The Legislature is in session after a short recess and I’m back in Sacramento doing the People’s business.
It’s my hope that all y’all had time during Spring Break to spend some quality time with friends and family, as I was able to do this past Sunday. I am very blessed to have the support and trust of so many great folks in the Central Valley, and I want you to know that I continue to be humbled to serve you in the California Senate.
PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT
While many of us were counting our blessings this weekend, a family, torn apart by a senseless act, was struggling to understand how a convicted predator-murderer is about to be released from prison.
Several of my colleagues in Sacramento and I are trying to stop it.
Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte), and Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) joined me in sending a letter to Governor Brown urging him to overturn a Board of Parole Hearing’s recent decision to release convicted predator-murderer David Weidert from prison.
Weidert was convicted of first-degree murder in the brutal beating, stabbing and strangulation death of Fresno resident Michael Morganti, a 20-year-old developmentally disabled man.
Weidert killed Morganti in a cold, calculated way to prevent him from being found guilty of a robbery involving $500. That’s the value Weidert places on a human life.
By his own testimony Weidert admitted that he knew Morganti was mentally “slow,” and as such easy to lure out of his apartment and into Weidert’s truck.
Once on the loose in California, Weidert will again undoubtedly meet up with vulnerable members of society — developmentally disabled, elderly and children. What happens when one of these vulnerable Californians slights or fails to do what Weidert wants?
Murderer David Weidert is a dangerous predator who should not be allowed out in free society.
Only Governor Brown has the power to ensure that never again will Weidert be able to attack and kill vulnerable Californians and ruin the lives and families of innocent Californians.
HIGH-SPEED RAIL UPDATE
In my continued effort to protect Valley residents from the fallout of the High-Speed Rail project, I’ve sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) requesting an audit of the California High-Speed Rail’s use of high-pressure tactics and “flash appraisals” to get property at lowball prices.
A flash appraisal is where the Authority establishes the value of private property without any input from the property owner. Then the property owner is pressured into accepting the undervalued offer — sometimes 30 percent lower the real value — or condemnation proceedings via eminent domain.
Regardless of what we personally think about High-Speed Rail, if the state is going to require Californians to surrender their private property and damage their livelihoods for this project, the state should properly pay the fair-market value, instead of trying to lowball them.
Pray for rain. Stop the train.
Andy recently voted in favor of Assembly Bill 91, which will provide $1.1 billion in short-term relief for drought stricken communities, particularly in the Central Valley where a lack of water has resulted in massive job losses and fallowed fields.
The legislation includes $136 million from the 2014 Water Bond for water quality improvement – largely for poor communities that have very little drinking water or don’t have access to clean drinking water.
This legislation also allows for $132 million, also from the Water Bond, to help improve water quality, promote water recycling and to explore desalination.
“This relief is desperately needed as California faces a devastating fourth year of drought,” said Andy. “It’s criminal that California has a water system that is the envy of the world, yet the system’s gross mismanagement is currently flushing millions of gallons of precious water out to sea.”
Andy has introduced Senate Bill 152, a measure that would provide a tax credit for working low-income and middle-class families.
“Struggling families that are working hard to earn a paycheck should be able to keep more of the money they earn,” said Vidak, who represents the poorest Senate district in the state. “When folks in disadvantaged communities have more money to help make ends meet, spending those extra dollars support local jobs and small businesses.”
SB 152 would create a refundable California Earned Income Tax Credit (CEITC) that would be equal to 15 percent of the federal EITC. The federal EITC is a refundable tax credit, for low-income and middle-class working households, that research shows is an effective tool for lifting families out of poverty, while rewarding work.
To be eligible for the CEITC, individuals must meet the federal EITC requirements for the current tax year, as well as have either a Social Security Number, legal work authorization or a taxpayer identification number. The legislation would also create a framework for the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to use to ensure that eligible families are receiving the CEITC. The CEITC ends in 2023.
In tax year 2013, 28 million American tax returns received the federal EITC. In California, over 3.1 million California tax returns received the federal EITC. These 3.1 million returns resulted in $7.3 billion in refundable tax credits for working California families with the average tax credit being $2,373.
The Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) estimates that the federal EITC helps to keep 750,000 Californians out of poverty every year.
For a copy of SB 152, click here.
Andy invites you to a FREE Tax Preparation Services event with qualified volunteers.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps taxpayers with annual incomes of $53,000 or less who need help filling out their annual tax forms.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Kings Community Action Organization Office
1130 North 11th Avenue, Hanford
If you think you qualify and would like to utilize this free service, call Savino Perico at 559-904-8854 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
A volunteer tax preparer will require the following information:
- Valid photo ID
- Social Security card (SSI) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for all family members
- All W-2s, 1098s and 1099s (if any)
- Copy of the prior year’s tax return
- Other income/expense information
- Total expenses paid for child/day care
- Bank account and routing number for direct deposit of refund or direct debit for balance due
- Total tuition fees and expenses
- Day care provider’s identifying number
- Landlord’s name, address and phone number for the CA Renter’s Credit
This event is co-hosted by California State Controller Betty Yee, Senator Andy Vidak, Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Kings Community Action Organization and Kings County United Way.
Any information, materials or services provided at this event are the sole responsibility of the provider of the information, materials or services do not constitute legal services or tax advice from the California State Senate.
|Fresno Pacific U||Quiq Labs Fresno||Hanford Arbor Day|
California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) is teaming up with public libraries to help veterans and their families.
“The expansion of the Veteran Resource Centers throughout California’s libraries creates additional locations where our veterans and their families learn about the state and federal benefits earned through their military service,” said CalVet Deputy Secretary for Veterans Services Keith Boylan. “Making benefits information and assistance available in local libraries is a great way to reach our Veterans close to where they live and work.”
Veteran Resource Centers offer basic information and in depth support related to federal and state Veterans benefits and local services available. The goal of the CalVet – State Library partnership is to increase the number of Veterans and family members aware of and obtaining services. There are currently three Veteran Resource Centers for the Central Valley:
Fresno County – Fresno Central Library
2420 Mariposa Street, Fresno, CA 93721
Contact: Richard Mann (559) 600-6219
Kern County – Beale Memorial Library
701 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301
Contact: Katherine Ross (661) 868-0701
Tulare County – Tulare Public Library
475 North M Street, Tulare, CA 93274
Contact: Sara Brown (559) 685-4500
For more information and a full list of partner library locations, click here.
The Kern County Farm Bureau (KCFB) recently announced Bay Delta Initiative awarded it a $400,000 grant for irrigation efficiency.
The goals of the project that received the grant are to increase distribution uniformity on older performing irrigation systems through retrofitting existing irrigation systems to have them become more efficient on permanent cropland, reduce impacts to groundwater by increasing the use of nutrient management through budgeting and record keeping, improved water management through immediate and advanced monitoring and record keeping.
Specific project goals are:
- Retrofitting existing irrigation systems – this will increase water savings
- Encourage additional water savings through use of management practices
- Improve total nutrient management to reduce nutrient overload
- Improve sodic and salinity issues
- Decrease runoff and erosion issues to alleviate sediment in surface waters
- Increase wetland habitat restoration
- Protect resident and migratory species of concern
“We are confident that through programs like these, Kern County agriculture will continue to be one of the most efficient water users in Kern County while providing the nation with their food supply,” stated KCFB’s announcement of the grant. “Without an efficient water system for years to come, jobs and food are at a great risk. Water is the bloodline that drives the economy in the Central Valley and California. Our need for a successful water efficiency infrastructure is a priority for our growers, keeping California’s economy thriving.”
Interested in gaining the skills and tools needed to be an empowered leader in your community? Join us for California Women Lead’s first Women’s Empowerment Day in Fresno, a one-day event designed to empower women, co-hosted by the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“This conference is an extraordinary opportunity to hear from the governor’s appointments secretary on how to get appointed to boards and commissions, how to get involved in the political process as a community advocate or elected leader and how to develop leadership skills,” said Vidak.
Friday, May 8 | 8:30 AM – 4:15 PM
Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation Business Hub (Downtown Business Hub)
1444 Fulton Street | Fresno, CA 93721
- Mona Pasquil, Secretary for Appointments, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
- Kristin Olsen, Assembly Minority Leader, California State Legislature
- Fiona Ma, Member, State Board of Equalization; President, CA Women Lead State Board of Directors
- Andy Vidak, Senator, California State Legislature
- Connie Conway, former Assembly Minority Leader, CA Women Lead State Board of Directors
- Cassandra Pye, President, 3.14 Communications
- Esmeralda Soria, Councilmember, City of Fresno, District 1
- Jann Taber, Communications Director, Office of Senator Andy Vidak
- Rachel Michelin, CEO, California Women Lead
- Dora Westerlund, CEO, Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation
- Henry T. Perea, Assemblymember, California State Legislature (invited)
- Ashley Swearengin, Mayor, City of Fresno (invited)
- Margaret Mims, Sheriff, County of Fresno (invited)
Members of CA Women Lead and the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation Business Hub
$45 Early Bird before Friday, April 24th Click here to Register
$60 after Friday, April 24th
$65 Early Bird Non-Member before Friday, April 24th Click here to Register»
$95 after Friday, April 24th
All tickets are $100 at the door (if space is available).
Please join Andy for this one-day conference that will give women the skills and tools to be empowered leaders.