Last week, the California Board of Equalization rejected a proposal that would have increased the gas tax by 4 cents per gallon. I would like to thank BOE members Jerome Horton and Diane Harkey for voting against the proposal and preventing it from passing. Under Senate Bill 1, which I voted against, the gas tax increased by 12 cents last fall and will increase by another 5.6 cents on July 1. It never ceases to amaze me that there are people who continue to look for ways to increase taxes in this state, but I am grateful that this latest proposal was defeated.
Last month, I introduced several bills that will be considered during the current session, but one that I want to highlight in this month’s newsletter is SB 1137 which will help veterans in the Central Valley and across the state. You can read more about it below.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my staff and me if there is ever anything that we can do to assist you, or if you want to share your opinion with me on a piece of legislation. I have offices in Bakersfield (661-395-2620), Hanford (559-585-7161), Fresno (559-264-3070), and Sacramento (916-651-4014).
All the best!
Senate Bill 1137 - Veterans Assistance
Andy introduced Senate Bill 1137 last month, and if passed, it will help veterans in the Central Valley and across California. SB 1137 will require the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to increase awareness and notification to veterans regarding professional licensing benefits that are already available to them.
Professional licenses are required of persons employed in numerous occupations such as healthcare, trucking, security, construction, and carpentry.
The California State Legislature has previously passed legislation aimed at helping veterans obtain professional licenses. This has included — expediting many licensing processes for veterans and their spouses, temporarily honoring out of state licenses for military spouses in a variety of healthcare professions, renewing a professional license if a veteran is deployed overseas, and systemizing the DCA process for crediting a veteran’s military training.
SB 1137 specifically directs CalVet and DCA to create and execute awareness and outreach campaigns designed to notify veterans of these professional licensing benefits. Through the use of existing communication channels such as newsletters, websites, social media, and veterans groups, SB 1137 would ensure that more veterans and their spouses are aware of these benefits.
Vidak Helps Pass Legislative Employee Whistleblower Protection Act
Andy was a Senate Principal Co-Author of Assembly Bill 403, the Legislative Employee Whistleblower Protection Act, which passed the Senate last month on a 38-0 vote and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Click here to watch Andy’s comments on the Senate floor.
Upcoming Mobile Office Hours
Friday, March 16
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Lamont Weedpatch Family Resource Center
7839 Burgundy Ave
Lamont, CA 93241
Tuesday, March 20
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
CSET Family Resource Center
114 N. Front Street
Earlimart, CA 93219
Tuesday, March 20
10:00 a.m. - Noon
995 North Reed Avenue
Reedley, CA 93654
Thursday, March 22
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Naval Air Station Lemoore
Akers’ Career & College Family Event
Click here for important visitor information
Thursday, March 22
3:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m.
Parlier Community Center
1100 Parlier Street
Parlier, CA 93648
Tuesday, March 26
10:00 a.m. -Noon
1100 E. Lerdo Highway
Shafter, CA 93263
Mobile District Office hours are an opportunity for Senate District 14 residents to meet locally with a Team Vidak representative to hear more about Andy’s work in Sacramento and the Central Valley, have their questions answered, or get help with specific state-related issues, including:
- unemployment benefits;
- issues with state agencies, such as the DMV and Franchise Tax Board;
- small business assistance;
- worker’s compensation;
- state legislation; and
- other state-related matters.
For more information, please contact Team Vidak’s Felisa Hannah at 559-264-3070 or email Felisa Hannah at Felisa.Hannah@sen.ca.gov.
Bakersfield Job Fest 2018
Are you looking for a job? The Kern County Department of Human Services is hosting its 2018 Job Fest on Wednesday, March 14 from 8 a.m. until Noon at Rabobank Convention Center. Check out the flyer below for more information.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District has announced its 11th annual Caltrans Scholarships program. Graduating seniors from a local high school in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern or Tulare counties are eligible and encouraged to apply. The deadline to submit applications is March 30.
Caltrans offers a total of six (6) scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 as described below:
- Four (4) Transportation scholarships for individuals entering college or a university who plan on majoring in a transportation-related field. Applicants will have the opportunity to be selected for a $1,000 or a $2,000 scholar
- Two (2) Employee Family scholarships for individuals entering college or a university who plan on majoring in a transportation-related field and are related to a current, former, or retired Caltrans District 6 employee. Applicants will have the opportunity to be selected for a $1,000 or a $2,000 scholarship.
Andy met with the Association of California School Administrators Kings County Chapter last month. The group discussed a variety of issues surrounding education in the Central Valley.
Team Vidak District Representative Gaby Gonzales attended the opening of three new Kern County dairy digester projects. These new dairy digesters are at West Star North Dairies in Buttonwillow, Lakeview Farms in Bakersfield, and Carlos Echeverria & Sons Dairy in Bakersfield.
Andy and Senior District Representative Michael Bowers attended the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 33rd Annual Installation and Business Awards Gala.
Team Vidak attended Bank of the Sierra’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and presented a Senate Certificate of Recognition for their 40 Years in business and for their contributions to the community. As part of the celebration, Bank of the Sierra constructed and donated a playground to Porterville’s Sports Complex for the community to enjoy. On the left is Porterville Mayor Milt Stowe, Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo, Bank of the Sierra Market President Janice A. Castle, and Bank of the Sierra President & CEO Kevin McPhaill.
Andy recently met with Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Corey Hubbard in the Capitol. The Kern County Black Chamber serves as an advocate for the creation, development and economic growth of low and moderate-income communities and African American businesses in the Kern County Area.
Rogelio Caudillo of Team Vidak attended Porterville College Foundation’s Hall of Fame to recognize Sharon Gill, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni award and Jim Crichlow, recipient of the Athletic Alumni award. Congratulations to both Sharon and Jim!
Team Vidak District Director Paula Vinzant attended Fresno State’s 2018 State of the University address and we’d like to congratulate Fred Ruiz of Dinuba on receiving the Medal of Honor from President Joseph Castro!
Andy met with Armona Community Services District chairman Jim Maciel after Jim was recognized at the Community Water Center’s 2018 Water Justice Leadership Awards for his tireless work to bring safe and affordable water to our community.
Team Vidak attended Bakersfield College’s Community Breakfast last month.
Andy and Team Vidak attended the Kern County Oil Contractors Association’s Super Bowl event last month. The organization is dedicated to providing educational incentives, opportunities, and assistance to Kern County high school students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing higher academic learning after completing high school, and for those who have an interest in, or a connection to, the oil & gas, agriculture, construction, utility and energy industries.
Team Vidak District Representative Weston Anderson attended the ribbon cutting for The Chop Shop Barber Shop in Lindsay. Congratulations to owners Bryan and Alexandra Gonzalez!
Andy recently met with California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) student Bianka Pantoja in the Capitol. Bianka is from Arvin and she is a media consultant on-campus for the Mustang Media Group. Bianka and her team earned five first-place awards and were named College Media Design Program of the Year at the College Media Business and Advertising Managers annual awards banquet held last April in Fort Worth, Texas.
Andy and Team Vidak District Director Paula Vinzant with Congressman Devin Nunes at last month’s World Ag Expo in Tulare.
Andy joined the Porterville Eagles Club at the World Ag Expo last month to cook breakfast for the volunteers who work the event each year.
Team Vidak Senior District Representative Michael Bowers attended the Eighth Annual Bakersfield Military Order of the Purple Heart Ball in Bakersfield.
Andy met in his Capitol office with Future Farmers of America leaders Brian Phelps of Lemoore and Matt Rosa of Visalia, who were in town for the Sacramento Leadership Conference.
Team Vidak District Representative Claudia Salinas attended last month’s swearing-in, promotion, and awards ceremony for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Congratulations to everyone recognized, including Deputies Garrett Majors and Cody Wells, who received the Life Saving Medals for their heroic actions last year.
Team Vidak celebrated Read Across America Day at Indianola Elementary School in Selma where District Representative Claudia Salinas was a Guest Reader in Mrs. Emmersen’s 2nd grade class and Mrs. Wargo’s 3rd grade class!
Team Vidak District Representative Rogelio Caudillo attended the ribbon cutting ceremony last month at Cesar Chavez Park in Corcoran. Pictured with Rogelio is Patricia Nolen (Corcoran City Council Member), Mary Gonzalez-Gomez (Kings County Board of Education), and Jeanette Zamora-Bragg (Corcoran City Council Member).
Team Vidak attended the Black History Celebration at the Hanford Civic Auditorium last month, where District Representative Weston Anderson presented Certificates of Scholastic Achievement to the scholarship winners and Senate Certificates of Recognition to all of the award winners.
Team Vidak recently visited the brand new Glo Dental office in Corcoran. Congratulations to Vanessa Pena, Dr. Rushi Panchal, and the entire staff!
Team Vidak Chief of Staff Jim Kjol and Senate Fellow Jason Muehlhoff met with the California Athletic Trainers’ Association (CATA) to discuss a pair of athletic training-related bills that have been introduced in the legislature.
Team Vidak was in Fresno to attend the dedication ceremony for the Mariposa Mall Public Art Unveiling. The artwork was designed by Gordon Huether Studio and it is the first artwork to be installed on Fulton Street in over 50 years!
Team Vidak Senior District Representative Michael Bowers attended the Grand Opening of CaliBurger in Bakersfield! Congratulations to the staff and thank you to the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce for organizing the event!
Team Vidak District Representative Michael Bowers participated in a Read Across America event at Frank West Elementary School in Bakersfield.
Andy’s Capitol staff had the opportunity to meet with Ron Killingsworth from PSW, Able Industries Executive Director Wende Leigh Ayers, and The Arc of Fresno and Madera Counties Executive Director Lori Ramirez recently as the California Disability Services Association was in town for its annual legislative day.
Andy recently met with Christine Troy, Esmeralda Molina, and Caroline Daley in Sacramento as part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24th annual State Advocacy Day.
Team Vidak District Representative Weston Anderson attended the grand re-opening of Providence Lindsay Gardens in Lindsay.
Team Vidak Senior District Representative Michael Bowers attended Aera Energy’s Black History Celebration last month.
Team Vidak Senior District Representative Michael Bowers attended “An Evening with Laura Bush” last week at the Kern County Fairgrounds. The event benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County.