Assemblymember Gray Proposes Constitutional Amendment to Regulate Sports Betting in California

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, today announced the introduction of ACA 16, a constitutional amendment to authorize sports wagering in California. ACA 16 is a response to the May 2018 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a 1992 federal law prohibiting sports betting in all states outside Nevada.  

The decision did not legalize sports wagering nationwide, but permitted the activity to be regulated on a state-by-state basis. Currently, eight states allow legal sports wagering, and more than 35 are considering legislation.  

“The U.S. Supreme Court has shouldered the burden of bringing legal clarity to the issue of sports wagering and the rights of states under the Constitution,” said Gray. “Now it is the responsibility of the Legislature to determine the most prudent way forward.”  

Despite legal restrictions at the federal and state level, gambling on sports is approaching new heights of popularity in America. While it is difficult to track the popularity of illegal sports betting in the United States, reports have estimated that nearly $150 billion is illegally wagered on sports annually.  

“Whether we like it or not, Californians are already betting on sports through illegal and often unscrupulous websites in foreign countries,” continued Gray.  

ACA 16 would require any legalization effort in California to achieve a 2/3rds approval in the state legislature before being placed on the ballot for majority approval by voters.  

“It is time to shine a light on this multibillion-dollar industry,” said Gray. “We need to crack down on illegal and unregulated online gaming and replace it with a safe and responsible option which includes safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, and fraud. All other gaming activities in California are subject to regulations that ensure the safety of consumers. Sports wagering should be treated no differently.”  

Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Chair of the Senate Government Organization Committee, introduced a complementary amendment in the Senate.  

“I look forward to working with stakeholders in a collaborative effort to help bring this out of the shadows,” Sen. Dodd said. “By legalizing sports wagering we can avoid some of the problems associated with an underground market such as fraud and tax evasion while investing in problem gambling education.”  

The Assembly and Senate Governmental Organization Committees will conduct a series of Joint Informational Hearings on the future of sports wagering throughout California. The hearings and public comment process will provide opportunities for committee members to listen to interested persons and outside experts representing a broad and diverse range of viewpoints.  

If approved by the Legislature, the legalization of sports wagering would be put the voters on the November 2020 ballot.

AD 21 – News And Events Around the District

Hilmar Dairy and Farm Festival

The annual Hilmar Dairy and Farm Festival is Saturday, June 22. Join Assemblymember Adam Gray, the Hilmar Chamber of Commerce, and more than twenty local community partners for a summer evening, generously hosted at Hilmar High School — fireworks, food, and fun for the entire family!


AD 21 Small Business of the Year

Blaker Brewing was awarded the AD 21 Small Business of the Year in Sacramento! They were also honored as the Ceres Chamber of Commerce Business of The Year in 2018. Blaker Brewing is “a destination brewery off the beaten path. Sourcing the freshest ingredients from our neighboring farmers in the Central Valley, while discovering the most exotic flavors across the globe.” They are a family-owned small business in the community that produces a high-quality product that they believe in.

Assemblymember Adam Gray Releases Statement on the Passage of 2019-20 State Budget

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) praised the passage of the 2019-20 California State Budget and highlighted a number of investments vital to the success of working families in the San Joaquin Valley.   “The budget is always a product of compromise,” said Gray. “This year, we got a lot more right than wrong with investments in our schools, health care, and efforts to combat homelessness. There are still some loose ends and details to be worked out in trailer bills, but this budget shows that we are asking the right questions. Now we just need to find the right answers.”

Healthy Savings Account

“This budget sets aside more than $19 billion dollars in reserves to prepare the state for the next recession,” said Gray. “In the past, we had a habit of spending every penny during good times, only to turn around and make painful cuts during bad times. Our savings account is healthy enough to blunt the effects of a mild recession, but we must remain fiscally prudent.”

San Joaquin Valley Medical School

“The budget authorizes the University of California to issue bonds to fund the construction of the San Joaquin Valley medical school,” said Gray. “Importantly, it puts the state’s commitment to funding the medical school into law. More detail will follow as we advance additional trailer bills in the coming weeks.”

News story on the Valley Medical School: https://abc30.tv/2IeEkh6

Bay-Delta Plan Agreements

“The budget makes $70 million available for projects to support voluntary agreements with the state on Bay-Delta Plan flows,” said Gray. “Our irrigation districts continue to seek reasonable and fair terms which fully recognize the impacts any plan will have on our local economy and communities. Under the prior administration, trust was difficult to come by. It has taken many months, but I am cautiously optimistic about the direction we are headed.”

News Story on the Voluntary Agreements: https://bit.ly/2Hjhxkf

State Fair Funding

“The Great Recession forced significant cuts to state spending, and one of those casualties was the state’s historic funding commitment to California fairs,” said Gray. “That is why I authored AB 1499 to restore a portion of that funding through the dedication of sales tax revenues generated at the fairs themselves. That bill was signed into law, and this year the fairs will receive more than $20 million from the state to upgrade aging infrastructure and support operations.”

Los Banos Fire Station

“The west side has a longstanding need for additional public safety infrastructure,” said Gray. “With an increasingly intense fire season and significant population growth in Los Banos and surrounding communities, the need for additional fire facilities is clear. Working with Supervisor Silveira, Mayor Villalta, and Mayor Nagy, we were able to secure $5 million in the budget to support the construction of a multipurpose fire station, emergency operations center, and regional training facility in Los Banos. This facility will help to improve response times in the city and better integrate local and regional emergency services to assist neighboring counties and react to statewide disasters.”

Merced College Agriculture Technology Building

“As announced earlier this year, the budget fulfills the promise of funding the construction of a new agriculture technology building at Merced College,” said Gray. “Governor Newsom toured Merced College last year and included funding for the building in his original budget proposal. Today I am happy to say the Governor came through for us.”

More on Merced College Ag Technology Building: https://bit.ly/2ZmVMFM

Modesto Junior College VOLT Institute

“Building on the state’s investment last year, the budget includes an additional $1 million for the VOLT Institute and Modesto Junior College to gives students the training they need to take on highly skilled manufacturing jobs at local employers like Gallo Winery, Del Monte Foods, and Crystal Creamery,” said Gray. “The push to send every kid to a four-year university has created a lack of qualified blue-collar workers at a time when they are in high demand. These are good-paying jobs you can raise a family on without racking up thousands of dollars in student debt.”

Learn more at the Volt Institute website: https://voltinstitute.com/

Assemblymember Gray Honors Merced County Spring Fair Heritage Foundation as Nonprofit of the Year

Assemblymember Adam Gray honored the Merced County Spring Fair Heritage Foundation at the State Capitol as the 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year for the 21st Assembly District. Board Members Supervisor Scott Silveira, Paul Parreira, Pat Gallichio, Cannon Michael, and Natasha Crivelli traveled to Sacramento to be honored as part of the 2019 California Nonprofits Day.

“The Heritage Foundation’s commitment to our community and local farming families is remarkable,” said Gray. “The generosity and dedication of the board has been instrumental in the continued success of the fair.”

The Heritage Foundation is committed to preserving and enriching the heritage of Merced County by continuing to develop the Merced County Spring Fair into a premier destination.  Since its inception in 2011, the Heritage Foundation has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships to approximately 175 students. The Foundation has successfully secured over $1.8 million in donations.

“The Heritage Foundation is an incredible resource for local 4-H and FFA programs,” continued Gray. “We have them to thank for many local agricultural education opportunities and improvements to fair facilities.”

The third annual California Nonprofits Day was marked by a celebration luncheon at the State Capitol. According to CalNonprofits, the nonprofit sector is the 4th largest industry in the state, employing nearly one million people. Each year, California nonprofits generate over $200 billion in revenue and bring in $40 billion in revenue from outside of California. The unpaid labor contributed by volunteers at nonprofits is equivalent to 450,000 full-time jobs every year.

Assemblymember Adam Gray recognized by American GI Forum

Assemblymember Adam Gray received recognition as a “Friend of the GI Forum” from the American GI Forum PFC Oscar Sanchez Modesto Chapter at the 21st Annual Black and White Scholarship Ball Saturday Night. The GI Forum and its members have served our country, and I am proud to serve them.

The American GI Forum is a group of local veterans who have served in the various branches of the military. The Modesto Chapter of the American GI Forum was established in 1969. Throughout the year they attend funerals of fallen veterans rain or shine, whether in Stanislaus County or at the Veterans Cemetary in Santa Nella.

Merced College’s new Ag Tech building is funded by Governor Newsom in the California budget.

In October 2018, Assemblymember Adam Gray, and then, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom visited Merced College​ to tour the school’s aging ag-tech building and discuss the road-map to a new building.

Newsom got to see that firsthand as he, Assemblymember Adam Gray, Congressman Jim Costa and local agricultural leaders toured the campus. Gray has been a huge advocate for the College getting the new facility built and played an integral role in getting the then Lt. Governor to visit the campus.

In January, Governor Newsom included in the budget the funding needed to move forward with the project. That money, coupled with Raj Kahlon’s extremely generous donation last March, will make the new, 20,000 sq. ft. ag-tech building a reality.

“Merced is an agricultural community and I am thrilled the Governor’s proposed budget includes the funding necessary to finally build a state-of-the-art Agriculture and Industrial Technology Building at Merced College,” Merced College Superintendent/President Chris Vitelli said.

“Making good on our promise to this community, we are going to build one of the best agriculture and industrial technology buildings possible to reflect the quality of our flagship programs,” Vitelli said. “This new facility will help our students learn cutting-edge industry skills and earn high-demand, high-wage jobs.”

The proposed building will consist of 20,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space for programs in agribusiness, industrial technology, horticulture, HVAC, crop science and animal science. The added classrooms and labs will increase enrollment capacity by 2,248 weekly student contact hours, helping to keep pace with the 12-percent enrollment bump that the Chancellor’s Office predicts from 2016-2022.

The College is in the process of working with a prominent donor for naming rights to the building and hopes to make an announcement soon. If things remain unchanged on the May budget revision and June final budget, the College hopes to break ground on the project starting in Fall 2020.

Assemblymember Adam Gray meets with health workers and teachers to discuss the issues.

SEIU-United Health Workers met with Assemblymember Adam Gray to discuss about about access to and delivery of healthcare in the Central Valley! Then in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week Adam Gray received a briefing with the California Teachers Association Merced Chapter on legislative priorities for neighborhood schools and students.

Kenneth L. Maddy Institute 20th Anniversary

At the evening’s 20th anniversary celebration of The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute, Assemblymember Adam Gray spoke alongside Governor Gavin Newsom, former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and Don Maddy.

Senator Ken Maddy began his legislative career representing the Central Valley in 1970, regularly expressing that Valley legislators from both sides of the aisle had the unique ability to bring people together to solve California’s challenges. Today, the Maddy Institute helps to support the interests of the Central Valley, train the next generation of diverse, civic-minded leaders, and improve the efficiency of government.

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