October 2015 District Report

Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 00:00

Dear Friends,

Welcome to this month's edition of the O'Donnell Capitol Connection.

October 11 marked the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills, drawing a close to the legislative session. As we reflect back on the highlights of the past year, there are plenty of points of meaningful progress to celebrate.

As Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I worked with my colleagues to ensure more than $14 billion in additional funding will be dedicated to our schools and community colleges in the coming year. The budget also increases funding for CSU, expands the number of Competitive Cal Grants by almost 15%, and lowered tuition at CSU and UC for middle income families by 20%.

Our schools will also be safer spaces to learn thanks to AB 827 being signed into law this month. The bill requires schools provide 7th - 12th grade teachers information on school site and community resources available to their LGBTQ students. As a classroom teacher with over 20 years of experience, I can tell you school climate has a direct impact on how well students learn and interact with their peers. By fostering a supportive learning experience, we will improve academic achievement and make our schools safer for LGBTQ students.

There is still much left to be done, however. Specifically, as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Ports, I want to strengthen California's maritime industry with common sense policies that make our ports more competitive. Our state provides financial incentives to most public entities in order to cut energy usage, but we have yet to provide the same assistance to our ports. These financial incentives will ultimately make California ports more competitive and draw additional business to the state while reducing demand on regional power grids and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, I will continue fighting for the Energy Efficient Ports Program I introduced in the Legislature this year.

Heading into the holiday season, we also have more events planned and plenty of exciting announcements coming in the near future. This includes coffee meet-and-greets, a small business summit and much more! Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on programs being offered, legislative news and more.

As always, please feel free to contact my office if you'd like to share your thoughts or need any assistance from my staff with state-related matters or agencies. Thank you.


Patrick O'Donnell


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Assemblymember O’Donnell speaks to conference attendees about how major cities like Long Beach have managed to provide students with quality education.

The Long Beach Unified School District, in partnership with the Long Beach Education Foundation, hosted the 2015 Council of the Great City Schools Fall Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach earlier this month. The event welcomed representatives from 68 of the nation’s largest school districts with the purpose of providing school superintendents, school board members, college deans and senior school district administrators with strategies to help raise student achievement, maintain healthy budgets and support bilingual education and English language learners.

Over a thousand people attended the conference, which also featured special guest speakers including Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton, NASA Astronaut Jose Hernández and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

The theme, Sailing to Success in Urban Education, centered on strengthening academic performance and improving the learning experience at our urban schools, not only locally, but throughout the country.

If you want to learn more about the Council of the Great City Schools, I encourage you to visit their website at http://www.cgcs.org/.

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Dignitaries and VA leaders pose with ceremonial shovels in front of the future site of the Fisher House, which will provide housing for veterans and their families while they receive medical care.

As Veterans Day approaches, I am pleased to share some great news for the veterans of Long Beach. 

Dedicated to providing comfortable, supportive lodging to veterans and their families, the Fisher House Foundation along with VA Long Beach Healthcare system broke ground on a 16-bed house to be built on the VA Long Beach campus.

The residence boasts 16 private suites professionally designed and furnished to support the families of veterans with lodging needs while their loved one is receiving care at the hospital. In addition to the suites, there will be a common kitchen, laundry facilities, dining area, living room and space for children.

The estimated $6,000,000 in construction expenses are being covered entirely by generous donations to the Fisher House Foundation, with the operational costs being covered by the VA facility.

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Executive Vice President of the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club, Herlinda Chico, presents Assemblymember O’Donnell with the Michael Lonergran Memorial Award..

For 34 years the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club has celebrated the strength and diverse contributions of the LGBTQ community by hosting their Human Rights Banquet. In fact, the Long Beach Lambda Democratic Club was originally formed to fight the Briggs Initiative, an anti-gay-and-lesbian state proposition that sought to bar gay and lesbian teachers from the classroom.

I was honored to be the recipient of the club’s Michael Lonergran Memorial Award at this year’s banquet as a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community. I share this recognition with the Lambda team, who has done so much to ensure that Long Beach embraces its diversity, and with all California classroom teachers who work hard every day to ensure our students find success no matter their background, and of course, with the students who struggle with discrimination and to find support through a school club, a fellow student or a school counselor.

Congratulations to all my fellow honorees and I look forward to working together to ensure that every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is valued, appreciated and, most of all, loved.

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UTI’s new 3½ acre facility at Douglas Park will help bring highly skilled labor to the region..

It is often said our economy suffers from two major obstacles to long-term growth. Too many workers are struggling to find stable, high-paying jobs while businesses are finding it harder and harder to fill open positions with qualified employees. Career technical education is essential to solving both of these problems and keeping manufacturing jobs in the US.

Long Beach made a big leap toward closing the employment gap with the grand opening of the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), which formally celebrated the occasion earlier this month. UTI opened their newest campus in August and has already begun preparing local students for careers as highly trained automotive, diesel and collision repair service technicians.

At the opening ceremony I spoke about the importance of career tech to California’s economy and presented the campus with a certificate of recognition in acknowledgement of their invaluable service to our community.

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Assemblymember O’Donnell meets with members and representatives from the California Small Business Association to discuss California’s efforts to help small businesses thrive.

One of my top priorities in the Legislature is identifying ways we can create a friendly economic climate to ensure small businesses flourish in California. Earlier this month I was pleased to welcome the California Small Business Association (CSBA) to my District Office in Long Beach.  At the meeting I was able to provide a legislative update and discuss how we can meet the needs of the small business community moving forward.

Issues such as adapting to minimum wage increases, paid family sick leave and ADA compliance were addressed as well as the government resources available to local small businesses owners to enable them to grow into their next stage of development.

It was a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders who drive California’s economy.  If you are a small business owner and would like to learn more about CSBA, I encourage you to visit their website at www.csba.com or contact my office to get more information on the many assistance and incentive programs being offered through the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).  You can also join us at our Small Business Summit in December; to learn more, check out the upcoming events section of the newsletter.

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Assemblymember O’Donnell stands with students from UCLA after briefing them on the budget and legislative gains made this year to make higher education accessible and more affordable.

Also this month I had the chance to meet with student, alumni, faculty and other staff at the UCLA Faculty Center to talk about the importance of higher education.

Together with Alfred Herrera, Director of Community Partnerships at UCLA, and a group of students who transferred to UCLA from Long Beach City College, we spoke about the ways we can work together to begin lowering tuition costs, improving student access to support resources and the legislative proposals most important to the UC system. In addition, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, the Dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies briefed us on UCLA’s work to advance teacher training and improve the quality of K-12 education in Los Angeles.

I want to extend my thanks to everyone who came ready to engage on these issues and for working so hard on behalf of the student population!

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Assemblymember O’Donnell addresses the Khmer Health Fair emphasizing the importance of preventative health measures as a means to protect individual and public health.

Preventative health care was also a focus for my office this month as we joined the Khmer Parent Association to host the Khmer Health Fair in Long Beach.  Presentations in English, and simultaneously translated in Khmer, educated the public on the importance of screening for Hepatitis B, glaucoma prevention, proper dental hygiene and avoiding the onset of chronic diseases.

In addition, flu shots were offered by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services to all as well as pneumonia shots for attendees over the age of 60. Free Hepatitis B & C screenings were also provided by the Asian Pacific Liver Center.

Thanks to the LBUSD Office of Equity, Access and College/Career Readiness for providing the simultaneous translation headsets and to everyone who came out to learn about the ways to maintain their health, and in so doing, keep healthcare costs down in California.

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Assemblymember O’Donnell speaks to PTA representatives from across Los Angeles County about his legislative priorities to enhance the educational opportunities for students in California.

Finally, October also gave me the chance to meet with PTA representatives from across Los Angeles County to discuss about the additional funds in the education budget, upcoming initiatives as well as newly implemented education policies in California.

I shared information on my bill, AB 1088, which is legislation that will place the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act on the ballot in a future statewide general election. If approved by the voters, the initiative will provide additional funds for K-12 facilities construction and modernization projects, as well as new investments in career and technical education facilities.

The bill is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and we anticipate making further progress on the legislation in the coming year.

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I am proud to partner with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to host a small business summit to help small business owners and entrepreneurs access resources that will allow them expand and add jobs.

The program will feature a presentation on the new California Business Portal, the Governor’s Economic Development Initiatives, the Office of International Affairs, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Office of Small Business Advocate, California Business Investment Services and California Infrastructure Bank. An expo featuring local resource partners and other state agencies also accompanies the event.

The summit is free and open to the public.

Details about the time and location will be available soon, but for more information you can contact Allison Gallagher in my district office at allison.gallagher@asm.ca.gov or call my district office at 562-495-2915.


Join me and Congresswoman Janice Hahn for a cup of coffee and some casual conversation. This is the perfect opportunity to share your thoughts on legislative priorities, learn about what constituent services our offices offer and hear about what may be in store for next year’s legislative session. Also you may want to enjoy a tasty breakfast from my office’s Small Business of the Year, Bagels Galore!

Saturday, November 7
8:30 - 10 a.m.
Bagels Galore
2410 Western Avenue
San Pedro, CA 90732

For more information, or to RSVP, contact in my district office at 562-495-2915.

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My district office is seeking motivated high school and college students as well as recent graduates for our District Internship Program this fall and winter! Interns will have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the State Legislature and community outreach as well as expand their resume and professional network.

More information and applications available on my website. Questions? Please contact Allison Gallagher in my office at 562-495-2915 or allison.gallagher@asm.ca.gov.

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