Stone Sentinel

Monday, April 23, 2018

Welcome to the April 2018 edition of my monthly newsletter, the Stone Sentinel.

The Sentinel is just one way we keep the people of the 28th Senate District informed about what’s happening in Sacramento and across Riverside County.

I also encourage you to visit my website—www.Senate.Ca.Gov/Stone—, to like my Facebook page—www.facebook.com/SenatorJeffStone—and to follow me on twitter @SenJeffStone.

Many of you know April and May are among the busiest months of the year in the Legislature. This time of year several thousand bills will be heard by committees in both the Assembly and the Senate.

As the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committees on Environmental Quality, Natural Resources & Water, and Labor and Industrial Relations, and a member of the Budget and Fiscal Review and Public Safety committees, I listen to presentations and testimony on hundreds of bills.

There is a lot to know and I do my best to study every issue so I can make an informed vote.

If you want information on a particular piece of legislation, contact one of my offices and we will add you to the interest list for that bill. Then, when votes are taken, or the bill is amended, you will receive an email on that bill.

As always, feel free to call my offices in Indio, Murrieta and Sacramento and we will provide you with the most up to date information.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to represent you in Sacramento.

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Senator Jeff Stone Amends Tax Bill to Help Special Needs Families

The California State Capitol

Senator Stone submitted amendments to his proposed legislation to eliminate state income taxes for individuals earning less than $100,000 per year and married couples earning more than $200,000 while requiring part-time residents to begin paying income taxes based on the amount of time spent in California.

The amended legislation drops the requirement for out-of-state, part-time residents, to pay California State income taxes based on the amount of time they spend in the state. It also eliminates the much needed tax relief for 90 percent of Californians that was the original intent of the bill.

After listening to dozens of individuals testify before the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Senator Stone decided to amend his Senate Bill 1352 to help struggling families who care for their disabled children, siblings or parents.

Because the Senate imposes strict limits on the number of bills a legislator can carry, Senator Stone decided it was more feasible to gain support for a tax bill helping families of disabled citizens than pass a bill that could be seen as adversely impacting Hollywood billionaires and Silicon Valley tycoons.

Specifically, the amended legislation will allow individuals earning less than $125,000 a year to deduct healthcare expenses spent on care for a family member with autism or other special needs. “As a Member of the Budget Subcommittee dealing with Health and Human Services, I’ve seen struggling parents who have sacrificed nearly everything to pay for the care of their autistic child. Children have had to mortgage their homes to pay for a parent who has Alzheimer’s or other special needs,” said Stone.

Stone continued, “It was clear that my original introduction of SB 1352 served its purpose by getting people around the state to realize that their taxes are too high. But since I introduced the measure, I’ve concluded that my constituents would be better served by having a law that allows people to help their family members by setting up tax free accounts to pay for adult or child dependent care.”

In signaling that compromise and democracy works, Senator Stone concluded, “To help so many people with one piece of legislation is a humbling concept, and I’m confident that the new SB 1352 will receive a fair hearing from my colleagues in the Legislature. We need substantial tax reform in California, but with this new language, I’m sure more than a few struggling families will rest easier in the knowledge that their loved ones are being cared for.”

Senate Bill 1352 will be heard in Committee in April or May.

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Senator Stone Honors Crime Victims and their Families

Continues to fight for their rights in Sacramento.

National Crime Victims Rights Week

National Crime Victims Rights Week was celebrated in April across the nation and right here in California.

In Riverside County, the District Attorney’s Office and the Riverside County Family Justice Center held a series of candlelight vigils in memory of those killed at the hands of violent criminals.

Watch Senator Stone’s Capitol Update here: video here: https://bit.ly/2HndGTA

The Senator’s staff attended events in both Murrieta and Palm Desert, joining with the law enforcement and elected officials to read aloud the names of the victims and remember those who have been lost.

Hundreds of people, many of them family members of crime victims, attended to remember their loved ones.

In Sacramento this month several thousand bills that have been proposed have begun to be heard by various committees.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Public Safety each week Senator Stone hears dozens of bills proposed by his colleagues.

“What I don’t hear often are bills that have anything to do with Public Safety or with Victim’s Rights,” the Senator said. “The bills I do hear seldom have anything to do with making our schools, neighborhoods and streets safer. Only rarely is legislation heard that enhances and funds the abilities of law enforcement to do their jobs. None of these bills take into account the pain and suffering of the families and friends of those whose lives have been changed forever by violent crime. Almost every bill I do hear has to do with the rights of criminals.”

National Crime Victims Rights Week - candlelit vigil

Senator Stone will never forget the victims of crime and will always work to hold those who commit these crimes accountable for their actions.

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Senator Stone supports enhanced protections
for the LGBTQ community

Once Again… Union Labor Puts Self Interests Ahead of Public Good

Senator Stone speaking on SB 971

Democrats on the Senate Public Safety Committee opposed Senate Bill 971 by Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Orange County) that would have added protections for members of the LBGTQ who are murdered because of their gender and sexual orientation.

Existing law provides the death penalty special enhancement is available if the murdered victim is found to be intentionally killed because of his or her race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin.

Senate Bill 971 would have added the special circumstance enhancement for victims who are killed because of his or her sexual orientation or gender.

Both Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the bill, while the five democrats voted not to support this additional protection for members of the LGBTQ community.

“The hypocrisy on display this morning during this hearing was appalling,” said Senator Stone. “I was proud to stand with my fellow Republican on the committee to support this enhancement for hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. Meanwhile, those who claim to support the LBGTQ community failed to support this additional protection.”

Watch the video of Senator Stone speaking at the hearing here: https://bit.ly/2H8yy0C

The bill was prompted by the murder of Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old college student from Orange County, who was stabbed more than 20 times and buried in a shallow grave in a park in Lake Forest in January.

A 20-year-old Newport Beach man has been charged with the murder. Law enforcement officials have said they believe the murder may have been a hate crime against Bernstein—who was gay—based on anti-gay statements made by the man who was arrested.

However, when the Orange County District Attorney’s office sought to bring charges against the suspect, they discovered a loophole in the law did not offer the death penalty special enhancement for crimes against LGBTQ individuals as it does for those killed because of race, religion, color and several other categories.

Senator Nguyen’s bill sought only to close that loophole.

“Criminal acts against the LBGTQ community should be treated the same as any other hate crime,” concluded Senator Stone.

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Senator Stone Bill to Help Seniors Needing Home Care Killed by Big Labor

Senator Jeff Stone

Senate Bill 1188 by Senator Stone to allow home care workers to be on duty for 24 or more consecutive hours—as long as they enter into a voluntary written agreement to do so—was defeated on a party line vote by the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee today by Democrats who, once again, put the interests of labor unions above the needs of senior citizens who desire to stay in their homes but cannot not afford to do so.

Watch Senator Stone’s closing argument here: https://bit.ly/2HkbXOW

“Seniors depend on private home care services to stay healthy in their own homes and to avoid institutionalization,” said Senator Stone. “Their specific and unique needs require flexibility in how a home care provider can best provide care.”

SB 1188 would have authorized a private in-home care worker to be on duty for 24 or more consecutive hours, as long as they enter into a voluntary written agreement. It would exclude those workers from “hours worked” during their 8 hours of sleep.

“With the voluntary agreement in place, seniors would not be forced to pay wages for the in-home care provider while that person was sleeping, reducing the cost of care and allowing more seniors to stay in their homes,” said Senator Stone.

SB 1188 was similar to a bill Senator Stone introduced last year. There was then bipartisan agreement this was an issue that needed to be addressed, and members of the committee sought additional employee protections before moving forward. Senator Stone took the committee’s recommendations to heart and added those protections in the current bill.

Even so, the powerful unions that control so much of what goes on in Sacramento continue to have their way.

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that the interests of a special select class of union workers seem to be more important than the needs of our senior citizens who want nothing more than to be able to afford to live out their golden years in the comfort of their own homes,” concluded Senator Stone.

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Senator Stone favors providing opportunities for off-road enthusiasts

Senator Stone speaking on SB 1316

As a lifelong motorcycle and dirt-bike rider, Senator Stone recently spoke in favor of continuing to provide and expand land for off-road riders.

Watch the video here: https://bit.ly/2HHlDAB

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Veterans Service Awards celebrations set for late May

United States military seals

Senator Stone and his staff are reviewing dozens of application for his Veterans Service Awards, set to be presented in late May.

For several months Veterans organizations and individual have been nominating veterans who not only served our nation honorably but have made valuable contributions to their communities once their military days were through.

The deadline to submit nominations for this year’s awards recently passed.

“We have received a record number of nominations this year,” said Senator Stone. “To me, everyone who serves honorably in the military deserves special recognition and our thanks. Selecting the 10 recipients this year is a daunting task. Fortunately, I have a number of military veterans of my staff who are helping me to make these tough decisions.”

Five veterans from Southwest Riverside County will be honored during a dinner at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 25th at The Corporate Room in Wildomar.

Five honorees from the Coachella Valley will receive their awards at a breakfast set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 26th at VFW Post 1534 in Desert Hot Springs.

This year’s honorees will be contacted soon and announced on the Senator’s Website, Facebook page and on Twitter.

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Senator Stone Continues to Point out the Folly of the “Train to Nowhere”

Clip art of a train

Boondoggle
(boon’do’gal) n.

“A project that is considered to be
a waste of both time and money, yet is often
continued due to extraneous policy or
political motivations.”

On the Senate floor Senator Stone joined his Republican colleague in continuing to point out the boondoggle that is Governor Jerry Brown’s High Speed Rail project, which is already billions of dollars over budget.

Watch the video here: https://bit.ly/2GYXVie

With the highest poverty in the nation, and the highest costs for housing, Senator Stone questioned why Governor Brown and Legislative Democrats continue to spend tax payer money on a project what will eventually costs at least $100 billion. Senator Stone is not the only one questioning the High Speed Rail Project.

In mid-April the U.S. Department of Transportation announced in will begin a Federal audit of California’s High Speed Rail project.

US Dept. of Transportation: Federal Railroad Administrator (letter)

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Meet the Senator

Whether he’s traveling across the 28th Senate District or welcoming people to his Capitol Office, Senate Stone always enjoys spending time listening to the people he represents.

Here are just a few of the people and groups who have met the Senator recently.

Senator Stone met with faculty and students from the Valley Adult School

Senator Stone welcomed faculty and students from the Valley Adult School in Lake Elsinore to his Sacramento office.

Senator Stone and his staff were honored to attend the John J. Benoit 'Extending the Legacy' Dinner

Senator Stone and his staff were honored to attend the John J. Benoit “Extending the Legacy Dinner” to raise funds for the John J and Sheryl Benoit Endowment Student Scholarship Fund for students at CSUSB Palm Desert.

Senator Stone met with members of the Apartment Association of Orange County

Members of the Apartment Association of Orange County, who represent portions of the 28th Senate District, recently visited with Senator Stone in Sacramento.

Senator Stone was proud to honor veterans at the Veterans Expo in Indio

Senator Stone was proud to honor veterans and young people at the recent Veterans Expo in Indio.

Senator Stone with Murrieta City Councilman Alan Long

Senator Stone welcomed Murrieta City Councilman Alan Long to his Sacramento office.

Senator Stone joined with the FIND Food Bank during their annual telethon broadcast

Senator Stone joined with the FIND Food Bank during their annual telethon broadcast live on CBS Local 2. The fundraising event encourages the community to make a commitment to help FIND in the fight against hunger in the Coachella Valley.

Senator Stone met with State Farm agents at the Legislative Days event in Sacramento
(Courtesy photo)

Senator Stone recently met with State Farm agents, including Temecula’s Julie Ngo, during their Legislative Days event in Sacramento.

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Team Stone on the Move

Every 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 just a few of the places Senator Stone’s staff visited recently:

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Nations Reliable Lending

Team Stone joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony for Nations Reliable Lending on Better World Circle in Temecula. District Director Debbie Herrera presented a certificate on behalf of Senator Stone.

Team Stone the ribbon cutting ceremony for Advanced Home Connect-ADT authorized dealer

Team Stone joined with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Advanced Home Connect-ADT authorized dealer on Cook Street in Palm Desert. District Representative Monica Idnani presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Old Town Survival Supply

Team Stone joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Old Town Survival Supply. District Director Consuelo Arias welcomed the new business and presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for 'jewelry by jill'

Team Stone always enjoys attending events that celebrate a new business opening in California. District Representative Debbie Herrera joined the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce at the ribbon cutting ceremony for “jewelry by jill” and presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Heart2Heart Foundation

Team Stone joined with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Heart2Heart Foundation. District Director Glenn Miller presented a certificate on behalf of Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for 4 Paws Coffee Company

Team Stone joined with the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for 4 Paws Coffee Company on N. Palm Canyon Drive. District Representative Consuelo Arias presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting for Katherine the Great Designs

District Representative Darrell Connerton and the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce celebrated the ribbon cutting for Katherine the Great Designs. Darrell presented a certificate from Senator Stone to owner Katherine Setzer.

Team Stone celebrates the 5 year anniversary of D.I.Y. Divorce

Team Stone joined the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of D.I.Y. Divorce. District Representative Darrell Connerton presented a certificate from Senator Stone to business owner Kristen Harrison.

Team Stone celebrates the one year anniversary of Urbane Cafe
(Photo courtesy TVCC)

District Representative Debbie Herrera joined with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the one year anniversary of Urbane Cafe on Winchester Road.

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