Vidak's News & Views: April 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Howdy Friends —

April is here and things are really starting to heat up at the Capitol. I wanted to take a second to let you know about one of the hot ticket items:

The Governor and the Democrat leaders of the Legislature recently announced a package of bills aimed at providing more money to fix highways and roads. While I think we can all agree that many of our highways and roads have fallen into disrepair over the years, the big question is how do we pay to fix them?

The $5.2 billion plan put together by Governor Brown, Senate President pro-Tempore Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) relies mostly on huge hikes in the gasoline tax and vehicle registration fees. They did not negotiate with the Republican legislators at all on this plan but now they have presented it as a ‘take it or leave it’ demand. Quite frankly, I am inclined to say ‘leave it’.

First off, gas tax and vehicle registration fee hikes are regressive in nature and will take a huge toll on many in the Central Valley, particularly unemployed and low-income folks as well as the struggling middle class and embattled small businesses.

Secondly, until the state stops wasting billions of dollars on the disaster known as High-Speed Rail, why in the world should any Californian be willing to fork over more hard-earned dollars to the state?

Third, repeatedly in the past, state politicians and bureaucrats who have pushed higher gas taxes and vehicle fees have promised that the money would ‘absolutely, positively’ go to highway and road repairs and construction. Unfortunately, these promises have been violated time and time again. This new effort includes yet another promise to safeguard the new money for transportation, but undoubtedly there is some sort of loophole written into it. You can count on that.

Fourth, unlike some previous transportation bonds that had specific funding set aside for the Central Valley, such as Prop. 1B in 2006 that committed $1 billion for repairs to Highway 99, this newest funding plan does not.

Finally, for many years California has ranked the highest or near the highest in costs to fix and repair roads. My colleague from the north – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) who is on the Senate Transportation Committee, tells me it costs 12 times as much to fix, repair or maintain highways in California as it does Texas. Again, these facts do not provide taxpayers much faith in sending more of their hard-earned money to Sacramento.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to let you know how this funding fight turns out.

Store the rain. Stop the train!

Sincerely,
Senator Andy Vidak's signature
Andy

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Alpaugh, Corcoran Floodwatch/Alerta de inundacíon para Alpa

Para el español, por favor haga clic aquí

We have had an incredibly wet winter season and the snowpack is tremendous!

As happy as we are to have water and snow, the winter months are coming to an end and some Central Valley areas may be in jeopardy of devastating floods.

I, as well as many other elected officials, public safety officials, community leaders, water experts and landowners have evaluated the runoff forecast and, it has become clear, that the community of Alpaugh, City of Corcoran, and surrounding areas, face a threat of record flooding as the snowpack begins to melt.

In preparation for the coming months, I have sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking that he declare a state of emergency for the affected areas and potentially affected areas of Kings and Tulare Counties to free up funding and waive regulations to allow emergency preparation work to be done to prevent as much flood damage as possible.

The Cross Creek Flood Control District is working diligently with the assistance of California State Prison, Corcoran and the City of Corcoran to raise approximately 14 miles of levee to an elevation of 192 feet above sea level. We applaud their work and are hoping for their success. To read more about the current conditions and the possible flooding, the Hanford Sentinel has published two articles: Fearing flood, Corcoran raises levee or Vidak ask for flood help from governor.

To protect your family and homes, experts recommend taking a few steps toward precaution:

Purchase Flood Insurance — You must have flood insurance for 30 days before it takes effect.
Safeguard Your Possessions — Keep a copy of your insurance policies and a list of all household items in a waterproof container.
Develop a Family Emergency Plan — Create an emergency preparedness kit and household evacuation plan, including a place to meet in case of a quick evacuation.

For more information on how to prepare for a flood, visit the American Red Cross website here.

Please take precaution and reach out to friends and neighbors who may need help preparing for potential flooding.

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April Mobile District Office Hours

Members of Andy’s staff will be holding Mobile District Office Hours in the following communities in April:

Arvin
Tues., April 18
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Arvin City Hall
200 Campus Dr., Arvin

Fresno
Tues., April 18
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sal Mosqueda Community Center
4670 E. Butler Ave., Fresno

Lemoore
Tues., April 18
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Lemoore Branch Library
457 C St., Lemoore

Lost Hills
Wed., April 26
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Lost Hills Community Center
Highway 46 at Lost Hills Blvd., Lost Hills

Ducor
Wed., April 26
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Ducor Elementary School
23761 Ave. 56, Ducor

Fresno
Fri., April 28
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Calwa Recreation and Park District
4545 E. Church Ave., Fresno

Mobile District Office hours are an opportunity for Senate District 14 residents to meet locally with a Team Vidak representative to hear more about Andy’s work in Sacramento and the Central Valley, have their questions answered or get help with specific state-related issues, including:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Issues with state agencies, such as the DMV and Franchise Tax Board
  • Licensing
  • Medi-Cal
  • Worker’s compensation
  • State legislation
  • Other state-related matters

For more information, please contact Team Vidak’s Claudia Salinas (559) 585-7161 or email claudia.salinas@sen.ca.gov.

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Highlights of Andy’s 2017 Proposed Legislation

SJR 1 – Immigration Reform
Requests Congress and the president to work together to reform the United States’ broken immigration system.

SB 414 – High-Speed Rail (HSR) Revote/ Reallocation of Bonds
Puts HSR back on the ballot for voters, and if approved, reallocates the bond funds to expand and repair local roads and state highways.
– Set to be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on April 4.

SB 415 – High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA): Excess Property ‘Use it or Lose it’
Creates a three-year timeframe for HSRA to either use or sell property.
– Set to be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on April 4.

SB 453 – Local Law Enforcement Funding
Allocates $4 million each for Orange Cove, Parlier and Woodlake Police departments. Amending to also include Arvin, Dinuba, McFarland, Reedley, and Sanger.
Co-authors: Assemblymembers Arambula and Mathis.

SB 495 – Racing Code Clean Up
The bill cleans up a code by removing a code reference that does not exist.
– Passed out of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on March 28.

SB 524 – Division of Labor: Good Faith
Immunizes employers from fines and penalties if the employer relied in good faith on specified written advice from the Division of Labor.
– Set to be heard in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on April 26.

SB 530 – Farmworker Housing
Allows farms and ranches to build seasonal farmworker housing without having to apply for local permitting, regardless of local zoning ordinances.

SB 586 – Assault and Battery: Federal Peace Officer
Increases the penalty for assaulting an on-duty federal agent working in California, to the same penalty for assaulting a California Peace Officer.
– Set to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 18.

SB 609 – Right to Vote
Prevents government agencies from suing to stop certified local initiatives from making it on the ballot.
– Set to be heard in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee on April 18.

SB 666 – Gambling Conflict of Interest
Establishes regulations for former members and employees of the California Gambling Control Commission or Bureau of Gambling Control when they are seeking employment as a consultant or key employee of a gambling establishment.

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Photo Contest: California Through My eyes

California Through My Eyes Photo Contest Information

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Team Vidak Out & About

Click on the photos below to read more about what’s happening in our Communities.

Local FFA Students Attend SLE

Local FFA Students Attend SLE

Fresno EOC and Sequoia Community Corps

Fresno EOC and Sequoia Community Corps

Hanford and Avenal Students Visit Capitol

Hanford and Avenal Students Visit Capitol

Association of California State Supervisors

Association of California State Supervisors

Kings County Farm Day

Kings County Farm Day

Delano’s ‘Read Across America’ Day

Delano's 'Read Across America' Day

Fresno 2017 Girls World Expo

Fresno 2017 Girls World Expo

Reedley City Hall’s Centennial Celebration

Reedley City Hall’s Centennial Celebration

Kern Council of Governments 2016 Regional Awards

Kern Council of Governments 2016 Regional Awards

2017 Fresno/Clovis Annual Prayer Breakfast

2017 Fresno/Clovis Annual Prayer Breakfast

Reedley Community College 90th Birthday Celebration

Reedley Community College 90th Birthday Celebration

VDA, Inc. Preschool Opens in Dinuba

VDA, Inc. Preschool Opens in Dinuba

Fresno County Farm and Nutrition Day

Fresno County Farm and Nutrition Day

 

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April Legislative Calendar Highlights

California Senate Seal

4/3    Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
4/4    Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/5    Senate Education Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/5    Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/6    Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
4/6    Spring Recess Begins
4/17  Legislature Reconvenes
4/17     Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
4/18  Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/19  Senate Education Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/20  Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
4/24  Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
4/25  Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/26  Senate Education Committee Hearing – State Capitol
4/27  Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
4/28  Last day for Senate Policy Committees to hear bills and report to Senate Fiscal Committees


California Senate Seal

You can watch Senate Floor Sessions and most Senate Committee hearings streamed live or on-demand at www.senate.ca.gov and at www.calchannel.com.

 

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