Welcome to the March 2019 edition of the Stone Sentinel.
This is an extremely busy month here in Sacramento. I have been working hard, along with my staff, to put together our legislative package for the year. This month’s newsletter highlights a few of my bills that, if passed, will help veterans, lower prescription drug costs, and stop the funding of the high speed rail boondoggle.
You can follow these, and more of my bills, by clicking on the links provided in this newsletter. Information is also available on my website – www.Senate.Ca.Gov/Stone – and Facebook page – www.facebook.com/SenatorJeffStone
By now, most of you are aware of the damage caused to state highways leading up to the beautiful village of Idyllwild. Our office is working with Caltrans and other state and local agencies to repair the damage done to State Highways 74 and 243 and open them as soon as possible.
But I want to let you know that Idyllwild is Open for Business. If you’ve visited Idyllwild, you know about the charming shops, the wonderful restaurants and the crisp mountain air. If you’ve never been, now might be a good time to go. This map, provided by Caltrans, will guide you safely to and from the village.
Finally, this month we welcomed our 2019 Senate Fellow Claire Marks to the Sacramento office.
Claire graduated in 2018 from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Being born and raised in Sacramento, Claire has always been passionate about politics and public service. She has previously interned for Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, Senator Ted Gaines, and Congressman Dan Lungren.
Senator Stone has introduced Senate Bill 340, which will stop and cease the funding of California’s high-speed rail project.
This bill will prohibit the state of California from selling any further bonds relating to the purposes of the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. SB 340 will also provide that the unspent money pay off the debt incurred from the issuance and sale of the outstanding bonds.
“California’s High-Speed Rail is nothing more than the construction of an unsustainable and unachievable boondoggle dream,” said Senator Stone.
“Voters approved this project with the hope of funding economic transformation. The state has instead mismanaged billions of dollars to deliver what is nothing more than a train track that may sometime connect Merced with Bakersfield.
“The Governor has rightfully admitted the promises made to voters in 2008 when they narrowly approved Proposition 1A have been broken, and it seems clear now is the time to cut bait and admit the fantasy has failed,” Senator Stone said. “We should stop throwing taxpayer dollars down the drain.”
SB 340 is currently awaiting referral to the proper Senate policy committee for consideration.
Listen to the interview with John & Ken on KFI AM 640: https://stone.cssrc.us/content/senator-stone-discusses-defunding-high-speed-rail-john-and-ken-kfi-am-640
Cost Savings Should Be Passed to Consumers Instead of Increasing Corporate Profits
In an informational hearing in February of the California Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, Senator Stone proposed the creation of the California Department of Prescription Purchasing and Adjudication to bring savings achieved as a result of bulk purchasing of pharmaceutical drugs back to California consumers.
In his proposal, Senator Stone pointed out that increased drug prices are not due solely to ingredient cost increases. Rather, Senator Stone suggested that higher prices are the result of pricing strategies utilized by both pharmaceutical companies and PBMs designed to capture the savings of bulk purchasing for private benefit instead of the public good.
“Why should we allow PBMs to siphon off billions of dollars from California consumers when the State could use the savings to help pay for better healthcare for more people in California? If California gets into the PBM business, the savings realized through volume purchasing of prescription drugs could easily be passed onto California consumers instead of going to the corporate profits of a few multi-billion dollar companies,” said Senator Stone.
To view Senator Stone’s proposal, click on the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6LsM6UJM1o
Senator Stone has introduced legislation to provide needed and deserved tax relief to those who have worn this nation’s uniform and served it faithfully.
Senate Bill 364, the Veterans Tax Relief bill, attempts to deal with the problem of homeless veterans by capping the property taxes on the primary residence of honorably discharged veterans over age 65. The bill also exempts the property tax of all 100 percent disabled veterans living in their primary residence.
“It’s been said that a military veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to and including their life,” said Senator Stone. “As these men and women become senior citizens the least we can do is offer them the financial stability this legislation provides.”
“Many veterans who are, or will soon become, senior citizens served America during the Vietnam and Korean wars, a time when our nation often did not show these men and women the respect they deserved,” the Senator said.
“These veterans didn’t stop serving when their military days were behind them,” said Senator Stone. “They raised families, used their skills to open businesses—both small and large—volunteered in their communities and continued to make the country they once protected a better place. Now, as senior citizens, these men and women deserve the best we can give them.”
Senate Bill 364 is similar to SB 1104 which the Senator introduced in 2016. That bill received bi-partisan support but was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee before it could be heard by the entire legislature.
“I’m hoping this year that members of the Legislature will stand up and support this common sense and compassionate legislation to bring tax relief to our veterans who have done so much for all of us,” said Senator Stone.
Senator Stone is urging all California Veterans, Veterans organizations and other interested residents to contact their State legislators to let them know they support SB 364.
Senator Stone Receives Award for Championing Biomedical Innovation from California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)
Senator Stone was honored as one of three state legislators to receive the “Life Sciences Champion Award” from the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the trade association that represents California’s biomedical sector.
Stone was presented with CLSA’s “2018 Life Sciences Champion Award” for his leadership in advancing policies that increase patient access and affordability, and boost R&D in biotechnology, biomedical science, pharmaceutical and medical device innovation in California during the past year. The award was presented in Sacramento last evening.
“It’s an honor to receive this award from the California Life Sciences Association, which is the state’s champion for biomedical innovation,” said Senator Stone.
Read the entire release here: https://bit.ly/2Vnat9V
Senator Stone issued the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s announcement that he will suspend California’s death penalty:
“I’m disappointed that this action undermines the will of California’s voters who little more than two years ago voted to reaffirm the death penalty.
“With his actions today, the Governor has made it clear that to him democracy does not matter. The people have spoken repeatedly on the death penalty and this Governor has chosen to ignore them. When the Governor was running for office, he told the Modesto Bee that he would separate his personal views from his professional responsibilities to uphold the will of the people – especially when it came to implementing the death penalty.
“The Governor has given a reprieve to serial killers such as William Suff who was found guilty of murdering 12 women and dumping their bodies in fields in Western Riverside County between 1989 and 1991. Suff was sentenced to death in 1995. His death sentence was upheld in 2014 by the California Supreme Court.
“In addition, the families and friends of the people who have been heinously murdered by killers arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced and have had their sentences upheld by appellate courts are being victimized once again by a Governor who has abandoned his constitutional responsibility to support, uphold and defend the laws and constitution of the State of California.
“Justice was clearly not served in Sacramento, and this is indeed a disappointing day for democracy in California.”
Nominations are still being accepted from individuals and groups for Senator Stone’s 2019 Veterans Service Awards.
Click here for the application: https://stone.cssrc.us/content/2019-veterans-service-awards
The awards are given annually to 10 military veterans from the 28th Senate District who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help their fellow veterans and members of the community.
Senator Stone will present the awards in May at separate ceremonies held in Southwest Riverside County and the Coachella Valley.
“We owe our veterans a debt that can never be repaid,” said Senator Stone. “This award is just a small token of our thanks and appreciation for what they have done, not only during their time in uniform, but after they returned home.”
Veterans groups, such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts, are encouraged to nominate a member of their organization for the award and individuals can also nominate worthy veterans.
The deadline to submit applications is April 12, 2019.
Award recipients must be residents of the 28th District, which is entirely in Riverside County and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.
Applications and more information are available on the Senator’s website – www.Senate.Ca.Gov/Stone – and by calling the Senator’s District Office in the Coachella Valley in Indio (760-398-6442) and Southwest Office in Murrieta. (951-894-3530).
March is always one of the busiest months in Sacramento. This is the time of year when hundreds of groups and organizations visit the State Capitol to sit down with legislators to discuss the issues that are important to them and the people they represent.
Senator Stone welcomes these discussions and always looks forward to meeting with people from the 28th Senate District.
Here are just a few of the dozens of groups the Senator has met with recently.
Senator Stone welcomed officials from the Rancho California Water District to his Sacramento office to discuss water issues in the 28th Senate District.
Members of the California Disability Services Association met with Senator Stone in his Capitol office. CDSA represents community based organizations providing a wide range of services to people with intellectual disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders such as epilepsy, and other developmental disabilities.
Members of the Riverside County Workforce Development Board visited with Senator Stone in his Capitol Office. This group should be commended for helping people find jobs in Riverside County.
Sharron Huddleston of Chapter 6 of the California State Retirees, which represents San Bernardino and Riverside counties, stopped by Senator Stone’s Capitol office to say hello.
Senator Stone welcomed the Executive leadership members of the California Susan G. Komen affiliates to his Capitol office.
At the State Capitol, Senator Stone met with the Monday Morning Group, a non-partisan organization of business, civic and community leaders dedicated to improving the economy and quality of life in the Inland Southern California region. The Senator and the group discussed issues of importance to our region.
Senator Stone welcomed volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Inland Empire and Desert Cities Chapter to his Capitol office.
Senator Stone met with “Together We Grow”, a pediatric day healthcare facility serving children with special needs.
Senator Stone welcomed Inland Empire Nurse Practitioners to his Sacramento office.
Senator Stone welcomed members of the Association of California State Supervisors to his Capitol office.
Senator Stone spends most of each week working in Sacramento. On the weekend he travels across the 28th Senate District meeting with the people he represents, listening to their ideas and concerns and sharing in some of the accomplishments in their lives.
Here are a few of the places Senator Stone has been and people he has met with recently.
Senator Stone welcomed eight Eagle Scouts from Troop 734 to his Murrieta office. What a fine group of young men.
Senator Stone and members of his staff toured the recycling facilities of CR&R in Perris and saw the new Anaerobic Digester that has such an important role in organic recycling.
Newly-elected Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco recently visited Senator Stone in his Murrieta office. The Senator congratulated the Sheriff on his election and the two pledged to work together to keep the people of Riverside County safe and secure.
Senator Stone met with members of the California Health Association Inland Southern Region in his Murrieta office.
Senator Stone toured Rady Children’s Medical Plaza in Murrieta with Kristin Gist, Senior Director Developmental Services, and other officials. Open just 9 months in Murrieta, Rady’s is providing many valuable services to children and families across the region.
Senator Stone met with Kim Britt, Director of Riverside County Department of Child Support Services, in his Murrieta office. The two discussed the important work her department is doing for the people of Riverside County.
Senator Stone met with Catherine Ogden, a board member with the California Association of School Psychologists. She is also the acting president of the Riverside Association of School Psychologists.
Each month Team Stone travels across Riverside County attending events, meeting with constituents and listening to business owners, local officials and the hard working people of the 28th Senate District. Here are a few of the places team Stone has been recently.
Team Stone joined with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce to welcome F45-La Quinta 111 in La Quinta with a ribbon cutting ceremony. District Representative Monica Idnani presented a certificate from Senator Stone.
District Representative Darrell Connerton joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Tricia Fullerton, D.O. Inc. Darrell presented a certificate from Senator Stone.
District Director Glenn Miller was honored to award Clinton Hollins as the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival “Veteran of the Year.” Glenn presented a certificate from Senator Stone. Thank you for your service.
Team Stone joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Dental Suite At Temecula on Temecula Parkway. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented a certificate from Senator Stone. (Photos courtesy of TVCC)
District Representative Consuelo Arias joined with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Alzheimers Coachella Valley on Date Street in Palm Desert. Consuelo presented a certificate from Senator Stone.
Student of the Month breakfasts are always an amazing event. Communications Director John Hunneman presented certificates from Senator Stone to these great students from Murrieta.
Team Stone helped the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Freedom Tax Professionals on Clinton Keith Road in Wildomar. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented a certificate from Senator Stone.
District Director Glenn Miller was honored to attend the annual Every Student Succeeding Celebration for the Palm Springs Unified School District held at Rancho Mirage High School. Glenn presented certificates from Senator Stone to each of these students who have overcome hardships in their lives and continue to fight to stay on the right path.
District Representative Consuelo Arias joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for National Write Your Congressman. Consuelo presented a certificate from Senator Stone.
Team Stone recently attended the Xenia Awards presented by Visit Temecula Valley. The awards are given annually to individuals and business who support the tourism industry. Doffo Winery received the Cilurzo Award as the top winery in the region. District Director Glenn Miller, District Representative Debbie Herrera and Communications Director John Hunneman presented certificates from Senator Stone.