By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — State Sen. Steve Bradford provided a legislative update to the Inglewood City Council during the Nov. 15 City Council meeting.
Bradford told the council that state legislators adopted a record $308 billion budget in June that Gov. Gavin Newsom called an investment in “our core values at a pivotal moment.”
The budget included refunds to most taxpayers in the state, expanded abortion access and extended health care to more undocumented immigrants.
Bradford’s presentation included what the budget included particularly for the 35th Senate District he represents that includes Compton, Inglewood, Gardena, Hawthorne and unincorporated areas.
“We have passed the largest budget in California’s history that includes a $37 billion reserve,” Bradford said.
The state set aside $9.5 billion to refund residents, and $2 billion to support small businesses and nonprofits.
In addition, $9 billion was designated to increase ongoing discretionary funding for the state’s schools and $47 billion was allocated towards infrastructure including transportation, school facilities, housing projects, libraries and water works projects.
“Housing is key,” Bradford said. “As we all know, there’s $2 billion for affordable housing and $2 billion for student housing.
“There are hundreds if not thousands of students who sleep in their cars every day just to go to college.”
Compton College recently announced plans to build on-campus housing for its students, he said.
Health care workers were hard hit during the pandemic, and $1 billion has been allocated for retention stipends for them, Bradford said.
The budget expanded Medi-Cal for all eligible Californians regardless of immigration status which represents a 21% increase.
The budget also includes $19 billion toward a climate energy package to address climate change.
Bradford said he introduced 12 bills during the last legislative session. Eight made it to the governor’s desk and six were signed.
“If I was playing baseball I would be batting .500,” Bradford said.
Of the bills signed, Senate Bill 1348 allows escrow agents to get their license despite having a marijuana conviction, Senate Bill 1396 allows renters to build credit using their rent payment history until 2025.
Senate Bill 1334 addresses the finding that during COVID nurses in the public sector were sometimes denied rest and lunch breaks. This bill ensures they receive both.
Senate Bill 1317 requires pawn brokers to collect and record serial numbers of all items used as collateral. Only the serial number will be entered into the system to protect the customer’s personal information.
Senate Bill 1469 authorizes water utilities to utilize a rate-making process referred to decoupling, which eliminates the incentive for the utility to increase water use instead of promoting conservation. Decoupling separates the profit from the total water sales.
Senate Bill 1476 amends the Water Replenishment District Act to provide flexibility to purchase materials, equipment, supplies and professional services and also streamlines the purchasing authority and execution of contracts.
Bradford also gave an update on the state Reparations Task Force, which was created two years ago through a bill by former Assemblywoman Shirley Weber that is charged with exploring the impacts of slavery in California.
“People say California wasn’t a slave state, but we adhered to everything that slave states did,” Bradford said. “We had a fugitive slave law and our first governor owned slaves and he had a mandate that he wanted to eradicate African Americans totally in the state.”
The task force will meet again this month where in the coming months they will put more “meat on the bone,” Bradford said. The first year established the community of eligibility which are those descendants of chattel slavery and arrived here [California] prior to 1900 but there is still debate for African Americans who have been impacted by slavery since that time.
The meeting will be held in Oakland Dec. 14.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.