September 2014 Newsletter
The California State Senate finished its two-year legislative session well ahead of its August 31 constitutional deadline. It marks the first time since 2004 that the Legislature has completed its work before August 31. We took the lead on passing a fourth on-time, balanced budget; placing a critical water bond before California's voters in November; and championed legislation which improved transparency and strengthened the state's Political Reform Act. The Senate also led the way on a measure that makes college campuses safer by improving sexual assault policies and investigative procedures. We rounded out and closed the year with legislative efforts that create jobs, improve education, develop the state's water infrastructure, tackle climate change, revise criminal justice policy, and protect California's natural heritage. It was indeed a successful year.
In our district this month, we place our Community Spotlight on Jesse Montaño. With more than 25 years of experience in the electric industry, Mr. Montaño serves as Director of Infrastructure Development for ZGlobal. Prior to this position, he spent 13 years managing the operation and maintenance of multiple renewable generating facilities in Southern California. I am proud to bring to light to his incredible experience in this highly technical industry.
As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions you may have about our legislative process or about the information that you find in this newsletter.
Community Spotlight: Jess Montaño
Jesse Montaño's experience in the electric industry hasn't kept him from contributing to our community. Recently, Mr. Montaño took the lead in a $375,000 donation to the Imperial Valley College Foundation with the collaboration of Z Global and First Solar. This effort would create an endowment in perpetuity that will allow the college to grant local engineering, science and math students with scholarships and funding for annual internships. This initiative will provide $1,000 scholarships - enough to cover fulltime tuition for two semesters. The endowment will also allow for five Imperial Valley residents each year to earn $1,000 toward their education after completing summer internships within the Imperial Valley power industry. Internships will provide 120 hours of hands-on training and will help the students apply what they've learned in the classroom.
Thank you and congratulations Mr. Montaño for helping to provide experience and increased access to quality education to our students!
Small Business Awards Program
The CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards Program recognizes leadership and innovation among small businesses that take action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, promote climate friendly practices, and integrate sustainability throughout their operations. Since 2009, the program has recognized California businesses and organizations for exemplary environmental leadership, many of which have used the tools on CoolCalifornia.org to determine their carbon footprint, reduce their emissions, and save money.
- Applicant must not be a prior CoolCalifornia Business of the year winner. Note: Previous CoolCalifornia Climate Leader award winners are eligible to compete for a Business of the Year Award.
- Applicant must be a small business as defined by the California Department of General Services.
- Applicant must not be: a franchise; a government entity; a non-profit organization or business; a K-16 educational institution.
- Applicant must be in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations (e.g. air, water, waste, etc.).
- Applicant must be in compliance with any applicable business license, permit, and certificate requirements in the State of California. Refer to CalGold and the U.S. Small Business Administration website for information.
- If the applicant's business is a corporation, it must be in good standing with the Secretary of State.
- Application must be legible and complete. It can be submitted electronically (through the CoolCalifornia website) or by U.S. mail in hard copy.
- Application must be signed by the business owner or someone with signature authority for the business.
Download the Application in PDF format and mail it in or use the online application form. Deadline application period is September 2 - November 3, 2014 (11:59pm PST).
Read more: http://www.coolcalifornia.org/small-business
With September officially designated as National Preparedness Month and the recent earthquake centered in Napa reminding us all of the inherent dangers of earthquakes big and small in California, we have compiled the following information to assist you in preparing for an earthquake. Information can be found both in English and Spanish.
“Be informed, make a plan, build a kit and get involved” are the watchwords of the federal government's effort to encourage the public to be “disaster aware” during September. Additionally, on October 16, millions of people worldwide are expected to practice how to Drop, Cover and Hold beginning at 10:16 a.m. during the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, modeled on California's efforts that began in 2008 (in Spanish).
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make the difference when seconds count. The following websites provide useful general information on earthquake preparedness, including checklists and other helpful guides.
Make a Plan
Putting together an emergency plan may take various forms, but all plans need to take into account communication capabilities, the types of shelter and transportation available for each individual. The public is also encouraged to inquire about emergency plans at work, school or daycare.
Inspecting for Home Hazards
Our homes can be a sanctuary as well as a hazard during an earthquake. Minimizing hazards in the home, such as securing furniture, can go a long way to ensure that your home remains a safe livable space during and after a major tremor.
Build a Disaster Supplies Kit
Californians are encouraged to have enough food, water and other supplies in order to last at least 72 hours following an earthquake. Supply kits should also contain items that would help survivors manage in case of any electricity, gas or telephone outage. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately.
The following websites, in addition to providing earthquake preparedness information, also provide helpful information on responding to other man-made and natural disasters.
For more information on emergency preparedness in general, please visit www.ready.gov which also has information in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto Visits California, Addresses Legislature
On August 25 and 26 Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto travelled to California on an official state visit, making stops in Los Angeles and Sacramento. It was his first official diplomatic trip to the United States since his election on July 1, 2012, although Peña Nieto had met with President Obama during his time as President-elect.
His visit comes on the heels of a California trade mission to Mexico which took place in late July. That official visit was led by Governor Jerry Brown, First Lady Anne Gust Brown, Senate President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León, and a large group of California Assemblymembers and business leaders. Senators Corbett, Correa, Hueso and Lara also joined Senator de León on the trip.
While in Sacramento, President Peña Nieto attended a state luncheon hosted by the Governor and First Lady, and offered an afternoon address to a joint session of the Legislature.
Elected in July 2012, President Peña Nieto is the country's 57th president and assumed office in December of that year. He had previously served as Governor of the State of Mexico from 2005 to 2011. Peña Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party or “PRI” as it is more commonly known because of its Spanish-language abbreviation. The PRI had dominated Mexican politics and its presidency for 71 years, until it lost power in the elections of 2000, led by the National Action Party (PAN) and its standard bearer former Mexican President Vicente Fox.
This important state visit comes at a time of increasing economic cooperation between Mexico and California. California exported $23.9 billion worth of goods to Mexico in 2013, making Mexico the state's largest trading partner. Sharing a common border, the two governments also have promised to work more closely on issues of immigration, climate change, higher education, energy and trade.
California Exports Continue to Grow
California's exporters turned in a strong performance in June, according to a Beacon Economics' analysis of foreign trade data released by the U.S. Commerce Department. The state's merchandise export trade during the month totaled $15.77 billion, up 3.5 percent over the $15.23 billion in exports recorded in June 2013.
Exports of manufactured goods also edged up 1.5 percent in June, increasing to $9.96 billion from $9.81 billion in June of last year.
Meanwhile, the state's exports of non-manufactured goods (chiefly agricultural produce and raw materials) in June totaled $1.95 billion, up 18.9 percent from $1.64 billion from last year. Re-exports also grew by 1.8 percent to $3.86 billion from $3.79 billion.
For the first half of this year, California's merchandise export trade was up 6.3 percent over the same period last year, while overall U.S. exports edged ahead by just 2.9 percent.
Mexico, Canada and China remained the three largest export markets for California. In the last three months, exports to Mexico, the state's largest export market was up 3.6 percent amounting to $6.27 billion. Exports to Canada were valued at $4.39 billion and to China $4.21 billion during this period. Regionally, the Asian Pacific region remained the largest export market, rising by 5.3 percent for a total of $17.1 billion followed by the European Union at $7.59 billion and Latin America and the Caribbean at $2.05 billion.
Approximately 45 percent of California's $44.09 billion of export merchandise shipped in the last three months was sent by air. Close to 33 percent was sent by sea and 22 percent traveled by truck or rail to Canada or Mexico.