State Senator Holly Mitchell Reviews the Year

cti0griumaa9hxiFrom the offices of your own State Senator, Holly J. Mitchell “Heading into my 7th year in the Legislature, I am honored to have 54 bills signed into law, five of which are being considered as national models –

Senate Bill 443: limits civil asset forfeiture when law enforcement seizes property without a related criminal conviction

SB 1322: ensures services for sex trafficked juveniles instead of criminal prosecution.

SB 1380: coordinates $2 billion in state funds for the homeless toward permanent housing.

SB 1433: ensures access to birth control for jail inmates.

SB 1001: protects workers from document abuse by employers.

The 2016 Budget Act of about $122.5 billion in expenditures and $8.5 billion in reserves was signed by the Governor on June 27, 2016. In the six years that I have been a legislator, this was the best budget yet. Many cuts made during the Great Recession have been restored and new strategic investments in public programs and services are being made that will improve the lives of Californians in a still recovering economy.

As Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, I spent hundreds of hours listening to ordinary Californians and service organizations explain what was needed to make government work better for people. Below are the budget investments I worked hard to include:

Eliminating the Maximum Family Grant limit by investing $220 million toward ending child poverty. Designed to stigmatize and punish, I made ending this bigoted practice my #1 priority and, with the help of many, 130,000 children will now get help meeting some of their basic needs.

Early Care and Education: $145 million to increase pay for providers, also increasing the number of preschool slots for children by about 3,000.

Foster Care: $147 million to encourage foster parent and relative caretaker recruitment, training and support. We also increased services for sex-trafficked children by nearly a third, to $19 million.

Developmental Disabilities: $307 million to strengthen services and increase pay rates for developmental disability assistance.

Housing the Homeless: $2 billion in bond revenues earmarked for mental health services. That’s in addition to $25 million CalWORKs Housing Support and $10 million for housing to help reunify or keep families intact.

Health: $30 million for children’s mental health crisis services. $3 million for Medi-Cal interpreters. $6.4 million for STD and hepatitis prevention. $3 million drug prevention. $2.5 million for Alzheimer centers.

Other Human Services victories: $2 million for food banks; $2 million for CalWORKs Homeless Assistance Program. $3 million for social worker training. $36 million to increase the SSI grant. $15 million to non-profits to help immigrants obtaining naturalization.

Minimum Wage: The Legislature passed an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022, with subsequent indexing for inflation.

Revenue via the Managed Care Organization Tax: In March, the Legislature extended the MCO tax, though with a different structure, which will bring in nearly $1.4 billion to fund Medi-Cal and protect $1 billion in funding from the federal government.

Photo Credit to LAPublic Library – Senator Holly Mitchell reading at Baldwin Hills Branch Library for First 5 California program. 

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