June 2021 Newsletter
It’s been another productive month in Sacramento as my colleagues in the State Senate and I continue working to help families safely move forward after, and beyond, the state’s official reopening on June 15, 2021.
Following the House of Origin deadline on June 4th, 2021, which is the last day for the legislature to pass bills introduced in one branch of the legislature to the other branch, I am happy to report that a number of my bills related to public safety, veterans affairs and infrastructure have passed the Senate, and are waiting to be heard in the State Assembly as part of the legislative process.
As a lifelong veterans advocate, I was especially honored to author Senate Bill 614, which makes revisions to the law that ensures the California Military Department Support Fund can expend donated monies for military members. The fund can now partner with organizations that provide services to active duty, reserve, and national guard military members and their families throughout the state.
In the San Gabriel Valley: my district office and I are continuing to remind everyone to please get your vaccine shots. We are also continuing to deliver personal protection equipment like masks and gloves to vulnerable senior center residents and front line workers. And as always: we stand ready to help you resolve any issues you may have with any state agencies, and encourage you to call or email us should you need assistance.
As always, please reach out to either my Capitol or District offices for assistance at (562) 406-1001 or visit https://sd32.senate.ca.gov/.
Senator Bob Archuleta
Thirty-Second Senate District
In the Capitol following the June 4th House of Origin deadline, a number of bills I worked on were passed by the Senate, and are currently waiting to be heard and voted on in the Assembly.
To summarize what bills passed, and what I am hopeful they will do to improve California:
Tasks the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), in consultation with relevant state agencies, to establish proper protocols for waste haulers to follow to prevent fiery waste loads that lead to wildfires.
This bill would authorize the establishment of the Lower San Gabriel River Recreation and Park District and make changes to the initial board of directors for the Lower Los Angeles River Recreation and Park District.
This bill establishes a special fund to further training in regards to enhanced firework enforcement policy and permits the resale of certain confiscated fireworks to certified wholesalers, in good-standing with the State Fire Marshall, with the proceeds going into the existing State Fire Marshall Fireworks and Disposal Fund. (This bill does NOT ban fireworks)
This bill provides preferred document delivery options of traditional mail or email to HOA members, and at the same time ensures timely and secure delivery.
This bill exempts a licensed plumbing contractor, upon meeting certain conditions, from provisions relating to a home inspection, which prohibits repairs to a structure on which the inspector or the inspector’s company has prepared a home inspection.
This bill continues a series of moratoriums on card club expansions that have been repeatedly enacted by the legislature. Specifically, SB 576 enacts an extension of the existing moratorium on card club expansion for an additional five years from the current expiration date of January 1, 2023 to January 1, 2028. Consistent with previous moratorium legislation, this bill also simultaneously allows a modest increase in the amount of licensed tables, subject to local government approval, up to 2 tables a year with a maximum of ten additional tables per club.
This bill authorizes the Adjutant General and the Military Department to enter into a memorandum of agreement, as specified, to conduct California Military Department Support Fund activities and to expend money in the California Military Department Support Fund to pay a nonprofit military or veteran foundation, military organization, or other entity for the sole purpose of supporting California Military Department Support Fund activities if that money was donated for those purposes.
This bill requires the California Air Resources Board to prepare a statewide assessment of the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) fueling infrastructure and fuel production needed to support the adoption of zero-emission trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles.
I look forward to updating you in future newsletters on the progress of these bills as they continue moving through the legislative process.
Forever Essential Healthcare Workers Vigil & Memorial
On June 2nd, to commemorate the lives of hundreds of California caregivers who died from COVID-19, healthcare workers held a vigil and unveiled the Forever Essential memorial installation on the West Side of the State Capitol building in Sacramento. Friends and family of fallen healthcare workers were present to speak about the lives of their loved ones. We must never forget those who courageously answered the call to action, and put the health of safety of others before their own lives. Without our front line healthcare workers, we would not be here today. God bless our healthcare workers. The Forever Essential memorial will make stops in cities across California this summer, offering a space for communities to remember and grieve. SEIU-UHW invites the public to add the names of healthcare workers who passed away from COVID-19 to the online memorial at www.foreveressential.org
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Tour
As more of us begin owning and driving fuel cell, hybrid and electric vehicles, we will be interacting with increasingly advanced technology that will reshape the way we transport ourselves, our commercial goods and how we provide transportation services.
On June 9th, I toured a SARTA Hydrogen Fuel Cell equipped bus that had been touring the US, and was definitely impressed! To understand how a fuel cell works first, we need to understand what a fuel cell actually is. A fuel cell is a device that uses hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and the only byproduct, or what is emitted, is water and heat. You can read more about the technology behind this on SARTA’s website by clicking here.
I look forward to working to ensure that our state is ready to make use of emerging transportation technology. If my bill, Senate Bill 643 is passed, then we can prepare a statewide assessment of the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) fueling infrastructure and fuel production needed to support the adoption of zero-emission trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles, in order to make sound infrastructure decisions in an informed manner.
5th Annual California Department of Veteran Affairs Leadership Summit
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs in the State of California, I am committed to going wherever I can in the service of those who have served in our nation’s military. This year, I was privileged to participatein the 5th Annual California Department of Veterans Affairs Leadership Summit, where I was able to meet with the Department’s staff and leadership to thank them for their services to our veterans during this difficult time.
The Department, also known as CalVet, enacted in its Veterans’ Home of California facilities an ambitious action plan designed to proactively respond to the virus and safeguard California’s veterans under their care.
We discussed this year’s Senate budget, which includes an increase of $5.4 million to the General Fund to support County Veteran Service Officers, who counsel our veterans and create the pathway for veterans to obtain their well-earned and deserved benefits. This budget also includes $25 million to support aging veterans and veterans with disabilities who have experienced chronic homelessness. Many of the organizations that work on veterans issues will have the opportunity to apply to this grant. And it provides $20 million to help fund 1,200 permanent supportive housing units for homeless and at-risk veterans at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center Campus.
To Lear about what services and benefits CalVet can offer you or your loved ones who have served in our nation’s military, please visit their website for more information by clicking here.
In the district, my team and I are hard at work reminding everyone that they need to get vaccinated as soon as they are able to do so. As vaccines are now more readily available, this is no reason to not visit a drive thru location or the nearest pharmacy and get your first or second shot out of the way.
On Friday, June 11, 2021, at La Merced Intermediate School in Montebello, my district office team and I, in collaboration with the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and State Senator Emeritus Martha Escutia, distributed 2,500 Chromebook laptops to four school districts: Montebello, Norwalk-La Mirada, El Rancho Unified School Districts, and South Whittier School District.
I was proud to work with community and corporate partners to help equip students with devices to aid in their studies, as well as provide the internet capabilities to operate them at their homes. The CETF is a non-profit corporation providing leadership statewide and outreach support to close the digital divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to unserved and underserved communities and populations.
I am grateful to former State Senator Martha Escutia, the California Emerging Technology Fund, and Frontier for joining me in our shared commitment students success, and for their outreach efforts to bring resources to all members of our community during these times.
The Chromebooks also came with discounted or subsidized Internet service from Frontier Communications. Additional resources on affordable internet options can be found here.
Personal Protection Equipment Delivery
My district office and I are still busy delivering PPE supplies to vulnerable seniors, public health stakeholders and regional institutions that serve the needs of some of those most susceptible to Covid-19.
We will continue delivering necessary supplies while also making ourselves available whenever and wherever the need arises to help our community through this as safely as possible. As we continue working to safely reopen, we need to remain aware that not everyone has been vaccinated.
As of June 15, 2021, the Governor terminated the executive orders previously put into place. He also phased out the vast majority of executive actions put in place since March 2020 as part of the pandemic response, leaving a subset of provisions that facilitate the ongoing recovery.
The new public health order effective June 15 supersedes all prior health orders. The order has limited restrictions, only related to masking and mega-events, as well as settings serving children and youth pending an expected update to the K-12 schools guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Emergency Intake Site for Unaccompanied Minors
On June 12th, I joined my colleagues Senator María Elena Durazo and Senator Susan Rubio who chairs the California Latino Caucus, and State Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez to tour the Pomona Fairplex emergency intake site, designed to care for children who have crossed the border unaccompanied. I appreciate the efforts of on-site health and human services staff and local organizations who are providing care to these children to ensure they remain safe and healthy, and that they are reunited with their loved ones soon. You can learn more about how US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra ongoing efforts at the facility by clicking here.
California Launches New Digital Tool Giving Residents Convenient Access to Their COVID-19 Vaccine Record
Today, the California Department of Public Health and California Department of Technology announced a new Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record for Californians, available at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov. The tool is a convenient option for Californians who received a COVID-19 vaccination to access their record from the state's immunization registry systems. For more information about the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record, please visit covid19.ca.gov.
Notice of Continued Treatment for Invasive Species
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has notified us that they are going to be responding to an invasive species of citrus psyllid by spraying insecticide to control the adult and nymphs of this bug. Without treatment, this invasive bug will continue to cause harm to trees in our region as it potentially spreads uncontrolled. Treatments maps that highlight what areas are being treated can be found here.
DMV Extends Expiring Commercial Driver’s Licenses Through August
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is announcing a new round of extensions for commercial driver’s licenses expiring through August 31, 2021. This extension will allow commercial drivers to continue to deliver essential products and supplies. Following updated guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the DMV is extending all commercial driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and endorsements that expire between March 2020 and August 31, 2021. A previous extension had been set to expire at the end of May. In the interest of commerce, the DMV has alerted California law enforcement of the new extensions. While the extensions are automatic, eligible commercial drivers will not receive a new card or an extension in the mail. A summary of the extensions covered can be found here.
Please note the REAL ID Federal government deadline has been extended. Beginning May 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a valid passport or other federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card, to board flights within the United States and access secure federal facilities and military bases. You can read more about that here.
Assisting You with State Agencies
My staff remain available and committed to helping you resolve any issues with state agencies you need assistance with. We will contact a state agency on your behalf to see if we can help get your questions answered or matter resolved.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, my staff has helped hundreds of people in our community with EDD claim issues, ensuring they received their benefits. Whether you have an issue related to this year’s tax season for which you need to speak with the Franchise Tax Bureau, or your professional license with the Department of Consumer Affairs is pending and you are not sure when it will be renewed, we can help if you give us a call at (562) 406-1001. You can also find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at https://bit.ly/3ikvzm6