Budget Cuts, Other News from Sen. Blakespear

This week was big in the Capitol!

On Thursday‚ about a third of the Legislature’s 1‚009 bills were killed in the Appropriations process. My staff and I sat in the office‚ glued to the screen‚ with our breath held as we watched the chair read a long list of authors and that person’s bill numbers. If a bill number isn’t read that means it didn’t make it. Of my 11 bills‚ eight are still moving forward. I feel good about this. It’s always sad when a bill you’ve worked on dies‚ but it’s comforting to remember that I can try again next year.

The other big news this week was Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing $17 billion in new cuts to state programs funded by the state general fund. The vast majority of the state’s revenue comes from personal income taxes‚ a volatile revenue stream for the state budget. In order to balance the budget we need to make cuts‚ which is a depressing process. The Governor largely spared education‚ although there are some proposed reductions that are important to educators like grants to modify facilities to accommodate 4- and 5-year-old students. The Governor proposed cuts to health and human services‚ natural resources and environmental protection‚ and corrections‚ among many others.

The budget is a big negotiation and the outcome of any particular program’s funding is not clear. There has been a focus on cuts to programs that have not yet begun‚ or were recently created.

The Governor’s updated budget proposal‚ known as the May Revision‚ now goes to the Legislature for consideration‚ and elements if it will be changed before final approval in June.

Housing for the Lowest Income Residents

Senator Blakespear handing paperwork across a desk.

On Dec. 5‚ 2022‚ several minutes after being sworn into office as a State Senator‚ I introduced a bill that would have required cities to do more related to homelessness. This bill‚ SB 7‚ died in the appropriations process last year at this exact time. Now‚ I’m proud to co-author AB 3093‚ which has similar goals.

I was glad to see Gov. Gavin Newsom sponsor legislation‚ authored by Assemblymember Chris Ward‚ of San Diego‚ to hold cities and counties accountable when they fail to adequately address homelessness. I am a principal co-author of the legislation‚ AB 3093‚ which will ensure that local jurisdictions meaningfully account for the needs of their homeless populations and lowest income households as part of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process and in local housing plans.

I have been pushing for more accountability for building homeless-serving housing since I arrived in the Senate. Who is responsible here? Let’s do better!

Funding for cities will be a focus of debate as AB 3093 bill moves forward.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Sacramento Bee: Gavin Newsom wants California cities to plan housing for homeless — without money to fund it

My Nonprofit of the Year Produces a Lot of Good!

ProduceGood team picture.

Last summer I co-hosted a gleaning event with ProduceGood that collected over 1‚600 pounds of fruit and donated it to Feeding San Diego. We took this photo after the harvest.

I am happy to announce that I have selected ProduceGood as the Senate District 38 Nonprofit of the Year.

ProduceGood has been fighting hunger in San Diego County since 2014. The organization recruits backyard growers‚ commercial farmers and grocery retailers to create an outlet for surplus produce that feeds individuals and families struggling with hunger. Along with its gleaning events‚ ProduceGood also works to educate the public and raise awareness about food waste prevention.

I have co-hosted two gleaning events with ProduceGood – one last summer and one in February – and each time I was impressed with all the volunteers who showed up and with the amount we were able to harvest for people who need food. This is a great way to make sure food does not go to waste and to help food-insecure families.

Said ProduceGood Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Alexandra White: “ProduceGood’s mission is to reduce food waste and hunger by engaging the community. 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 a 2024 Nonprofit of the Year.”

The Californian Nonprofit of the Year initiative provides the opportunity for each California state legislator to recognize a nonprofit organization doing outstanding work in their district. The program culminates with a celebratory luncheon at the Capitol on California Nonprofits Day‚ which this year is June 5.

The program is sponsored by the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) in partnership with the state Senate and Assembly Select Committees on the Nonprofit Sector. CalNonprofits is a statewide alliance of over 10‚000 members that celebrate nonprofits and the work they do.

Go here to sign up as a volunteer and participate in a ProduceGood harvest.

Champions of the Month – May 2024

Champion of the Month graphic.

I have launched a new monthly recognition program to honor outstanding people and contributions in the 38th Senate District called Champion of the Month.

The goal is to highlight individuals‚ organizations‚ teams‚ or businesses whose accomplishments and services have positively impacted the community.

I am proud to name Michael and Elizabeth Christensen my Champions of the Month for May for their commitment to service and their contributions to improving the quality of life in our community.

It is inspiring to see these two visionary students organizing opportunities to bring people together in support of worthy caucuses.

Michael and Elizabeth Christensen are siblings who attend La Costa Canyon High School. They have become known for “bringing the community together in service” and plan to leave a legacy of community service long after graduating. They have spent months developing a Service-Based program‚ Striving Together‚ to engage students in the San Dieguito Union High School District in community service projects.

Michael and Elizabeth Christensen.Michael and Elizabeth Christensen.

Working with other students and district administration‚ Michael‚ a graduating senior‚ and Elizabeth‚ a rising sophomore‚ have built the foundation for future districtwide‚ student-driven programs that will enable the district’s five high schools and five middle schools to adopt projects that meet their specific interests and needs.

This creates an opportunity for students to work together to identify causes and organizations that may benefit from their support and to plan and implement projects that bring people together to achieve their goals.

Michael and Elizabeth have invested months in transforming their vision for school-based community service into a reality that will reap the rewards for years to come. The benefits to students who participate in these programs are incalculable.

They will feel the empowerment of exercising leadership‚ collaborating to build consensus‚ inviting others to participate by recruiting and organizing volunteers‚ gathering resources‚ and experiencing the satisfaction of success – all supporting causes that expand their empathy and understanding. These valuable skills and experience will serve them for a lifetime.

Although Michael will be graduating this year‚ the seeds of his work will come to fruition in the 2024-25 school year when the first service projects are planned. And‚ of course‚ Elizabeth will be there to help ensure that “Striving Together” takes root‚ grows‚ and expands during her remaining years in the District.

Michael and Elizabeth are role models‚ not only for fellow students but for us all. Our community and our world thrive when we come together to appreciate one another and to work for worthy causes that are greater than ourselves. I want to thank Michael and Elizabeth for leading the way to a brighter future and wish them great success with “Striving Together” and in all their future endeavors.

Camp Pendleton Visitor’s Center Reopens

Camp Pendleton Visitor's Center.

The Camp Pendleton Visitor’s Center has reopened after being closed due to water damage.

Camp Pendleton has reopened its Visitor Center and the base has resumed issuing passes for cyclists.

The recreational cyclist passes give civilians and others access through Camp Pendleton‚ on an approved route‚ to ride their bikes. This is a popular route‚ because it allows cyclists to ride between Orange and San Diego counties without having to use Interstate 5.

The passes must be obtained through the center‚ which is located at Building 20255T and is open 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.‚ Monday through Friday.

Non-military members should expect long delays when applying for passes. Priority will be given to Camp Pendleton official visitors‚ volunteers‚ command guests and guests of base residents. The Visitor Center and base access control may stop accepting customers as early as 2 p.m. to ensure all existing customers are provided service by closing time.

California Ocean Day

Gathering of environmental activitsts.

I spoke at a press conference on California Ocean Day with Sen. Ben Allen (to my right) and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahn (to my left) and dozens of activated sustainability warriors.

I have authored legislation to eliminate plastic film bags from being provided at grocery store checkouts. On California Ocean Day‚ when advocates come to the state Capitol to push for measures to better protect oceans and beaches‚ this legislation got a lot of attention.

That’s because some 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year from coastal regions alone. That’s the equivalent of five grocery bags on every foot of coastline around the world.

Californians have long been supportive of the idea of eliminating single-use plastic bags from grocery story checkouts. A majority of voters backed the law when it was put on the November 2016 ballot.

And some stores‚ including Trader Joe’s‚ have already demonstrated that consumers are just fine bringing their own reusable bags or getting a recyclable paper bag to use – no plastic bags are necessary.

That’s why I joined with Sen. Allen and Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan to introduce legislation this year (SB 1053 & AB 2236) to tighten the restrictions on what kind of bags can be provided to grocery shoppers.

And what our legislation makes clear is that shoppers can bring reusable bags or purchase one at the store‚ or they can purchase a recyclable paper bag to use. No flimsy plastic film bags or thicker plastic bags commonly used today would be allowed.

The legislation also spells out exactly what a reusable bag is‚ setting standards for materials allowed and durability required.

It’s that simple. It’s not difficult to implement‚ and it will make a very big difference – dramatically reducing one source of our plastic pollution.

Gathering of environmental activitsts.

A large crowd of advocates gathered to call for greater protection for oceans and beaches.

Join the Oceanside Community Cleanup!

Community Clean Up Event: May 25, 9-11AM. Buddy Todd Park: 2800 Mesa Dr., Oceanside, CA 92054.

Join Senator Catherine Blakespear‚ Project3R‚ and Ryan Hickman for a community cleanup at Buddy Todd Park in Oceanside from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. on May 25th. Trash grabbers and buckets will be provided and we look forward to seeing you there!

Students – this is a great opportunity to get volunteer service hours! Buddy Todd Park is located at 2800 Mesa Drive‚ Oceanside‚ CA 92054.

Watch Insurance Webinar Here

On Thursday‚ I held a virtual webinar on the latest developments regarding homeowners insurance. It included tips on finding homeowners insurance‚ how to get discounts on your insurance and what steps to take if you lose your insurance coverage.


A representative from the California Department of Insurance covered what Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is doing to make homeowners insurance accessible and affordable‚ and the resources and assistance available to homeowners.

A recording of the webinar will be posted on my website in coming days.

 

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

In partnership‚

CONTACT INFO

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

        

Email me at Senator.Blakespear@Senate.ca.gov

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