By Assemblymember Steve Fox, 36th Assembly District
As the first year of my first legislative session draws to a close, I wanted to let you know about the progress the Legislature has made on key priorities for the District. Areas like bringing jobs to the Antelope Valley, reinvigorating the local economy, working to expand higher education, and improving the lives of our veterans have been where I focused my efforts.
Below is a summary of the work that was accomplished.
Restored $2.7 million in Redevelopment Agency funds for the City of Palmdale
- Palmdale has been hit hard by the great recession, and these funds are urgently needed to bring jobs back to the Antelope Valley; and
- Creates an opportunity for building and improving the city from within, generating local jobs for local professionals.
Fought to restore the Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone
- Provides local small businesses with an incentive to hire locally—keeping regional dollars in our own communities.
Encouraged the Federal Government to bring up to 100,000 jobs to CA for the aerospace industry
- Assembly Bill (AB) 737 and Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 6 created a plan for the implementation of drone testing in California and requests that the Federal Aviation Administration consider California as one of the six planned test sites for unmanned aircraft systems and integration of those systems into the next-generation air transportation system.
Obtained a State Audit of water agencies that serve the Antelope Valley
- Residents have repeatedly expressed they cannot afford to pay their water bills.
- One of the water providers in my district listed in the audit request has submitted a 60% rate increase request to the PUC which would make the average monthly bill $190 in some areas.
- This audit will let residents know how these agencies are spending ratepayer money.
Secured $3.6 million for local governments to develop renewable energy projects
- AB 1060 provided grant funding opportunities to desert counties for local renewable energy and conservation plans.
- Kern County expressed immediate interest in applying for a renewable energy planning grant.
Worked to bring a public higher education institution to the Antelope Valley
- Authored AB 736, which authorizes a study regarding the feasibility of a California State University in the Antelope Valley.
- The district has a higher high school graduation rate than the statewide average, but our students have no opportunities to seek a four-year degree locally.
- Creating a CSU, Antelope Valley would help keep our best and brightest in the area.
Co-authored bill addressing veterans housing and homelessness
- Co-authored legislation that authorizes the issuance of $600 million in general obligation (GO) bonds for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing and affordable transitional housing for veterans and their families – if approved by the voters on the 2014 statewide ballot.
Authored a new law that targets academic weaknesses of students in Juvenile Court Schools
- Data shows an overwhelming number of juvenile court students are performing at three or more years below their grade level.
- AB 631 provides targeted reading and math instruction to students in juvenile court schools who are far below basic skill levels in these subjects.
- When students see improvements in their academic abilities they become engaged and will be encouraged to continue their education.
Authored a new law protecting student athletes
- Student athletes often suffer minor blows to the head during practice and competition. Even a minor blow to the head can have serious consequences.
- AB 588 requires private and charter school student athletes to be immediately removed from a sports activity if he or she is suspected to have sustained a concussion and prohibits the athlete from returning to the sport until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives written clearance to return to play.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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