Vidak's News and Views: May 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Call for Valley Artists
Webinars for Small Business
Pioneer Days
Restoring Medi-Cal Funding
Innovation in Education
Legislative Update/Deadlines
Team Vidak Out & About
Fresno Women’s Empowerment Day
Latina Action Day
Legislative Community Coffee

Dear Friends –

Senate Water Committee

There’s good news folks!

The Senate Rules Committee recently appointed me to serve on the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.

This committee hears bills relating to conservation and management of public resources, wildlife, regulation of oil, mining, geothermal development, acid deposition, wetlands and lakes, ocean and bay pollution, forestry, recreation, parks and historical resources.

We need the voice of the Valley represented on this committee. I’m honored to be that loud and proud voice fighting for water and jobs

Hidden Gas Tax

It’s disappointing that majority party leaders killed our efforts to stop the unfair hidden gas tax. My legislation, Senate Bill 5, was defeated in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on a party-line vote of 2 to 5, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats voting against the measure.

Coastal elites don’t get it that gasoline isn’t a luxury for most Californians, it is a necessity. Many of our Valley communities already suffer from extreme poverty and some of the highest unemployment rates in the state, as well as the country. This unfair hidden gas tax is hurting the folks that can least afford it.

SB 5 would have simply exempted transportation fuels — gasoline, natural gas, propane and diesel — from the state’s “cap and trade” program, thereby eliminating the hidden gas tax that is driving gas prices up in California.

The Legislative Analyst Office estimates that the hidden gas tax will result in increased gas prices of 13 to 20 cents a gallon, and could go as high as 50 cents a gallon.

Californians today are paying more for gasoline as a direct result of this radical environmental policy that was put into effect by an unelected state bureaucracy.

High-Speed Rail

The High-Speed Rail Authority is using “flash appraisals” and strong-arm tactics to get property owners in the path of the bullet train to accept low ball offers. It’s deeply disappointing that our request for an audit of Authority’s hardball practices was rejected on a 4-6 vote.

I’ve heard from dozens of property owners — many are farmers, small business owners and homeowners — who are victims of these flash appraisals and pressure tactics. Many of these folks have land, businesses and homes that have been in the same family for several generations.

I greatly appreciate the folks that came all the way up from the Valley to testify during the hearing in Sacramento. Our reasonable request for an audit should have been given high priority, not rejected.


Back to top

Call for Valley Artists

Image of sculpting tools.Image of sculpting tools.

Senator Andy Vidak is reaching out to the art community in search of a contemporary artist whose work expresses our Valley’s unique way of life.

An artist from the 14th Senate District will have the opportunity to have their art displayed at the State Capitol as part of the 2015 California State Senate’s Contemporary Art Collection. The program recognizes and celebrates contemporary art created by the wide variety of artists throughout the state.

Every other year, each Senate District has the opportunity to select an artist whose work best represents the district. These artists bring to the Capitol an extensive range of cultures, backgrounds and training. An independent panel of judges, including the Historic Capitol Curator and a representative of the California State Museum will select the winning artist from Senate District 14.

The media with which they work are also as varied — acrylics, oils, bronze sculpture, blown glass, mixed media, photographs and watercolors. The talented, diverse, and colorful selection seen at each show is a testament to the fact that contemporary art is alive and well in California.

  • Most any type of ORIGINAL art is acceptable.
    Oil paintings, works on paper, weavings, wall hangings, photographs and sculpture are all acceptable media. Please try to limit the overall size to no larger than 3’ x 5’, as space is limited. No posters or prints – only original pieces.

  • The artist must agree to loan their art to the exhibit for approximately 18 months.
    The exhibit schedule is planned from May 2015 – September 2016. The Senate Rules Committee will pay for shipping costs to and from the exhibit (NOT packing materials).

  • The artist must provide biographical information for the catalogue.
    We will need an artist’s biography, information on the artwork selected, and perhaps how it was selected. This information will be used in the exhibit catalogue.

Artists who live in the 14th Senate District, and would like to be considered, must email photo(s) of the work that would be displayed to Senator Vidak’s office in an email to The deadline for submission is May 8, 2015.

For more information, please contact Jann Taber at (916) 651-4014.

Back to top

Webinars for Small Business

Image of seal for Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.In celebration of Small Business Month, you are invited to join GO-Biz’s Office of Small Business Advocate (OSBA) for a series of free webinars to educate small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs on important requirements and available resources. Space is limited and registration is required.

Connect Your Small Business to the Global Marketplace
Wednesday — May 13, 2015, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
This webinar will cover key issues businesses should consider when exporting, as well as information on export services and programs offered by the state and federal governments. Specific topics will include required documentation, export financing, market assessment, and business matchmaking services.
Registration and Detailed Information

California’s Small Business Development Center Network
Wednesday — May 20, 2015, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
This webinar will describe the variety of services Small Business Development Centers provide to small businesses throughout the state. Services from other organizations, such as SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and Women’s Business Centers, will also be discussed. In addition, the webinar will provide tips to small businesses on how to obtain financing, including funding resources, requirements, and important considerations.
Registration and Detailed Information

Employee and Independent Contractor Definitions
Wednesday — May 27, 2015, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
This joint webinar with the Employment Development Department (EDD) will focus on understanding the differences between a common law employee and an independent contractor. You will learn the common misconceptions about independent contractors and receive information to help classify workers appropriately.
Registration and Detailed Information

GO-Biz serves as California’s office for economic development and offers a range of services to business owners. Those services include attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, important informational briefings and much more. For more details visit:

Back to top

Pioneer Days

Click here to view in plain text
 Image of Pioneer Days flyer.

Back to top

Restoring Medi-Cal Funding

Image of Development of Health Care Services banner.

Andy recently co-signed a letter with several other Senators that was sent to the Senate and Assembly Budget Committee chairs, urging the committees to restore funding for Medi-Cal providers (such as doctors and dentists) that was reduced by 10 percent during the recent budget crisis. The letter reads in part:

These funds should be a high priority in order to promote better access to health care for the 12.2 million Californians who rely on Medi-Cal.

As enrollment in Medi-Cal approaches one-third of California’s population, the unfortunate reality is that many people are having trouble finding a doctor who will see them in a timely manner. In recent reports, the Legislative Analyst’s Office and the California State Auditor have pointed out that Medi-Cal provides less access to physicians and dentists than other types of health insurance. Continuing to implement the 10 percent provider rate reductions is making this problem worse.

“It’s important to restore Medi-Cal funding to providers so we can attract and keep quality health care providers for folks in the Valley,” said Andy.

Back to top

Innovation in Education

Image of West Hills College Lemore logo.

Congratulations to West Hills College in Lemoore for being a recipient of the “2015 Awards for Innovation in Higher Education” from the California Department of Education.

The program recognizes California Community Colleges, California State University (CSU) campuses, and University of California (UC) campuses that change existing policies, practices, or systems to achieve the following priorities:

  • Significantly increase the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded.
  • Allow students to complete bachelor’s degrees within four years after beginning higher education.
  • Ease transfer through the state’s education system by better recognizing learning that occurs across the state’s education segments and elsewhere.

“Hats off to a job well done,” said Andy.

For more information on the innovation award, click here.

Back to top

Legislative Update/Deadlines

Image of California State Senate seal.

Andy’s Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2, urging Congress and President Obama to work together to create a comprehensive and workable approach to reform the nation’s immigration system, recently passed both houses of the Legislature with strong bipartisan support.

“We need commonsense reform that provides strong border security and creates an immigration system that provides legal status so that our friends and neighbors can come out of the shadows,” said Andy. “We need compassionate reform that does not break up families. And we need reform that helps further integrate these hardworking people into our society and communities.”

To watch Andy’s speech on SJR 2 and to read the Resolution, click here.

Several other measures that Andy authored have recently passed out of key Senate policy committees:

Senate Bill 152 — Earned Income Tax Credit
This measure would provide a tax credit for working low-income and middle-class families. 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.

Senate Bill 244 Mobile Home Safe Communities
Mobile home residents are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property and common areas, while park owners are obligated to preserve that quiet enjoyment. This measure would allow mobile home park owners to continue using an injunction order to enforce the rules of a mobile home park.

Senate Bill 497 — Pupil Transportation Data
This measure would require the California Department of Education (CDE) to collect and post online pupil transportation data to help the state and policy makers understand how it is severely underfunding school bus transportation in rural communities. State underfunding of school transportation takes money out of the classroom.

Senate Bill 736 — Escrow Protection Act
In the past, there have been cases of fraud which have resulted in the failure of escrow companies, putting the assets of individuals who had money in these escrow companies at risk. This measure would protect an individual’s assets held in escrow accounts if an escrow company goes out of business.

Following are upcoming legislative deadlines in the month of May:

May 15
Last day for policy committees to hear and report to the Floor non-fiscal bills introduced in their house.

May 22
Last day for policy committees to meet prior to June 8.

May 29
Last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the Floor bills introduced in their house. Last day for fiscal committees to meet prior to June 8.

Back to top

Team Vidak Out & About

Click on the photos to read more about what Team Vidak is doing in our communities and at the Capitol.

City of Porterville Valley Stars of Life Lemoore’s Liberty Tax
Image of Team Vidak's Paula Vinzant with Porterville City Manager John Lollis. Image of Andy presenting Senate Certificates of Recognition to Curtis Dunn and Robert Wankel. Image of Liberty Tax Service Owners Tim and Nicole Ceballos.
London Library Lamont Nyree Center Fond Farewell
Image of Team Vidak District Representative Ana Orozco (and Library for London Founder Robert Isquierdo. Image of the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the center’s grand opening Image of Team Vidak's Nathan Alonzo with Executive Director Bruce Thiesen.
Fresno Music Man Tax Help in Hanford Regional Center Visit
Image of Team Vidak District Representative Ana Orozco with Rob Bentley. Image of Andy with tax experts volunteering to help folks in the Valley fill out their fax forms. Image of Team Vidak staff at the Capitol office with Valley representatives from the California Regional Center System.
KGET TV Interview Valley FFA Hanford Woman of the Year
Image of Andy with KGET TV Reporter Jim Scott being interviewed story on the water crisis. Image of Team Vidak District Director Paula Vinzant, Andrew Souza and Mika Petrucci, Assemblymember Frank Bigelow's Field Representative. Image of Team Vidak District Representative Ana Orozco presented Senate Resolution to Maxine Bennett.
El Sombrero is 48 Valley United Way Tulare Co. Education
Image of Team Vidak Intern Tyler Moyer with Minnie Gonzalez celebrating the Bakersfield restaurant’s 48th Anniversary. Image of cardboard Andy with Susan Good, Smilie Janecek, Francine DiCiano, Carol Bowman, Bob Reyes, and  J.R. Oviedo Image of Team Vidak Representative Rogelio Caudillo with Sylvia Anaya, Elvira Barron, Rita Jahnke and Celene Ayon.


Back to top

Fresno Women’s Empowerment Day

Image of Fresno Women's Empowerment Day logo

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

Speakers include:

  • Anna Caballero, Cabinet Secretary, California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency. Office Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
  • 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)

Click here to download the agenda — Click here to download the flyer.


Members of CA Women Lead and the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation Business Hub
$60 Click here to Register

$95 Click here to Register

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.

Back to top

Latina Action Day

Image of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality logo.

HOPE’s (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) 21st Annual Latina Action Day is Tuesday, May 12 in Sacramento.

This one-day conference brings together several hundred corporate and community Latina leaders from all regions of California, and is designed to facilitate dialogue Latina leaders and elected officials on public policy affecting Latinas in California.

The timing of the conference — during the peak of the legislative session — allows participants to express their opinions and priorities to our state’s elected officials during a critical decision-making window.

Andy is sponsoring the following Latina leaders to attend the conference, who were selected by the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce in Senate District 14.

  • Susana Aguilera-Marrero
  • Esther Barajas
  • Nohelia Cordova
  • Prabhjot “Joti” Kaur
  • Yery Olivares
  • Yuliana Valencia
  • Dora Westerlund

The conference concludes with the “Celebrating Latina Leadership Reception,” where HOPE honors and celebrates the contributions of Latina elected officials in the California Legislature and Latinas serving in the Governor Brown’s Administration. Andy and members of his staff are scheduled to attend the reception.

Back to top

Legislative Community Coffee

 Click here to view in plain text
Click flyer to contact Nathan Alonzo for more information or to RSVP.

Back to top