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Senator Ben Hueso


Dear Friend,

January marks the beginning of a New Year and new legislative session! After spending the fall recess in the district meeting with community leaders and constituents, my colleagues and I returned to Sacramento on January 6th to begin this year's legislative session. We have a lot on our plates this year, as we continue to develop policies and regulatory oversight for wildfire prevention and response efforts, address our state's increasingly dire homelessness and housing crisis, and incentivize and provide economic opportunities for all Californians in order to pave the way for a more equitable state.

This month, Governor Gavin Newsom released his budget proposal for the year. With additional proposed funding for emergency response, climate change and environmental protection, and housing and homelessness, the state is taking a more aggressive approach to combating these pressing issues in order to improve the lives of all Californians. As the budget process continues through June 2020, I will continue to work with the administration and my colleagues in the Legislature to make sure we are maximizing our state's resources while responsibly preparing and saving for the future.

As always, if you have any questions about anything in this newsletter or need help with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.


Ben Hueso
State Senator
40th District

Events Calendar
01/01: Statutes signed into law in 2019 take effect
01/06: Legislature reconvenes
01/10: Budget must be submitted by the Governor
01/17: Last day for policy committees to hear and report fiscal bills introduced in their house in 2019
01/18: Women's March 2020
01/20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day of Service)
01/22 Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
01/24 Last day for any committees to hear and report bills introduced in their house in 2019
01/25 Lunar New Year
01/27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day
01/31 Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house in 2019
For the complete legislative calendar, please visit: Legislative Calendar



Continuing the Legislature's Oversight of Utilities' Wildfire Response Efforts

Last November, as Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, I hosted an oversight hearing related to utility public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) to understand more about the impact on customers, how we can minimize those impacts, and what is being done by both the government and utility companies to continue to try to reduce overall fire risk. During the first week back in Sacramento for 2020, I held a second Energy Committee Oversight Hearing regarding lessons learned from recent telecommunications services outages during PSPS events, wildfires, and other emergency events.

Telecommunications play a critical role as a lifeline for communities and residents. It is crucial that Californians receive reliable service, especially during emergency events. The testimony identified some areas that may require additional policy or regulatory oversight to bolster our telecommunications networks, and will be extremely helpful in our efforts to prevent and limit the occurrence and impact of future outages.

I will remain on the forefront of this issue as I serve as part of the Senate working group on PSPS and will continue to provide updates. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about utility shutoffs, please do not hesitate to call my office. For additional information and state resources, please visit www.response.ca.gov.

National City Chamber of Commerce 110th Annual Installation and Awards Dinner Program

It was a pleasure attending the National City Chamber of Commerce 110th Annual Installation and Awards Dinner Program in January. The National City Chamber of Commerce represents members in matters related to business, government and community relations. The Chamber helps businesses grow through community partnerships, and works to shape community and economic development in National City. Alongside my good friend Supervisor Greg Cox, I was honored to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Cindy Gompper-Graves – who is retiring after serving as CEO of the South County Economic Development Council since 2003 – in recognition of her countless other contributions to the economic prosperity and progression of our region.

Congratulations to Cindy and all of the honorees, and best wishes in all future endeavors!

Census 2020 Update: Part-Time Jobs Available (Flexible Hours)

The 2020 Census is quickly approaching! We are less than 6 weeks until March 12 when postcards drop in the mail and 9 weeks until Census day on April 1, 2020.

Every 10 years the federal government is required to count everyone living in the US. The information is used to make important funding decisions for roads, education, and public safety in your community. No matter your age or where you live, EVERYONE counts. Immigration status, age, or criminal history DO NOT matter. Every single person living in the United States on April 1, 2020 should be counted.

You can begin responding to the survey in late March 2020 either online or in paper form. If you do not respond by May 2020, Census Bureau employees will come to your home directly to follow-up. By law, information you give on the census form is confidential; the Census Bureau cannot share household or individual data with anyone, including law enforcement or other government agencies.

JOBS AVAILABLE! Looking to help strengthen your community while earning extra income? Apply for a 2020 Census job and help ensure that you and your neighbors have the funding you've earned and the political representation you deserve. The US Census Bureau is hiring half a million people across the country for temporary part-time 2020 Census jobs with FLEXIBLE HOURS, so it can likely fit your schedule even if you have school or another job.

The US Census Bureau is especially in need of workers that look and sound like hard to reach communities. Just like every person should count, every language should count. Use your language skills to help ensure that people who don't speak English aren't left out of the count. To find out more about joining the Census 2020 team or to complete the online application, please visit: https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.


Citizen of the Month: Pastor John Griffin-Atil

(Pastor John Griffin-Atil with District Representative Jose Alvarez)

Pastor John Griffin-Atil serves as Executive Director for the Imperial Beach (IB) Neighborhood Center and is January's Citizen of the Month. Pastor John has a passion for social justice, focusing on providing support to those in the community who seem to be left behind or are "slipping through the cracks." He served as pastor of the IB United Methodist Church from 1993-1999 and 2013-2018. In July 2018, the Church closed and launched the IB Neighborhood Center as a public charity to carry on and expand upon the church's outreach.

The Center is committed to serve all people regardless of religion, race, color, or otherwise, and engages with other nonprofits and businesses to deliver programs and services, such as their food pantry and mass food distribution programs. The IB Neighborhood Center also participates in the Interfaith Shelter Network Program, a rotational shelter program whereby the center houses up to 12 homeless individuals (including couples and families) for two weeks. The Center each morning from 7-9 a.m. also offers free showers to homeless residents, as well as clean clothes, toiletry items, and food.

This past year, and in years past, my office has worked with Pastor John during our annual Thanksgiving turkey drives. Whenever we need his assistance, he has gone above and beyond to lend a hand. This year, our turkey giveaway at the IB Neighborhood Center provided Thanksgiving meals for more than 100 families in Imperial Beach.

Pastor John's commitment to growing the Neighborhood Center and its impact on residents of our community cannot be overstated. We are lucky to have such a passionate, caring individual and organization right here in the 40th Senate District, and I am truly grateful for all of the amazing work that Pastor John and his team at the IB Neighborhood Center are accomplishing.

Nonprofit Organization of the Month: Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)

This month, I want to recognize an incredible nonprofit organization in our district that is helping parents break down barriers to their children's academic success. The Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), seeks to promote economic and social equality for all through education. The organization believes that informed families can improve their children's future and, as such, work to equip families with the knowledge and skills necessary to partner with schools and communities to help their children achieve their full potential.

PIQE is a California statewide and national 501(c)(3) community-based organization, and its "Best Practice Model" has been expanded to 13 states. PIQE opened its first office in San Diego 33 years ago, and the numbers alone are beyond impressive. The San Diego office, located in National City, has served more than 319 schools in 36 school districts in the San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside counties. The San Diego office has seen more than 94,845 parents graduate from PIQE's programs (nearly 100,000!), which translates to enhancing the education of roughly 266,535 students.

Working to inform and motivate low-income and immigrant parents to become knowledgeable about how to navigate the school system and seek the educational opportunities available for their children, PIQE has been honored in the past as America's top community-based organization at increasing Latino student success in college.

A very heartfelt thank you goes out to PIQE's incredible staff and board of directors for the lasting impact their work has had and continues to have in the tri-county region, and I look forward to seeing the number of lives they impact continue to grow!


Covered California Open Enrollment Ends JANUARY 31!

The deadline to enroll in health coverage through Covered California is January 31st. Sign up NOW to make sure you have coverage starting February 1st. Financial assistance may be available for qualified applicants. Find out more or complete your application online at https://www.coveredca.com/.

California Earned Income Tax Credit

Tax season officially started January 27th! As we begin a new tax season, I want to remind everyone about the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). CalEITC is a cashback tax credit for qualified working families and individuals in California.

In 2019, several changes to eligibility helped more than 2 million people claim the credit; a 40% increase in household use from 2018. This year, more changes will go into effect that could greatly expand the use and financial impact of the tax credit. For more information regarding this tax credit and viewing eligibility requirements, please visit https://caleitc4me.org/.

The April 15th tax filing deadline may seem far away, but it is never too soon to make sure you have all of the resources available to complete your filing as thoroughly as possible.

Critical Blood Shortage: Please Donate to San Diego Blood Bank!

Our community is currently experiencing a serious shortage of O positive and O negative blood. All blood types are needed. Walk-ins are welcome! Schedule an appointment at a donor center or mobile drive near you today! (619) 400-8251 www.sandiegobloodbank.org/donate

California's New Rent Control Law

Last year, the State Legislature passed and Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new rent control law for our state. This new law went into effect on January 1st and includes new protections for renters. For more information, please contact a hotline that has been set up to assist tenants: 1-888-428-7615.

ICYMI: Interested in Applying for the Senate Fellows Program?

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2020-2021 California Senate Fellows Program. The program is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country, and provides college graduates with an opportunity to become full-time Senate staff members at the state Capitol in Sacramento for 11 months beginning in October 2020.

Being a Fellow provides an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the legislative process. Fellows experience a broad range of activities conducted in Senate offices, including researching public policy issues, helping develop legislative proposals, and assisting with constituent inquiries and casework. Applicants must be at least 20 years of age and a graduate of a four-year college or university by September 1, 2020.

If you are interested in working as a legislative staffer, or know someone who is, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to apply for the program. Applications are being accepted until February 3, 2020. Learn more by visiting the program's website at: https://sfela.senate.ca.gov/home.


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California State Senator Ben Hueso - 40th Senate District
Representing portions of San Diego County and all of Imperial County.
Web site: http://sd40.senate.ca.gov/
Contact: Senator Ben Hueso
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4035
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4040
Fax: (916) 651-4940
Chula Vista Office
303 H Street., Suite 200
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Phone: (619) 409-7690
Fax: (619) 409-7688
El Centro
1224 State Street, Suite D
El Centro, CA 92243
Phone: (760) 335-3442
Fax: (760) 335-3444

California State Senate Majority Caucus (c) 2019 California State Senate