In the News


San Francisco Chronicle: About 2.4 million Californians will have to wait weeks to receive new extended jobless benefits, according to the state Employment Development Department, which has struggled throughout the pandemic to handle a deluge of unemployment claims. The new delays apply to self-employed people and those on a federal extension plan. “We shouldn’t ask people who are out of work, who don’t have any money coming in, to wait,” said state Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park. “That’s the reason we have unemployment insurance. It just shouldn’t take this long.”

San Mateo Daily Journal: The shift from at-large to district elections will happen to all government agencies eventually. And every government agency should begin the process of doing it right now. There are arguments for and against. The arguments don’t matter because the California Voting Rights Act essentially requires the move to district elections to comply. So why not compel it legislatively? I asked newly minted state Sen. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo, if he might pursue such legislation and he said he would be interested in learning more. It may not be popular legislation with cities and districts… but it will save them money in the long run. And isn’t that the role of state government to take that higher view?

The Davis Vanguard: As documented by the Brennan Center for Justice, as of mid-February, 2021, state lawmakers across the nation have carried, pre-filed, or introduced at least 253 bills with provisions that restrict voter access in 43 states. The Brennan Center notes that a quarter of voting and election bills seek to limit vote by mail (VBM) procedures. These VBM bills would limit who can vote by mail (e.g., by limiting “no excuse” mail voting, requiring that mail-in ballots be notarized, eliminating mail-in ballot drop boxes) and/or would make it harder to obtain ballots (e.g., by eliminating the permanent early voter list). California, on the other hand, is one of some 37 states that have introduced expansive bills focusing on mail voting, early voting, voter registration, and voting rights restoration. One such bill is SB 503 authored by Senator Josh Becker.

KPIX 5/CBS SF Bay Area, 3/19: Following the announcement from the CDC, Bay Area state Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo) called for California counties to align their guidance on school distancing with the CDC. “I urge the state and our counties — including the counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara, which I represent — to swiftly align with the new federal guidance so local districts have the flexibility needed to safely get students back in classrooms,” said Becker. “With many teachers now being vaccinated, and data demonstrating the safety of school reopenings, we can and should do everything we can to give students the opportunity to learn in the classroom as soon as possible.”

InMenlo: State Senator Josh Becker is holding an online town hall, Resilience and Recovery in 2021, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, March 23. He’ll provide an update on the COVID response in the 13th Senate District, discuss efforts to reopen schools, what’s in California’s stimulus package and more.

The Almanac, 3/19: Advocates for reopening Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) classrooms are looking beyond this spring, when students will be on campuses part time, to the fall when they want to see classrooms fully reopen… he CDC announced Friday, March 19, that it had reduced the distance needed between students in classrooms to 3 feet, instead of 6 feet. The potential change comes after a study published in "Clinical Infectious Diseases" suggests that 3 feet may be as safe as 6 feet if everyone wears a mask. After the announcement, State Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, called on San Mateo and Santa Clara county officials to align with the new CDC guidelines, saying that he would like districts to have the flexibility needed to safely get students back in classrooms

The Almanac: Elected and nonprofit leaders throughout the Bay Area sent a letter to state health leaders March 12, urging them to change their vaccine distribution formula to better include local communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. "The formula they were using didn't reflect parts of the Bay Area that had been really hard-hit," said Senator Josh Becker.

Palo Alto Daily Post: Five local officials deserve a round of applause for calling attention to the fact that East Palo Alto residents are getting far fewer Covid vaccinations than neighboring communities. State Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, East Palo Alto City Councilman Antonio Lopez, County Supervisor David Canepa, Ravenswood City School District Trustee Ana Maria Pulido, and former councilman and school trustee Larry Moody...I applaud them for stepping forward and demonstrating leadership on this serious problem.