Summer is quickly coming to an end, and Legislators have returned to the State Capitol for the final stretch of passing legislation before the end of the year. And even during the summer recess in Sacramento, we had a busy time here in Senate District 13, including moving into our new office in Menlo Park. This new location is more central to the district, making it easier for constituents to access important services.
At the Capitol
In these final weeks of the legislative session, 17 of my bills have advanced. During the summer recess, we also held several events to highlight some of these important bills as they reach their final phases. Here are some highlights of my legislation.
The DELETE Act
Data brokers have access to thousands of data points on all of us, such as geolocation, social security numbers, cell phone numbers, race, and religion; and they sell our most personal information to for-profit corporations. SB 362 the DELETE Act, restores the right of consumers to have control by creating a one-stop-shop website to click “DELETE” and keep our information, including reproductive and gender affirming health care data, and purchasing history, from being sold to data brokers. It further imposes civil penalties and fines on those who fail to comply with the deletion requirements. Political and news commentator John Oliver covered the dangers that data brokers can pose to privacy on a recent episode of his show.
The BASIC Act
Prison canteens sell necessary products such as feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, and deodorant. California prisons currently mark up these daily necessities anywhere from 62% to 200%. SB 474, the BASICS Act, is a social justice bill that will allow us to join other states in reducing the burden of paying for everyday products by incarcerated individuals and their loved ones, by reducing the unfair markups. On August 15, organizations supporting the bill gathered at the California State Capitol to advocate for its passage. You can view the rally here.
Upgrade California Legislative Package
Under the sweltering sun reflecting off the Capitol Dome, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment California asked me to join them in launching Upgrade California, a package of bills to slash carbon emissions across the state in large buildings and in schools, making them safer, cleaner, and more comfortable. The package includes two of my bills. SB 48, reduces carbon emissions in our large buildings–the second largest source of emissions in our state. SB 410 (The Powering up Californians Act), holds PG&E and other utilities accountable for ensuring interconnection upgrades to improve electrification of our grid. As an ice sculpture of the famous California Bear melted in the hot Sacramento sun, our coalition discussed how these bills move California towards Zero. The press conference can be viewed here.
The Annual Bi-Partisan California Legislative All Star Softball Game
On August 21, Democrats and Republicans from Northern and Southern California joined together in a friendly competition to support a worthwhile cause and raise over $57,000 for Mustard Seed School in Sacramento. Mustard Seed provides free private school for children ages 3-15 who are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Mustard Seed School also provides breakfast and lunch meals, mental health services, housing, information, showers, and other survival services. Team Becker turned out in full support of this worthy cause. I went 2 for 3 and avoided getting any major injuries!! The Northern California team squeaked out a victory against Southern California 17-16 on a walk off hit.
AROUND THE DISTRICT
Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis
There is no doubt that California is facing a deadly epidemic with fentanyl, even in our community. Lack of understanding of this epidemic is contributing to tragic overdoses and death. It's important for people of all ages to understand what fentanyl is and how it affects the body, to learn what our government is doing about it, and to hear from families that have lived through tragedy caused by this dangerous substance. That's why I hosted a virtual town hall on "Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis: What's Being Done on the Peninsula?" I will host experts in the field of health policy and parent activists on this topic as well as local elected officials. You can view the town hall here.
ALAS Celebration and Recognition of Nonprofit of the Year
We recently celebrated in Half Moon Bay the recognition locally of Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS) as Assemblymember Marc Berman and my 2023 Nonprofit of the Year, with Dr. Arriaga as our Woman of the Year. Dr. Arriaga is the Executive Director and Founder of ALAS and leads its operations. Staff, family and friends of ALAS came together on the coast with local elected officials, city and county executives and others to enjoy some ice cream and arts and crafts while we recognize the profound contributions that ALAS continues to make to the Coastline community. For years, ALAS has been serving the North San Mateo County Coast farmworker community with a focus on cross-cultural collaboration and building special relationships among farmworker families. Senator Becker and Assemblymember Berman will also honor ALAS with a local celebration in the district later this year.
Our District Office Has Moved!
Our district office, which provides important services to the constituents of the Senate District 13 constituents, has moved to a new location. The new Senate District 13 Office is located at 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025. The office can be reached at (650) 233-2724. Enacting legislation in Sacramento is a significant part of this responsibility, and ensuring that the residents of SD 13 have access to constituent services is equally important. This move better enables residents to voice their opinions and improves access to resources to help with issues related to government agencies. A formal open house with the community will be held later this year.
Back to School
In anticipation of Back to School, I volunteered at several local events giving away backpacks and supplies to students. Working with community leaders, we were able to donate hundreds of backpacks filled with supplies for Ravenswood Community Health and Resource Fair and Samaritan House. When the supply of backpacks ran low, my team ran to the store and purchased 50 backpacks so that returning students were prepared for their first day of school. It was a joy to see kids going back to school to see their teachers and friends, and get ready to learn!
Tour of Pie Ranch
Tour of Pie Ranch August 7, 2023
Earlier this month, the California Climate & Agriculture Network organized a visit to the Cascade Ranch Historic Farm and Pie Ranch in Pescadero. I truly enjoyed my tour of Cascade and Pie ranches and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about sustainable agricultural practices, land stewardship, and the new, electric farm equipment being shared by our Coastside farm communities. My visit stressed the importance of public-private partnerships and in finding nature-based carbon solutions to promote climate resilience in the San Mateo County agricultural community. And of course, the strawberry streusel pie was delicious!
Wildfire Prevention and Preparedness
The wildfires in Lahaina, Hawaii, underscore the need for Californians to continue to be vigilant and prepare for wildfire season. We are still in the midst of fire season, and the smallest fire can quickly turn into a devastating catastrophe. For information on guidance on defensible space, fire safe landscaping and evacuation planning from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), go to readyforwildfire.org.
FAFSA Deadline is Right Around the Corner
September 2nd is the deadline to apply for the California Community College students to apply for a Cal Grant through the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Don’t miss out on the opportunity to receive free financial aid! You can submit an application now and decide which college you want to attend later. Fill out a free financial aid application by the September 2nd deadline! Take the first steps here: https://www.csac.ca.gov/how-apply.
Josh Becker in the News
- ‘Fentanyl is no joke’: San Mateo County leaders talk risks and tools for addressing fentanyl crisis, September 1, 2023
- Sen. Josh Becker to host town hall on fentanyl crisis, August 30, 2023
- California could make it easier to scrub your personal data from the web. Businesses are pushing back, August 29, 2023
- Transit in the Bay Area (By Sen. Josh Becker) August 23, 2023
- States explore adopting building performance standards policies, August 21, 2023
- California lawmakers push to cut fossil fuels, greenhouse gases from millions of buildings, August 18, 2023
- Local elected officials unite in opposition to huge builder's remedy project in Menlo Park: High-rise project aims to replace former Sunset Magazine headquarters at 80 Willow Road with hotel, housing, offices and research space. August 18, 2023
- CA ‘Delete Act’ to protect online data gains ground, key agency endorsement, August 7, 2023
- Elected officials vocal in opposition to proposed project at 80 Willow Road, August 12, 2023
- New state budget includes resources for Coastside, July 25, 2023
- Community Services Agency receives $1.5 million from the state to upgrade Mountain View facility: Funding will help ease space and storage constraints at Stierlin Road, July 18, 2023
And as always, my office and I are here for you!
If you need assistance with a state agency, need information about state programs or want to express your position on legislation or public policy issues, please do not hesitate to contact me at (650) 212-3313 or email@example.com. You can always follow me on Twitter at @SenJoshBecker and on Facebook at fb.me/Sen.Josh.Becker.
Senator, 13th District