Gaines Gazette: July 1, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!

It’s been a busy legislative year so far and I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time out in the First Senate District meeting with my constituents and hearing what’s on their minds. I’ve encountered so many wonderful people and have received feedback from citizens with concerns about our state.

Summer is upon us and I want to take the time to wish you and your family a safe and relaxing 4th of July holiday!

I will continue to keep you updated on important developments and the latest news taking place here at the Capitol. It is an honor to serve you in the Senate.

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9th Anniversary Of Angora Fire

June 24th marked the 9th anniversary of the devastating Angora Fire that scorched about 3,100 acres and destroyed 254 homes in the Lake Tahoe Basin, costing many tens of millions in damages and in emergency response costs.

Although things are better than they were nine years ago, the area is still at extreme risk for catastrophic wildfire. Recent reports indicate that tree mortality in the Tahoe Basin doubled in 2015 with an estimated 35,000 dead trees found in the basin last year.

Tahoe’s conditions – steep canyons, ample fuel, high winds – are a recipe for forest fire disaster. We need all levels of government to work together to remove the dead and dying trees as quickly as possible in order to protect the public’s safety.

I also encourage residents to do their part for fire safety by exercising extreme caution with cigarettes, campfires, tools, engines or anything else that could possibly spark or otherwise cause a fire – which is how the Angora Fire began. When fires inevitably start, homeowners must create defensible space around their homes and be vigilant in clearing out brush at least 100 feet.

We can never eliminate the risk completely but we need to take every reasonable measure we can to keep this area – the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada – safe.

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Cruisin' Into Summer

Senator Gaines selected Paul Whitmore’s Pontiac GTO to receive the “Senator’s Trophy” at the Downtown Lincoln Car Show.
Senator Gaines selected Paul Whitmore’s Pontiac GTO to receive the “Senator’s Trophy” at the Downtown Lincoln Car Show.

From the time I was a kid, I've always had an interest in cars, so when I got an invite to the 10th Annual Downtown Lincoln Car Show, I jumped at the chance. The show had more than 400 cars on display, but when I saw Paul Whitmore’s 1965 Pontiac GTO, I knew it was the winner. I selected it for the Senator’s Trophy. Thanks to The Rods & Relics of Lincoln Hills Car Club and the VFW Post 3010 for inviting me to be a part of the fun!

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Opposed To Wasteful Budget

Last month, the Governor and legislative Democrats came to an agreement on the 2016-17 state budget that spends a record $122.5 billion out of the General Fund, an increase of $6.9 billion from the prior year. While the budget plan does include a meager attempt to save for a rainy day and pay down debt, California still has an estimated $330 billion in outstanding liabilities, and we need to be routing every single spare dollar towards paying it down.

The Governor himself has repeatedly warned that another recession is headed our way. Instead of heeding that warning, we are increasing spending by billions to pay for things like the absurd High Speed Rail project, a minimum wage increase and state government office building makeovers.

This spending spree and expansion of government will only grow in future years, creating significant pressure and justification to extend the Proposition 30 tax increases. We already live in one of the most expensive states with some of the highest taxes and worst business climates. When is enough, enough?

No matter the problem, no matter the year, no matter the economy, the legislative Democrat solution is always more spending. My constituents need tax relief, not more irresponsible government squandering that will be taken right out of their pockets.

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Recognizing The Best & The Brightest

Senator Gaines presents a Certificate of Recognition to scholarship recipient Joshua Harris.
Senator Gaines presents a Certificate of Recognition to scholarship recipient Joshua Harris.

I was proud to present Certificates of Recognition to several students from my district who won Comcast NBCUniversal’s 2016 “Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program.” The $1,000 scholarships are a nomination-based award for deserving high school seniors who have demonstrated leadership skills, academic achievement and a commitment to community service.

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Bill To Keep Drones Out Of Emergency Zones Passes Assembly Committee

My Senate Bill 807, which would protect forests, property and the lives of citizens, firefighters and emergency personnel from drone interference, passed out of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection.

Just this week, eight air tankers used to drop water and retardant on the Trail Head Fire in Placer and El Dorado counties in my Senate District were grounded because of drone interference in restricted airspace.

To think that someone would interfere with firefighting or emergency response situations to get a sneak peek or to post a drone video on YouTube is an outrage that is deserving of punishment and condemnation. I look forward to Senate Bill 807’s continued support as it makes its way through the Assembly.

Senate Bill 807 will grant civil immunity to any emergency responder who damages an unmanned aircraft in the course of firefighting, air ambulance, or search-and-rescue operations. The bill stems from alarming reports of private, unauthorized drones causing mission-critical aircraft to be grounded during firefighting and medical response operations, putting pilots, firefighters, civilians and property at unnecessary risk.

I believe drones hold great promise for wildfire suppression and other emergency services when used properly by the appropriate agencies, but do not want rogue drones to interfere with the most effective response to time-sensitive crises.

California’s dangerous wildfire season is upon us, and I want everyone to know that interfering with firefighting or other emergency activities is reckless and wrong. Let’s get the word out as far and wide as we can – immediately – to help keep our people and emergency personnel safe. But this bill will help ensure our skies are protected. People can replace drones, but we can’t replace a life. Public safety should be our absolute number one priority.

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22 Push-Up Challenge

Senator Gaines participates in the 22 push-up challenge to raise awareness of veteran suicide.
Senator Gaines participates in the 22 push-up challenge to raise awareness of veteran suicide.

Did you know that according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, on average 22 American veterans commit suicide every day? That’s a staggering and heartbreaking statistic. In an effort to raise awareness of veteran suicide, I’ve joined in on the 22 Push-Up Challenge, pledging to do 22 push-ups for 22 days. For more information on this challenge, visit www.22kill.com.

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At Your Service...

As your State Senator, one of the most important services I provide is assisting you when you are having trouble cutting through the red tape of state government. If you have a problem with a state agency or program such as those listed below, my staff can help find answers.

  • Department of Motor Vehicles (driver's license, vehicle registration)
  • Employment Development Department (unemployment benefits)
  • CA Department of Justice (background checks for employment)
  • Medi-Cal
  • Franchise Tax Board
  • CA Public Utilities Commission
  • CA Resources Agency
  • Medical Board of California
  • CA Contractors State License Board
  • CA Department of Food and Agriculture
  • And much more!

We also assist local governments and community organizations with regulatory issues and grant programs involving state agencies. We can seek answers to your questions, make the appropriate officials aware of your concerns and assist with any problems you might be experiencing.

Email senator.gaines@senate.ca.gov or call (916) 933-7213 to see how we can help.

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El Dorado County Fair

Senator Gaines and Assemblywoman Gaines visit with Dallas Sweeny, Anna Marie Repetto and Deanne Repetto at the El Dorado County Fair.
Senator Gaines and Assemblywoman Gaines visit with Dallas Sweeney, Anna Marie Repetto and Deanne Repetto at the El Dorado County Fair.

I had the chance to visit with many El Dorado County constituents last month at the El Dorado County Fair. If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly activity this summer, I encourage you to go out and support your local fair!

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Small Business Tax Seminar

To help business owners understand California’s complex tax laws, I am joining Board of Equalization (BOE) Member George Runner in hosting a free Small Business Tax Seminar on July 19 from 8-11:30 a.m. at the Truckee Tahoe Airport, located at 10356 Truckee Airport Road in Truckee.

Seminar topics include common sales and use tax problems, employee or independent contractor, forms of ownership and recordkeeping. Representatives from the BOE, Employment Development Department, Franchise Tax Board and Internal Revenue Service will conduct presentations and answer questions.

Download this flyer for more information. You can register online or call 1-888-847-9652.

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