The Ongoing Budget Deal and Other News from Sen. Blakespear


As we hurtle toward the end of June‚ the effort to land big initiatives here in Sacramento is happening in real time. As of this writing‚ the 3 parties (State Senate‚ State Assembly and Governor) are still negotiating the terms of the state’s budget for the fiscal year that begins next month. There are several ballot measures under consideration or in a state of active negotiation. And many bills are moving through committees every week. It’s a frenetic pace.

In my second year as your state senator‚ I’m more clear on the cycle‚ having been through it once before. I have every confidence that a balanced budget will be hammered out and passed by both houses. The state legislature is different from Congress in this way‚ as the state budget always gets passed on time. It likely helps that the pay for state legislators is docked every day that the budget is late!

Take a read below for various happenings and updates.

ProduceGood is My Nonprofit of the Year

I presented a Senate Resolution to (Left to Right) Claire Taulbee‚ ProduceGood Board President‚ and ProduceGood Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors Alexandra White and Nita Kurmins Gilson on the floor of the Senate‚ and we also snapped a photo outside the Capitol.

Every year‚ Legislators are invited to recognize one non-profit doing important work in the district. I was delighted to honor ProduceGood as the Senate District 38 Nonprofit of the Year for 2024 at a Capitol ceremony and luncheon.

ProduceGood has been collecting edible food and fighting hunger in San Diego County since 2014. The organization recruits backyard growers‚ farmers markets and grocery retailers to create an outlet for surplus produce that feeds individuals and families struggling with hunger. ProduceGood engages in gleaning‚ which is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields and orchards after they have been commercially harvested or when it is not economically profitable to harvest.

I have co-hosted two gleaning events with ProduceGood and I was impressed with all the volunteers who showed up and with the amount we were able to harvest and donate. I thank ProduceGood for its outstanding efforts to get the most out of food that is already being grown‚ reducing food waste and helping food-insecure families.

Along with its gleaning events‚ the organization also works to educate the public and raise awareness about food waste prevention. You can go here to sign up as a volunteer and participate in a ProduceGood harvest.

“ProduceGood’s mission is to reduce food waste and hunger by engaging the community‚” said Alexandra White‚ ProduceGood co-founder and co-executive director. “Through the service of 4‚000 volunteers and a network of over 90 hunger relief partners‚ ProduceGood has supplied 5 million servings of fresh produce to benefit those facing food-insecurity in San Diego County. We are deeply humbled to be recognized by Senator Catherine Blakespear as the 2024 Nonprofit of the Year.”

Finding Options for Homeowners Insurance

The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Town Hall on homeowners insurance drew a large crowd.

California continues to have significant challenges with the insurance market‚ and many homeowners are seeing big increases in their homeowners insurance premiums or finding out they can’t get coverage from the private market at all.

I joined Rancho Santa Fe residents last week to provide on update on what’s going on at the state level. I am a member of a newly formed Insurance Working Group in the Senate to explore ways of increasing both access and affordability of insurance in our state. The California Insurance Commissioner‚ the Governor and the Legislature are all working to address the problem.

I will share regular updates on our progress in future newsletters.

I also joined with the California Department of Insurance to provide a webinar on the issue last month. You can watch it here.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day

On June 7‚ we recognized National Gun Violence Awareness Day by wearing orange. Gun violence is an unacceptable epidemic in this nation that we all need to fight. Thankfully‚ in California we have strong gun safety laws‚ and I have focused this year on making sure they are working as designed.

I have two important bills making their way through the Legislature. SB 1002 and SB 1019 have been passed by the Senate and are now awaiting hearings in the Assembly.

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.

In addition to these bills‚ have joined with Sen. Nancy Skinner this year to author SB 899‚ which would improve the implementation of California’s Red Flag laws.

Making the Case for Banning Plastic Bags

SB 1053 was approved by the Senate on May 21 and now is awaiting a hearing in the Assembly.

I have joined with Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan to push legislation that would ban the use of film plastic bags at grocery store checkouts. It’s long overdue as plastic waste has increased year over year for far too long.

We recently wrote an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee explaining the need for the bill.

You can read it here.


Champion of the Month

It is my honor to name Cathy Ives as my June 2024 Community Champion of the Month in the 38th Senate District for her commitment to environmental stewardship in San Diego. For decades‚ Cathy has spent nearly every morning cleaning up trash at Mission Beach.

Cathy co-founded the nonprofit Don’t Trash Mission Beach to bring awareness and educate the public about the hazards of beach trash. The organization is committed to fostering a sense of pride in the Mission Beach community and advocating for personal responsibility through beach cleanup events.

On average‚ Cathy and her team pick up to 150 pounds of trash daily on one small stretch of beach. Cathy logs every item she collects‚ which typically includes food waste‚ glass bottles‚ beach toys‚ shoes‚ clothing‚ and towels. She documents the extravagant amount of items she collects on her website and her Instagram @donttrashmissionbeach.

Like most great leaders‚ Cathy recognizes that true success comes from the constant dedication of the team that has supported her over the years. Many community members pick up trash on their morning walks‚ demonstrating the continuous effort required to keep our beaches clean. Cathy would like to recognize and thank Emma‚ Tray‚ Patrick‚ Katy‚ Kerry‚ Tim‚ Tony‚ Andy‚ and others for their support.

Cathy embodies the spirit of environmentalism that is vital to preserving our beaches and public spaces. Her tireless efforts and relentless commitment to keeping Mission Beach clean is why she is my June 2024 Champion of the Month. Thank you Cathy!

You can help by nominating someone special like Cathy today! Click here to submit a nomination.


Adjourn in Memory for Bill Walton

Enthusiastic Bill Walton in his tie-dye shirt. Photo by Dominic DiSaia/UCLA

American basketball legend and San Diego hometown hero Bill Walton passed away on May 27‚ 2024 after a long battle with cancer. He remains one of the most decorated college basketball players in history and left a legacy to be admired. In addition to his career in sports‚ he was a big champion for the San Diego region and overall advocate for improvement as illustrated from this quote from him:

“One of the endless attributes that I developed and acquired at UCLA was a standard of excellence‚” Walton said. “I am not interested in mediocrity. I am not interested in average.”

To recognize his legacy‚ I adjourned a Senate floor session in memory of him which you can view here.


Our Book Club is Tomorrow!


“Our California! Book Club” is reading is The Dreamt Land‚ by Mark Arax. I hope you can join us to discuss this book tomorrow.

My hope for this book club is that we learn together about a variety of California-related topics and find joy in the sharing of insights through a joint conversation. Our state would not be what it is today without the massive water projects that have moved water from where it falls and naturally runs to the places where people‚ industry and food are planned. This books tells the history of our state’s river sheds‚ and the people and forces that have compelled water’s movement. It’s a very informative book!

  • What: Zoom meeting to discuss The Dreamt Land‚ by Mark Arax
  • When: 10 a.m.‚ Saturday‚ June 15.
  • Details: Sign up here to get the Zoom link and additional book club details

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

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