By Toni G. Atkins
July is when the nation celebrates the Fourth of July and the promise sparked in 1776, and it’s when we celebrate PRIDE in San Diego—whose theme this year is Resilient, which resonates in so many different ways. This year, both of those celebrations, and the warm summer weather, are taking place while we are all trying to navigate the new realities of a reopening California.
July 1 is also the start of the new fiscal year, and in Sacramento, a new fiscal year means a new state budget. This year’s is one of the best ever, reflecting responsible planning and making vital investments in California’s future. That includes continued stimulus funding for vulnerable individuals and families, help for the small businesses who are so important to our state’s economy, and increased financial support for housing, homelessness, climate change and other critical issues. As I write this, negotiations are continuing on additional funding for wildfires and childcare, two of the final pieces of this historic and transformative budget.
For tenants affected by the pandemic, the good news is we extended the eviction moratorium that was slated to expire June 30 to September 30. For more information about the program and how to take part, go to Housing.ca.gov.
With the legislative session ending in September, July will also be busy with meetings on many important bills whose fate will be decided in the coming weeks. That includes SB 2, which I am co-authoring to advance vital criminal justice reforms, and SB 1, the sea level rise bill I’ve been working on with support from partners in the region, like the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. SB1 just passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a 9-0 vote. As the Senate’s Housing Package awaits action in the Assembly, we will continue to meet with housing advocates and stakeholders to ensure these important bills become law.
July is such a great time for family events, I’m excited about how my own bill, SB 9, will help more families, including multiple generations, all celebrate together in their new homes. It passed the Assembly Housing Committee on June 22 on a 5-1 bipartisan vote and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. You can learn more about what the bill does here.
Of course, this July feels even busier as we continue with reopening California, and more places fully open up and more people are interacting in a wider variety of settings.
Whether it’s busy, blissful, or both, I hope you have a great July. Happy Fourth! Happy Pride! And, from Joey and Mia, Happy Dog Days of Summer!
— Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th District in the California Senate. Follow her on Twitter @SenToniAtkins.