What We Accomplished in 2020
2020 was one of the most challenging years in our lifetime, but through those challenges, my team and I were steadfast in our commitment to ensuring a better quality of life for those in the Inland Empire and all of California. Last year, my office focused on putting money back in your pockets, protecting workers from COVID-19, providing a pathway to justice for Diego’s family, and getting resources to those in our community that need it.
Our resiliency will prove foundational as we take on this year’s challenges. Together, I am confident that we will beat this virus, restore our economy, and build a brighter future for all of us.
CAL EITC Expansion
In 2020, Majority Leader Reyes introduced AB 1593 to expand California's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to immigrants that file taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). The 2020 budget included provisions of AB 1593, specifically an expansion of EITC to families that file with ITINs with children under age 6. The EITC is one of the most cost-effective government tools that has a direct impact on people across the state to help lift them out of poverty. CalEITC was extended to ALL ITIN filers, not just those that qualified for YCTC. It was a great win to see those extra revenues grow the pot for those most in need.
AB 685 - COVID-19 Protections at the Workplace
Requires employers to provide a notice within one business day to employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 at their worksite and report to the California Department of Public Health if an outbreak occurs. AB685 took effect on January 1, 2021.
AB 2147- Expedited Expungements and Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters
Provides an expedited expungement process for formerly incarcerated individuals who have successfully participated in fire suppression activities. California is now the first state in the nation to provide this type of relief to the formerly incarcerated who served as inmate firefighters.
AB 2276 - Lead Exposure Protections for Children
Introduced in response to a State Auditor’s Report, “Childhood Lead Levels: Millions of Children in Medi-Cal Have Not Received Required Testing for Lead Poisoning” that revealed over a million children in the Medi-Cal Program have not been properly screened for lead exposure. AB 2276 established additional risk factors to be considered by health care providers evaluating children at risk of lead poisoning and requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to update its funding formulas to local Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs. Additionally, AB 2276 requires Medi-Cal managed care plans to identify and report to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on all child enrollees six years of age and younger who have missed required blood lead screening tests and requires DHCS to develop and implement procedures to ensure blood lead screening compliance for children receiving Medi-Cal.
AB 2445 Wrongful Death Protections
Removed the requirement in current law that views only biological or adoptive parents as eligible for bringing forth a lawsuit on behalf of a minor who passed away due to the wrongful conduct of another.
In 2019, a 13-year old boy, Diego, was killed as a result of bullying and physical assault at a middle school, and school administrators had allegedly ignored complaints from the child's family. By the time of Diego's death, both of his biological parents had passed away and his aunt and uncle officially were his legal guardians. Although the aunt and uncle did not adopt Diego, they raised him since he was about one-year-old – that is, since the time of his biological mother's death.
Under AB 2445, Diego’s family will find justice for his death.
Unemployment Insurance Help
My team and I placed additional focus on resolving EDD unemployment claims. As a result of the pandemic, many in our district lost their jobs. Throughout the year my team resolved hundreds of EDD unemployment insurance claims. I know for some of my constituents the last year was a financially difficult one and the delay in EDD benefits made matters worse. This is why we worked hard to ensure delivery of the benefits they deserve.
Food Distribution Aid
This last year my team organized 5 food distribution events with the most recent one occurring in November. We are happy to have helped anyone experiencing food insecurities during these difficult times.
COVID-19 Response and Resource Virtual Townhalls
In 2020, my team and I organized 15 COVID-19 response and resource virtual town halls on many topics including how to best combat the virus, get small business resources, and find out about criminal justice response. These town halls allowed my constituents and I to have a conversation about the virus and our collective response.
One thing I am particularly proud to have accomplished with the help of my team and other organizers are the various PPE (personal protective equipment) distribution events held throughout the year, including distribution at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and the coordinated distribution of PPE supplies to over 1200 seniors.
Senior Outreach and Resource Distribution Events
Though 2020 turned out to be much different than initially expected, my team and I made sure to continue our annual Senior Advocacy Week. These senior outreach and resource distribution events have been held every year and are a focal point for our senior centers and housing facilities. These events are important to our office and I am proud of the efforts made by my team to support the Inland Empire community.