News from Senator Blakespear - March 27 2024


Spring is here and the weather is getting nicer every week! It’s a busy time for many of us, especially for those of us with families and kids on spring break from school. It’s also a fun and exciting time of year!

At the state Capitol, this is when a lot of the heavy lifting of public policymaking gets done. In April, the Capitol is abuzz with advocates of all kinds as policy committees meet every day to discuss bills. The committee process will decide whether bills should advance in their current form, discuss amendments, or hold bills entirely, preventing them from moving on.

We have until May 24 to pass bills we have introduced out of our own house of the bicameral State Legislature. That means all my bills must make it out of their assigned Senate policy committees before heading to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Given the grim budget outlook this year, that committee will be tough for many bills with costs associated with them. After bills make it out of Appropriations Committee, they head to the Senate floor for voting. If bills pass the Senate, they head over to the other house, the Assembly! Then, a similar process happens in the Assembly as we consider bills sent over to the Senate from them. It’s a great vetting process. 

I am excited about the 22 pieces of proposed legislation I am carrying this year! These bills can make a big difference – to boost the production of affordable housing, protect the environment, reduce gun violence, improve transportation, and enhance quality of life. I am energized to tackle the state’s most pressing problems and fight to make all our lives better. 

I’ve really enjoyed being active on my official Senator social media channels. I’m having lots of fun with videos to share information quickly about the work I’m doing and showcase what my office is working on. If you haven’t followed me on Instagram, Facebook, or X, I invite you to do so! The links are below and I look forward to interacting with you there. Thank you for your continued support!

Women Who Inspire Honorees 

I am consistently inspired throughout Women’s History Month by stories of women who serve as leaders, invest in their communities, and fight for what they know is right. Throughout history, we’ve seen amazing women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Nancy Pelosi, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Hillary Clinton, Ida B. Wells, and my mom to name just a few of the thousands of women who have overcome challenges to pave a way for future women.

This year, I wanted to recognize women who inspire us with their extraordinary achievements, service and contributions to the community within this 38th Senate District. I received dozens of nominations from both Orange and San Diego counties. Because of the amazing stories I heard from both counties, I decided to announce one winner from each county. 

From Orange County, I am thrilled to announce Kelsey Brewer as my 2024 Woman Who Inspires! 

Kelsey Brewer

Kelsey Brewer is impressive. Presently serving as the Vice President of Business Development at Jamboree Housing Corporation, Kelsey is leading the transformative Paseo Adelanto Project in San Juan Capistrano. She is a strong executive who is passionate about improving policies, forming valuable partnerships, and turning ideas into real changes at her work and outside of it. She previously served as a California State University Trustee under Governor Jerry Brown, advocated for the creation of the Orange County Housing Finance Trust, and led housing initiatives throughout Crestview, Claremont, Milpitas, and San Juan Capistrano.

Among her other honors are the coveted title of one of the "Top 100 Most Influential People in Orange County" by the Orange County Register in 2018, the distinguished recognition of "40-under-40" by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce in 2020, and the esteemed designation of "2021 Housing Hero" by the People for Housing organization.

At the heart of Kelsey Brewer's endeavors lies an unwavering dedication to the mission of Jamboree Housing Corporation — to ensure that every individual has access to a safe, sustainable, and affordable living environment. It is this steadfast commitment, coupled with her exceptional leadership acumen, that makes her a beacon of inspiration in Orange County and beyond. I’m so proud to select her as the recipient of the Orange County 2024 Women Who Inspire award!

The 2024 Woman Who Inspires from San Diego is Jessica Toth!

Jessica Toth

Jessica Toth's remarkable contributions to environmental sustainability and her tireless advocacy for meaningful change made her the winner of my 2024 San Diego Woman Who Inspires award! Jessica's visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to making a tangible difference in her community is truly inspiring.

In her current role as the Executive Director of the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, she has led the organization to national prominence while also becoming a trusted advisor to officials at all levels of government, providing invaluable insights and practical solutions to address the urgent challenges of climate change.

Being recognized as extraordinary is not new for her and she has received other awards in the past. A few of those awards include the Governor’s Environmental & Economic Leadership Award in 2016, two awards by the San Diego Business Journal, one in 2017 for the Top Business Women, and another one in 2022 for the Women of Influence - 50 Over 50, as well as the Organics Diversion Program of the Year by the U.S. Composting Council in 2023. 

To demonstrate her leadership in environmental stewardship, she played a pivotal role in revising the San Diego County Organic Materials Ordinance. Her efforts have not only resulted in environmental benefits, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased regenerative agriculture, but have also empowered individuals and communities to take meaningful action in the fight against climate change.

It is for these reasons and many more that Jessica Toth has been named the San Diego County 2024 Woman Who Inspires. Her dedication, passion, and relentless pursuit of a sustainable future serve as a shining example to us all, inspiring others to join the cause and work towards a better, greener world for generations to come.

Gun Safety Bills Clear First Legislative Hurdle

Many gun safety advocates joined the Senate Public Safety Committee where I presented my bills

​I am glad to report that four of my gun safety bills have passed the Senate Public Safety Committee.

These are designed to improve the implementation of existing gun laws. I explained why this is so important in an op-ed I wrote for the Orange County Register.

Here is the rundown of the other gun violence prevention bills that are moving forward.

SB 1002 improves the implementation of a law aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people experiencing mental health crises. Current law mandates that anyone placed on a 72-hour mental health hold must refrain from possessing a firearm, but many with guns never turn them in. SB 1002 makes several changes to increase compliance.

SB 1019 ensures that firearms turned in as part of gun-buyback programs or confiscated by law enforcement during investigations are completely destroyed. As the New York Times reported in December, many parts of guns collected in such programs end up being resold online as part of gun kits that can easily be turned into “ghost” guns.

SB 1038 tightens restrictions aimed at eliminating gun trafficking by increasing scrutiny of gun dealer inventory, improving recordkeeping and reducing the time required for people to report lost or stolen firearms from five days to 48 hours.

And SB 899, which I have co-authored with Sen. Nancy Skinner, would improve the implementation of California’s Red Flag laws.

In California, we have strong gun safety laws, but we need to make sure they are working as designed. By taking the next step to ensure these law are fully and properly implemented, we are doing everything possible to reduce gun violence in our state.


Chairing the Elections Committee

My first hearing as Chair got underway with Sen. Kelly Seyarto presenting a bill.

One of my new assignments is to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments. In a day in which the integrity of our elections has been threatened like never before, I take this responsibility very seriously.

Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber is impressively accomplished and an inspiration to me!

I have been meeting with election officials, and met last week with Secretary of State Shirley Weber, to make sure I understand how operations are running at the state and local levels. I want to be ready to address any problems or concerns, as they arise.

Every year, there seems to be new challenges, such as the spread of misinformation and the development of artificial intelligence. I am 100 percent committed to ensuring our elections are secure and that all citizens have unfettered access to voting. These are two crucial elements to maintaining the credibility and integrity of our elections system.


Press Conference Highlights Health Care Bills

I joined several other lawmakers and health care advocates at a Capitol press conference to talk about our legislation to improve health care and access to health care. 

The Care4AllCalifornia campaign selected 13 bills and budget items reforming health care to advocate strongly for in this legislative session. You can watch the entire press conference on these bills here.

My SB 1236 is one of the bills. It ensures that people seeking Medicare Supplemental Insurance, known as Medigap, are protected from being penalized for having pre-existing medical conditions the same way all Americans are protected in the regular private health insurance markets.

Medigap, which requires a monthly payment, is insurance seniors often use in addition to traditional Medicare to cover some medical conditions.

Current federal law prohibits private insurers that offer Medigap insurance policies from penalizing seniors for their pre-existing health conditions under a narrow set of circumstances, but outside of these circumstances, the provision does not apply and seniors can be charged exorbitant rates for coverage or can even be denied coverage.

Seniors should have access to affordable health care coverage regardless of their health status. SB 1236 makes sure that’s the case.

Last fall, Scripps Health, one of the three major health systems in San Diego County, announced that it would not renew its contract with Medicare Advantage plans due to the plans’ administrative issues and low reimbursement rates.

Thousands of patients had to switch providers or change their insurance plans. Many found that switching to Medigap would be unaffordable for them, due to their pre-existing medical conditions, leaving them with few options.

I don’t think that’s right or fair – and that’s why I have authored this bill.

Under SB 1236, patients could switch to a Medigap plan and still see their providers without an unexpected increase in health costs.


The Case for Coordination

Local government officials attending the 2024 CivicWell conference had great questions about transportation and how we improve coordination of all agencies during my keynote. 

Readers of my newsletter know my passion for rail and a focus on revitalizing the rail corridor that runs from San Diego through six Southern California counties to San Luis Obispo, known as the LOSSAN rail line. We need to encourage stronger management, support and direction for the line to make the ridership experience better with more frequent, reliable service.

But how do we do that? I was happy to explain my vision as the keynote speaker for the 2024 CivicWell Policymakers Conference held earlier this month. CivicWell is an organization focused on helping local government leaders find innovative and pragmatic solutions to the problems they face on everything from climate change to affordable housing.

Uplifting the profile of this existing rail line is one important part of meeting our state’s transportation needs in a way that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life. The title of my presentation was “Lessons on Cross-Jurisdictional Governance from Transportation.”

Here’s the challenge: The LOSSAN corridor connects three passenger rail operators, two freight operators, and has seven track owners with roughly half public and private ownership. This creates an environment where 10 agencies are responsible for planning, funding and operating passenger rail services.

To summarize – and at risk of oversimplying this – we need to all be on the same page about what the rail line should be and how we support it. That’s why I have introduced legislation spelling out how to make that happen.

As one of the slides in my presentation showed (below), the rail line has lots of infrastructure needs – and we must get serious about addressing them.


Open House for Laguna Hills District Office

It is important to me that the community know how to get in touch with my staff and me. I am delighted to hold an open house for my district office in Laguna Hills on Friday, April 12th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. I hope you can make it to chat with me, get to know my amazing staff, and hear about the work we do in and for the best Senate district in California! 

The event is open to the public. Please RSVP to attend, and you can do that by going here.

We will be serving light refreshments and have information available on state and county services. I look forward to holding a ribbon-cutting for the office and talking with you individually.


Next Book Club Meeting is April 6!

I’ve been so pleased with my book club, called “Our California! Book Club,” to discuss books that touch and reflect on the California experience – past, present, and future – and how it informs the work of the state Legislature.

Our next book is Mecca, by Susan Straight. We’ll meet via Zoom to discuss the book and its themes. It’s not too late to sign up for the book club and participate in our next discussion!

  • What: “Our California! Book Club” Zoom meeting to discuss Mecca, by Susan Straight
  • When: 11 a.m., Saturday, April 6.
  • DetailsSign up here to get the Zoom link and additional book club details

Out and About

When I’m not in Sacramento Monday through Thursday, I spend the remaining time meeting with constituents and organizations to discuss what’s important to them so I can be their best advocate. There are one million residents in my district and with the help of my talented staff, we are always happy to learn about what’s important to you! This is why I appreciate you staying engaged with me and my office through this newsletter, my social media, and my email! Here’s a glimpse at a few of the interesting activities I was a part of recently:

CalChamber Board Reception and Dinner

Alongside California Chamber of Commerce Board Member Greg Bielli, I welcomed the board and members to Senate District 38 in La Jolla. I am so proud to represent an incredible business community in my district. From the local businesses in the beach communities of San Diego, to the economic powerhouse of innovation in Torrey Pines, through Carlsbad and into South Orange County, their impact on the state and beyond is worth recognizing.

From Left to Right, I was thrilled to join my friends and colleagues Jen LeSar, Senate Pro Tem Emeritus Toni Atkins, and CalChamber President Jennifer Barrera for a lovely evening.


Fentanyl Town Hall

I held this town hall at the MiraCosta Encinitas Campus and thank Interim Dean Russell Waldon for hosting and introducing me. “The Voice of San Diego attended and summarized the town hall here.


US San Diego Tour

I’m joined with UCSD staff, construction representatives, Associated Students, and my former intern Nic who planned a tour of this new housing project called Pepper Canyon West Housing Project.

I had an amazing visit to one of the best universities in the world, UC San Diego! Every time I visit this campus I am in awe of the leadership, innovation, and infrastructure this campus has – I’m so honored to represent this university. The Pepper Canyon West project is an incredible LEED Gold housing project that will house 1,300 students!

Thank you for your support. I am honored to serve you.


In partnership,


To learn more about what I am doing, follow me on social media.


Email me at

Call my Encinitas district office at (760) 642-0809

Call my Laguna Hills district office at (949) 598-5850

Call my Capitol office in Sacramento at (916) 651-4038