Pictured: Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-Ventura) has several bills pending final approval by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Special election in Oxnard on Nov. 2

Voter information booklets are being mailed out for the Nov. 2 election for the District 2 seat on the Oxnard City Council, which became vacant when former city council member Carmen Ramirez was elected to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. 

Three candidates are listed on the ballot: Gabe Teran, who was appointed by the city council to fill the seat until a person can be elected to complete the remainder of Ramirez’s term; Tai Hartley, chair of the Riverpark Neighborhood Council in Oxnard; and Eduardo Q. Huerta, a consultant.

Oct. 18 is the last day for Oxnard residents to register to vote in order to vote on Nov. 2. Vote-by-mail ballots will begin to be mailed out on Oct. 4. 

Oxnard resident running for Congress

Oxnard resident Daniel Wilson, a veteran, trans-gender man is running for Congress to represent the 26th District. He is running as an independent candidate without party affiliation with a platform that includes healthcare and housing for all and climate action. More about Wilson and his campaign is online at danielforcongress.com. Wilson will be taking on the well-established Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) and has pledged to not accept any campaign contributions from corporate, PAC or other lobbyist interests. 

New state legislation

The state legislature has concluded the current session, approving 800 bills to go to the governor’s desk. State senators and assembly members will return for the next session in January 2022. 

Five bills authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) are awaiting approval or veto, and a sixth bill Irwin authored was signed into law. 

On Sept. 23, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1101 which will improve compliance and transparency within homeowners association boards. 

The five bills awaiting Newsom’s yay or nay are: 

  • AB298, designed to streamline the licensure process for new accountants; 

  • AB488, aimed at creating a one-of-a-kind structure for regulating online charitable giving to protect donors and charities; 

  • AB751, which will allow county recorders to continue to accept electronic requests for vital records, including marriage and death certificates, so long as security requirements are in place;

  • AB1280, designed to combat fraud in the hospice industry; and 

  • AB1331, aimed at establishing a full-time position in the California Department of Health Care Services to oversee the coordination of behavioral health crisis services, ensuring continuity of care. 

Irwin represents the 44th Assembly District, including the communities of Camarillo, El Rio, Moorpark, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village. 

During the current legislative session so far, one of six bills authored by Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-Ventura) has garnered the governor’s signature. AB941 establishes grant funding for farmworker resource centers at the county level. 

Bennett’s other bills pending approval are:

  • AB896, that grants the state oil and gas regulatory office the authority to remediate idle oil and gas wells and creates a pathway for oil companies to resolve unpaid idle well fees; 

  • AB824, which allows students to petition to add a student representative to county boards of education and the governing board of charter schools; 

  • AB716, requiring court houses in the state to provide remote access to the public; and

  • AB674, which amends the existing Calfresh program and requires counties to provide eligibility information to young adults leaving the foster system, increasing access to food programs. 

Bennett represents the state’s 37th district which includes some parts of Santa Barbara County as well as Ventura, the Ojai Valley, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Fillmore, Piru, Saticoy and Somis. 

Federal legislation in process

On Sept. 21, Brownley introduced HR5295, the Every Veteran Counts Act, which if it becomes law would compel the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to create and update a database tracking the demographic information of the entire U.S. veteran population. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. 

There is currently no national database that can be used to gather this information to assess veterans’ needs and plan for their care. Surveys have been used in the past to assess this information; the last was conducted in 2010. 

Rep. Mike Garcia, (R – Santa Clarita) co-sponsored HR 4792, which is aimed at pushing back against what Garcia called “one of our greatest threats…the Chinese Communist Party.” Called the Countering Communist China Act, the bill, if it becomes law, would restrict the Chinese Community Party from using propaganda in the U.S. and from accessing American citizen data from mobile applications. The act also authorizes an investigation into China’s role in the global coronavirus pandemic.

Garcia put out a statement to supporters about his position opposing mandates that require the public to wear masks or require employees to be vaccinated. His written statement said,  “While I have been open about my choice to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after consulting with my doctor I believe this is a personal decision. Americans should have the freedom to make their own medical decisions.”