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District News Report

District News Report has 78 articles published.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW BUDGET THAT CONCERNS OUR VALLEY

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) applauded the passage today of the final 2021 State Budget revision for the year. “Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, this budget funds a number of critically important priorities for the San Joaquin Valley,” said Assemblymember Gray. 

Agriculture and Drought

“The halls of the State Capitol continue to be a hostile place for agriculture. A report from Cal Poly SLO, which found that regulatory costs paid by Valley farmers more than doubled in six years, did little to slow the zealous special interests that see this drought as an opportunity to gut water rights and the Valley’s economic engine. Water storage funding, which would make water more sustainable for human and environmental uses, continues to be off the table. Meanwhile, the State Water Board has doubled down on its treatment of irrigation water as ‘waste and unreasonable use.’ I strongly support our irrigation districts who have sued the state to stop the Board’s illegal water and power grab.” “This game of chicken has to come to an end. Farmers are not the enemy of the environment, and this drought was not caused by almonds. Real solutions need to prevail over opposition that is founded in ideology rather than public policy. The voters already told us they want to see nearly $3 billion of new water storage built when they approved Prop 1 in 2014. They didn’t approve the funds only to have the State sit on its hands.” SB 170 is the final bill that amends the 2021 State Budget and reflects an agreement between the Legislature and the Administration reached in September on a number of budget issues that were unresolved in the July budget agreement. The 2021 Budget Act, AB 128 (Ting, Chapter 21, Statues of 2021) has previously been amended by AB 161 (Ting, Chapter 43, Statues of 2021), SB 129 (Skinner, Chapter 69, Statues of 2021) and AB 164(Ting, Chapter 164, Statues of 2021).

$60 Million for San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Recharge and Storage

“I am extremely frustrated that this budget contains no real funding to build new reservoirs or raise our existing dams. The State’s refusal to do the obvious things – build more dams – is a major reason why we are in this drought to begin with. However, we were able to secure $60 million for floodplain restoration projects that will act as groundwater recharge sites and water banks. Not only will these projects combat groundwater overdraft and subsidence, but they will also improve the drinking water quality in disadvantaged communities. The funding is sufficient to build at least one project on every major river that flows through the San Joaquin Valley. These funds are also dedicated to the Valley and cannot be siphoned off to other areas as we have seen done under the Prop 1 Water Bond. While new dams are needed, these projects will both protect against flooding and add thousands of new acre-feet of water storage underground.” 

UC Merced Center of Analytic Political Engagement (CAPE)

“I fought this year to create a permanent endowment for a public policy center at UC Merced to engage students who are passionate about making the Valley a better place to live and raise a family. By exposing students to the institutions and mechanisms that make our government work, I hope UC Merced can collaborate with the Maddy Institute at Fresno State to shape the next generation of advocates for the Valley.” 

Medi-Cal Coverage of Continuous Glucose Monitors

“The State will finally give Medi-Cal patients with diabetes access to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). CGMs are the standard of care for every other insured group in the State, but Medi-Cal patients were singled out to receive lesser care as a shortsighted cost-cutting mechanism. That has resulted in worse health outcomes and increased hospitalizations for our most vulnerable communities. Nearly 50 percent of the people I represent in the State Assembly receive health insurance through Medi-Cal, and as someone with diabetes in my family, this inequity was personal for me. This fight took five years and multiple bill vetoes to achieve, but starting next year, Medi-Cal is no longer allowed to treat poor and vulnerable people as second class citizens.” 

ASSEMBLYMEMBER ADAM GRAY IN THE DISTRICT STORIES 8/6/21

BACKPACK GIVEAWAY


We wrapped up our first backpack giveaway of the summer with the help of the Modesto Police Officers Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Stanislaus County. We had almost 300 students right here in West Modesto who will start the school year with new backpacks, school supplies, bike helmets, and smiles. We are working on upcoming giveaways!

HOULIHAN PARK RENOVATION

In Planada and taking part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the $2.4 million Houlihan Park renovation project. This project reflects more than eight years of work by the residents themselves, and when completed, will feature a children’s splash park, an outdoor stage, jogging paths, and exercise stations. What a win for the community!

CLUB MERCEDES MEMBER SOCIAL

Each year, Superintendent Steve Tietjen and Assemblymember Adam Gray co-host a Club Mercedes member social. This year’s event was extra special, as it was one of the first times everyone was together in over a
year. A big thanks for all that they do for the students in our community!

ABOUT CLUB MERCEDES:

“The Foundation of Every City is the Education of its Youth” Club Mercedes is a non-profit organization in Merced, California since 1947.

We support local school and city sports teams through cooking fundraiser dinners and serve as their sponsors as well. We encourage new membership and welcome guests! Our bar is open daily and have regular social events, stay tuned in to find out about each one! Come and enjoy our daily bar service and membership benefits! 

State Water Control Board Labels Water Used To Grow Food As A “Wasteful And Unreasonable Use”

In no other industry would the destruction of billions of dollars in economic productivity and thousands of jobs be tolerated. ASSEMBLYMEMBER ADAM GRAY RESPONDS WITH LETTER CALLING OUT THE WATER BOARD.

Click letter to read Adam Gray’s Response to Water Control Board

Adam Gray’s Letter to State Water Control Board

In The District 6/2/2021

Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum!

Still a few more hours to check out Open Cockpit Day at Castle Air Museum! Lots of fun for the whole family, including a chance to tour a presidential aircraft, build model airplanes, and use a flight simulator! Big thanks to Roger Wood and Atwater Rotary Club-Atwater Ca for their help putting on today’s event.

MEMORIAL DAY 2021 EVENTS

Each year, our community observes Memorial Day in such meaningful ways, and for that I am appreciative. More photos from #AD21 Memorial Day Remembrance Events: Lakewood Funeral Home / Lakewood Memorial Park and Ceres Memorial Park 🇺🇸Thank you to American Legion Ceres Post 491 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10293 for your efforts

#AD21 Memorial Day Remembrance Events: Honoring our Fallen Heroes at the Lion Bridge on 7th Street in Modesto 🇺🇸

Merced PRIDE

A historic evening for Merced!  The Merced LGBTQ Alliance, in partnership with the greater Merced community and allies, raised a Progress Pride flag in Bob Hart Square. The flag will fly high for ALL of #NationalPrideMonth, helping to bring visibility and dignity to our neighbors.

In The District 5/20/2021

Happy Birthday, EJ!

Assemblymember Adam Gray celebrates with Mr. E.J. Almo Lorenzi, a beloved leader in the greater Merced region, and his 90th birthday celebrations. His contributions to, and support for, our community are larger than life.

Gustine Police Officers Sworn In

Congratulations to the newest Gustine Police Department Officers, who were sworn in this evening. It is exciting to hear that this class of officers represents a broad cross section of our community, including officers who graduated from Merced College, are bilingual (Spanish and Tagalog), and of various ages and genders — and a K9, too! Congrats!

Merced County Homeless Shelter

The community came together to help bring the vision for a low-barrier shelter to life. With the help of wrap-around services, six individuals have already moved on to permanent housing and many more have found stable employment — a huge accomplishment in less than two months!

Recently-Opened Homeless Navigation Center Reaches Capacity

Since opening its doors in late March, the Merced County Navigation Center is already making significant progress in addressing homelessness. Late last week, the facility reached its capacity with all 66 of its beds filled (this number fluctuates daily). The standard capacity is 75, but current COVID-19 distancing protocols reduced that figure by nine. Out of those who have passed through the Navigation Center, six have already moved into permanent housing and several have found employment, which is a significant achievement in a relatively short span of time. The Navigation Center (located near B and 13 streets in Merced) serves as a low-barrier emergency sheltering option for individuals currently residing in public spaces, and other places not suitable for human habitation. This initial step of transitioning individuals out of homelessness includes providing a safe and service-rich temporary shelter with connections to onsite supportive services. To make a referral, contact the countywide New Direction Outreach and Engagement Center by calling (209) 726-2700. Once a referral is made, an assigned outreach worker will contact, screen, and refer individuals to the appropriate housing and community services based on a standard assessment tool. Read more about the Navigation Center here: www.countyofmerced.com/NavigationCenter#MercedCountyNavigationCenter

BRANDING IRON

Assemblymember Adam Gray, Supervisor Josh Pedrozo, and Merced Mayor Matt Serratto support this month’s featured small business, The Branding Iron! Come by on Wednesday, May 26th to receive 10% off all orders placed between 4:30pm-8:30pm.

Assemblymember Gray’s Statement on Water Allocation Cuts

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after the Department of Water Resources announced the state and federal governments were imposing significant water allocation cuts on farmers and other water users:

“California’s water infrastructure is so broken that we can suffer from severe flooding and drought in the same year. So-called environmentalists have tried to use climate change to justify everything from subsidizing Tesla to banning the car outright. At the same time, they have ignored the impacts of climate change that demand we significantly expand our surface water reservoirs.

Over the next few decades, climate change will cause California’s snowpack to shrink by a third or more because warming temperatures will cause snow to fall as rain instead. That means instead of growing our snowpack during colder months and collecting that snowmelt during spring and summer, we need reservoirs that allow us to collect water all year long. That is the real inconvenient truth for special interests like the Sierra Club and NRDC who religiously oppose any new water storage.

The only significant funding package to address water infrastructure in the last decade was the Water Bond that I helped negotiate in 2014. Since then, my repeated calls for increasing our state’s water storage capacity have fallen on deaf ears.

These reductions are evidence that we need to address all of the impacts of climate change instead of only the aspects blessed by the far left.”

GRAY CALLS OUT CONGRESS FOR BANNING SMALL BUSINESS TAX CUTS

Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after revelations the federal coronavirus aid bill prohibits states from passing small business tax cuts: “I introduced legislation earlier this year to provide a COVID-19 tax credit for small and essential businesses. My bill was set to be heard in committee today, but the State Legislature has now been forced to sideline dozens of tax credits after it was revealed the federal stimulus bill bans states from cutting taxes.

“…federal coronavirus aid bill prohibits states from passing small business tax cuts…”

“Because California’s billionaires are making record profits on Wall Street, Congress has banned small businesses on Main Street from receiving a tax cut. This prohibition even applies to struggling businesses that have received zero dollars in federal and state aid.

“…Because California’s billionaires are making record profits on Wall Street, Congress has banned small businesses on Main Street from receiving a tax cut…”

“This is a critical year in the State Legislature where we have a real opportunity to permanently lower California’s infamously high taxes. Instead, Congress has stopped that effort before it even got started. What’s worse, they placed no such prohibition on tax increases, opening the door for special interests to pursue billions of dollars in tax hikes.

“I am urging California’s Congressional delegation to reverse this provision immediately. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We cannot abandon them just as we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

More information on the implications of the federal tax cut ban can be found HERE.

Assemblymember Gray’s Statement on 2021-22 Budget Proposal

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s 2021 State Budget proposal:

Assemblymember Adam Gray

“The State Budget is an expression of California’s priorities. While there is plenty of detail left to be worked out, Governor Newsom continues to make good on his promise to keep the San Joaquin Valley a priority.

Governor Gavin Newsom

“Last year, the Governor made a commitment to permanently fund a new UC medical school in the Valley. True to his word, the budget maintains funding for our medical school, and we remain on track to enroll our first class of future Valley doctors in 2023. As we continue to struggle with 0% ICU capacity in no small part because of our doctor and nursing shortage, this is a truly transformational and long-overdue investment in the health and wellbeing of everyone who calls the Valley home.

“The Valley also has a disproportionate number of people enrolled in Medi-Cal and elevated rates of diabetes impacting our most vulnerable communities. I have fought for years to expand Medi-Cal to cover continuous glucose monitors. It’s a common-sense reform that 40 other states, Medicare, and every commercial health plan in the state have already adopted. More than 20 other legislators joined me last month in urging the Governor to make this happen in the budget after revelations that over one-third of COVID-19 deaths are linked to patients with diabetes. Today, the Governor took decisive action to provide Medi-Cal patients with diabetes the same standard of care as everyone else. This cannot be overstated; chronic illness and premature death will be prevented because of this reform.

“Finally, I was glad to hear the Governor rebuke those who have called for tax increases to make up for a budget deficit that simply has not materialized. Increasing taxes during a global pandemic and economic recession is moronic. We should be looking for opportunities to lower taxes as families continue to struggle to make ends meet. I hope Congress was paying attention to the Governor’s comments as well. Tax increases are off the table.”

Chancellor Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz

UC Merced Chancellor Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz applauded the Governor and Assemblymember Gray for their ongoing commitment to address the Valley’s longstanding shortage of health care providers:

“This pandemic has made clarion clear the importance of the state’s continued investment in bringing reliable access to health care to its most underserved regions. UC Merced’s collaboration with UCSF Fresno is critical to building a pipeline of physicians for the region who come from the communities they will serve. We are grateful to the Governor for his ongoing commitment and to Assemblymember Gray for his steadfast dedication to keeping UC Merced’s medical education aspirations and the San Joaquin Valley front and center in Sacramento.”

Assemblymember Gray’s Statement on Being Stripped of Committee Chairmanship

Assemblymember Adam Gray leads a Rally to Fight the State Water Grab on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento on Monday, August 20, 2018 to protect the Valley’s water, agriculture and economy.

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement after being stripped of his position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.

History repeats itself.

“Five years ago, I fought to pass legislation to hold the State Water Board accountable for the devastating economic impacts the state water grab will inflict on the people living in my district and the greater San Joaquin Valley. Despite active opposition from legislative leadership, my bill was approved by a narrow committee vote, and I was summarily removed from my position on the Assembly Water Committee.

“This year, Speaker Anthony Rendon and State Water Board staff put forward special legislation to short-circuit the voluntary agreements being negotiated by the state and our local irrigation districts. The language was inserted into a Budget Trailer bill and gave the State Water Board staff the authority to implement an even more destructive version of their water grab without review and without even a public vote. I voted no.

“As a result of my commitment to defend my district, Speaker Rendon has stripped me of my position as Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.

“I have spent my entire time in public office fighting Sacramento’s insatiable thirst for the Valley’s water. Every time I am punished by my own party’s leadership for standing up for my district, it is a reminder that I was elected to represent the people who live and work in Merced and Stanislaus counties.

“No elected official should ever vote for policies that promise to destroy thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic opportunity in their district for the benefit of others. I remain unmoved. I would and will vote no again.”

The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) is engaged in an inappropriate and unacceptable action designed to short-circuit the regulatory process and kill the spirit of negotiation. This action would have lasting health, economic and social impacts on the 460,000 people living in my Assembly District as well as the millions living in the San Joaquin Valley.

Letter to Director Sobeck from Assemblymember Adam Gray

Assemblymember Adam Gray leads a Rally to Fight the State Water Grab on the Capitol Steps in Sacramento on Monday, August 20, 2018 to protect the Valley’s water, agriculture and economy.

Read the Bee Editorial Board from 2015 “Speaker Atkins Punishes Gray for trying to help Valley”

EDITORIAL: Speaker Atkins punishes Gray for trying to help Valley
BY THE BEE EDITORIAL BOARD

APRIL 22, 2015 05:37 PM
·
It’s not easy being a “Valleycrat,” as Assembly Member Adam Gray of Merced learned the hard way last week.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a Valleycrat is a Democrat from the San Joaquin Valley whose political beliefs are more conservative than party members from coastal California. Valleycrats often focus on pragmatic solutions to thorny problems and try to stick up for their constituents.

The rub comes when sticking up for constituents — or even voting your conscience — puts you at odds with the liberal Democratic leadership that runs the Legislature.

You can end up in the infamous “doghouse,” the smallest office in the Capitol, as happened to then-Assembly Member Juan Arambula in 2006. Arambula’s sin was not voting on a public works bond package because it did not include money for dams. Arambula bolted the party and became an Independent.

Another Valleycrat, then-Assembly Member Nicole Parra of Hanford, was ordered from her office in 2008 as punishment for bucking the party on a budget vote. Karen Bass, the Speaker at the time, was so mad she assigned Parra space across the street in a building where no other lawmakers were quartered.

But we digress.

Gray was dismissed from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee by Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego after his Assembly Bill 1242 passed its first committee vote April 14. A member of Atkins’ staff told The Modesto Bee it was a routine reassignment. Don’t you believe it.

AB 1242 is important to the Valley. Basically, it anticipates the demands expected from the State Water Resources Control Board that more water be left in rivers for the benefit of fish and downstream users. AB 1242 would require the state to recognize the potential harm of these demands and take steps to mitigate that damage.

Understand: The expectation was that Gray’s bill wouldn’t make it out of committee. But AB 1242 passed despite long odds, largely because at least two dozen people from Modesto and Merced cared enough to attend the vote and testify about its importance. Dozens of others submitted letters explaining the impact the state’s expected water grab will have on farming and residents.

Atkins should not believe for a second that the Valley will sit quietly while she tries to silence our voices with her childish party games. Give her a taste of Valley straight talk by email, http://asmdc.org/speaker/, phone (916) 319-2078, Twitter @toniatkins, or in writing State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849; Sacramento, CA 94249-0078.

Assemblyman Gray Says State Should Foot the Bill for New COVID-19 Regulations

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray introduces  Assembly Bill 62 to provide a tax credit for essential and small businesses seeking to comply with costly new COVID-19 regulations.

“While the 5th largest economy in the world has failed to address longstanding shortages of swabs, reagents, and lab capacity associated with COVID-19 testing, Cal/OSHA wants to fine your local donut shop for running out of hand sanitizer or being unable to obtain and afford an infinite number of tests,” said Assemblymember Gray. 

“Instead of putting our money where our mouth is, State regulators continue to push the costs associated with COVID-19 onto employers, many of whom are already struggling to keep their doors open. Voters soundly rejected this kind of government overreach when they defeated Prop 15. But recently adopted Cal/OSHA regulations double-down on such schemes by imposing burdensome testing, PPE, and other regulatory requirements on employers of every size. 

“The State cannot hold small businesses to a higher standard than it is willing to hold itself. COVID-19 cases are spiraling throughout the state, yet state government has had nothing but excuses for why unemployment checks are late, testing supplies are running out in rural communities, contracts to boost lab capacity and essential supplies of PPE keep falling through. Now, hospitalizations are breaking records despite a prolonged economic shutdown. 

“While the State pays no penalty for its incompetence or indifference, Cal/OSHA has adopted dozens of new regulations that owners of small businesses will be forced to meet no matter the cost. “AB 62 flips this script. It will provide a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for any costs associated with complying with these new regulations. Instead of the State dictating rules from Sacramento, it will allow the State to partner with small businesses as we defeat this global pandemic.

“I can already hear those who created and supported these regulations saying the State cannot afford to spend the billions of dollars it will likely cost to implement this bill. Well, now you know how small business owners feel. After 9 months of enormous sacrifice and struggle, do you really think the small-business owners of California can afford it any better?”

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