Fall 2023 Newsletter
Fall 2023 Newsletter
Fall is a special time of year in the 23rd Assembly District — from delighting in the changes in the foliage to crowning the world’s largest pumpkin in Half Moon Bay. One reason why fall is so special for me is the conclusion of the legislative year in Sacramento and the chance to spend much more time in the district.
Since my last newsletter, my bills faced their toughest hurdles yet: passage through the State Senate and approval by Governor Newsom. This year, the governor had one of his highest veto rates ever, so I’m very proud that all sixteen of my bills that reached his desk were signed into law. This was a huge win for students, consumers, voters, gun safety advocates, patients, and all Californians who will benefit from these new laws for decades to come.
Now I have the opportunity to spend the next few months at home, meeting with constituents and spending time in communities throughout the district. I hope to see you at one of my upcoming community events or around town!
Scroll down or click one of the buttons below to learn more about what I have been working on.
In this newsletter:
- Gun violence prevention
- Media literacy in schools
- Hotel junk fees
- Helping students keep their financial aid
- Defending democracy
- Out and about in AD23
- Upcoming community events
- Read the full newsletter
Assemblymember, 23rd District
Bills Signed by Governor Newsom
Gun Violence Prevention
Governor Gavin Newsom signed my two smart, bipartisan gun safety bills, AB 1420 and 1598. As a founding member of the Gun Violence Working Group in the Legislature, I authored these bills to move us one more step towards a future where we no longer live under the constant threat of gun violence.
- AB 1420 will crack down on gun shops that are not following California's firearm laws. I partnered with Attorney General Rob Bonta to ensure that the Department of Justice has the necessary authority to enforce California's life-saving firearm laws. We cannot tolerate gun shops flagrantly violating our laws with no recourse.
- AB 1598 will ensure that Californians are fully informed of the risks of gun ownership before they buy a gun. Many people buy firearms because they think it will make them safer at home. The data is indisputable, however: keeping a firearm in your home dramatically increases the likelihood that you or someone you love will be a victim of gun violence. The myth that having a gun at home will keep you safe disproportionately harms women, who are uniquely impacted by the presence of a firearm in the home. In fact, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that the presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.
Media Literacy for all K-12 Students
Children today are inundated by misinformation and disinformation on social media networks and digital platforms, and I’m grateful that Governor Newsom signed my bill AB 873 to teach media literacy to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. As we've seen too often in the last decade, what happens online can have the most terrifying of real-world impacts. From climate denial to vaccine conspiracy theories to the January 6, 2021 attack on our nation’s Capitol, the spread of online misinformation has had global and deadly consequences.
We have a responsibility to teach the next generation to be more critical consumers of online content and more guarded against misinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories. In addition, this instruction will help students be more responsible digital citizens, more intentional about what they put online, and better understand online safety and privacy. Media literacy instruction is essential to keeping our students safer online and to safeguarding the future of our democracy.
Hotel Junk Fees
Californians are fed up with surprise hotel charges like cleaning or resort fees. Reports show that U.S. hotels generate billions of dollars from these junk fees every year.
We’ve all had the experience of going to a hotel website, entering the dates of your stay, picking a room for a certain price, entering your personal information, and then at the very last step the hotel or travel website tacks on surprise resort or cleaning fees. Earlier this year I was charged a destination fee at a hotel. It's a hotel. Being a destination isn’t a special add-on, it’s literally the essence of a hotel. Enough is enough. My bill, AB 537, will ensure that the advertised cost of your hotel stay is the real price you pay.
Helping Students Keep Their Financial Aid
Receiving financial aid has an enormous impact on college enrollment, student retention, and graduation. I’m excited that Governor Newsom signed my bill AB 789, which makes student-centered reforms to financial aid in California.
These changes will narrow graduation gaps among low-income students and students of color and support California’s goal of increasing enrollment numbers across the state’s higher education institutions. Learn more here.
Three bills to strengthen and defend California's democracy
Our democracy is strongest when everyone participates. Over the past seven years, while politicians have sought to undermine our democracy and disenfranchise voters in states across the country, California has been unwavering in our commitment to expand ballot access and strengthen our democracy.
I’ve passed bills to send a vote-by-mail ballot to every active registered voter, create a system to track your ballot and increase transparency, make registration simpler, make ballot language more accessible, strengthen our elections cybersecurity, and increase access to ballot drop boxes.
This new package of election bills continues this critically important work to advance election integrity and ballot accessibility.
- AB 1219 updates and improves the ballot design for voters while providing county elections officials with additional flexibility to reflect the diversity of counties and election systems.
- AB 1037 authorizes county elections officials to offer the option for California voters to fix or cure their Vote by Mail ballot electronically if the elections official determines that the signature does not match, or if the ballot envelope lacks a signature.
- AB 1539, sponsored by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, prohibits a person from voting in both California and another state in elections that occur on the same day.
Recovery Ally Award
It was an honor to receive the Recovery Ally Award from the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals for my work to advance recovery in our state. I authored AB 1130 this year to modernize our laws to humanize those with substance use disorders and treat them with the dignity they deserve.
Out and about in AD23
Staying Healthy Together - Annual Health Fair
This year we held our annual Health and Wellness Fair at Castlemont Elementary School in West San Jose. Thanks to our fiscal sponsors, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the California Dental Association, as well as the many wonderful providers, we were able to provide flu shots, COVID boosters, mental health screenings, dental and vision screenings, healthy groceries, back-to-school supplies, backpacks, and other essentials to hundreds of community members.
Community Gathering for Israel
The barbaric terrorist attack on Israeli civilians shook many of us to our core. It was beautiful to see over 2,000 people standing in solidarity with Israel at the Oshman Family JCC earlier this month. I shared the words of a now-deceased Israeli soldier, Yanai, who would say "we only can see the stars when it is dark." May we all commit to being a star during this dark time.
My heart breaks for the innocent loss of life in Israel and in Gaza. I hope for the immediate return of over 200 hostages, including infants and a holocaust survivor, the quick and complete dismantling of the Hamas terrorist network, and a refocus on a two-state solutions where Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace and security.
Saratoga Community Coffee
Thanks to all who joined me at my community coffee at Big Basin Café in Saratoga, co-hosted by Vice Mayor Yan Zhao, in August. We had a wonderful turnout of dozens of Saratoga residents who brought their questions, comments, and curiosity about who their new Assemblymember was. Important topics including home insurance, wildfire prevention, housing, and gun violence were discussed.
Community Coffee in Pacifica
On September 9, I hosted my first Pacifica Community Coffee with Pacifica Mayor, Tygarjas Bigstyck and spoke to over sixty very engaged Pacificans. It was incredible to see a community that is still new to my district come engage with me on issues important to them. Speaking with community members over coffee and pastries and sharing what I’ve been working on in Sacramento was undoubtedly a 2023 highlight.
Impactful Youth Town Hall
On October 14, I held my fourth Youth Town Hall, and heard from young constituents about the issues that are important to them. Topics they highlighted included housing affordability, the potential expansion of the UC/CSU system, the need to reduce plastic waste and pollution, and safety measures for bicyclists and pedestrians. It was great to learn more about the issues that are impacting young people and I look forward to future AD 23 Youth Town Halls!
Pacifica Fog Festival and Parade 2023
I was so excited to attend this year's famous Pacifica Fog Festival and participate in the parade! The turnout was huge and the energy was so positive and community oriented. There were so many booths representing Pacifica’s local businesses and various organizations. My staff worked one of the booths with Supervisor Ray Mueller and Senator Josh Becker, talking with constituents and sharing information about my District Office. It was incredible to see everyone out and engaging with their community.
For this year's Compassion week, my district office team and I volunteered at Reach Potential to prepare meals for LifeMoves' clients. A fellow volunteer mentioned they'd learned about Compassion Week from an email we'd sent out! Compassion Week is a weeklong local volunteering effort that spans across the Peninsula and the South Bay.
Ribbon Cutting for the Google Visitor Experience
I was honored to join Ruth Porat, President of Google parent company Alphabet, and the Mountain View city council to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new Google Visitor Experience and to recognize Google's longstanding partnership with Mountain View.
Celebrating Shoreline's 40th Anniversary
I had the opportunity to visit and celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Mountain View's famous Shoreline Park. The Park represents a historic preservation of natural resources, innovative park planning, and a place where I've personally made many fond memories.
Virtual Senior Scam Stopper: Thursday, November 2nd, from 2 - 4pm
Join me on Zoom for my annual Senior Scam Stopper Webinar. Scams targeting seniors are on the rise. Tune in to learn how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. RSVP for the Zoom link here.
Campbell Community Coffee: Friday, November 3rd, from 8 - 9:30am
Stop by Orchard Valley Coffee in Campbell next week for a cup of coffee on me. I’ll be there with Campbell Mayor Anne Bybee taking questions and comments from constituents.