With the 2015-16 legislative session now in the rear-view mirror, I can't be prouder and more humbled to have represented such a fantastic community. On my more than 2,600 votes, I did my best to reflect the views of 7th State Senate District residents, giving thoughtful consideration to issues of vital importance and concern to all of us. I met thousands of residents at bipartisan town hall events, individual meetings and at the 22-day, 22-pushup challenge I undertook on behalf of U.S. veterans. I was also excited to see much of my legislative agenda fulfilled, with Governor Jerry Brown signing six of my bills, including my legislation to improve the four-year graduation rates at California State Universities.
It has been and continues to be an honor to serve you, and I look forward to seeing you at future events.
Governor Signs Six of Sen. Glazer's Bills
Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law six of my bills, including The California Promise, SB 412, which will improve four-year graduations at California State Universities.
SB 412 provides a pathway for CSU students to graduate in four years by offering priority registration and enhanced academic advising. To be eligible, students must complete 30 semester units (or the equivalent in quarters) while maintaining a 2.0 grade point average. This new law will require CSU to establish the California Promise program on 8 campuses for first-time freshmen and 15 campuses for community college transfers. Added focus will be given to under-represented minorities, low-income students, first-generation students and transfer students.
SB 880 bans the so-called assault weapon bullet button, a key part of a historic gun reform package approved by the Legislature. The bullet button makes it easy to quickly remove a magazine and replace it with another, the result of gun makers exploiting a loophole in the law that expressly prohibits assault weapons in California.
In Governor Brown's signing message, he noted that the bullet button bill and certain others in the package "enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners."
Other bills of mine signed by the governor:
- SB 1128 - Bay Area Commuters Benefits Program, which will continue a program that gives employers and employees options on their commuter benefits.
- SB 1311 - License Plate Confidentiality, which requires the names of those convicted of felonies to be taken off confidentiality lists afforded to relatives of police officers.
- SB 1389 - Custodial Interrogation, which expands existing videotaping requirements for custodial interrogation to any homicide suspect.
- SB 1422 -Tax Liability Limits for Cable Providers, which clarifies that cable service providers are subjected only to the same tax liabilities that other utilities face.
Two of my resolutions were also approved by the Legislature:
- Senate Resolution 69 urges the President of the United States to exonerate the U.S. Navy seamen convicted of mutiny following the Port Chicago disaster during World War II.
- Senate Joint Resolution 15 calls on Congress to prohibit public schools, buildings, parks, roadways and other federal-owned property from using names of Confederate military and political leaders.
Meeting Constituents' Needs
Mt. Diablo Bicycle Safety Improvements
It was exciting to gather on Mount Diablo, the majestic centerpiece of Senate District 7, to celebrate completion of the Mount Diablo State Park Road Safety Improvements project. The event was the culmination of the hard work and persistence of a small, but mighty group of determined park patrons who worked with park staff to improve safety for cyclists and motorists on Mount Diablo. I am honored to have partnered with Assemblywoman Catharine Baker to provide bipartisan leadership to ensure that the safety measures were implemented in a timely manner.
Thank you to Dan Borenstein of the East Bay Times, whose thoughtful coverage moved me to take action; Al Kalin of Mount Diablo Cyclists for being a tireless advocate for the safety improvements and for providing the facts of the clear and present danger on the mountain; Town of Danville Mayor Karen Stepper, for her leadership and for sharing her and her daughter Shannon's personal stories; the staff and leadership at the CA State Parks department, particularly, Ryen Goering, Danita Rodriguez and Gloria Sandoval for working with my office and the cyclists and motorists who frequent Mount Diablo to make these safety improvements a reality, and last, but certainly not least, thank you to my Chief of Staff, Stephen Whittaker, for his dogged determination in getting this project across the finish line. The double-yellow finish line! Shown in the photo to the right are, from left to right, my Chief of Staff Stephen Whittaker, Danville Mayor Karen Stepper, Gregg Sorensen, of Mt. Diablo Cyclists, me, Mt. Diablo State Parks Superintendent Ryan Goering, and Mt. Diablo Cyclists President Al Kalin.
The $366,000 in critical safety measures, all recommended by the Mt. Diablo Cyclists, include new double striping and warning signs along the state park road. The improvements are intended to create a greater awareness of the dangers that face both bicyclists and automobile drivers. Approximately 150,000 bicyclists rode on Mt. Diablo in 2015. On a typical Saturday 500 to 800 bicyclists share the road with hundreds of cars.
Even with these new safety measures, I'd still ask that drivers and bicyclists keep safety paramount as you seek out the beautiful scenery of Mt. Diablo.
Learning About the Diversity of Farm Operations
In October, I enjoyed learning more about the agricultural community and the diversity of farm operations that we have in Eastern Contra Costa County. Special thanks to Kathryn Lyddan and Jon Harvey of the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust; Janet Caprile, University of California Farm Advisor for Contra Costa County, and Betty Compilli, Director of the Contra Costa Farm Bureau for leading our tour. I enjoyed learning about First Generation Farmers from Chris Wyse and Barbara and Alli Cecchini. They are doing impressive work to get a new generation interested in farming, while helping preserve the area's rich agricultural resources. I also want to thank Mark Dwelley and Patrick Johnston of Dwelley Farms in Oakley for spending time at their packing house educating me about packing and shipping Brentwood's delicious sweet corn and other produce. And, thank you to Janice and Bill Smith for providing a wonderful setting for our Farmer's Roundtable at the Smith Family Farm in Knightsen.
I encourage everyone to be mindful of where our food comes from, and to support the wonderful produce stands and farms throughout Senate District 7 and the State of California.
Thank you to the students, families and community members who attended Family Science Night, co-hosted by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and me at Bancroft Elementary in Walnut Creek. It was a great opportunity for students and their families to share in the wonder of discovery. It was fun to see the joy on children's faces as they conducted experiments or watched the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) demonstrations.
A big thank you to our partners for making the event a success: Sandia Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Lab for providing the experiments; Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce and P.E.A.K. Education Foundation for providing volunteers; the Berean School Robotics Club, and Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent and the Mt. Diablo USD Board for supporting the event. I look forward to creating more opportunities to experience STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in action.
Thank you to California Highway Patrol Officers Derek Reed, Howard Walton, Khalid Rashid and Jeff Piccinini for sharing important safety tips to more than 125 people of all ages who turned out for the Personal Safety Workshop that Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, and I hosted in October at the Pleasanton Veterans Hall. I'm glad that everyone was able to walk away with information about how to stay safe.
One of the key lessons was to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. I look forward to partnering with Assemblywoman Baker to offer future sessions.
Raising Awareness of Veterans' Suicides
On June 23, I embarked on a 22-day mission to heighten people's understanding of a tragedy that is quietly sweeping the country: suicides among our U.S. Veterans. On average, 20-to-22 Veterans take their lives every day - more than 8,000 a year around the country.
I was joined by Veterans and their supporters in the Capitol and all around my district to fulfill the mission of 22 daily pushups to commemorate the service of veterans. It was an eye-opening and uplifting journey as I learned about the tight bonds that exist in the Veteran community and the extraordinary efforts being taken by so many people who want to give back to our heroes. I kicked off the 22 pushup challenge on the floor of the Senate, joined by 10 other senators, and went on to do my pushups at numerous local Veterans' memorials and halls, parades, offices, school campuses and other sites.
Please click here to go to my website, where you can see a video of each of the 22 days of 22 pushups. If you are a Veteran and you need help, please call 1-800-273-8255, and press 1. Help is available. You are not alone.