Gaines Gazette: June 1, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Memorial Day Remembrance

Senator Gaines visits with Shin Chae-Hyun, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, who awarded a Peace Medal to a veteran of the Korean War.
Senator Gaines visits with Shin Chae-Hyun, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, who awarded peace medals to veterans of the Korean War.

Senator Gaines visits with Jim Russell, who served during the Vietnam War, at the Fair Oaks Cemetery District Memorial Day event.
Senator Gaines visits with Jim Russell, who served during the Vietnam War, at the Fair Oaks Cemetery District Memorial Day event.

It was truly a privilege to have participated in the 19th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Fair Oaks Cemetery District. I also participated in an event at the Sacramento VA Medical Center honoring Korean War Veterans. Both were beautiful ceremonies and an opportunity to express our deep appreciation for all of the fallen soldiers who have given everything to protect our freedoms. To the men and women of the greatest military the world has ever seen — to those with us and those we have lost — I thank you.

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Taxpayer Protection Bill Passes The Senate

My Senate Bill 11, a measure that would proactively waive penalties and interest for taxpayers when a California Board of Equalization (BOE) system failure prevents them from making tax payments on time, passed out of the Senate.

I was pleased to have the Senate’s support on this important taxpayer protection bill. Senate Bill 11 is simple and fair, two elements of good governance that are too often missing in California. I look forward to the bill’s continued support as it makes its way through the Assembly.

Under existing law, tax payments made after the filing deadline are subject to interest and penalty. The BOE is currently authorized to waive any penalties or interest if the late payment is due to a disaster or BOE error, however, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to file paperwork and petition for a refund.

Senate Bill 11 comes on the heels of four separate BOE computer system failures over the past year, two of which occurred during peak filing deadlines leaving taxpayers unable to pay their tax bills on time.

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New Fire Tax Video

Link to Fire Tax Video

Let’s talk about the fire tax. Approved in 2011 by the Governor and Legislature, this marks the sixth year bills have hit the mailboxes of approximately 800,000 Californians, many of them in my Senate District. I have been opposed to the fire tax since day one and put together a short video to demonstrate just how ridiculous it is. The fire tax is illegal, unfair and unconstitutional. I have fought it at every turn and I encourage everyone who is stuck paying this phony fee to fight it too. I will continue to keep you updated on what’s happening with this important issue.

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Merle Haggard Memorial Overpass

Patrick (left) and Billy sell shirts at a pancake breakfast during Rodeo Week in Redding.
Patrick (left) and Billy sell shirts at a pancake breakfast during Rodeo Week in Redding.

I want to extend a big “thank you” to Billy and Patrick, the morning show hosts of Redding’s KNCQ-FM (Today’s Country Q97), for spearheading an effort to honor the memory and legacy of country music superstar Merle Haggard.

At my request, the Legislature has designated the overpass at the interchange of Interstate 5 and State Highway Route 44 in the City of Redding as the Merle Haggard Memorial Overpass. However, state law precludes the use of state funds to pay for memorial signs. Billy and Patrick jumped at the chance to raise the required funds by selling t-shirts that feature the overpass signage.

Merle Haggard was proud to call Shasta County his home. He passed away in his Palo Cedro home on his 79th birthday, April 6, 2016. His impact on country music was enormous, and he gave us numerous hits including “Swinging Doors,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” “Workin’ Man Blues” and “Okie from Muskogee.”

It will take a few months before Caltrans receives the signs from the vendor and I look forward to the sign dedication ceremony.

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National Day Of Prayer

Senator Gaines joins some of California’s religious leaders at the National Day or Prayer at the State Capitol.
Senator Gaines joins some of California’s religious leaders at the National Day of Prayer at the State Capitol.

California has a rich heritage in religious faith and I was pleased to have participated in the National Day of Prayer. This event held on the South Steps of the State Capitol provided my colleagues and me a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the importance of prayer in our lives and to ask God’s direction and blessing upon our state. It was a wonderful evening of prayer for our state, our needs and our many blessings and an opportunity to set aside all the things that divide us and unite around prayer. I look forward to next year’s event!

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New Committee Assignment

I was recently appointed to serve as Vice Chair of the newly-formed Senate Committee on Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions for the 2017-18 legislative session.

This committee assignment is the perfect combination of my more than 30-years’ experience as an insurance agent along with my previous service as Vice Chair of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee. I will work hard to achieve bipartisan solutions to the important issues facing both of these industry sectors and to defend the interests of hard-working California taxpayers.

Last month, the Senate Committee on Insurance and the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions merged into the Senate Committee on Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions. This Committee will review legislation relating to insurance, indemnity, surety, warranty agreements, financial institutions, commerce, international trade, retail credit interest rates and corporations.

I am also a member of the Senate Committees on Environmental Quality; Ethics; Governmental Organization; and Transportation and Housing.

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Meeting With Realtors

Senator Gaines visits with members of the California Realtors Association during their Legislative Day.
Senator Gaines visits with members of the California Association of Realtors during their Legislative Day.

Thanks to the California Association of Realtors for visiting with me during their Legislative Day at the Capitol and sharing the issues that affect the real estate industry the most. I look forward to our continued dialogue!

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’Tis The Season For County Fairs

It’s that time of year again - county fair season! Ferris wheels are in full swing and the scent of funnel cakes and corndogs can be smelled as soon as you reach the fairground gates. Below is a list of fairs that are scheduled to take place throughout my district this summer. If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly activity, I encourage you to go out and support your local fair.

FAIR DATE WEBSITE
El Dorado County Fair Jun 15-18 www.eldoradocountyfair.org
Shasta District Fair June 21-24 www.shastadistrictfair.com
Placer County Fair June 22-25 www.placercountyfair.org
Lassen County Fair July 19-23 www.lassencountyfair.org
Nevada County Fair August 9-13 www.nevadacountyfair.com
Siskiyou Golden Fair August 9-13 www.sisqfair.com
Plumas-Sierra County Fair August 9-13 www.plumas-sierracountyfair.net
Modoc District Fair August 17-20 www.modocfair.com
Inter-Mountain Fair of Shasta County Aug 31-Sept 4 www.inter-mountainfair.com
Gold Country Fair September 7-10 www.goldcountryfair.com
Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair September 7-10 www.tbvfair.com

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Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony

Senator Gaines visits with members of the California Realtors Association during their Legislative Day.
Senator Gaines joins the family of Fallen Modoc County Sheriff Deputy Jack Hopkins.

Senator Gaines visits with members of the California Realtors Association during their Legislative Day.

I was honored to join the family of Fallen Modoc County Sheriff Deputy Jack Hopkins, along with friends, community members and colleagues at the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony Candlelight Vigil in Sacramento. It was a beautiful event remembering our fallen heroes who gave their lives serving the citizens of this great state and showing support to the family members left behind.

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Thoughts On Governor’s Revised Budget

Governor Jerry Brown recently released his revised state budget proposal. What I would like to see first is a full and complete explanation as to why Californians’ truck weight fees have been diverted from their true purpose over the past five years and why our sky high gas taxes have not been enough to pay for our roads. Instead, we’re now forced to pay $5 billion more per year for increased gas taxes and vehicle fees to fix roads.

California’s income tax collections were nearly $1 billion short of projections during the month of April. I know the legislature will be tempted to sink every last dollar into new and ongoing spending programs at a time when we should heed State Controller Betty Yee’s warning that we may be “inching towards an economic downturn” and that we must “tailor our spending accordingly.”

Governor Brown continues to sound all the right notes about fiscal discipline and debt reduction, but has the largest ever state spending plan, out of whack spending priorities and little accountability. Overtaxed Californians need relief, not a continuation of the government’s never ending tax and spend cycle that makes California so unaffordable.

To view the entire revised budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.

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Celebrity Waiter Luncheon

Senator Gaines waits on tables during the 2017 Celebrity Waiter Luncheon in Lincoln.
Senator Gaines waits on tables during the 2017 Celebrity Waiter Luncheon in Lincoln.

I had so much fun serving tables at the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center’s 2017 Celebrity Waiter Luncheon in Lincoln! Proceeds go towards ensuring that Placer County residents get the services they needed to successfully navigate their life challenges. Congratulations to the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center on another great event and for making a difference in our community.

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June Is Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Month

The snow is melting, water is flowing, and wildfire fuels are growing. Despite all the moisture, the wildfire threat remains a concern. Preparing your home and community now is more important than ever. June is “Wildfire Awareness Month” in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and members of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team are asking all Tahoe residents and visitors to “Think First to Keep Tahoe Fire Safe.”

A good way to start is by attending one of the three family-friendly events that are taking place as part of Wildfire Awareness Month. Representatives from the Tahoe Fire Fuels Team will be on hand at each of the events to visit with people one-on-one, discuss wildfire prevention and answer preparedness questions. Additional activities are taking place throughout the month to not only mark the 10-year anniversary of the tragic Angora Fire, but to also explore the research and management changes resulting from the lessons learned from the fire. The community events include the following:

  • The North Tahoe Fire Protection District will hold their 2nd Annual Fire Safe Bar-B-Que on Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 222 Fairway Drive in Tahoe City.

  • The South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue will hold their 4th Annual Wildfire Safety Expo on Saturday, June 17 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the TJ Maxx parking lot located at 2015 Lake Tahoe Blvd., also known as the “Y”.

  • The Lake Valley Fire Protection District is conducting a Meyers Community Gathering on Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Angora Fire by focusing on the community’s healing and resiliency.

The Lake Tahoe Basin Regional Fire Chiefs are encouraging residents to work with their neighbors, local fire district representatives, and community partners to prepare their homes and community to survive wildfire and work towards becoming and maintaining it as a Fire Adapted Community. They should “Think First” and:

  • Create defensible space by removing dead vegetation, leaves and pine needles that are located next to their home, on the roof or in rain gutters.

  • Trim low tree branches to a height of at least 10 feet.

  • Move firewood stacks to a location at least 30 feet from the home.

  • Develop a personal and family evacuation plan.

Visitors to the area are also being asked to “Think First” to prevent starting a wildfire while recreating in the Lake Tahoe Basin, where more than 90 percent of wild land fires are human-caused and easily preventable. These include tips to:

  • Put out campfires before leaving the campsite, and only have campfires in designated fire rings where they are allowed.

  • Avoid the use of charcoal when barbequing.

  • Use an approved spark arrestor when off-roading.

  • Enjoy professional fireworks shows.

For more information about the upcoming events, how to prepare for wildfire, or to locate your local fire district, visit tahoe.livingwithfire.info.

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