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.