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Letters, emails, website comments and statements | June 15, 2018

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Vocation-education allocation
I support the budget agreement [adopted by the Assembly Budget Conference Committee] that enables the State to live within its means and fully funds the reserve accounts while prioritizing funding for our schools. As a member of the Budget Committee, I look forward to voting on a budget that substantially increases funding for K-12 schools and increases college enrollment.
As a parent, a teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I applaud the allocation of $150 million for K-12 vocational/career technical education programs. The Career Technical Incentive Grant program is set to expire this year, and the Legislature has successfully saved this program with these funds. Vocational/career technical education programs not only reduce drop-out rates but strengthen the California workforce and economy in the long term.
Patrick O’Donnell
State Assemblymember
70th District

Taxation for celebration?
Celebrating America’s independence this Fourth of July? There’s a tax for that. Legislative Democrats have proposed a tax increase on Fourth of July fireworks sales. The new fireworks tax will tack on another 3 percent to each fireworks purchase. Even though the State is working with a $9-billion budget surplus this year, Legislative Democrats cannot seem to get their hands on enough taxpayer money. The fireworks tax (SB 794) will reach deeper into consumers’ pockets and likely reduce sales for local nonprofit organizations that operate most fireworks stands in the state as fundraisers. Republicans in the Assembly and Senate have united in opposition.
Assembly Republicans

Down for the count?
Today’s revelation that the [Trump] administration’s inclusion of a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 Census intentionally ignored the Commerce Department’s science advisors and came at the direction of former White House chief strategist, senior counsel Steve Bannon and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach [and] brings into sharp focus this administration’s discriminatory and anti-immigrant motivations.
Such blatant disregard for our Constitution cannot be tolerated. The Census requires that every person be counted, and questioning the citizenship of every person in America would undermine the very purpose of the decennial survey.
We are a nation of immigrants. And each day immigrants contribute to the culture and economy of our great nation. We must renounce and resist this administration’s unrelenting attempts to divide our nation. The US Census cannot become a political tool of extremists.
Alex Padilla
Secretary of State

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Letters, emails, website comments and statements | June 15, 2018