2018 January Newsletter
In 2017, I accomplished many of my goals to improve the quality of life in California, ranging from repairing the state’s transportation infrastructure to passing proposals that can create more affordable housing to increasing the public’s access to open space.
The new legislative year is ramping up. Here are bills that I have introduced at this point and the issues that will be the subjects of my upcoming legislation in the weeks ahead:
- Senate Bill 818, Homeowner’s Bill of Rights - In 2012, a list of protections to ensure a transparent and fair process for borrowers who sought loan modifications with their lender or loan servicer was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown. On Jan 1, many important provisions of the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights expired.
SB 818, if passed, will renew lapsed protections that prevented dual tracking - when servicers simultaneously enter loan modification negotiations with borrowers while continuing foreclosure, and restore requirements that loan servicers provide homeowners with written notices to confirm receipt of their loan modifications applications and whether any necessary application items are missing.
The bill also preserves requirements that servicers send written denial notices with sufficient information and sufficient time to appeal a questionable denial.
- Senate Bill 215 - This bill would give criminal trial courts the discretion to order treatment for people with mental illnesses who are accused of committing a minor offense instead of a jail sentence. The proposed diversion program would avoid costs related to unnecessary trials and incarceration while reducing recidivism. About one-third of inmates in county jails have a serious mental illness diagnosis.
- Senate Bill 906 - Legislation to increase the delivery of mental health services by establishing a certification process for peer support specialists. Under the proposal, the Department of Health Care Services could create a new category of qualified peer providers - people who have lived experience as clients, family members, or caretakers of individuals recovering from mental illness or addiction - to be certified to connect people with such diseases to services.
- Upcoming Legislation - In the days to come, I will be introducing bills geared to increase college graduations rates for foster youth and prevent parolees from re-offending by incorporating pre-apprenticeship programs in prisons to prepare them with marketable trade skills prior to their release.
I will also be working to stop domestic violence by seeking an increase in state budget funding for programs that prevent this crime and help survivors. Nearly 5.8 million women and men in California experience intimate partner violence annually.
I am holding a community coffee on Friday, Jan. 26, at the iJava Coffee & Eatery, 3315 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. If you have a state-related problem or issue or an idea on how state government can be improved, let’s discuss it face-to-face.
Your time with me may be limited depending on how many people want to speak with me.
If you are unable to attend, you can always reach me by email.
COAT & BLANKET DRIVE
About 7,400 homeless people live in Santa Clara County and 75 percent of them are unsheltered. They are left to cope with cold winter days and nights on their own.
To help them stay warm, my Senate District 15 staff is conducting a coat and blanket drive. Your simple act of generosity - the donation of a spare coat or blanket - can make a difference in someone’s life.
On Tuesday, Jan. 23, and Thursday, Jan. 25, from noon to 5 p.m., my main district office in Campbell at 2105 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 154, and my downtown San Jose office in the State Building, will be accepting gently used coats and blankets. Your simple act of generosity can make a difference in someone’s life.
As the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, ending homelessness has been a priority.
My proposal, Senate Bill 3, a $4 billion bond measure, would provide funding to create housing for veterans who are homeless and invest in existing state housing programs that can benefit people who are homeless.
CAPITOL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS
The Capitol Fellowship Programs offers graduate students hands-on experience in policy making at the State Capitol.
The Center for California Studies administers the four fellowship programs. These nationally recognized public policy fellowships offer unique experiences in in each branch of government.
The programs provide fellows with a $2,627 monthly stipend; health, dental, and vision benefits; student loan deferments, and graduate school units from Sacramento State in Government or Public Policy. Upon successful completion of the program, the fellows receive a Capital Fellows Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government.
Senate Fellows earn graduate units and serve as full-time legislative staff assigned to a Senator or a policy committee in the Capitol. They conduct research, develop legislation, analyze bills, write speeches and press releases, meet with lobbyists, and assist with constituent inquiries and casework.
The 2018-19 deadline to apply is Monday, Feb. 12, at 5 pm PST. To apply or learn more about the program.