Janet's Journal: April 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015
Dear Friends
Around the 34th Senate District
Around the Capitol
In the Community
Legislative Round Up
Community Events

Dear Friends:

Welcome to the debut issue of my Senatorial edition of Janet’s Journal! Since taking office in December 2014 as the Senator of California’s 34th Senate District, I have been hard at work ensuring that the voices of the residents of the 34th Senate District are heard in Sacramento.

To ensure that we stay connected, my goal is to bring you a newsletter that features news, legislation, and events that are important to the residents of the 34th Senate District. As I want the newsletter to be a valuable resource, I invite you to please share any feedback or suggestions that you may have.

Without further adieu, I am proud to present to you the latest news from around the 34th Senate District and Sacramento!


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Around the 34th Senate District

Senator Nguyen Launches New Bill Proposal Initiative

Senator Janet Nguyen’s recently announced that Constituent Bill Proposal forms are now available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. This convenient resource will allow constituents to share their legislative proposals with Senator Nguyen in their preferred language.

“As representative of a district with a linguistically diverse population, I pride myself in ensuring that resources are available in as many languages as possible,” said Senator Nguyen. ”Constituents have first-hand knowledge of issues that need a legislative fix so I want to hear from them. I hope that having the Constituent Bill Proposals forms in English, Spanish and Vietnamese will encourage more constituents to share their legislative ideas with me.”

Constituent Bill Proposal forms are available online via Senator Nguyen’s website or in person at 2323 N. Broadway Suite 245, Santa Ana, CA 92706. Once received, Senator Nguyen will review the legislative proposals and consider them for future bill packages.

Mile Square Park Holds Fourteenth Annual Kids’ Fishing Derby

Senator Nguyen attended the 14th Annual Kids’ Fishing Derby at the North Lake at Mile Square Regional. The Fishing Derby was organized and hosted by Park OC Parks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Angler Chronicles. The lake was stocked with over 3,300 pounds of trout and catfish. Hundreds of parents and children took part in the day’s festivities, which included competitions and free fishing clinics for young anglers.

Job Seekers Attend Annual Central Orange County Job Fair

To assist Orange County job seekers in finding employment, Senator Nguyen’s office partnered with the Orange County Workforce Investment Board, Orange County First District Supervisor Andrew Do and the City of Fountain Valley to organize the Central Orange County Job Fair on March 18th. Workshops were available that assisted job seekers in learning how to contact employers, how to make a good first impression, how to fill out job applications, and how to build a competitive resume. More than fifty potential employers were present from across Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

Tet Celebrations For 2015, A Huge Success!

Senator Nguyen took part in the Lunar New Year Celebrations, known in the Vietnamese-American community as Tet. The Tet festivities took place all across the 34th Senate District and Senator Nguyen was delighted to join thousands of residents as they gathered in local temples and community centers to help ring in the New Year.

The festivities culminated in the annual Tet Parade along Bolsa Avenue in the City of Westminster, the largest Tet Parade in the United States. The resounding success of the Tet Parade and the Garden Grove Tet Festival would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the local community leaders.

The Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans Complete West County Connector Project

After four years in the making, Caltrans and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) marked the completion of the West County Connector project, which will bring congestion relief where three major freeways (Interstate 405, Interstate 605 and State Route 22) converge.

The completion of the project will help ease the commute for hundreds of thousands of residents who travel the connector every day. Furthermore, the project will go a long way in increasing safety by reducing the merging and weaving previously necessary to transition between carpool lanes, getting motorists to their destinations sooner.

The six mile project constructed two new direct carpool connectors eliminating the need to exit and re-enter the carpool lanes when transitioning to adjacent freeways; added a second carpool lane in each direction on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) between the Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22) and San Gabriel Freeway (I-605); and reconstructed six bridges to add an additional carpool lane. In addition, the installation of new sound walls, retaining walls and landscaping help reduce noise and enhance the aesthetic qualities of the commute through the cities and communities of Garden Grove, Westminster, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Long Beach and Rossmoor.

Senator Nguyen Collaborates on the Free Income Tax Preparation and Family Resource Fair at California State University, Long Beach

In conjunction with the Chairman of the California Board of Education Jerome Horton and other local elected officials, Senator Nguyen proudly collaborated on the Free Income Tax Preparation and Family Resource Fair March 21st at California State University Long Beach campus.

The event featured free tax preparation assistance, low-cost and free medical services, job preparation assistance, food and nutrition services, discount telephone services, low-cost auto insurance and health screenings for glucose, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI).

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Around the Capitol

Senator Nguyen Stands with other Legislators and Veterans urging the immediate removal of swastika display in Sacramento’s River Park community

Senator Nguyen stood with her fellow lawmakers, Veterans, and leaders of the local community calling for the removal of a swastika display in the Sacramento River Park Neighborhood. The display of the swastika, is not just an insult to Holocaust survivors and those who suffered under the Nazi regime or the brave men and women who fought to defeat Nazism, it is an insult to anyone who continues to fight against hate and bigotry to this day.

Senator Nguyen would like to thank her colleague Senator Marty Block for convening the news conference and her fellow legislative colleagues for attending to address this display of hate.

Senator Nguyen and Colleagues Announce Legislation that Prohibits State Funded Campuses from Banning the U.S. Flag

On March 9th, Senator Nguyen and several of her colleagues jointly announced the introduction of Senate Constitutional Amendment 2, which would prohibit state funded colleges and universities from banning the flag of the United States of America on school property.

The introduction of this legislation was prompted by an incident that occurred at the University of California, Irvine where the Legislative Student Council passed a resolution banning the displays of all flags, citing potential negative interpretations of the flag. While the Executive Cabinet of the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine voted to veto the ban of the flag; this has drawn attention to a potential problem that could arise in other California campuses. For more information, Click Here.

Senator Janet Nguyen introduces legislation that places 5-year tuition freeze on UC System and limits the admission of out-of-state students to 10 percent

In an effort to improve access to education for California students, Senator Nguyen introduced a constitutional amendment that prohibits the University of California from increasing tuition fees for undergraduates for a period of five years and limits the admission of out-of-state undergraduate students to 10 percent at each UC campus. The bill is co-authored by Senators Patricia Bates, Jean Fuller, Jeff Stone, and Andy Vidak.

The legislation will ensure that the doors of California Universities remain open for California students. That is why it is vital for tuition fees to remain stable and require that 90 percent of university slots are available only to California students.

This legislation was prompted by University of California President Janet Napolitano’s threat to restrict the number of California undergraduate students who can enroll in UC schools if the UC System does not receive more money from the state. Disappointed by President Napolitano’s announcement, Senator Nguyen worked diligently to craft a legislative proposal that ensures that California students continue to have access to the UC system.

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In the Community

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen stands with fellow Legislators and Veterans as she introduces legislation that would prohibit state funded colleges and universities from banning the flag of the United States of America on school property.
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen and fellow legislators present a resolution recognizing the contributions of the Aerospace Industry to the California economy.
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen with the Chairman of the California Board of Equalization Jerome Horton and the Dean of CSULB’s College of Business Administration Michael Solt at the Free Income Tax Preparation and Family Resource Fair.
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen takes part in a bipartisan ceremony to rededicate the Capitol’s Rose Ann Vuich Hearing Room. The portraits of 42 women Senators who have served or are currently serving in the California Senate were unveiled.
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen and her son Tommy take part in the Annual Lunar New Year (Tet) Parade in the City of Westminster. The Annual Tet Parade in Westminster is the largest Tet Parade to be held in the United States.
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen and her son Tommy greet the excited parade-goers at the Annual Tet Parade in Westminster.
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center
Senator Nguyen with the crew of the TV Show Angler Chronicles at the 14th Annual Fishing Derby at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.

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Legislative Round Up

Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC): Program Overview, Recidivism Rates, and Evolving Best Practices

The Senate Veteran Affairs committee held a hearing to review how collaborative justice courts help redeem military veterans, who have become nonviolent offenders, and support veterans in their struggles with addiction, serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders. Participants, including presiding judges, helped explain how the VTC model works, its successes, challenges, and emerging best practices.

Child Victims of Human Trafficking Fund:

Senator Nguyen voted to provide the Office of Emergency Services (OES) with additional funds to aid the Child Victims of Human Trafficking Fund. OES helps serve minors who are victims of human trafficking through granting community-based organizations funds to provide services.

Public Safety Communications Network Operations Center

Senator Nguyen voted to give OES funds to support the communications network for the state’s public safety first responders.

Internet Crimes Against Children

Senator Nguyen also voted for a budget request that will provide $500,000 to support the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) grant program. The program was set up to target sex offenders who use the Internet to target children, and provide resources, such as educational programs, to teachers, parents and law enforcement.

Missing Children’s Reward Program

The governor also submitted a proposal in his budget request that would provide more funding for the Missing Children’s Reward Program (MCR). Established in 1986, the MCR encourages witnesses to come forward and share information that can help locate missing children. Currently, there is not enough money in the MCR to a give a witness the $500 reward. Senator Nguyen voted in favor of a more stable funding source.

The STARBASE program

Among the budget proposals of the governor was a proposition to provide the California Military Department (CMD) a $400,000 increase in funding for the STARBASE program. In place at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos the STARBASE program was created to improve the science and mathematics education of fifth grade students. Senator Nguyen voted in favor of this measure, as it provides more support to staff in meeting the requirements of the program.

Air National Guard Security Positions

Senator Nguyen also voted to provide the CMD more funds to hire 15 active duty security positions throughout the state

Special Olympics

In late July, Los Angeles will be hosting the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Senator Nguyen voted in favor of a one-time $799,000 fund increase to CMD for services to support the event.

Proposition 1C Local Assistance

Senator Nguyen voted in favor of keeping construction loans open for developers who work on projects for the Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) and the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Program. IIG and TOD fund projects that create, develop and rehabilitate parks, support pedestrian and bicycle transit, and develop of rental property near rail stations to promote smart growth strategies.

Addressing Health Disparities in California

On March 11th the Senate and Assembly Health Committees held a joint informational hearing to educate the Legislature and the public about what health disparities are, how Affordable Care Act payment reforms might exacerbate disparities, what disparities look like for the majority of Californians, and how the Department of Health Care Services, Department of Public Health, Covered California, and health care partners should be identifying and addressing those disparities.

Medi-Cal Dental Program, Audit Report 2013-125

The Bureau of State Audits (BSA) released an audit in December 2014 entitled “Weaknesses in Its Medi-Cal Dental Program Limit Children’s Access to Dental Care.” The BSA audit examined beneficiary utilization, provider participation and reimbursement rates paid to providers of Medi Cal dental services. BSA concluded that children’s use of Medi-Cal dental services was low, that many California counties may lack a sufficient number of dental providers, and DHCS’ rates for Medi-Cal dental are low. The committees heard from the State Auditor, affected stakeholders and DHCS on how to improve the Denti-Cal program, including how to address the low utilization rate of children’s dental services in the Denti-Cal program.

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Community Events

Fountain Valley: Recreation and Community Services Department Announces Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The Fountain Valley Recreation and Community Services Department is pleased to announce that the 2015 Easter Egg Hunt is just around the corner! Festivities will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2015 from 8:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the Fountain Valley Sports Park, 16400 Brookhurst Street. There will be free carnival games, crafts, face painting, bounce houses, and much more!

A pancake breakfast, provided by the Fountain Valley Kiwanis Club, will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The breakfast includes pancakes, sausage and a beverage for only $5.00 Don’t forget to get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny for only $2.00 per picture! The proceeds from the breakfast and pictures will go towards the Fountain Valley Kiwanis Scholarship Foundation. Egg Hunts will run continuously for ages 11 and under from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Parents are encouraged to remain out of the hunt areas so children can enjoy their own goodies. Please remember to bring your own basket or sack for eggs and treats. For more information on this event or any of the city’s recreation activities, please call 714-839-8611 or visit the Fountain Valley website here.

Los Alamitos: City of Los Alamitos Recreation & Community Services Department to Host Annual Spring Carnival

The City of Los Alamitos and AYSO Region 159 will host their annual Spring Carnival on Saturday, April 4th from 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. at Little Cottonwood Park (4000 Farquhar Ave). This event is free to attend and is for children ages 1-14 years and their families. There will be three egg hunt areas (age groups 1-3, 4-7, 8-14) with the first egg hunt starting at 9:30 a.m. Come out and enjoy fun activities, carnival games, prizes, food trucks, and take a photo with Peter Rabbit! Don’t miss out on the fun!

For more information, please call the City of Los Alamitos Recreation and Community Services Department at (562) 430-1073.

Huntington Beach: Huntington Beach Central Library to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

The city of Huntington Beach is celebrating 40 years of the Central Library in Central Park and the public is invited to join the fun! The Richard Neutra designed facility was opened on April 7, 1975 and to commemorate this anniversary, the city has lots of games and activities planned. There will be story times, face painting and crafts for the kids, plus trivia, bingo, library tours, scavenger hunts, and even disco dancing for all ages. The celebration starts when the doors open at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7th. Best of all, it’s all-FREE! - to learn more you can visit the library’s website here.

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