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Senator Juan Vargas


Dear Neighbors and Friends,

Summer is here and I am looking forward to continuing a productive legislative session at our State Capitol in Sacramento.  I hope you and your family will have a safe, healthy and fun time enjoying Southern California's beautiful weather. There is still work to be done to get California back on track and I thank all my constituents for their thoughts and concerns.

In this issue, I will be providing information on how to stay healthy and fit and the state resources available to all Californians. This year I have been focusing on promoting healthy lifestyles and partnering with different organizations to combat childhood obesity. Together, we can all take proactive steps to ensure that the next generation will have the knowledge and resources to lead healthy lives.

I hope that you will find this information useful. As always, please feel free to contact my district office if you ever have any questions or concerns at (619) 409-7690 in Chula Vista, at (760) 335-3442 in Imperial County or at (760) 398-6442 in Indio.

Kind Regards,

JUAN VARGAS 40th District




SR 125 Toll Price Drops on June 30th

CA 125 SignI am proud to report that the decrease in toll fees that several local leaders and I supported is now being realized. On May 25, the San Diego Association of Governments' (SANDAG) Board of Directors voted unanimously to authorize an across-the-board reduction in the tolls on State Route 125. Effective June 30th, SANDAG will cut the toll for using SR 125 by as much as 40 percent.

Savings for customers enrolled in the FasTrak electronic tolling system will be especially dramatic. New tolls will range from 50 cents to $2.75 for FasTrak users and from $2 to $3.50 for cash and credit card users. Current tolls are 85 cents to $3.85 for FasTrak users and $2.50 to $4 for cash and credit card users.

New capacity and flexibility were added to the San Diego highway network in December 2011 when SANDAG acquired the lease to operate the SR 125 toll road. Public ownership of the 10 - mile highway enables lower tolls and brings congestion relief to the South Bay decades sooner than expected.

When SANDAG purchased the lease to operate the SR 125 toll road in December 2011, the Board set three key goals: lower the toll rates, divert traffic from nearby I-805 (thereby reducing the need to expand I-805), and generate enough revenue to support the operations and debt service on the facility.

For information, please visit: http://www.southbayexpressway.com/



Healthy, Happy and Fit in the New Year

Vegetables

Since National Nutrition month in March 2012, Senator Juan Vargas has lead efforts within Neighborhood House Association and Episcopal Community Service Head Start centers to promote Healthy, Fit and Happy. Healthy, Fit and Happy is a drive to support local, state, and national efforts to raise awareness on the importance of healthy eating and exercise. The goal of the Healthy, Fit and Happy message is to reduce childhood obesity, increase exercise, and educate children on healthy eating habits.

Using National Nutrition Month in March to kick-off the promotion of this new program, Senator Juan Vargas and his staff have visited over 20 Head Starts in the district doing presentations and promoting the Healthy Fit and Happy message to students and their families. This outreach will continue throughout the district through September when Childhood Obesity and Prevention Week is observed.

For the first time this year, Childhood Obesity Prevention and Fitness Week will be recognized in California during the last full week in September. Childhood Obesity Prevention and Fitness Week is an initiative by the California State Senate that seeks to increase public awareness on health among children and adolescents.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity is now recognized as a national epidemic. Childhood obesity can contribute to low self-esteem, poor body image, eating disorders, and depression. Obesity is a national epidemic and a major contributor to some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. Obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States - triple the rate from just one generation ago. In California, 30 percent of children 10-17 years of age are considered overweight or obese.

Many factors contribute to childhood obesity, including cultural barriers, urban safety, proximity to fast food, and the cost or lack of access to healthier alternatives. Studies have shown that healthy eating habits and exercise can improve a child's ability to learn, self-esteem, and their overall health. Current recommendations state that children should strive for at least 30 minutes daily of moderate intensity physical activity.

For more ideas on fit and fun family activities, tips and resources to help parents and their children learn about healthy eating habits and improve the families overall health, please visit: http://senweb03.sen.ca.gov/ebrochure/SD40/SD40-Health-Fitness.pdf




Become A Donor Today!

Donate a lifeIn 2010 the California Legislature adopted Senate Bill 1395 which became effective on July 1, 2011. Because of this legislation, driver license application forms in California now include two check boxes specific to organ donation: Box (A) is "Yes, add my name to the donor registry" and Box (B) is "I do not wish to register at this time."

Previously, applicants could simply ignore the question and still have their paperwork processed; it is now mandatory to check one of the two boxes. The addition of these two simple check boxes ensures that people will have to take a moment to think about organ and tissue donation.

Providing the opportunity to sign up as a donor at the same time Californians apply for or renew driver licenses or I.D. cards has resulted in nearly 7,000 DMV customers a day checking the "Yes" box on their DMV forms.

If you check the "Yes" box on your DMV form, your registration is automatically transmitted to the state's donor registry, Donate Life California, a nonprofit 501c3 organization, designated by the state's four organ-procurement organizations (OPOS) as California's Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

In 2006, one in five DMV customers was saying "Yes" to organ and tissue donation, while today that number has increased to one in three.

As of May 2012, more than 9,100,000 Californians have registered. An electronic imprint is embedded on the driver license or ID card and registrants' names will be electronically added to the donate life California registry.

Here are some useful facts:

  • Your decision to become an organ donor can save up to eight lives.
  • You can enhance another 50 lives through tissue donation.
  • More than 21,000 Californians (20% nationwide) are on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant.
  • One out of three people will die due to a lack of life-saving donors.
  • Less than 1% of the 250,000 people who die each year qualify as potential organ donors.
  • Strict medical criteria must be met in order for organ donation to take place.
  • Time for a successful transplant is extremely limited.

The organ and tissue donor registry, accessible to all Californians via the Internet and the Department of Motor Vehicles, will help to quickly, succinctly and accurately identify those Californians who have made the decision to save lives.

More information on organ and tissues donations can be found by visisting any of the following websites:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles www.dmv.ca.gov Telephone: 800-777-0133 Hearing Impaired: TTY: 800-368-4327
  • Donate Life California www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org Spanish: www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org Telephone: 866-797-2366
  • California Transplant Donor Network www.ctdn.org Telephone: 888-570-9400 Spanish: 800-588-0024 Vietnamese: 800-564-0068
24 Hr. Donor Referral Line: 800-55-DONOR



Keeping California’s Families Healthy

Your guide to the healthy families program

Children need health insurance to receive preventive care when they are well, and medical treatment when they are sick. Unfortunately, nearly 1.5 million children in California lack health insurance. That's 13 percent of California's child population.

Millions of California's parents work hard each day, and pay taxes, but still cannot provide health coverage for their children. The California Legislature responded to this crisis by introducing the Healthy Families Program.

This program fulfills a long-awaited goal for many hard working, low-income California families – access to comprehensive health care for their children.

Through the Healthy Families Program, children receive comprehensive medical, dental and vision care coverage at an affordable price.

Who is Eligible?

Children may be eligible for the Healthy Families Program if they are:

  • under 19 years old
  • California residents
  • U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants
  • not eligible for or receiving no-cost Medi-Cal
  • not covered by employer-sponsored health insurance within the past 3 months
  • family income is within the Healthy Families Guidelines.

What are the Benefits?

  • Prescription medicine
  • Dental and vision care
  • Regular checkups
  • Physician and hospital services
  • Immunizations and well-baby care

How Much Will it Cost? Your monthly premiums can range from $4 to $24 per month per child to a maximum of $72 per family. The cost depends on the number of children in your family, your household income and the health plan you choose. You can even save money by paying your premiums in advance. For instance, if you pay for three months in advance, the fourth month is free! Co-payments are $5 to $15 for some services. Immunizations and checkups are free.

What is the Healthy Families Program? Subsidized by federal and state government, the Healthy Families Program is an insurance program that helps working families who earn too much to qualify for free Medi-Cal but do not have employer-sponsored insurance. Generally, many of these families cannot afford private health insurance for their children. Now your children can begin receiving the comprehensive medical, dental and vision care they need through health plans already operating in your community.

How Do I Apply? To request a short, mail-in application and to receive assistance in filling it out, call toll-free 1-800-880-5305. You can also get a list of people in your area who will help you fill out your application for free.

HEALTH-E-APP (HeA) You can also access the new easy-to-use, interactive online application process as an alternative. HEALTH-E-APP allows users to track their application status, scan and attach documents, add an electronic signature and immediately correct errors. www.healtheapp.net

For more information on Healthy Families, call toll-free 800-880-5305 or visit online at www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov. The recently enhanced automated phone service now provides information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



National Drug Takeback

Medicine

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. State and local law enforcement agencies throughout California, in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, are conducting National Prescription Drug Take-Back events for the proper disposal of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. Below are helpful hints to help you dispose of unused and expired medication.

FDA Guidelines for drug disposal:

  • Take advantage of community drug takeback programs.
  • DO NOT flush prescription drugs down the toilet. If a take-back program is not available, mix the unwanted medication with used coffee grounds or kitty litter to make them undesirable for consumption, then dispose with your household garbage.
  • When in doubt about disposal, talk to your pharmacist.
  • Remove or destroy any identifying information on the label before throwing away a prescription container, to protect against identity theft.

Each of the following websites offers instruction on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs.

U.S. Department of Drug Enforcement Administration
www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov click on "Got Drugs"

U.S. Food and Drug Administration www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.Html

Office of National Drug Control Policy
www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/pdf/prescrip_disposal.pdf




Paid Family Leave

Doctor with patientThere comes a time when every working parent must make a difficult decision- stay at home with a sick family member or arrange outside help and go to work. Perhaps more time is needed with a newborn or adopted child. Californians no longer have to choose between a paycheck and family. The new Paid Family Leave Law allows you to be there when you need to be.

California is the first state in the country to create a comprehensive paid family leave program. Until recently, the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program offered partial wage replacement for eligible employees who were unable to work due to non work-related illnesses or injuries (including pregnancy and childbirth).

In 2002, historic legislation was enacted to extend this disability compensation to cover eligible employees who need time to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or registered domestic partner, or bond with a new minor child.

As of July 1, 2004, Paid Family Leave insurance benefits became available to workers covered under the SDI program. • All claims to EDD must be supported in writing by a treating physician or Important Facts to Remember • Provides lost wages (up to 55%), but does not provide job protection or return rights • Provides workers some compensation to care for parents, children, spouses or registered domestic partners or bond with a new child • Covers all employees who are covered by SDI (or a voluntary plan in lieu of SDI). Check with your employer first • Offers up to 6 weeks of benefits in a 12-month period • Represents a component of the State Disability Insurance program, administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD) • May be required by your employer to use up to 2 weeks of earned but unused vacation leave

Resources For more information on the Paid Family Leave program or to request claim form: California Employment Development Department www.edd.ca.gov 1-877-BE-THERE (English) 1-877-379-3819 (Spanish) 1-800-445-1312 (TTY)

For more information about job protection, return rights, and the continuation of health benefits while on family leave: California Family Rights Act Department of Fair Employment and Housing www.dfeh.ca.gov 1-800-884-1684 1-800-700-2320 (TDD)

Federal Family Medical Leave Act Department of Labor www.dol.gov

For more specific information on the Family Medical Leave Act, contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor.



Whooping Cough and California’s Immunization Law

FamilyWhooping cough has become more prevalent in California than at any other time in the last fifty years, leading to illness and death throughout the state. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a contagious respiratory disease that is easily spread, and most commonly affects infants and young children. It can be fatal, especially in babies less than a year old. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends vaccination. In response, California is working to educate the public and to prevent the spread of whooping cough.

In an effort to keep families healthy, the California School Immunization Law was expanded in 2010 to include the whooping cough vaccine booster (Tdap) for all students - current, new, and transfers - in both public and private schools.

• For the 2012-2013 school year (and all future school years), all students entering, advancing or transferring into 7th grade will need proof of a Tdap shot before starting school.

Due to these collective statewide efforts, whooping cough cases are dramatically lower. For more information on the Tdap booster, or for information on exemptions allowed under the law, visit the California Department of Public Health website at www.cdph.ca.gov or www.ShotsforSchool.org, or call your doctor for advice or for more information on the new immunization laws. If you don't have a doctor or health insurance, the vaccine and booster are available at all county public health clinics throughout California. The Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) offers free or low cost vaccines for eligible patients18 years or younger. Call your county health department or call 2-1-1 to get a list of low-cost immunization clinics. People with chronic medical conditions or who are at higher risk for health complications should contact their doctor, their local public health department or visit www.cdc.gov for further information.

Tips from the CDC to stay healthy




Farmers Markets

Vegetables

Farmers markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grows the produce. Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. In Imperial County, local farmers grow a variety of crops and are one of California's top five producers of spinach, potatoes, cauliflower, sweet corn, broccoli and onions. These farmers continue to be an important link to local markets and consumers in San Diego and Riverside Counties.

Below is a list of farmers market in the 40th District:

San Diego County

Location

Address

Times

Chula Vista

290 Center Street
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Thursday 3 pm – 7 pm

Chula Vista -
Otay Ranch

2015 Birch Rd,
Chula Vista, CA 91913

Tuesday, 4 pm - 8 pm

Coronado

1201 1st street
Coronado, CA 92118

Tuesday, 2:30 pm – 6 pm

Imperial Beach

10 Evergreen Ave.,
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Friday 1 pm - 7 pm

San Diego -
City Heights

4326 28 Wightman Street
San Diego CA, 92105

Saturday 9 am - 1 pm

San Diego -
Euclid Avenue

606 Euclid Ave
San Diego CA, 92114

Friday 2 pm - 7 pm

San Diego -
Golden Hill

B St.
San Diego CA, 92102

Saturday 8 am – Noon

San Diego -
Market Street

4981 Market Street
San Diego, CA 92102

Friday 2pm - 7pm

Riverside County

Location

Address

Times

Old Town La Quinta CFM (Certified Farmers Market)

78100 Main Street,
La Quinta CA, 92253

Sundays 8am-12:30pm

Palm Desert CFM (Palm Desert Visitors Center)

73-470 El Paseo,
Palm Desert, CA, 92260

Wednesdays 8am-12:30pm

Palm Springs Cultural Center CFM

2300 East Baristo Rd.
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Saturdays 8am-12:30pm




Community Snapshots


Senator Vargas presents students at the San Ysidro Head Start with certificates of recognition for participating in the Healthy, Fit and Happy program.

Senator Vargas calls on Governor Brown to protect low-income working families at the Jeff and Deni Jacobs Child Development Center with (from left to right) Diana Saucedo, single mom, San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn and the center’s President Robin Layton.

Senator Vargas and Assistant Secretary of Navy Juan M Garcia III celebrated the USNS Cesar Chavez christening at NASSCO/General Dynamics.

Senator Vargas congratulates graduates at the Academic Military Recognition ceremony.

Senator Vargas at the American Citizen Club board installation dinner in Brawley.

Senator Vargas welcomes a local group at the 21st annual Mariachi Festival Sin Fronteras in Calexico.



At Your Service

As your State Senator, I am committed to providing the highest quality of public service possible. I want to do everything I can to improve the quality and safety of our community. I am here to respond to your questions and concerns, to make decisions fairly and to put the public’s interest first.

When you call, my office will respond promptly, whether it's assistance with a state agency, information on current or previous legislation, or help in filling out government forms. My office is here to serve your needs. I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to represent you in this community and Sacramento. I look forward to working with you to better our neighborhoods, schools and businesses. If I can be of any assistance, please call or click here to submit an on-line form that goes directly to my district office.

Constituent Services I can assist you if you are having problems in any of these areas:

  • Medi-Cal
  • Auto insurance
  • Consumer complaints
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Child support and child care
  • Disability insurance
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Workers' compensation
  • Franchise Tax Board
  • Government forms and applications
  • Complaints about state departments
  • Small business assistance

Legislative Services I want to know how you feel about issues that I may vote on. Also, if you need information about existing or proposed state laws, please contact my office. I can send you:

  • Copies of legislation and laws
  • Status of legislation
  • Bill summaries by issue area
  • Analyses of legislation
  • Legislative Counsel opinions on state laws and legal issues
  • Legislative Committee rosters
  • Information on other legislators and the legislative process

Community Services If you have an idea for a local project, a problem with a state or local agency that is not getting solved, I can help in these ways:

Public Service Information Various state agencies print handbooks and brochures on subjects which may be of interest to you. Here are a few examples:

  • Mediate between you and government agencies or offices
  • Assist you in obtaining funding for local projects, such as bikeways, parks, schools, or senior citizen programs
  • Bring state experts into your community for technical assistance or advice on local issues
  • Help communicate your concerns to local, state and federal officials
  • Bring state administrators into your community so they hear first-hand about local needs
  • Visit your neighborhood or group to discuss state legislation or programs
  • Consumer protection
  • Small business assistance
  • Tax relief programs for seniors, renters and homeowners
  • Women's rights
  • Landlord-tenant rights
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Credit discrimination
  • Insurance
  • Seniors issues
  • Child care and child support



California State Senator Juan Vargas - District 40
Web site: http://www.senate.ca.gov/Vargas
E-mail: Senator Juan Vargas
Capitol Office:
State Capitol, Room 3092
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4040
Fax: (916) 327-3522
Chula Vista Office:
333 H Street, Suite 2030
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Phone: (619) 409-7690
Fax: (619) 409-7688
El Centro Office:
1224 State St., Suite D
El Centro, CA 92243
Phone: (760) 335-3442
Fax: (760) 335-3444
Indio Office:
45-125 Smurr St., Suite B
Indio, CA 92201
Phone: (760) 398-6442
Fax: (760) 398-6507

California State Senate Majority Caucus (c) 2014 California State Senate