By Toni G. Atkins
Happy April! This week many Californians are celebrating Easter and Passover. While the celebrations will look a little different again this year, I think we’re all starting to feel some sense of optimism. If we continue to do our part—get vaccinated, keep wearing masks, wash your hands, and remember physical distancing.
Since my last update to you, millions of Californians have been vaccinated and millions more are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. As a sign of continuing progress, San Diego County has moved up into the red tier, allowing for the gradual reopening of more businesses, gyms and restaurants.
The vaccine supply issue continues to be our greatest hurdle, but now there are three options in our battle: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. We just ask for patience as we continue to receive vaccines.
For information on scheduling an appointment, we recommend visiting MyTurn.gov or San Diego County’s website.
New CDC guidance allows for folks who are already fully vaccinated to gather. Please refer to the CDC’s website for the latest guidance.
And remember, the statewide application for the tenant/landlord eviction relief enacted by the legislature and the governor is now available at the Housing is Key website.
This April, thanks to our efforts in Sacramento and the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan, there is increased funding for both the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the California Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC programs put cash into people’s pockets and money into local economies. With the April 15 tax deadline being pushed back to May 17, we have extra time to spread the word, so please share this information with anyone you know who is eligible—and you don’t have to owe any taxes to qualify. CalEITC4me.org has more information about these important programs.
I’m very pleased to announce that as we move into April, several of the bills I have introduced are making significant progress. SB 1, which provides tools to help California and our communities push back against sea level rise, was approved by the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee, and after a couple more stops in the Senate we expect it to be taken up in the Assembly. I have to thank our own Dr. Margaret Leinen of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), California Coastal Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh, and Jennifer Savage of the Surfrider Foundation for joining me on World Water Day last month to promote SB1.
SB 7, my bill to jumpstart and expand a successful CEQA streamlining program continues to advance, as does SB 9, which seeks to bridge the gap between producing the additional housing we need while including protections for communities and neighborhoods. In fact, along with SB 7 and SB 9, the Senate’s entire housing production package continues to gain support, and we are working hard to get those bills to the Governor’s desk and signed into law.
All in all, it looks to be a busy month in April. And, hopefully, an even brighter one.
— Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.Senate.ca.gov/Atkins