Sen. Steve Knight
The California Legislature officially adjourned the first year of the 2013–2014 legislative session on Friday, September 13th, 2013. I am proud to say that of the original 15 measures I introduced this year, one has already been signed into law and three bills are awaiting signature from Governor Brown. Additionally, six bills will continue through the legislative process in January of next year and pick up where we left off this year.
The three bills that are currently on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed into law are Senate Bills (SB) 290, 328 and 582. SB 290 provides that veterans stationed in California one year prior to an honorable discharge will receive in–state tuition rates at four–year institutions. SB 328 provides an additional tool for counties to receive bids for major projects and development plans. SB 582 asks the state to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the success of a web portal for taxpayers to access necessary forms from the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board and the Employment Department Development.
My staff will be diligently researching for next year’s legislative package through January 2014. Although the Legislature is in interim, the fall is a great time to continue working on the remaining legislation, gain stakeholders opinion, and draft meaningful proposals to help the residents of Senate District 21, as well as the State of California as a whole.
Legislators met up on a different battleground one evening before session ended this month for a little fun in off work hours. Rather than the floor of the Senate or Assembly, we faced off on the baseball diamond at Raley Field, home of the Sacramento Rivercats, minor league farm team for the Oakland Athletics. The final score was 4–2, with Republicans edging out the Democrats in the final inning of the matchup. The game, slated to go 7 innings was tied 2–2 at the end of regulation. Our Republican team scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning, earning bragging rights for the year. I played third base for most of the game, switching over to second base with a few innings left. Not only did we have fun and bring home the win, we were able to raise approximately $20,000 for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento.
I Welcome Your Legislative Ideas
My top priority as a Legislator has always been to serve the people I represent in the best way possible. My district staff works tirelessly and diligently to assist constituents with local matters and my capitol staff is exhaustively dedicated to ensuring that the voices of my constituents are heard on a statewide level in Sacramento. That being said, with the 2013 legislative session having come to a close, fall is the time when my staff and I start to prepare for the upcoming year. We will research legislative ideas, evaluate our options, and finalize our decision for the legislative package we will carry in the 2014 legislative year, which commences in January. Always wanting to keep in touch with my constituents’ needs and priorities, I welcome input and ideas that will improve life in the Antelope, Victor, and Santa Clarita Valleys. Each year since I have been elected I have used ideas straight from the district, and I continue to do so. So please contact my offices, send me an e–mail, or contact me through my website to submit your legislative ideas. I look forward to hearing your input.
Dr. Dianne Van Hook Celebrates 25 Years with College of the Canyons
At the end of August my Santa Clarita District Representative Sarah Tyndall presented Dr. Dianne Van Hook with a Senate Resolution honoring her achievements of the past 25 years with College of the Canyons. Dr. Van Hook is the current Chancellor at COC, and through her vision and leadership has put College of the Canyons on the map for community colleges. She has gone above and beyond when it comes to the students of the college and has made a lasting impression on all who work with her. The numerous contributions she has made have allowed the school to grow from 4,000 students in 1988 to 27,000 students today, along with the college’s budget growing to $181 million. There is no doubt that Dr. Van Hook will only continue to help COC achieve remarkable benchmarks.
From left: Michele Jenkins, Joan MacGregor, Dianne Van Hook, Bruce Fortine, Steve Zimmer, and Michael Berger.
Photo courtesy of College of the Canyons.
Remembering the “Good Old Days”
Lillian (Stratton) Pratt, the very first Miss Hesperia and Rodeo Queen of 1948 made the long journey from her current residence in Washington state to graciously serve as Grand Marshal of the Hesperia Days Parade, which was quite befitting, considering the theme of this year’s parade was “Good Old Days.” Hundreds of residents lined Main Street to cheer on their school bands and R.O.T.C., and to observe the hard work local businesses displayed with their floats. I would like to thank the City of Hesperia, Hesperia Parks and Recreation Department, local officials, and the parade presenters, Hesperia Kiwanis Club International, for once again presenting a spectacular event in the High Desert.
Parade watchers take in the floats and sights of the Hesperia Days Parade.
Outstanding Small Business – Jaqua & Sons, Masonry Center
I had the pleasure of honoring Randy Jaqua of Jaqua & Sons, Masonry Center in Lancaster as a 2013 Outstanding Small Business. Jaqua & Sons has been a family–owned business for more than 60 years and is now owned by the 3rd generation. Randy and his staff will be happy to help you with all your masonry needs.
Senator Steve Knight presents Outstanding Small Business Award to Randy Jaqua.
Speaking at Santa Clarita Women Federated
While the legislature is in interim break I have the opportunity to attend meetings in the district that I am not typically able to attend due to my responsibilities in Sacramento. This month I was invited to give a legislative update to the Santa Clarita Chapter of Republican Women Federated. With all that has happened in the last month in Sacramento, I had many updates to share with the group. I was asked many questions about recently passed bills regarding the State Budget, giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants and the changes to student privacy in restrooms.
Senator Knight accepts a certificate from SCRWF President, Paige Weaver.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Messina.
Fire Fee Town Hall
An issue that I have found to be of great concern for many of my constituents is the recently enacted California Fire Prevention Fee. I understand there are many questions and frustrations regarding the tax, and my aim is to aid and assist my constituents in whatever way possible. With this in mind, I co–hosted a Fire Fee tele–townhall along with Board of Equalization Member George Runner, Senators Tom Berryhill and Anthony Cannella, Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, and Assemblymembers Frank Bigelow, Shannon Grove, Jim Patterson and Scott Wilk. I wanted to have a free and open dialogue to provide answers as well as present the most up–to–date and accurate information. Here are the top 5 points everyone should know about the fee:
- What is the SRA Fire Fee?
The Fire Fee is a new tax that charges homeowners up to $150 per “habitable structure” located on property within the State Responsibility Area.
- Are ALL structures assessed the fee?
The fee is not assessed on all structures. Barns, woodsheds, outbuildings, commercial buildings, and other structures not used for human habitation are not assessed the fee.
- What if I’m already protected by another fire agency?
The fee is discounted $35 per habitable structure if the structure is within the boundaries of a local agency that provides fire protection services. In these cases, the fee will be $115 per habitable structure. 98% of the structures within the SRA are served by either local fire districts or county fire departments.
- How do I file an appeal or protest my Fire Fee bill?
Taxpayers who wish to file an appeal may do so by filing a petition with the state. The petition must be filed within 30 days of the billing date. More information is available on our How to Appeal page.
- Is the Fire Fee a tax deductible item like property taxes?
In January 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an opinion that fire fee payments are not tax deductible because the fee is not a tax under California or federal law, and because it is assessed only against specific property to provide a local benefit. For a detailed explanation, follow this link.
From left: Board of Equalization Member George Runner, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, Senator Steve Knight, Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.
Outstanding Business – Victorville Motors
I am honored to recognize Victorville Motors as an Outstanding Business in the 21st Senate District. Victorville Motors has been selling cars for decades in the High Desert and undeniably takes great pride in supporting our local schools, foundations, and community projects. In fact, they actually give away new cars to winning 9th – 12th grade students with perfect attendance at participating high schools throughout the High Desert. The incentive program, “It’s a Gas to go to Class,” is expanding to teachers as well, with “It’s a Gas to Teach Class!” I see that high school attendance is up in the High Desert, which increases school revenues as well. I’m sure that the incentive of winning a new Dodge Dart has something to do with it! Thank you Billy Mack and Jeff Smilen for your dedication. Chet Watts, President, and Tim Watts, Chief Operating Officer of Victorville Motors, say it best, “We’ve been honored to be a part of the High Desert since 1970, and we are passionate about continuing to do our part to make the Victor Valley a better place to live and work.”
Billy Mack, Director of Sales, and Jeff Smilen, Sales Manager/Team Leader.
Kaiser Permanente Celebrates 10 Years in Palmdale
My Antelope Valley Representative Lisa Moulton recently presented Department Administrator Virginia Farley and Physician–in–Charge David Bronstein, MD, of the Kaiser Permanente Palmdale Medical Offices with a certificate of recognition for the outstanding work Kaiser has done for the community of Palmdale. It is vital for good, quality healthcare to come into a community and be successful in not only providing their services, but also educating the public on numerous health concerns; and Kaiser has done just that not just in Palmdale, but the entire Antelope Valley.
District Representative Lisa Moulton, Department Administrator Virginia Farley and Physician–in–Charge David Bronstein, MD. Photo courtesy of Kaiser Permanente.
The Antelope Valley Board of Trade (AVBOT) Aerospace Committee met with Khaki Rodway, Director of Payload Sales and Operations of XCOR Aerospace in Mojave this month. XCOR is another great company regrettably moving out of California to Texas due to the high cost of doing business in California.
Members of AVBOT meeting at Mojave Air and Space Port.
9/11 — We Remember
My staff was honored to attend the Remembrance Ceremony at the Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Antelope Valley Mall. Representatives from the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, U. S. Forest Service, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation took part in the ceremony honoring the fallen heroes that gave their lives on September 11, 2001.
The Fallen Heroes Memorial Ceremony remembered the people who died that day in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Let us never forget!!
The American Flag flies proudly from an engine of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
The Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley
One of the great opportunities of my job as State Senator is meeting with caring people like Sue Page and Donna Gaddis of The Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley. The Children’s Center is a private non–profit organization located in northern Los Angeles County that provides a continuum of services to child victims of abuse, children at risk of abuse, and their families. The staff and volunteers are recognized community leaders in areas relating to the welfare and safety of children. Thank you all for your care and support for the families of the Antelope Valley.
Meeting with Sue Page and Donna Gaddis at The Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley.
Rancho Raviri Tour
My staff and I toured Rancho Raviri with owner Lee Baron and learned about the finest almond barques in butterscotch, dark, milk and white chocolate, as well as a variety of savory and sweet almonds, flavored to perfection. For over 60 years Rancho Raviri Almond Gifts has been a great place to buy a gift for a special occasion. With the holidays coming up, remember Rancho Raviri has a wonderful selection of gifts and gift baskets. Thanks to Lee and his staff for all their hard work and commitment to the Antelope Valley.
Senator Steve Knight presents a Certificate of Recognition to business partners Lee Baron and Susan Jankowski.
Small Business Information Fair
There will be a Small Business Information Fair on October 4th, 9:30am–1:30pm at the San Bernardino County Government Center Rotunda, located at 385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino. Government and small business agencies will be available at this free event.