There’s good news! With the clock ticking down, the Legislature came together in a rare show of bipartisanship and passed a water bond that will fund water shortage.
I want to thank the Valley legislators in both houses from both parties that fought hard to help the Valley. I also appreciate the governor listening to the bipartisan voice of the Valley.
The result was the passage of Assembly Bill 1471, which I co-authored. It was approved with a unanimous 37-0 vote in the Senate and was signed by the governor. This pared-down $7 billion water bond will replace the $11.1 billion water bond from (2009) on the November ballot.
While this bond is almost $4 billion smaller than the 2009 version, nearly 40 percent of the funds are dedicated to water storage. We can finally build new reservoirs to provide additional water storage for our region.
After five previous waterless water bonds, we’ve finally moved in the right direction by investing in surface storage. I firmly believe that thsi new water bond will expand California’s water capacity, bring desperately-needed water to our Valley and put people back to work.
This historic compromise shows what can happen when members of the Legislature and the governor come together to solve a serious problem.
To watch Andy’s Senate Floor speech in support of the water bond, click here.
Acting on orders from Senate Democrat leaders, the Majority Party last Thursday voted down Andy’s and others’ efforts to stop a hike in gasoline and diesel prices come this January.
“Some of the members of the Senate don’t seem to care about poor people who have to wait in food lines to feed their family. Even a small increase in gas prices will be devastating to so many people in our Valley,” said Andy.
The California Air Resource Board (CARB) and the Brown Administration secretly created the unauthorized gas tax without public knowledge or legislative approval. Beginning January 1, 2015, the mandate will result in a hike at the pump that could range from 16 to 76 cents a gallon every time Californians fill up. California already has the highest gas prices in the nation. According to GasBuddy, the average cost for gasoline in California is $4.12 per gallon and the national average is $3.68.
Andy introduced amendments to Assembly Bill 2492 that would have exempted transportation fuels-including gasoline, diesel, and natural gas-from the state’s cap-and-trade program, thereby stopping hidden gas tax.
Unfortunately, the Senate voted 23 to 10 along party lines to kill the amendments.
The amendments were identical to Senate Bill 1079, which didn’t make it out of the Senate Rules Committee.
Co-authors of SB 1079 and the amendments to AB 2492 are:
- Joel Anderson (San Diego)
- Tom Berryhill (Twain Hart)
- Jean Fuller (Bakersfield)
- Ted Gaines (Roseville)
- Republican Leader Bob Huff (Diamond Bar)
- Steve Knight (Antelope Valley)
- Mike Morrell (Rancho Cucamonga)
- Jim Nielsen (Gerber)
- Mimi Walters (Laguna Niguel)
- Mark Wyland (Escondido)
- Katcho Achadigan (San Luis Obispo)
- Travis Allen (Huntington Beach)
- Frank Bigelow (O’Neals)
- Rocky Chavez (Oceanside)
- Minority Leader Connie Conway (Tulare)
- Tim Donnelly (Twin Peaks)
- Shannon Grove (Bakersfield)
- Curt Hagman (Chino Hills)
- Diane Harkey (Dana Point)
- Brian Jones (Santee)
- Eric Linder (Corona)
- Dan Logue (Marysville)
- Brian Maienschein (San Diego)
- Melissa Melendez (Lake Elsinore)
- Minority Leader-Elect Kristin Olsen (Modesto)
- Jim Patterson (Fresno)
- Donald Wagner (Irvine)
- Marie Waldren (Escondido)
- Scott Wilk (Santa Clarita)
“Despite this setback, I pledge to continue to do whatever I can to stop the gas tax hike,” Andy said.
Andy voted to support vital legislation that would allow tens of thousands of military veterans to use their Goverment Issued(GI) Bill to pay in-state tuition at California Colleges.
Assembly Bill 13 would align California law with federal law by requiring the California State Universities and California Community Colleges, and requesting the University of California to grant in-state tuition for all students using the GI Bill.
“This bill is simply the right thing to do to support our veterans who have put their lives on the line to ensure the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.” said Vidak. “It’s refreshing to again to see policy and process come together and result in bipartisan consensus,” said Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford).
On August 7, 2014, President Obama signed House of Representatives (H.R.) 3230, which includes a mandate for all public universities and colleges to provide in-state tuition rates to all GI Bill recipients, or forfeit all Title 38 funding.
The post 9/11 GI Bill will pay no more than the “public school in-state tuition and fees” per academic year. Therefore veterans are responsible for paying the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
For most veterans and their families, this is a significant financial barrier in attending a California school directly after discharge and before they have had the opportunity to establish residency.
AB 13 will ensure veterans can continue to use their GI Bill for college. This will encourage veterans to attend school in our state and allow them to complete school without paying tuition out-of-pocket.
If California had failed to act, over 78,000 California veterans, who are attending the University of California, a California State University or a California community college, might have lost their GI Bill benefits.
Andy recently recognized Rogelio Caudillo with a Senate Resolution in thanks for his service as a 2014 Senate Fellow. The California Senate Fellows program is one of the oldest and most distinguished service learning programs in the country.
Roeglio was selected from a highly competitive group of outstanding college and university students from California and throughout the nation. He was on of 18 fellows who are full-time Senate staff members in the State Capitol for 11 months and receive six months of university graduate credit.
“It is a great blessing to be selected for such a prestigious program, but more importantly, it is an honor to serve the Central Valley, my home,” said Rogelio.
From Earlimart, Rogelio graduated CSU Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.
“Rogelio is an integral part of Team Vidak in our Capitol office, staffing important legislation, Senate committees and several special projects,” said Andy. “He has the makings of a great service leader with his intelligence, work ethic, and spirit of giving.”
To watch the Senate Resolution presentation, click here.
Andy voted against Assembly Bill 1486, a measure that will increase the cost of “safe and sane” legal fireworks.
“The governor wants to jack up the price of legal fireworks with a new tax. He wants to make the people who buy legal fireworks responsible for the cost of getting rid of illegal fireworks. That‘s just wrong,” said Andy.
The bill will not only gouge the wallets of families who want to celebrate the independence of our country, it will also hurt thousands of nonprofit community organization around our state.
Legal fireworks sales fund many nonprofit community organizations.
For example, the Fresno Deputy Sheriff‘s Association‘s fireworks stand is an annual fundraiser for the Peace Officer Memorial Fund, which benefits families of fallen officers in Fresno County and around the state. The FDSA makes between $4,000 and $10,000 per year on legal fireworks sales to help support the families of fallen officers.
“The real solution would be to increase fines and enforcement against those who illegally produce, illegally sale and illegally use fireworks,” said Andy.
Andy, a co-author of Assembly Bill 1438, helped win unanimous approval of the measure which will ensure that predators targeting children 10 years of age or younger must register as sex offenders.
Currently, some sexual predators are granted so-called “rehabilitation certificates” and are not required to register as sex offenders.
AB 1438 would at least ensure that child molesters who are convicted of a range of sexual acts with a child 10-years-old or younger be ineligible for rehabilitation certificates and, therefore, must register as a sex offender.
AB 1438 is authored by Assemblymember Eric Linder (R-Corona).
“Keeping our children safe from predators must always be a top priority,” said Vidak.
AB 1438 was signed into law by Governor Brown on August 25 and will become law on January 1, 2015.
To watch Andy’s Senate Floor Speech on AB 1438, click here.
The Lawson-Baca family receives a free eye exam and glasses at the Mobile Eye clinic.
Many of the communities that Andy represents suffer from extreme poverty and some of the highest unemployment rates in the state and the country. That is what inspired Andy to partner with Clinica Sierra Vista and Vision Service Plan (VSP) to bring Mobile Eyes to our Central Valley.
Mobile Eyes features mobile eyecare clinics on wheels, outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms and dispensaries. Mobile Eyes is a free service for low-income patients.
In August, there were two Mobile Eye clinics, one in McFarland and the other in Fresno.
Fifty-seven people received a comprehensive eye exam and, if needed, glasses. The Fifty-two people who needed glasses were able to select from an assortment of frames. Most patients received their new glasses immediately after their eye exam.
Another 80 people who couldn’t be served on the days of the clinics (because of time limitations) received vouchers to get a free eye exam and a pair of glasses later from a local optometrist.
“I want to thank Clinica Sierra Vista, VSP and my district Team for making this important service available to so many. For many of the adults and children served in McFarland and Fresno, this was the first time they had glasses and could see clearly. What a difference was made in their lives,” said Andy.
Ever considered getting involved in your community as an appointee to a board or commission? Want to know more about how the process works? How do you access the application? Where to find vacancies? How do you navigate the process? Who can help?
Please join Andy and California Women Lead for an appointments training to learn the process that one should take to be appointed to a board/commission/committee at the local and state level.
- Mona Pasquil, Secretary of Appointments, Office of Governor Jerry Brown
- Fiona Ma, Board President, California Women Lead
- Margaret Mims, Sheriff, Fresno County
- Dora Westerlund, 21st District Agricultural Association, Big Fresno Fair Board of Directors
- Rachel Michelin, Executive Director/CEO, California Women Lead
WHEN: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation Business Hub, 1444 Fulton Street, Fresno, CA 93721
No admittance without prior RSVP by Sunday, September 7, 2014.
Tickets and information are available at www.cawomenlead.org.
Follow Andy’s Senate page on Facebook to see photos and to get updates of Andy’s activities. For the latest news, visit Andy’s Senate Website at senate.ca.gov/vidak.