California Students Hurt by Senate Education Committee
I am distressed to report that the Senate Education Committee took action earlier this month to defeat reforms intended to help California students by voting against measures that I authored on behalf of California students and parents. The actions of this committee mean that students have been denied the right to public school choice regardless of their socioeconomic or ethnic background and parents will not have any voice or power to make positive changes at California’s lowest performing schools.
SB 451 and SB 452 are part of the Senate Republican Education Reform Package. Both measures had earned the support of a number of parent and student organizations, including American Center for School Choice, California Charter Schools Association Advocates, Democrats for Education Reform, Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, Parents Advocate League and 32 Por Mexico. Many people from these organizations testified on behalf of my legislation during the Senate Education Committee hearing.
SB 451 would have expanded public school choice for all students and also would have empowered parents by allowing them to choose which public school serves their children best. I introduced the measure because current law assigns students to schools based on their zip-code, and as a result California does not have an equal and fair distribution of education benefits. Opportunities for a quality education exist only for those who have the financial means to acquire it by moving to a neighborhood with high performing public schools or paying for a private education.
SB 452 would have expanded the landmark Parent Empowerment Act to include the lowest performing schools. The Parent Empowerment Act enables parents in certain underperforming schools to make real changes to their schools if a majority of parents sign a petition to authorize reform.
The Senate Education Committee may have voted down both bills, but these issues are not going to go away. Our effort to bring change to ensure that every child has the opportunity for a great education grows with every passing day. We must prevail for our students.
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Senate Health Committee Gives Hope to People with Allergies
In a bit of good news, the Senate Health Committee took action earlier this month to approve legislation that I authored on behalf of children and adults who suffer from serious and potentially life-threatening allergies. SB 669 enables California to join a growing group of states that provide training in the proper use of emergency epinephrine auto-injectors - otherwise known as EpiPens - by making these auto-injectors available by prescription to individuals who have successfully completed specified training and certification.
More importantly, this legislation will allow properly trained volunteers to administer EpiPens on children or adults who suffer a potentially fatal anaphylaxis allergic reaction, without facing civil liability for trying to save a life.
Current California law does not allow trained volunteers to administer EpiPens even if an auto-injector is at the scene of an emergency and a patient who has lost consciousness needs the medication. This was once a problem for school nurses, who could do nothing for students suffocating in anaphylactic shock because the student had not been prescribed an EpiPen. Recent legislation corrected this problem and it’s my belief that further correction is needed.
EpiPens, though intended for use by lay consumers, require a prescription. Presently, epinephrine auto-injectors can only be used by the person for whom it is prescribed on him or herself. If given by anyone else, outside of a physician’s direction, it is illegal, and subjects even a Good Samaritan rescuer to civil and criminal liability exposure.
According to recent medical studies, anaphylaxis allergic reactions are responsible for 1,500 deaths a year in the United States. It’s estimated that six million children in the United States suffer from allergies. Anaphylaxis is a pervasive lethal threat, both to those with known allergies and those who suddenly become sensitized to a substance - be it a simple bee sting, ingestion of shell fish or coming in contact with peanuts.
The purpose of SB 669 is to increase the chances that if a person suffers a life-threatening allergic reaction, there will be someone close by with an epinephrine auto-injector.
SB 699 will be heard next in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure has earned the support of the Conference of California Bar Associations (sponsor); California Hospital Association; Association of Regional Centers Agencies; Hospital Corporation of America and the California Association of Joint Powers Authorities.
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New District Office Location and Open House
I am happy to announce that my district office has officially moved to Brea. We will host an Open House on Thursday, May 9th from 4-6pm. Please stop by to meet my staff and see our new office. I will also give a legislative update.
The office is located at:
1800 East Lambert Road, Suite 150
Brea, CA 92821
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In the District
The Chambers of Commerce in North Orange County have come together to advocate for policies to benefit business. This joint venture is called the North Orange County Legislative Alliance (NOCLA), and is comprised of the Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia, and Yorba Linda Chambers. NOCLA holds an excellent reception for elected officials each year, and I was able to attend along with many business leaders, legislators, city council members, and school board members from our area.
In keeping with the business theme, I held a Business Advisory meeting with local business representatives to discuss the legislation that has been introduced this year that will impact the business environment. Many bills have been authored that could impact the tax code, including lowering the threshold for passing local tax increases, eliminating Prop 13 protections for commercial real estate, adding taxes to oil production, etc. We will continue to closely monitor these bills and keep our business community updated.
Business Advisory Meeting
I was pleased to speak at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) grade separation project at Nogales Street and San Jose Avenue in the City of Industry. Grade separation projects take traffic under or over rail lines, so trains and cars will not compete for the same space. Once complete, Nogales Street will go under the rail line, so emergency vehicles will never be delayed by a train. Horns will not have to be used to warn drivers, and many jobs will be created in the construction industry, amongst other benefits. I am honored to have been the founding Chairman of ACE many years ago.
ACE Grade Separation Project Dedication Ceremony
Congressman Ed Royce recently hosted Taiwan’s Ambassador Pu-Tsung King at his office in Rowland Heights. I was honored to attend the reception and speak with Ambassador King about cooperation between Taiwan’s economy and our own.
(L to R): TECOLA Director Kung Chung Chen, his wife Kung Cheng Chin Tsui, Taiwan Ambassador King Pu- Tsung, his wife Choi Hui Ting, Mei Mei, and Bob Huff.
My hometown of Diamond Bar turned 24 this month and I attended the annual birthday party celebration for the city. We recognized outstanding community volunteers, ate birthday cake, and had a great time reminiscing about the last 24 years.
Diamond Bar Birthday Celebration Recognition
The Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held their annual “Estrella Awards” at the Disneyland Hotel where they recognized outstanding businesses and individuals for their unique contributions. I was pleased to be able to join the program and present certificates of recognition to the honorees.
OC Hispanic Chamber Estrella Awards with Cecilia Iglesias and Maribel Marroquin.
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District Office Now Accepting Internship Applications
I am currently accepting applications to fill open intern positions in my District Office. Individuals who are interested in working in government are encouraged to apply. Internships are open to high school seniors and college students. Interns will assist with constituent casework, legislative research, building and maintaining comprehensive databases, and general office support. All internships are unpaid and previous experience is not required. Please contact David Monroy in my District Office for more information, David.Monroy@sen.ca.gov.
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Annual Education Summit
I was thrilled to host my annual Education Summit this month at the beautiful Fullerton College campus. This year’s theme was “College and Career Readiness,” preparing California’s youth for success in life. The speakers were incredibly dynamic, each lending a unique voice from different stages of the education journey. Marshall Tuck, CEO of the LA Partnership schools spoke both of his challenges and successes on preparing some of the most vulnerable populations for college and career.
Dr. Rajen Vurdien, President of Fullerton College presented an engaging overview of higher education from a community college perspective, while Dr. Vu Pham, author and President of Spectrum Knowledge, showed us his out-of-the-box and enlightening presentation on diversity in the workplace.
The audience included members of the local PTA, students, superintendents and other education leaders. Video of the event will be available on my website soon. Education is such an important issue facing all Californians, so I am really pleased to hold this event for the community every year.
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ACCOC Collaborative Lawmaker Award
I was very honored to receive the Collaborative Lawmaker Award by the Association of California Cities - Orange County (ACCOC) at their recent installation reception, held at the brand new Newport Beach City Hall.
The Award was given to “those lawmakers who have demonstrated a commitment to collaborative lawmaking, proactively working with cities on statewide legislative and policy solutions that help local government, and thereby, local communities.” Senator Lou Correa and Assemblyman Don Wagner also received the award.
Thank you ACC-OC for all you do and for recognizing my efforts to help our cities.
Receiving award from Lacy Kelly, CEO of ACC-OC.
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Anaheim Job Fair - June 19
I am happy to be partnering with the City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Chamber on the annual Anaheim/OC Job Fair and Expo. The Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, June 19 from 10am-3pm at Anaheim Convention Center.
The job fair will be a great opportunity to bring together many employers and job seekers. Please join us on June 19 at Anaheim Convention Center, in Exhibit Hall E, 800 W. Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92802.
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