A Note From Ed
Wow! The year is flying by and there is a lot that I need to share with you. First, please accept my gratitude for your confidence in me and for giving me the honor of representing you in the State Legislature.
This legislative session has certainly been a busy and productive one. Earlier this year, Governor Brown called a special legislative session to deal with the issues that must be decided quickly for California to fully implement health care reform by next January. The Assembly responded by introducing two bills. ABx1 1 (John A. Pérez) expands Medi-Cal eligibility to low-income, childless adults and simplifies Medi-Cal eligibility rules as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and ABX1 2 (Pan) makes a number of health insurance reforms contained in the ACA, such as prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions, and makes changes to conform California law with new draft federal regulations. ABx1 1 and ABX1 2 were passed by the Legislature with wide margins and signed by the Governor.
Governor Brown also released his 2013-14 Budget in January and his revised version in May. The Budget approved by the Legislature on June 15th was the product of 65 different public hearings in the Assembly alone, as well as five Conference Committee hearings. When casting my vote on the budget, I viewed it through a prism of principles, which include fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class, and delivering effective, efficient services for all Californians.
This year’s budget is a reflection of those principles. It is balanced, with a reserve of $1.1 billion and pays down $4.2 billion in budget debt. It prioritizes the education of our youth by providing our schools with higher base grants to support the costs of instruction and operations and to ensure that every school district has their funding restored to at least pre-recession levels. We continue to invest in future generations by providing tuition breaks for in-state students attending the University of California or California State University. Finally, the budget delivers effective, efficient services for Californians by increasing funding for mental health programs and the courts.
This has been an exciting session on the policy front as well. The fact that I am serving on four committees this year has necessitated many late-afternoon and early-morning meetings. I am serving as a member of the Assembly Committees on Banking and Finance, Judiciary, and Labor and Employment. I was also appointed by the Speaker as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, where a major priority for me as we make our way out of this recession will be to give local governments the tools they need to accommodate the housing needs of all residents of our state, in particular low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Finally, I also chair the Assembly Select Committee on Privacy, and serve on the Select Committee on Asian/California Trade and Investment Promotion, among others.
My district staff shares my commitment to public service and has been hard at work resolving constituent issues and organizing events. I am anxious to get home this summer so I can continue my work in the district.
It is an honor serving the people of our 49th District.