December 2010 E-Newsletter
NEW OFFICE OPEN HOUSE FOR ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 24
The New Year is almost here and my local Assembly District 24 office is moving to a new site, just a few steps away from our old workplace.
We are still located in the Alquist State Building, 100 Paseo De San Antonio, in downtown San Jose, but the office has moved to Suite 319.
I invite you to visit my new office to discuss issues in the community during my annual Open House get-together, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, January 20, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
To RSVP, please call: (408) 282-8920 or click here, fill out the form, and under the “Select Item” menu, choose “RSVP Assemblymember Jim Beall’s Open House -- 1.20.11.’’
NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION AND NEW BILLS
The new session began December 6 and new Assemblymembers as well as returning incumbents were sworn in as their family and friends looked on.
Not long after the swearing-in ceremonies, I introduced two bills. They are:
- Assembly Bill 39 –- This legislation provides $57 million in special education funding that Gov. Schwarzenegger eliminated from children’s mental health.
Schwarzenegger’s blue pencil elimination of $133 million left counties unpaid for children’s mental health services they provided since July 1, 2010. School districts were left on the hook for meeting federal standards set by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) without any transition time or process. The IDEA is intended to ensure children with special needs receive a public education and related services necessary for them to benefit from a “free and appropriate public education.”
AB 3632 serves approximately 20,000 California children with active Individual Education Plans (IEP) who have disabilities, including children with autism spectrum disorders, mental health issues and children with other developmental disabilities.
AB 39 directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction and county mental health directors to jointly convene a technical working group to develop a transitional program to transfer the responsibilities associated with providing special education services from county mental health departments to the State Department of Education.
AB 39 specifies “state only” Prop. 63 funds, received by the state Department of Mental Health, as a one-time funding source. The bill is an urgency bill and as such requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
My goal is to work with leadership to get the bill through the legislature before the end of January when the funds from the state Department of Education run out.
To read the bill, go to the Assembly’s legislation website, and enter the bill number.
- Assembly Bill 31 -- Provides incentives for cities with proposed high-speed rail stations to obtain greenhouse gas emission credits, institute and expand enterprise zones around the stations and helps them qualify for federal matching funds to plan for transportation-oriented development.
This job-creation bill capitalizes on a new opportunity to revitalize areas around the stations by incorporating a mix of residential, commercial, and retail development that can make those districts the centers of their cities. By ensuring housing and businesses near the high-speed rail stations, communities can reduce urban sprawl, preserve open space and farm land and encourage green building development.
Work on the first section of the high-speed rail project, slated for the Central Valley, is scheduled to break ground in 2012. Passenger service could begin in 2017.
HIGH-SPEED RAIL MEETING
The Diridon Station Joint Policy Advisory Board meets 3 p.m., Friday, December 17, at San Jose City Hall at 200 E. Santa Clara Street. The Board will discuss AB 31 and other issues.
With the recession still lingering and many people unable to find work, hunger remains one of California’s toughest problems. More than 50 million Americans—16 percent of the U.S. population—lack consistent access to a nutritious diet. Many of them are families with children.
This season, the non-profit Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties is again conducting food drives to help feed the 231,000 they serve. To contribute, look for food donation barrels at selected local supermarkets or drop off food at Second Harvest’s warehouse dock at 750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose. To find when the warehouse dock is open for donations, click here.