Thursday, September 10, 2020

Long Beach Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D-70) is home from his sixth year in the state legislature — one he calls the strangest yet.

"It definitely is unprecedented," O'Donnell said in an interview last week. "It was interrupted by COVID; we started, stopped, then started again.

"I'd have to say it wasn't marked by the quantity of the legislation, but by the quality," he added. "There were fewer bills, but they were more effective."

O'Donnell was a high school history teacher before and during his tenure on the Long Beach City Council. He continues to emphasis education in his Sacramento efforts. He is chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

A new education bill — which State Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach, introduced last week, seeks to limit liability related to the coronavirus for school districts this fall.

O'Donnell, who chairs the Education Committee in the California Assembly and is a high school history teacher, said his bill will help protect districts from COVID-19-related lawsuits as they try to reopen this fall. Many school districts, under the guidance from the state and their respective counties, will try to enact social distancing, sanitizing and other health policies to minimize the risk of the virus spreading.

In the wake of restaurants and other businesses reopening in recent weeks, Southern California has seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations, particularly in Los Angeles County, showing that enacting safety procedures doesn't necessarily mean the virus won't spread. (LA County this week shut down indoor dining for at least another three weeks.)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

WASHINGTON — The economic relief bill Congress is expected to approve this week would provide $1,200 direct payments to many American adults, expand eligibility for unemployment benefits to include actors and gig workers and provide funding for states.

Those provisions are among many just coming to light in a roughly $2.2-trillion package intended to help households and businesses get through the economy’s virtual shutdown as the nation combats the coronavirus outbreak.

Although supporters say the bill will help buoy Americans who have been laid off or are working reduced hours, critics have identified holes in the legislative safety net. A fourth coronavirus-related relief package already is under discussion.

Key provisions will have an effect for Californians. Among them:

Direct payments

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

California lawmakers set aside up to $1.1 billion Monday for health care needs, homelessness services and school cleaning to help the state deal with crushing costs being brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, said he would carry a bill giving schools more flexibility on how they make up the instructional time lost while they are closed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Legislature hurriedly approved emergency financial relief to help school districts cope with the costs of the coronavirus on Monday before adjourning for a month to comply with state and federal orders limiting gatherings to stem the spread of the contagion.

Legislators approved an initial $100 million for K-12 districts and child care centers to cover school cleaning expenses and adopted waivers that will ensure funding for school districts and state-funded child care during school closures. In a second bill, they approved spending up to $1 billion on emergency medical costs, including leasing two hospitals, to expand the capacity to respond to the pandemic.

Friday, March 6, 2020

One of the biggest surprises of the March primary was that California voters rejected the proposed $15-billion bond measure that would have paid for school construction and much-needed maintenance around the state. It’s the first time in a quarter of a century that a statewide school bond measure failed.

But did voters really want to stiff kids and schools? Or was the bond tanked, at least in part, by its name: Proposition 13? Anecdotal evidence suggests it may have been.

In California, most voters hear “Proposition 13" and think of the 1978 taxpayer revolt that capped most property taxes at 1% of a home’s sale price and holds annual increases in assessed value to 2% or less. There probably isn’t another ballot measure in California history and politics as famous or infamous — depending on your worldview — as Proposition 13.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

California’s lone statewide ballot measure appears headed for defeat and the bill’s author thinks that its fate rested on its designated number, one that he hopes the state legislature will agree to retire after introducing legislation to permanently put 13 to bed.

Proposition 13, authored by Long Beach Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, would authorize a $15 billion bond for school modernization and construction projects with the bulk of funding ($9 million) going toward elementary schools. However, repaying the bill would cost taxpayers about $740 million a year for 35 years, something that 55% of voters said no to as of Thursday.