Senator Newman's March 2024 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Now that we’ve all sprung forward (something which isn’t always the smoothest of transitions for many), March continues to bring a sense of renewal and the vitality of the coming of spring. Despite a couple of weeks of more than the usual morning yawns, we welcome the changing season and celebrate the significant events March has to offer.

The month of March also marks the observance of Women’s History Month. It’s an opportunity to honor and celebrate the immeasurable contributions women have made throughout history. From trailblazing leaders to unsung heroes, we celebrate their achievements, their resilience, and the ongoing pursuit of equality.

It’s more than fitting that this month, we also recognize the founding of the Girl Scouts. Founded on March 12, 1912, the Girl Scouts have educated and empowered successive generations of young women, instilling leadership skills, fostering friendships, and promoting service to others. This month, and all months, let’s commit to not only celebrating our progress but also recommitting to advancing gender equality and creating a more inclusive society for all.

The month of March also marks both the beginning of Ramadan and the pinnacle of the Easter season. For Muslims throughout the globe, Ramadan is a period of fasting, spiritual reflection, and communal solidarity. Ramadan should serve as a reminder to all of us, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, of the values of compassion, empathy, and unity that transcend cultural and religious boundaries. Similarly, Easter, culminating on March 31, symbolizes hope, renewal, and the triumph of light over darkness for Christians around the globe.

Amidst these celebrations, on Sunday, March 31, we also pay homage to the legacy of legendary California labor leader Cesar Chavez and honor his tireless advocacy for farmworkers’ rights and social justice. Chavez’s unwavering dedication to equity, progress, and social justice continues to inspire generations to strive for a more equitable and compassionate society.

As we navigate these major milestones across March, let us not forget to celebrate the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. This festive day, which originated with the Irish but is now enjoyed by all, brings together communities in revelry and camaraderie, showcasing the rich tapestry of cultural diversity that defines our nation.

As we embrace all that March has to offer, let’s also embrace all the opportunities for growth, connection, and progress that renewal brings. Together, we can work toward a future where all are valued, where every voice is heard, and where every community thrives.

All the best,


Josh Newman
Senator, 29th District

Capitol Updates

My Capitol legislative staff has worked hard to put together a package of bills which incorporates input and insights from district constituents as well as allies from across the state. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, the bills I'll be carrying in the coming year will focus on education as well as some other priorities, including improving California's election system, advancing the state's zero-emission goals, and tackling retail theft.

 A brief overview of the legislation in my 2024 bill package:

  • SB 1113: Extends existing pilot beverage container recycling projects under CalRecycle until 2034. The program expands access to beverage container recycling so consumers can reclaim their CRV fees. Recycle from Home, a company in Orange County that is part of the original pilot program, brought us this idea.
  • SB 1119: Allows certain hospitals to delay seismic retrofitting for an additional two years rather than the currently mandated date of 2025. In our area, these hospitals include Providence St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton and Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center.
  • SB 1138: Adds a student's participation in a military entrance program to the list of excused school absences. This recognizes and appropriately accommodates a student's commitment to pursuing military service by expanding the excused absence criteria within the Education Code.
  • SB 1164: Exempts new ADU construction from property tax assessment for 15 years from completion or until the property is sold. This exemption will incentivize the accelerated production of ADUs in California to help better meet the state's housing goals while improving the economics for individuals considering building an ADU.
  • SB 1171: School districts like Fullerton have embraced the Cambridge International system, Current California, for its rigorous curriculum and demonstrated success in assessing and preparing students for future courses of study. At present, California law doesn't extend the same incentives and recognition to students in the Cambridge International program. SB 1171 will add the Cambridge International program to areas of the Education Code, providing authorizations for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and exam programs.
  • SB 1202: Allows traveling nonprofit performing arts programs to take advantage of wage and hour exemptions for summer camps. This bill, which is narrow but necessary, aims to support approximately ten organizations facing compliance challenges that threaten their continued viability as the result of recently passed laws.
  • SB 1218: Would declare that the state's policy is to encourage and incentivize, but not mandate, the creation of emergency water supplies. Sponsored by the Irvine Ranch Water District, this bill aims to encourage the development of additional emergency water supplies beyond mandated baseline supplies.
  • SB 1244: Expands opportunities for students to benefit from dual enrollment in high school and college courses by allowing school districts to enter into programs with community college districts outside of their own. If local districts are unable or unwilling to enter such agreements, this bill facilitates those partnerships elsewhere and will enhance access to college and career pathways for high school students.
  • SB 1334: Will allow local jurisdictions to better regulate recovery residences within their borders, balancing the need for responsible and appropriate care for residents of those programs with their cumulative impact on the neighborhoods in which they are located. 
  • SB 1362: Builds upon an existing, federally originated program that encourages eligible Californians to participate in the savings and investment program by allowing individuals with disabilities to establish tax-advantaged savings accounts. SB 1362 will authorize California's version of this program, CalABLE, to make a one-time deposit of at least $250 into new accounts for eligible participants.
  • SB 1372: Would move CLEAR passengers into their own dedicated TSA security screening lane at California airports, separate from the lines for general traffic or travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck, putting an end to the annoying existing practice of CLEAR travelers being escorted to the front of lines at the expense of other travelers.

District Updates

Orange County Black History Parade and Unity Festival
February 3rd was a celebration of the rich cultural tapestry of Orange County at the OC Black History Parade & Unity Festival in Anaheim. The vibrant event, organized by the Orange County Heritage Council, brought together council members from area cities, the county, and the state, plus community members from all areas. This festival commemorates the legacy of Helen M. Shipp, who initiated the first Orange County Black History Parade in 1980. From its humble beginnings in Santa Ana to its current home in downtown Anaheim, this event honors the past, celebrates the present, and fortifies the future, echoing Mrs. Shipp's timeless motto: "Honoring Our Heritage, Praising Our Present, Fortifying Our Future."  And, of course, the Better Senator Ice Cream Truck was ready to hand out sweet treats!

Senate District 29’s Restaurant of the Month: Abyssinia Restaurant
This month, I have the privilege of recognizing Abyssinia Restaurant in West Anaheim as Senate District 29's Restaurant of the Month for February 2024. Abyssinia is an Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant that began serving traditional cuisine in 2017.

For more than half a decade, Abyssinia has brought the unique cultural flavors of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine to its small yet diverse community. Owner Mehari Woldeslassie is a former chemical engineer who left his career in the industry to pursue his passion of opening his very own restaurant.

Mehari finds there are many similarities between chemistry and food creation, and he uses this to his advantage by cultivating new flavors and dish presentations utilizing his knowledge of the discipline. The warm and cozy atmosphere of Abyssinia Restaurant and its traditional practices, such as the coffee ceremony corner, create a unique and vibrant dining experience reminiscent of what Mehari grew up to know in his home country.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the owners and staff of Abyssinia Restaurant for their dedication to showcasing the rich flavors and traditions of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The restaurant enriches the cultural landscape of Senate District 29 with every delicious dish, and I'm grateful for their contribution.

29th Senate District’s February 2024 “Citizen of the Month”
In representing the campus of Cal State Fullerton in the State Senate, I also have the honor of representing the university's highly renowned athletic programs. Notably, one of these programs is the CSUF cross country and track & field program, which has truly excelled in recent years under the unwavering leadership of Head Coach Marques Barosso.

Marques Barosso first came to CSUF not as a coach but as a student-athlete, where he became the school's then-record-holder for the 100-meter dash. Upon his graduation in 2008, Marques remained in the collegiate running circuit, first becoming a speed development and strength and conditioning coach with the Baltimore Orioles and soon returning to Orange County as a sprints and relay coach with UC Irvine before finding his way back to CSUF in 2015, joining as an assistant coach.

Now in his tenth season as a coach for CSUF's men's and women's cross country and track & field programs, Marques Barosso consistently provides exemplary mentorship to the student-athletes of CSUF. He instills a strong sense of sportsmanship from the moment they first set foot on the Titan Track. His steadfast commitment to fostering his team's athletic and personal development has been a direct component of the team's remarkable success in recent years.

Appointed as Head Coach in 2021, Marques has made history as just the program's second NCAA Division I head coach. In this role, his coaching philosophy is characterized by the notion that coaching does not stop once his runners reach a finish line; he leads with compassion and focuses on developing personal relationships with his team and helping cultivate each individual's athletic prowess. This approach has seen great success: In his first two years as Head Coach, the men's track and field team achieved successive first-place Big West Conference finishes. With this, please join me in recognizing Marques Barosso as the 29th Senate District's Citizen of the Month for February 2024


Staff Highlights

From Scott Do, District Director:

In February, I was invited to celebrate the Lunar New Year with CSUF’s new president, Silvia Alva. This event started under President Framroze Virjee and has become a valued community tradition. It brings me much warmth to see my culture celebrated by such an important institution in the region and infinite happiness to be able to share it with my neighbors.

I look forward to seeing what the Year of the Dragon has in store for us all. Wishing everyone in Senate District 29 wealth, prosperity, and success. Chúc mừng Năm Mới!

From Nathan Bass, serving the cities of Fullerton, Placentia, and Rowland Heights:

In the weeks following the horrific October 7 attack on Israel, the Jewish Federation of OC and UCI’s School of Social Ecology set about organizing a “Countering Hate” summit to discuss the rise of antisemitism and other forms of hate in the United States.

While attending the summit in early February, I heard from leading researchers and criminal justice professionals about the nationwide increase in hate speech and crimes, as well as potential solutions to that toxic trend. Sadly, I learned that hate against all people is on the rise, with the most frequent targets being Jewish, Arab, Islamic, and Asian communities.

We all have a part to play in addressing this crisis of intolerance, and I hope you join Senator Newman and me in stemming the rising tide of hate through understanding and empathy.

From Christiane Salamat, serving the cities of Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Walnut, and Industry:

In February, I had the privilege of attending Pantera Elementary School’s inaugural Black History Art Walk in honor of Black History Month.

The art walk highlighted 28 Black historical figures who have paved the way for progress and shaped American history and culture, including Diamond Bar native and DBHS graduate Jason Wright, who is currently serving as the first Black president of an NFL team.

It was an honor to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of the Black American community alongside Pantera students, Mayor Stan Liu, and Councilmember Andrew Chou. Thank you to Lauren James for spearheading the coordination of this wonderful event!

From Sheen Sidhu, serving the cities of Buena Park, Yorba Linda, and Brea:

While it’s easy to forget about our commuter rail network, this often overlooked piece of infrastructure is essential to the vitality and well-being of our community!

Each day, thousands of commuters from Ventura County all the way down to San Diego County rely on these trains to get themselves to work and school. With 11 stations in Orange County alone, Metrolink is vital in keeping our community connected.

This past month, I had the pleasure of joining Metrolink and OCTA staff to show some appreciation to commuters on Valentine’s Day. We handed out candy and other small goodies to daily commuters on a rather gloomy morning to express our gratitude for their ridership.

I truly enjoyed the opportunity to make someone’s day, and I hope this will inspire more people to ride the train!

From Christopher Kent, serving the cities of West Covina, La Habra, and Cypress:

This past month, I had the privilege of attending the ribbon-cutting and first anniversary of Troy’s Burgers in the City of La Habra. Owned and operated by the Gavriloglou brothers, Troy’s has been serving up delicious burgers and other tasty meals to Southern California residents for the past five years.

It was quite the celebration, as the La Habra community came out, as well as employees and their families. The Mayor of La Habra, Daren Nigsarian, and Councilmember James Gomez awarded a certificate on behalf of the City. At the same time, I presented a certificate on behalf of Senator Newman. The brothers thanked us for all the support, and we wish them continued success with the one-year anniversary of their second location!

From Kimberly Rangel, serving the cities of Anaheim, Stanton, and La Palma:

In February, I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the Anaheim Packing House’s newest restaurant, En Familia. En Familia, a Spanish phrase for “as a family,” is a modern steakhouse that takes inspiration from traditional Mexican dishes.

I presented the restaurant with a certificate in honor of their grand opening and shared a personal story about the significance of bonding over a meal in my own family.

Congratulations to Chef David and his team at En Familia Restaurant!


The Public Law Center

The Public Law Center is a beacon of hope for the Orange County community, offering vital, pro bono legal support to those who need it most. With a passionate team dedicated to serving low-income and vulnerable families, they provide a wide range of services, from immigration and family law to aiding veterans in their transition back to civilian life.

PLC staff work with over 1,600 Orange County lawyers, paralegals, law students, and other volunteers to provide roughly 65,000 hours of free legal services and handle 4,500 cases annually!

The Public Law Center ensures that language barriers never stand in the way of seeking legal assistance. They offer translation services, ensuring that everyone can access the support they need regardless of language.

For questions regarding eligibility and services, please contact the Public Law Center at (714) 541-1010 or visit their website at