy shift will help veterans as they apply for jobs. It can also be a tool in alleviating the crisis of veteran homelessness. A similar program was recently enacted in Wisconsin.
  • Senate Bill 1080 holds individuals who vandalize the gravesites or memorials of veterans or first responders to greater accountability for their crimes. This bill would enhance legal penalties for actions such as defacing or stealing items left in memory of loved ones who served in the military including, among many things, honorary American flags and grave markers.

Each of these bills will be heard in policy committees later this spring. I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

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Op-Ed: More gas taxes aren’t the answer

In many parts of the country, it’s not unheard of to see the price of gas go for less than two dollars per gallon, but you’d be hard-pressed to find that kind of price break here in Southern California. Yet even with some of the highest gas taxes and most burdensome environmental regulations in the U.S., legislative leaders are still pushing to increase taxes.

Learn why this is the wrong course to take in my recent Press-Enterprise op-ed here.

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Picture of the San Bernardino display at the Capitol

San Bernardino County at the Capitol

Each of California’s 58 counties maintains a display case at the State Capitol showcasing attractions and landmarks that make them unique.

After 16 years, San Bernardino County’s display was updated with the theme “This is Big,” alluding to the county’s status as being the largest geographically in the nation.

Highlighted attractions include Lake Arrowhead, Calico Ghost Town, and the Auto Club Speedway.

If you make your way to Sacramento, be sure to check it out!

To arrange a Capitol tour through our office, click here.

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Community Coffee - April 2 in Redlands

Community Coffee Flyer

On Saturday, I’ll be hosting a community coffee in Redlands. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to attend and hear about my priorities for the year and ask questions you may have regarding state issues. I look forward to seeing you there!

Redlands

WHEN: Saturday, April 2 • 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Muffin Top Bakery • 233 E. State Street, Suite A in Redlands
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the District Office at (909) 919-7731

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Fire Tax Town Halls - April 16

Image of Fire Tax town hall fluer On Saturday, April 16, Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) and I will be hosting town halls in Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear to share news and updates about the fire tax being imposed on property owners across the state. If you’re in the area, plan to stop by!

LAKE ARROWHEAD

WHEN: Saturday, April 16 • 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: The Tudor House • 800 Arrowhead Villa Rd. in Lake Arrowhead

BIG BEAR

WHEN: Saturday, April 16 • 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Big Bear Regional Wastewater Agency • 121 Palomino Dr. in Big Bear City

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the District Office at (909) 919-7731

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PATRIOT SPOTLIGHT: Filming of Hemet WWII veteran’s story set to start

Image of Bill Harrison At last year’s Patriots of the Past, Present, & Future, we honored Hemet resident and World War II veteran Bill Harrison as the 23rd Senate District Patriot of the Year.

With his survival story soon being made into a movie, he was among those present in Hollywood during the recent Academy Awards. When asked about casting for his role, Bill says he would like to see himself played by Johnny Depp.

To read more about Bill’s experience at the Oscars, click here.

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THE NEXT GENERATION: Clementine Garrett

Clementine Garrett Clementine Garrett is currently interning with our district office in Rancho Cucamonga. A sophomore at Cal State San Bernardino, she is majoring in Public Administration with a minor in Spanish.

Clementine is interested in pursuing a career in either the field of business or politics. She is hoping to participate in a study abroad program in Spain so that she can improve her Spanish and learn about a different culture. She is very involved on the Cal State campus where she has participated in The Associated Students Incorporated Finance Committee for the past two years. The committee works to fund different clubs and organizations on campus, as well as events for students.

Clementine is also part of Kappa Delta Sorority where she has been able to volunteer with various philanthropic organizations including Prevent Child Abuse America and the Girl Scouts.

When she is not volunteering with our office or studying, Clementine is working her way through school as a barista at Starbucks. She says that through this internship opportunity, she has been able to see a different side of public service and what a career in this field would be like. Clementine has enjoyed the experience she has gained and hopes it will further her future career pursuits.

Thanks for your work, Clementine! We’re glad to have you on board!

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State Controller: California’s Debt Rises to $175.1 Billion

Image of text: $175.1 Billion

Last year, Democratic leaders in the legislature hailed the passage of a “balanced“ state budget. However, if you calculate unfunded liabilities like public employee pensions and benefits, the budget is far from balanced. In a recent report issued by the State Controller, for the fiscal year ending in June 2015, the state government was actually $175.1 billion in debt.

For the first time, state retirement obligations had to be included in its balance sheet. Under these new rules, state and local governments are now beginning to list unfunded pension liabilities as debts along with bonds and other forms of debt. Early reports now show many counties and local governments with multibillion-dollar deficits.

While sobering, the disclosure of these numbers is a needed step in raising awareness of the pension crisis we face and putting pressure on government to get these finances under control. Read more about the situation here.

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IN MEMORIAM: Remembering Nancy Reagan

Image President and Nancy Reagan

Earlier this month, our nation said good-by to former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

President and Mrs. Reagan were the perfect partners. Their marriage was anchored not only in their love for one another, but also in their deep commitment to our state and nation.

Together they set an example of strength and dignity for generations of Americans. They established a legacy of principle and duty that still resonates today.

To read more about Mrs. Reagan’s remarkable life, click here.

Group picture of the Senate adjournment in the memory of Nancy Reagan

The State Senate adjourns in the memory of Nancy Reagan. In attendance were Dennis C. Revell, son-in-law of Nancy Reagan, and Dennis LeBlanc, a longtime volunteer at the Ronald Reagan Ranch.

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