May marks an important milestone in our state budget process. Problems viewing this E-mail? Please click here.
Senator Ben Hueso


Dear Friend,

May marks an important milestone in our state budget process. This month Governor Newsom submitted his $100 billion California Comeback Plan to the Legislature. The Governor's May Revision embraces much of the Senate's Build Back Boldly plan including assisting small businesses, expanding access to healthcare, and tackling head-on the current crises of homelessness, drought, and wildfires. The State Senate will now work with our Assembly colleagues to build upon the Governor's bold proposals and make improvements in key areas to craft a final budget that maximizes transformative change for our state. I will continue to keep you apprised as negotiations progress and when we reach a final deal.

Mental Health Awareness Month is observed in May. The past year has been exceedingly difficult for us all, and it's more critical now than ever to highlight the importance of mental wellness and staying connected to friends and family. Together we can destigmatize talking about mental health and make sure that no one ever feels alone in their struggle. If you need to speak with someone, never hesitate to call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text 838255.

As always, if you have any questions about anything in this eNewsletter or need assistance with a state matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to my offices. We are here to help.


Ben Hueso
State Senator
40th District

Events Calendar
5/1: May Day
5/4: National Teacher Appreciation Day
5/5: Cinco de Mayo
5/7: Last day for policy committees to hear and report non-fiscal bills introduced in their house
5/9: Mother's Day
5/14: Last day for policy committees to meet prior to June 7
5/21: Last day for fiscal committees to hear bills introduced in their house and meet prior to June 7
5/31: Memorial Day
For the complete legislative calendar, please visit: Legislative Calendar



Vax for the Win: California's COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive Program

The State of California is investing big in getting more residents vaccinated before the June 15 state-wide reopening. From $15 million in prizes and $50,000 Fridays for ALL vaccinated residents, to $50 prepaid cards for those who get their vaccines on May 27 or later, there is something in it for everyone. Learn more at

State Guidance on Facial Coverings

This month the CDC issued guidelines around masking that is causing confusion for many. To clear things up, the State of California announced it plans to implement the CDC's guidelines to allow fully vaccinated people to go without a mask in most indoor settings beginning on June 15. Until then, the existing state mask guidance remains in place.  This will allow Californians time to prepare for this change while we continue to deliver vaccines. For more information state guidance for masks, please visit

COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for All Californians Ages 12+ 

The website is now open for young people aged 12 and older to make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information about safe, free and effective vaccinations for the 12+ age group, visit

EDD Issues Warning About Text Scams

This month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) issued a warning for Californians to beware of scammers posing as EDD or Bank of America and attempting to get people to give up personal info by text. More info and examples of such text scams can be found here.



May is AAPI Heritage Month, a celebration of the vast and diverse contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the U.S., and a recognition that the AAPI community is integral to our nation's success - past, present and future. This month's "In the Spotlight" honorees fully embody this, dedicating their time and talents to advocating for their heritage and community.

Citizen of the Month: Joe Garbanzos

Joe Garbanzos is the epitome of a trusted messenger. He works to better his community by lending a voice to those whose message needs amplifying, and finding innovative ways to reach diverse and hard-to-reach populations.

Joe is a widely-respected advocate for seniors and, in March 2021, was appointed State President of AARP-CA - the first Filipino American in that role - where he represents 3 million members and 5,500-plus volunteers throughout the state. In this role he advocates for livable communities, caregiving and social impact agenda for seniors aged 50 and older.

Prior to being appointed president, Joe served on AARP-CA's Executive Council for six years and was volunteer leader for Asian American Pacific Islander outreach. He also co-chairs the CA Telehealth Coalition, which advocates for fair access to telehealth services and works to protect telehealth gains for vulnerable populations achieved during the pandemic. He was an integral part of one of the tele-town halls my office hosted early in the pandemic, ensuring critical information reached diverse populations, some of whom were not used to doing things virtually.

Joe also serves as a member of the San Diego County Aging and Independence Services Advisory Council, advocating for residents and caregivers in nursing homes and residential care facilities in the region. Throughout the pandemic he has assisted isolated seniors in National City and Chula Vista with Food Bank deliveries.

Please join me in congratulating Joe on his new role with AARP-CA, and thanking him for all he does to improve outreach and education to our community's most vulnerable.

Nonprofit of the Month: Open Gym


Open Gym is a Creative Collective started by renowned chef Phillip Esteban, a National City native well known for his culinary expertise and ventures. The self-sustaining nonprofit operates as a collection of projects focused on bettering the community and serving underprivileged communities. In its portfolio are projects such as Craft Meals Catering and White Rice, and in-development projects WellFed and Wordsmith.

When the pandemic began, Chef Esteban and his team were getting ready to open their first brick-and-mortar. But with the new restrictions and changing business landscape, they had to adjust their business model. They also knew that many Filipino Americans were being affected by COVID-19, from frontline hospital workers to furloughed employees. Open Gym leapt into action and partnered with World Central Kitchen to start delivering meals to hospital employees, eventually expanding the effort to today having donated more than 100,000 meals to communities in need.

Another example of how Open Gym uses its business ventures to give back to the community is its buy-one, give-one model. For every meal purchased from White Rice, Open Gym matches and donates to those in need. Current distribution partners include the San Diego Food Bank, Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, A Reason to Survive (ARTS) in National City and local community organizations.

I'm looking forward to seeing what else Chef Esteban and his team cook up!


Californians can now get earthquake warnings from Earthquake Warning California

When it comes to earthquakes, it's not a matter of if one will occur, but when. By downloading MyShake App, the State's no-cost earthquake early warning app, and adjusting phone settings, you can get a jump start, in some cases before shaking can be felt, to take protective actions to DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON (or LOCK, COVER, and HOLD ON if using a wheelchair). Learn more at

Real ID Deadline Extended, CA DMV Simplifies Process

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for Americans to obtain a REAL ID until May 3, 2023. But that doesn't mean you have to wait! The California DMV recently announced it has streamlined the process to make it even easier to apply. Visit to see if your license is Real ID compliant and, if not, to get started today.

COVID-19 Safe Business Practices Certification Course

The County of San Diego is hosting a free employee certification course to prepare businesses to provide a safe environment for employees and customers in advance of the statewide reopening. The class will be held online over a two-day period (June 3-4, 2021) and will cover topics such as temperature and symptom monitoring, OSHA regulations, and more. Sign up here, or email for more information.

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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:
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) 2021 California State Senate