Senator Newman's May 2023 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
May is here, spring appears to have finally sprung, and it couldn’t be nicer time to be in California as we bask in the natural beauty that surrounds our state and neighborhoods. May is the month where, by simply stepping outside, we can’t help but remind ourselves of how fortunate we are to live in a place that’s called the “Golden State,” and for good reasons.
In addition to all the sunshine, there are several important dates and items to remember during this month. The month of May is when we recognize National Teacher Appreciation week. As chair of the California Senate Education Committee, I continue almost daily to gain a deeper appreciation of how much educators do to help our children, our communities, and our society as a whole. Many of us remember, during the shutdowns of the pandemic, trying to serve as teachers to our kids, only to realize just how hard that can be. Now that our classrooms are back open, let us not forget the tremendous work teachers do for all of us.
Also, and of equal importance, in May we celebrate National Nurses Day. All it takes is one trip to the hospital, doctor’s office, or urgent care center to appreciate firsthand the value nurses offer when we need it the most. While there may only be one day this month in which we recognize nurses officially, I bet if you thank one of them for the work they do at any point this month, they’ll welcome it, perhaps even more.
Last, and certainly not least, in May we celebrate Memorial Day. While Memorial Day has also assumed its role on the calendar as the official kickoff to summer and backyard barbecues, it’s important not to forget is primary purpose, the day on which we honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving us all in the United States armed forces.
So, no matter how you and your family decide to enjoy the beginning of summer over Memorial Day weekend, please do take a moment or two to pay homage, in whatever way you can, to the brave and selfless heroes who have gone before us, and who have made all of our great freedoms possible.
As always, if I may be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 714-525-2342 or https://sd29.senate.ca.gov/contact.
All the best,
Senator, 29th District
Honoring Yom HaShoah, the Day of Holocaust Remembrance
In observance of Yom HaShoah, the Day of Holocaust Remembrance, each year the California Legislative Jewish Caucus conducts a ceremony to honor and preserve the memories and legacies of the more than six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. I was very proud to take part in the Senate portion of the ceremony by recognizing Clifford Lester, professor emeritus at Cypress College on the Senate Floor. Both of Clifford’s parents were Holocaust survivors- his father Harry witnessed the horrors of the Kristallnacht pogrom from his bedroom window in Berlin, and his mother Ursula was a childhood friend of Anne Frank in Amsterdam (and is in fact mentioned in her diary). They met after both making their way to the US after the war.
After a career as a highly successful studio photographer and professor, Clifford is now applying his exceptional talents and deeply rooted sense of empathy to capture the portraits and stories of Holocaust survivors. Through this documentary effort, he creates compelling portraits and narratives that depict stories of love, survival and the profound strength of humanity. His images demand attention and contemplation by the viewer, and they form the basis of his years-long effort to educate his community about the history of the Holocaust.
After joining us in Sacramento to participate in the Senate’s Holocaust remembrance ceremony in mid-April, Clifford returned to the district to lead the 8th Annual Cypress College Yom HaShoah Day of Remembrance. Interspersed with renditions of music and poetry composed by Jewish witnesses of the Holocaust, the ceremony included many presentations of Clifford’s work, and culminated in a live conversation between Clifford and Joe Alexander, a 100-year-old Polish Holocaust survivor whose remarkable story includes surviving 22 Nazi concentration camps.
My staff attended Cypress College’s remembrance ceremony and had the honor of meeting Joe. They used the opportunity to express their gratitude for his participation in the event and presented to him a certificate of recognition on behalf of the California State Senate commemorating his lifetime of service as a witness and steward of history.
As antisemitism and Holocaust denialism continue to persist and find refuge at the fringes our society, I stand committed to countering their toxic effects. Please join me in never forgetting.
After a productive and busy April, all of the bills introduced by mid-February have now made it through, been amended, or died in Senate policy committees. As the legislative session moves into May, all bills whose passage might have a meaningful fiscal impact are scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations committee to analyze and identify those costs prospective costs. This is especially important this year, as the state faces a challenging fiscal landscape very different than in recent years.
As promised, I want to give you a more thorough update of my legislative package and where these bills are in the legislative process:
SB 501: Hydrogen Station Accountability
Climate change represents an existential threat, and its prospective impacts pose both immense risks and monumental costs to our state. In response, California has set some of the most aggressive climate goals in the nation. This includes an ambitious target of making sure every new vehicle sold in California is zero-emission by 2035. If California is to succeed in meeting this goal, we need to provide appropriate incentives and invest in the supporting infrastructure needed to keep zero-emissions vehicles moving on California’s roads.
SB 501, when passed, would direct the California Energy Commission to develop a comprehensive plan for improving performance and customer service at California’s zero-emission hydrogen refueling stations, including stations right here in Orange County, from Aliso Viejo, to Costa Mesa, to the one nearest me, in Placentia. Much like electric vehicle charging stations, hydrogen stations have experienced challenges, to include recurrent issues with a lack of hydrogen fuel, mechanical failures, and poor customer communication. These inconveniences have real potential consequences: they leave zero-emission car drivers frustrated, and the bad experience can discourage others from moving to new technologies and away from gasoline-powered cars. By bringing together experts in research, industry, and zero-emission drivers themselves, SB 501 will establish a valuable road map for improving our zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and paving the way toward a smoother and more rapid transition to clean transportation technologies.
SB 617: Progressive Design-Build for Transportation
Under the federal government’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), California can expect to receive between $41 and $140 billion in new transportation funding over the next five years. That’s the single largest investment in our infrastructure since construction began on the Interstate Highway System nearly 70 years ago. SB 617 would allow California to maximize these dollars when building new roads, bridges, and rail lines by expanding the use of an alternative contracting method called Progressive Design-Build.
This method has been used to build the $1.6 billion new expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and $3 billion in new terminals at San Francisco International Airport. By bringing policymakers, expert design teams, and experienced construction teams together very early on in a project’s development, the result is often a project that is easier to build, and much more cost-effective. SB 617 will empower agencies like OCTA and Metrolink to build megaprojects faster, cheaper, and with less risk to the taxpayer.
SB 386: Fixes to California’s Elections Codes
This bill makes various changes to the elections code in order to further secure, modernize, and streamline California election procedures. SB 386 updates the elections code by (1) extending the signature verification period for state petitions and recall petitions to 60 days or for county, city, and special district initiative and referendum petitions to 90 days; (2) mandating that certain notifications about electoral guidelines are afforded to candidates seeking to run for office; and (3) removing antiquated instructions that appear on the ballot. On April 19th, SB 386 passed out of the Senate Elections Committee on a 6-1 vote, made a short stop in Senate Appropriations, and is now headed to the Senate Floor for a vote by the full Senate membership.
SB 444: Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Programs
SB 444 encourages California Community Colleges to establish Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) Programs and creates a set of regulations that programs must follow in order to receive state funding. Under this bill, the successful MESA program will be codified into the California Education code, thereby providing the stability and ongoing evaluation necessary to best serve students across the state. SB 444 continues to await its fiscal review in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 484: Allowing Escrow Agents Flexibility to Berlin Work from Home
SB 484 will ensure that escrow agents can continue to work from home and enjoy the benefits of remote work while maintaining all other protocols and safeguards pertaining to this important market function. I’m pleased to report that SB 386 passed out of Senate Banking and Financial Institutions on March 29th and is now in Senate Appropriations for fiscal review.
SB 494: School District Governing Board Meetings
Requires district governing boards to use the regular meeting process, rather than convening a special or emergency meeting, when taking action to terminate a district superintendent and/or assistant superintendent without cause. SB 494 also creates a “cooling off” period after a school board election before the governing board may act to terminate a district superintendent or assistant superintendent without cause. On April 19th, SB 494 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a 6-1 vote and is now headed to the Senate Floor for a vote.
SB 707: The Responsible Textile Recovery Act of 2023
SB 707, the Responsible Textile Recovery Act of 2023, will establish an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program to increase the reuse and recycling of clothing and other textile articles. This first-in-the-nation model is designed to address the increasing problem of “fast-fashion” and its impact on our landfills and the environment. The bill would require textile producers and other stakeholders to develop a framework for the implementation and management of an end-to-end system to optimize the repair, resale, or recycling of textiles to minimize their impact on our landfills. This month, the bill passed through the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on March 29th and the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 29th. Encouragingly, both nationally-known and global brands have continued to offer their support for the solutions proposed by the bill as it moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 568: Bolstering In-State Recycling of Electronic Waste
To combat the environmental damages and health hazards that occur when electronic waste (also known as “e-waste”) is shipped overseas for disposal, SB 568 will require that exporters of e-waste look first for in-state recycling capacity prior to a decision to export. Not only does this legislation work to address the environmental problems that e-waste causes abroad, it will also bolster in-state e-waste recycling as the industry continues to advance new technologies and processes to safely and responsibly extract from e-waste scarce and valuable raw materials such as gold, platinum, cobalt and other rare earth elements. By requiring e-waste to be recycled in-state where capacity exists, SB 568 will help create a larger set of market incentives to spur domestic investment in recycled electronic materials and processes. SB 568 passed with bi-partisan support through the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 19th.
SB 409: Video Ballot Statements Pilot
SB 409 will establish a pilot program in one or more California counties where voters will be able to view video versions of the ballot statements submitted by candidates running for election. SB 409 takes the next logical step toward bringing voter information guides into the digital age and making them accessible to the broadest possible audience. Voters will be able to easily access these recordings by going to the website of their county election office, or by scanning a QR code image on the county voter guide, to gain access to an online repository of the video recordings of the ballot statements of the candidates on their upcoming ballot. This month, SB 409 passed out of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee on April 18th.
SB 248: The DUPE Act
In response to the ongoing drama surrounding the famously ethically challenged Congressman George Santos, SB 248 creates a legal basis for holding California candidates accountable who might similarly mislead voters by requiring candidates running for office to submit their prior education, military, and work history to the Secretary of State at the time of filing. While this does not impose a requirement that a candidate possess any of this experience, it does require that a candidate attest that the credentials and qualifications they claim are in fact true and accurate, under penalty of disqualification, removal, and possible civil fines. This legislation passed out of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee on April 18th and is now moving to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Tour of Discovery Cube Science Center
In April, my staff and I joined Discovery Cube Science Center CEO Joe Adams for a tour of the Science Center and to learn more about their impact and future goals. The Discovery Cube Science Center, located centrally in Orange County in the city of Santa Ana, serves over 100,000 students per year through field trips. The Science Center maintains partnerships with 600 schools in Orange and Los Angeles counties to ensure students have access to engaging, interactive science education. The Center features several exhibits that teach scientific concepts at the elementary and middle school level. These concepts range from healthy eating, recycling, space, physics, and even the science of hockey. Visitors can even experience a virtual helicopter tour that highlights OC's open space and natural lands. As a regional science center, they hope to expand to reach more community members and are looking forward to their newest exhibit, the Sea Lab, which will open this summer.
April’s 29th Senate District Citizen of the Month
Each year in April we celebrate Earth Day, which this year provides a more than fitting opportunity to recognize Enrique Arroyo, the Chino Sector Manager for California State Parks, as the 29th Senate District’s “Citizen of the Month” for April 2023, for his committed efforts as a conservationist and advocate for California’s natural spaces.
A lifelong public servant, Enrique has held several important roles in State Parks since joining the department in 2001. Enrique now manages the park maintenance, visitor services, public safety, and volunteer programs at both Chino Hills State Park and California Citrus State Park. Enrique performs these responsibilities enthusiastically, with the goal of making the parks more inviting and accessible to the public. A testament to his leadership and passion, in 2021, Enrique led a team of 41 volunteers across Chino Hills State Park to remove several miles of barbed wire exposed by the Blue Ridge Fire of 2020.
When asked what inspired his decision to study urban and regional planning as an undergraduate at Cal Poly Pomona so many years ago, Enrique said, “I felt like I could make a difference in shaping the built and natural environment.” Now, more than two decades into his career, the proof of his impact is now visible in communities spanning all corners of the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire. This wildflower season, Enrique hopes that residents will journey to parks and enjoy the open spaces that he and his team have worked so hard to cultivate.
Please join me in recognizing Enrique for his outstanding contributions to the celebration and conservation of California’s natural spaces. Congratulations to Enrique Arroyo, our Citizen of the month for April 2023.
April’s 29th Senate District Restaurant of the Month
It was my pleasure to recognize Violet Rooster as the 29th Senate District’s April 2023 Restaurant of the Month.
Kaylynne and John Ruiz have established Violet Rooster as a joyous and convivial brunch destination, serving the Chino Valley with a menu featuring a comprehensive selection of breakfast and lunch classics in a family-friendly environment. Guests are greeted with the motto, “Welcome from our family to yours!” painted on the wall. Kaylynne and John’s passion for providing customers with an embracing dining experience is shared by their children, who also work in the restaurant.
Violet Rooster’s colorful aesthetic and cheerful ambiance was influenced by Kaylynne’s educational background in interior design. The vibrant décor and furnishings, from colorful string lights to the array of framed artwork, are items that the family has collected over the years.
If you’re in the mood for a “Hogfather” omelet or are looking for flavorful twists on breakfast classics, with choices like Chico’s Chorizo Benedict, Violet Rooster’s menu is sure to have something you’ll enjoy.
Consider visiting Violet Rooster for your next brunch outing with friends and family at 15855 Soquel Canyon Parkway, Suite 140, Chino Hills, CA 91709.
From Erica Lucia, District Director:
WeLoveU Foundation Mega Blood Drive
On April 16, I joined the hundreds of WeLoveU Foundation and Cedars Sinai volunteers and over a thousand blood donors (including Metta World Peace) at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for one of the largest blood drives in the country. Donating blood is critical to support the 4.5 million Americans who need transfusions each year, and each donation you make can save up to three lives.
Love Fullerton Day of Service
On April 22, my team and I handed out ice cream sandwiches to the 2,000+ hardworking volunteers who participated in the “Love Fullerton” citywide day of service. This is a wonderful annual effort led by OC United and supported by dozens of community organizations.
On April 26, I attended the Senate District Directors Institute meeting in Sacramento. Each month, district directors from Senate offices across the state convene, usually virtually, to receive briefings on relevant legislative topics and for professional development training. This month, the institute focused on the state budget, and we were provided presentations by the director of the California Department of Finance, and from two analysts from the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
From Nathan Bass, serving the cities of Anaheim, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Placentia:
“On Friday, April 14, I participated in the rededication ceremony West Covina Post Office in honor of the late Congressman Esteban Torres. A Korean War veteran, Torres completed an impressive 16-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a lifelong champion of the labor movement and immigration reform. Following Torres’ death in January of 2022, with the unanimous support of California’s entire 52-member congressional delegation, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano successfully sought the renaming the post office through an act of Congress. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the dedication of the Esteban E. Torres Post Office Building and take part in cementing the legacy of an American hero.”
From Scott Do, serving the cities of Fullerton, La Habra, Stanton and Walnut:
“It was an honor to attend the Fullerton School District Board of Trustees meeting to help commemorate the success of our students and contributions made by our community leaders. They honored a legendary civil rights activist Silvia Mendez, whose family was involved in the Mendez v. Westminster case which was the first successful federal school desegregation decisions that paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education. Later that night they honored a good friend of mine, Egleth Nuncci, who has given countless hours of her life to make our neighborhoods a better and more enriching place to live. Being a part of this community reminds me of how far we’ve come, and how easy it is to undo progress. Their struggles remind me to be vigilant, to stay sharp, and to keep fighting.”
From Elizabeth Lavezzari, serving the cities of Cypress, La Palma, Rowland Heights and West Covina:
“This month, I attended the Anaheim Transportation Network (ATN) Annual Earth Day Celebration. ATN’s Executive Director Diana Kotler was joined by local elected officials to recognize students from Ross Elementary School who participated in the 2nd Annual Earth Day Coloring Contest. As part of this event, ATN also showcased its electric vehicles, including an all-electric bus and vehicles from the Free Rides Around Neighborhood (FRAN) and Everyone Ventures Everywhere (EVE) services. Named after prominent local female figures in history, FRAN and EVE provide sustainable public transportation options to popular destinations in Anaheim and OC (like John Wayne Airport!). It was exciting to see ATN’s progress towards their goal of reducing emissions and moving towards an all-electric bus fleet.”
From Sheen Sidhu, serving the cities of Buena Park, Brea, Industry and Yorba Linda:
“This month I had the wonderful honor of recognizing the remarkable members of the Soroptimist International of Buena Park. These women have established themselves as leaders and role models in our community and have demonstrated an unparalleled level of perseverance, tenacity, and determination in overcoming the difficult challenges presented to them. It was truly inspirational to see women supporting one another in achieving their goals and building brighter futures. Congratulations to these incredible women and best wishes on all your future endeavors!”
I'm lucky to have the privilege of serving you. As always, please let my staff or me know how we may be of service.
To contact the member of my team responsible for your community, click on their name to send an email:
- Fullerton, La Habra, Stanton and Walnut: Scott Do
- Anaheim, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar and Placentia: Nathan Bass
- Buena Park, Brea, Industry and Yorba Linda: Sheen Sidhu
- Cypress, La Palma, Rowland Heights and West Covina: Elizabeth Lavezzari
The Southern California Chinese-American Environmental Protection Association is hosting its 3rd annual Environmental Summer Camp this year. The program is open to 7th-12th grade students in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. More information can be found at this link: https://sccaepa.org/project/summer-camp/.
The What I Need (WIN) app is a free, easy-to-use mobile app available 24/7 and connects anyone who is searching for free or low-cost services to over 2,300 helpful programs throughout Los Angeles County. Available in English and Spanish, WIN is downloadable from the app stores.