Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After over 40 public hearings spent discussing and amending the Governor's budget proposal issued last January, the Legislature put forth a budget bill and accompanying trailer bills. Fourteen billion dollars of solutions, primarily in cuts, were agreed to by Legislative Democrats and signed by Governor Brown. Although the 2011-2012 Budget is not due until June, the Legislature acted quickly in order to put cuts in place for this current budget year, thus leveraging the most savings and helping to preserve long term funding for important programs.
Unfortunately, on March 29 2011, the governor announced that negotiations with Legislative Republicans had broken down. Senate Democrats stand resolutely with the California Community Colleges, County Offices of Education, school superintendents from around the state, CTA, PTA, Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, and Peace Officer Research Association (PORAC), have all indicated their support for the tax extensions, and most importantly, the ability for voters to have a say.
During the last three weeks of budget negotiations, the Governor and Legislative Democrats have indicated their willingness to negotiate on the important issues of pension reform, regulatory reform, and spending caps in effort to resolve the over $15 billion needed to balance the 2011-2012 Budget.
I invite you to visit my official Senate website on a frequent basis to follow the progress of budget negations as well as my legislation as it moves through the legislative process. My website will also provide you with information on free community events taking place in your neighborhood.
Don't hesitate to contact my office or me whenever you have issues of concern or problems that warrant attention. Email my eNewsletter to your neighborhood contacts and urge them to sign up to receive future issues.
Thank you for the privilege of serving as your State Senator.
SENATOR CURREN D. PRICE JR.
State Capitol Update:
Budget Passes but Several Pieces Left to be Done
On March 18, 2011, the Legislature passed the 2011-12 Budget Bill and budget trailer bills. These bills cover issues involving realignment of public safety services and facilities from state to county and local control, K-12 and higher education, changes affecting the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), special fund loan and transfer provisions, natural resources and environmental protection, and tax compliance. The 2011-12 Budget Bill and trailer bills were passed in both houses Thursday cutting an additional $6.5 billion. Solutions passed during Wednesday and Thursday floor action (budget cuts and balancing measures) total $14 billion.
Measures still to be taken up by the Legislature concern the elimination of redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones, the change to the single sales factor, a Constitutional Amendment and an accompanying bill calling for a special election for tax extensions. These measures would be worth $15.5 billion toward balancing the state budget. The single sales factor measure would require corporations to apportion their income to California through sales and bring in $1.4 billion for the state budget. The San Francisco Chronicle has more on the single sales factor.
List of budget bills passed this week:
Reducing Corrections Expenditures through Realignment
On March 17, 2011, In an effort to close California's budget deficit, Governor Brown's proposed budget included a two-phase realignment proposal that, if adopted, will move various state responsibilities to city and county governments. Realignment proponents argue that this shift allows programs to be implemented with greater flexibility and fine-tuned for specific local needs, priorities and supplemental funding opportunities. The LAO released an analysis of the realignment proposal at the end of January 2011.
Phase one of the proposal focuses on realigning public safety services to local government. In the Governor's proposal, "public safety" extends beyond police officers, jail management and firefighting services, and includes mental health services, substance abuse treatment, child welfare services and adult protective services.
Senate Makes Progress on Budget Bills
On March 17, 2011, the legislature began to pass a series of budget bills that will enact the cuts necessary to balance the 2011-2012 budget. Both houses agreed to nearly $7.4 billion in cuts across state government. These included reductions to CalWORKS grants and services for the developmentally disabled, as well increasing co-pay requirements for Medi-Cal patients. The legislature also approved fund shifts that will result in less money for childhood development, mental health and local transit agencies.
The Senate and Assembly did not agree upon proposed cuts totaling $1.7 billion to redevelopment agencies. The Governor and legislative leadership will continue to meet about these proposed reductions.
Budget Conference Report Changes Cal Grant Programs
On March 16, 2011California established the CalGrant program to help students access high-quality educational opportunities. The program awards financial assistance to students for tuition, books and supplies, and even housing. CalGrants are available to residents of the state who meet specific academic, financial, and eligibility requirements.
The grants can be used by students at nearly 450 "eligible" public and private colleges and universities throughout California. In the Cal Grant B program, which serves California's neediest, students can be awarded up to $9,708 for tuition at private institutions plus $1,551 to pay for books and supplies.
The Budget Conference Committee's adopted plan includes $1.46 billion in funding for Cal Grants. In addition, the plan includes important reforms intended to strengthen the Cal Grant program while enhancing student outcomes.
Currently, in order for a school to be deemed "eligible" for purposes of receiving Cal Grant monies, it must be (1) a public institution or (2) a private institution that participates in the federal Pell Grant program and at least two other federal student aid programs.
Through the Conference Committee report, members took action to require public and private institutions to demonstrate performance on specific student outcomes that account for the share of students that borrow at a particular institution along with the rate at which students default on their student loans.
Under the plan, in addition to meeting existing eligibility requirements, schools with more than 40 percent of their students borrowing would be required to demonstrate that:
- For purposes of determining eligibility for academic year 2011-12, the institution has a federal Cohort Default Rate of less than 24.6 percent.
- For purposes of determining eligibility for academic year 2012-13 and beyond, the institution has a federal Cohort Default Rate of less than 30 percent.
Schools that fail to meet the standards would be ineligible to receive new Cal Grant dollars. Additionally, maximum Cal Grant awards already going to institutions that fail to meet eligibility requirements would be reduced by 20 percent.
The combination of increased accountability and reduced grant levels will generate immediate savings of over $20 million.
Black Youth Leadership Project
Students participate with Capitol staff, lobbyist and community leaders in mock committee hearings and a legislative floor session. Our goal is for the students to gain a better understating of the legislative process, their role in state government and the art of policymaking, while encouraging civic participation and promoting civic engagement. High school students get hands-on experience analyzing, lobbying and passing laws that are important to them. Students are urged to regularly interact with their states' political and community leaders and to use this opportunity to discuss the legislative process, current policy issues, and the role of democracy and advocacy within our communities.
African American Youth Leadership Program
A week-long leadership training program for 60 high achieving African American high school sophomores and juniors from throughout California. Students are given tools to succeed in many areas including leadership, state and local government, financial literacy, and career exploration through intense hands-on training and workshops. Students live on campus at California State University, Sacramento (at no cost to them). They also participate in mock legislative hearings and interactive classes led by a wide variety of community leaders and elected officials.
The CLBC Youth Leadership Program seeks to identify and help prepare the next generation to become community, governmental and organizational leaders in the African American community. The primary goal is to increase the pool of black leaders to address pressing issues of education poverty, crime, chronic health problems and high mortality rates in the lower socioeconomic communities. We seek to address these problems by supporting and encouraging high achievement in youth. These youth will receive advanced training, during which they are taught critical thinking and leadership skills. Collaboration in this program with lobbyists, community leaders, corporate leaders and elected officials will offer our participants direct access to a vast knowledge base with infinite experience. Students must be in good academic standing and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applications are not yet available.
CLBC Policy Institute Fellowship Program
The CLBC Fellows Program is open to college students and will be conducted from June 1, 2011 to August 1, 2011. The CLBC Fellowship program affords the Fellows an opportunity to gain valuable experience and insight as they assist in the development of legislative and public policy initiatives while working as legislative staff. Candidates must be college sophomores, juniors, or seniors and have a minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA. Each Member will be responsible for selecting a candidate from their district.
Fellows work 35 hours a week on a range of staff assignments and also have educational enrichment opportunities through seminars on policy and politics. These seminars explore policy issues, the politics of policymaking and policy implementation, and evaluation of policy already implemented. Fellows are also exposed to the history and work of the California Legislative Black Caucus, and prepared to analyze the impact of policies on African Americans and other minority groups.
For more information on the Black Caucus visit http://blackcaucus.legislature.ca.gov/
People Making a Difference in the 26th District:
A SHero is a woman who demonstrates pride, volunteerism and commitment to her community in a remarkable manner. Each year Senator Price honors new remarkable women as "SHeroes", the SHeroes that were honored in previous years act as an advisory body to Senator Price while still continuing all of the activities that warranted them getting the honor in the first place.
In the District:
Huge Turnout For Tri-Caucus Town Hall Meeting on California High Speed Rail Project
Hundreds packed a Town Hall Meeting on the California High Speed Rail Project at the California Science Center on Friday March, 28, 2011, to hear about contracting disparities and opportunities for California businesses.
The Town Hall was convened by Senator Curren D. Price, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus and sponsored by the California Legislative Black Caucus, the California Latino Legislative Caucus, the California Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on High Speed Rail.
The meeting brought together elected officials, business leaders and stakeholders to explore the issues surrounding public contracting, including implementation of the California High Speed Rail Project. Dozens also took advantage of the public discussion forum.
Discussions explored the disparities that may exist in current contracting practices and ways to bolster opportunities for the thousands of small businesses throughout the state.
For more information visit http://blackcaucus.legislature.ca.gov/news/2011-03-24-huge-turnout-tri-caucus-town-hall-meeting-california-high-speed-rail-project
On Sunday, April 10, 2011,Senator Curren D. Price who represents the 26th Senate District was honored at the Los Angeles Children's Earth Day. The Senator was presented an award for his service to education.
On Thursday, April 7, 2011 Senator Curren D. Price was a guest speaker at the Homeownership Made Easy event held at the Westside Regional Center in Culver City.
On Thursday, April 7, 2011 Senator Curren D. Price was special guest at the Latino Professionals Network Mixer "LPN" an organization that meets monthly to discuss business aspects and to network.
For Your Information:
Public Hearings on the Redistricting Commission
The 14 member Independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission will hold a public input meeting in Los Angeles on April 28, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at City Hall. The Commission was created by California voters to draw state Congressional, Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization Districts.
Public participation in drawing these districts is critical to ensuring that communities have the strongest voice possible to express their preferences. When voters with similar interests are drawn into a district together, their voices multiply giving them a greater opportunity to express their views, elect candidates of their choice and hold their leaders accountable.
The Commission is taking testimony from local area residents before drawing its first round of draft maps which will be released in June. Final district maps must be certified by the Commission and presented to the Secretary of State by August 15, 2011.
Citizens wishing to provide testimony to the Commission can learn more about how to effectively present information by going to www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov .
Thursday, April 28, 2011
200 N. Spring St., 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
California Legislative Black Caucus Youth Leadership Scholarship Application Available
The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) Scholarship Program was established to assist deserving students by offering financial assistance to help meet educational expenses. Scholarship candidates must be full-time students in good academic standing at an accredited college or university. Graduating high school seniors with written proof of acceptance at an accredited institution of higher learning are also eligible. The amount of each award is $1,000.00.
To be eligible for selection, candidates must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. and must complete the CLBC Scholarship Application and Personal Statement essay describing why they want to be selected. In addition, two letters of recommendation and a certified copy of the most recent transcript are required and must be submitted with the application and essay.
To identify your representative please visit the California Legislative Black Caucus website at http://blackcaucus.legislature.ca.gov. On the front page under "Find Your Representative" enter your zip code.
The applications must be received at the appropriate representative's address on the last page of the application by May 31, 2011.
Friday, April 1, 2011 – Applications available
Wednesday, May 31, 2011 – Application period closed
Friday, June 24, 2011 – Scholarship Recipients Announced
Click here to download CLBC Scholarship Application
On May 21, 2011, the American Diabetes Association is sponsoring our Diabetes Expo at the LA Convention Center. This event is free of charge and provides an opportunity for all participants to receive free head to toe health screenings, educational programs about diabetes, cooking demonstrations, exercise activities, and far more, all under one tent, on one day.
Los Angeles Public Workshops for Artists
Artist workshops will be held to inform artists about upcoming public art opportunities and how to apply for them. Workshops will be presented by staff from four Los Angeles public art programs, including Metro Art. The workshops are free and open to all. Click here for further details.
At Your Service
|Senator Curren Price with his Capitol and District office staff on the Senate Floor.|
My capitol and district office is dedicated to helping my constituents. If you need help filling out government forms, information on legislation, or assistance in dealing with state agencies, please contact my district office at 213-745-6656 or my capitol office at 916-651-4026 feel free to stop by or click here to submit an on-line form that goes directly to my district office. My office is here to serve you.