Janet's Journal: June 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Dear Friends
Around the 34th Senate District
Around the Capitol
In the Community
Legislative Round Up
Community Events

Dear Friends:

With Spring coming to an end, and schools letting out for Summer Break, June is shaping up to be an exciting month throughout the 34th Senate District. There is never a shortage of exciting and fun Summer activities to enjoy in Orange County and Long Beach for the entire family. For a full list family friendly events happening in Orange County, you can click here. For Long Beach residents, a calendar of Summer activities is available here.

Thanks for reading, and as always I am proud to present the latest news from around the 34th Senate District and Sacramento!!


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Memorial Day Commemorated Across the 34th Senate District

In observance of Memorial Day, services were held across the Thirty-Fourth, paying tribute to the service members who gave their lives in the service our nation. Our Fallen Heroes were honored for their unselfish sacrifice to the protection of our basic freedoms and democracy.

Image of Senator Nguyen speaking at Memorial Day Service
Senator Nguyen delivers remarks at the Tri-City Memorial Day Service in Santa Ana.
Image of Senator Nguyen at Fairhaven
Senator Nguyen pays tribute to our nation’s Fallen Heroes at the Fairhaven Memorial Day Service in Santa Ana.

Image of Color Guard
Color Guard retires the colors during the Memorial Day Service at the World War II National Submarine Memorial.

California Department of Housing and Community Development awards grants to Interval House

Interval House, a non-profit corporation in the City of Huntington Beach received two awards from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG). The grants amount to $400,000 and will help assist Orange and Los Angeles County residents who are at risk of becoming homeless.

The federal government established the ESG program in 2009 through the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act and the HCD awards grants to eligible recipients. The program seeks to eliminate homelessness statewide by providing opportunities for individuals and families to achieve economic and social independence. Counseling, substance abuse treatment, and job preparation are among the services made available to program participants.

Thanks to the additional state funding, Interval House’s Emergency Shelter and Rapid Re-housing programs will be able to continue their mission of ensuring the safety of people who are battered, abused, or at risk; creating public awareness about the epidemic of violence; and mobilizing the community to prevent violence.

Interval House was founded in 1979 and offers specialized treatment programs and services, from emergency shelters and counseling to human trafficking and substance abuse recovery. These services are offered in over 70 different languages for both youth and adult victims in the counties of Los Angeles and Orange.

Twelve Local Schools Recognized as “California Gold Ribbon Schools”

The California Department of Education has designated twelve public schools in the 34th State Senate District as “Gold Ribbon Schools.” The state created the California Gold Ribbon Schools Award to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is currently on hiatus while the state creates new assessment and accountability systems. The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award seeks to recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. The award was given to only 373 schools out of the more than 2,600 middle and high schools in the state.

The 12 schools in the 34th Senate District that received this prestigious honor are:

 •  South Jr. High School (Anaheim)  •  La Quinta H.S. (Garden Grove)
 •  Harry Fulton M.S. (Fountain Valley)  •  Pacifica High School (Garden Grove)
 •  Masuda M.S. (Fountain Valley)  •  Fitz Intermediate (Garden Grove)
 •  Talbert M.S. (Fountain Valley)  •  Los Alamitos H.S. (Los Alamitos)
 •  Bolsa Grande H.S. (Garden Grove)  •  McAuliffe M.S. (Los Alamitos)
 •  Walton Intermediate (Garden Grove)  •  Oak Middle School (Los Alamitos)

Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award only recognized middle and high schools this year and will recognize elementary schools in 2016. To find more information about the Gold Ribbon Schools Award, click here.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is looking for new members to serve on Teen Council for 2015-2016 school year

Image of OCTA logoStudents involved in OCTA’s Teen Council will be introduced to OCTA projects covering diverse subjects that affect transportation decisions in Orange County. These include land use, environmental equity and impact, transportation and planning, legislation, marketing, ride sharing and transit modes. Students will also have the opportunity to work together on projects that will impact the way OCTA promotes services, specifically for teens.

The teen council will hold monthly meetings, giving members opportunities to build leadership and teamwork skills, enhance critical thinking and communication skills, demonstrate commitment, generate forward thinking ideas, and work together with OCTA staff to develop and implement strategic, collaborative projects.

The application is now open and will close July 31, 2015 and is open to high school students between the ages of 13 to 18.

More information about the OCTA Teen Council can be found online at the website here. If you have any questions, you can contact Lauren Thompson at lthompson@octa.net or by phone at (714) 560-5349.

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Senator Janet Nguyen’s Bill that Expands Child Tax Credits for Working Families Approved by Senate Governance and Finance Committee

The Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee unanimously approved Senator Nguyen’s legislation, SB 268, which provides a tax break to more working parents. Specifically, the bill would allow working families with incomes of $250,000 a year or less to receive a deduction in the qualifying expenses used to calculate child care tax credits. Under SB 268, the qualifying income will increase from $100,000 to $250,000, thereby increasing the number of families eligible to receive tax credits for child care costs.

With the cost of child care reaching an average of $12,068 a year for one infant, Senator Nguyen acknowledges that families are struggling to afford child care, which impacts their ability to go back to work or maintain a job. As a working mother of two, Senator Nguyen understand the financial pressures that come with child care expenses.

Giving more working families a tax break will help alleviate the high cost of child care in a State that has a high cost of living. Senator Nguyen hopes to assist all families, especially those where both parents work and where there is no other option but to pay for childcare.

The First 5 Association of California, Learning Care Work, Inc. and North Valley Caring Services have all expressed support for SB 268. The bill is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Janet Nguyen introduces legislation that removes college student tax liability on forgiven federal loan debt

Following the closure of Corinthian Colleges, many former students are now seeking a partial or full discharge of their student loan debt. Unfortunately, if their debt is cancelled, discharged, or forgiven, that debt may be subject to state (and federal) income tax. To aid these students, Senator Janet Nguyen introduced Senate Bill 150 to remove tax liability on forgiven federal loan debt for students who choose to forgo the credits that they earned.

On May 4th, Corinthian Colleges filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed all of its remaining campuses. Corinthian Colleges had originally announced plans in July of 2014 to sell 85 of its 107 campuses after numerous state and federal investigations over allegations of aggressive and fraudulent marketing, as well as unfair financial aide practices. Corinthian Colleges is the parent organization of Heald, Everest, WyoTech, and an online school, Everest College Phoenix. The recent closures included locations in Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Long Beach.

Nearly 16,000 students across the nation, 13,000 of whom live in California, are now unable to complete their degrees but are still being held responsible for the student loan debt they incurred.

According to the Federal Higher Education Act of 1965, students in this situation have two options: they can give up the college credits they earned and have their federal student loan debt forgiven by the federal government; or they can keep their credits and transfer them to another college that elects to accept them and would continue to be responsible for the repayment of those loans.

Unfortunately, students who opt for loan forgiveness are penalized because under federal and state tax law the discharged debt is treated as income to the student, creating a taxable liability. Consequently, students who receive a closed–school loan discharge must pay both federal and state income taxes on the discharge benefit received.

Federal and state regulators have filed suits against Corinthian Colleges accusing them of falsifying placement rates, deceptive marketing and predatory recruiting of low-income students that qualified for federal student loans. It is estimated that nearly 85% of the company’s revenue last year came from federal loans and grants.

SB 150 is jointly authored by Senator Janet Nguyen and Senator Bob Huff, and co-authored by Senators Fuller, Bates, Berryhill, Morrell and Vidak.

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Senator Nguyen with American Legion

Senator Nguyen joins colleagues to commemorate Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month.

Senator Nguyen meets Veterans

Senator Nguyen meets with representatives from California State University, Fullerton to discuss the funding of the California State University system.

Senator Nguyen with Cambodian Community

Senator Nguyen and her son, Tommy, were proud to take part in this year’s Garden Grove Strawberry Festival.

Senator Nguyen holding portrait

Senator Nguyen office presents a resolution to Santa Ana community leader George Upton for his tireless commitment to helping children with special needs.

Senator Nguyen with National Asian American Coalition

Senator Nguyen joins with the community to celebrate the 2559th birthday of Buddha, also known as Vesak Day.

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Senator Nguyen voted in favor of the following bills:

Supporting Local Law Libraries
SB 711 (Wolk) would allow county law libraries to expand the amount of services they can provide to the public. The bill would allow for services such as photocopying library book pages, electronic delivery of books, messenger and other delivery services, educational programs, special events, and the provision of supplies or food services. (Orange County Public Law Library sent a letter in support).

Transportation Funding
SB 508 (Beall) will normalize the criteria for the distribution of transit funding from a variety of state transit funding sources to ensure that urban transit systems receive their full funding amount. The bill will help reduce the volatility in transit funding to ensure predictable and stable ticket prices for passengers of public transportation.

Protecting the Elderly
Legislation that would close loopholes that restrict a prosecutor’s ability to protect victims of elder abuse. AB 352 (Block) would protect victims of elder abuse by using the same protective orders that are available to victims of domestic violence and stalking and allow up to 10 years of protection.

Protecting Schools
SB 110 (Fuller) would make it a crime for anyone who threatens violence on school grounds via any electronic device to be punished by imprisonment. This bill will provide more protections to schools by expanding the scope of the law that deals with threats to schools.

Helping the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities
SB 371 (Hancock) clarifies that school districts have the power to exempt some elderly individuals on a fixed income and people with disabilities from the parcel tax. This bill will make it easier for financially vulnerable members of our society to stay in their homes.

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Seal over CaliforniaLos Alamitos

City to hold summer Music and Movies Event Series

Beginning June 27th, the City of Los Alamitos Recreation & Community Services Department will hold their summer Music and Movies Event Series, presented by the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Commission. Come and enjoy four different Saturdays of music and an outdoor movie that is free to Residents. Family friendly live music and entertainment from live music from bands and local groups will entertain all generations from 6:30pm to 8:00pm with a movie to follow. Every event will include raffle prizes, activities for children, and food or refreshments for sale. For the event schedule and a full list of the featured movies and bands, you can visit the city’s website here.

Image of city of Westminster sealWestminster

City of Westminster to hold Annual Flag Day Celebration

On June 15th, the City of Westminster will hold their annual Flag Day Celebration at the Civic Center, located at 8200 Westminster Blvd. The event will include patriotic music and remarks. Refreshments will be served and families are encouraged to bring their children to this meaningful patriotic event.

For more information, you can visit the city’s website here.

Image of City of Anaheim sealAnaheim

Anaheim to hold 20th Annual Flag Day Parade

On June 14th, the City of Anaheim will hold their 20th Annual Flag Day Parade, starting at Lemon St. and Adele. The Celebration and Parade will include stage performances from local artists, a special tribute to World War II Military Veterans, and the presentation of Flag Day essay contest winners.

For further details please visit the Anaheim Flag Parade website here.

Image of the Huntington Beach sealHuntington Beach

Huntington Beach Council on Aging to present Annual “on course” Golf Tournament

The Huntington Beach Council on Aging will present the 23rd Annual “On Course” Golf Tournament! To be held on Friday, June 19th, at Meadowlark Golf Club in Huntington Beach. The day begins at 10:30 am with a putting contest, then a barbecue lunch followed by a shotgun start at 1:00 pm. After the golf tournament, there will be a buffet awards dinner at about 6:00 pm with raffles, auctions and other fun activities.

Proceeds from this golf tournament will help support seniors, low income seniors, and seniors’ families through many beneficial programs offered by the Michael E. Rodgers Seniors’ Center and Huntington Beach Seniors Outreach Center. Senior Services provides a wide variety of services, classes, activities and clubs designed to support seniors in staying healthy, active and independent.

For further golf and sponsorship information for this year’s tournament you can visit the event’s website here, or call the Huntington Beach Council on Aging at (714) 374-1524.

For further details, you can visit their website here.


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