Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Mar 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningWith the change of administration in Sacramento, what will be the effect, if any, on the implementation of healthcare reform?
California’s efforts to implement healthcare will move forward unabated with the transition to the Governor Jerry Brown administration.

Last year, we passed legislation to establish the California Health Benefit Exchange by 2014. In the interim, we are working to expand access to healthcare, promote workforce development, and implement the new Medicaid/Medical waiver with supplemental reimbursement for hospitals that provide medical services to the poor and uninsured.

I have also been re-named as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health by Assembly Speaker Perez and as such, I remain committed to expanding health promotion and education programs. These vital public health programs focus on reducing obesity, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other medical complications. 

Recently, a federal court in Virginia ruled that it is unconstitutional to require that most people get healthcare insurance. This decision follows a contrary decision made in a federal court in Michigan. As a result of these divergent opinions, the cases may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Pending appellate review, implementation of federal care reform is moving forward.

Access to affordable healthcare remains a critical component to building healthy communities. If reform is implemented appropriately, we can create good jobs while reducing the overall cost of healthcare.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently approved the emergency registration of the soil fumigant methyl iodide, which the manufacturers seek to introduce into use in the Central Coast region. Do you anticipate legal, regulatory, or legislative reaction to the emergency registration decision?

I have been a strong critic of the decision made by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to allow the emergency registration of methyl iodide for use in California and reached this conclusion after extensive and careful analysis of medical and scientific studies commissioned by DPR. These are the same studies that were used by the State of Washington in its decision to deny registration of methyl iodide.

As a poison that can cause cancer, birth defects, and neurotoxicity, the use of methyl iodide in a safe manner is an impossible goal. It is distressing that local growers are facing a difficult predicament with the mandatory phase out of methyl bromide and that some consider methyl iodide to be the only option available. I am committed to working with our local agricultural communities in order to explore safe and effective alternatives.

In the meantime, I am pursuing options that will repeal the emergency registration of methyl iodide with my colleagues and others concerned with the potential worker and public health risks posed by this toxic chemical. These avenues include communicating with Governor-elect Jerry Brown and filing comments with both the Office of Administrative Law and Department of Pesticide Regulation stating that the promulgation of the current registration using “emergency regulatory powers” is ill advised.

What are the impacts in Santa Cruz County from the wage cuts to In Home Support Services (IHSS) providers?

California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program assists those who are disabled and need in home healthcare to remain safely in their homes.  The 2010-11 budget achieved $300 million in savings by imposing a 3.6 percent reduction to the hours assessed for IHSS recipients. This reduces the services IHSS clients receive and reduces the hours, and thus the pay, of IHSS care providers. Because this reduction goes into effect on Feb. 1, 2010, the Department of Social Services had to notify both their clients and care givers about the reduction of services 30 days prior to implementation. Thus, this notice came in mid- to late December 2010, just before the holidays.

State and federal contributions to IHSS allow providers to earn $9.50 per hour. Santa Cruz County currently provides an additional $2.00 per hour to care givers, making local IHSS providers pay $11.50 per hour, in order to account for the high cost of living in the area. Unfortunately, because supplemental federal stimulus funding is coming to an end, the county is considering a 3-step reduction of its IHSS wage contribution, but this is still under negotiation between providers and the county.

The IHSS cuts place an unfair burden on families living with disabilities and on their care givers.  With a projected growing deficit of over $25 billion in the next 18 months, finding the revenues to protect IHSS and other programs that serve the most needy and vulnerable presents a supreme challenge. As we look for ways to resolve the state’s fiscal crisis, I am extremely cognizant that we must measure our society by how we care for those living with disabilities. 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Crop Circles

How the confusion over GMOs is undermining the organic movement

 

Week of Festivals: Full Moon, Lantern Festival, Purim, Holi

It is a week of many different festivals along with a full moon, all occurring simultaneously. Thursday Chinese New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival (at full moon). Thursday is also the Pisces Solar festival (full moon), Purim (Jewish Festival) and Holi (Hindu New Year Festival). Sunday, March 8, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. The festival of Purim celebrates the freedom of the Hebrew people from the cruel Haman (a magistrate) seeking to destroy them. Esther, the Queen of Persia, who was secretly Jewish, saved her people from death. The sweet cookie hamentaschen celebrates this festival. Friday, March 6, is Holi, the Hindu Spring Festival celebrated after the March full moon. Bonfires are lit the night before, warding off evil. Holi, the Festival of Colors, is the most colorful festival in the world. It is also the Festival of Love—of Radha for Krishna (the blue-colored God). It is a spring festival with singing, dancing, carnivals, food and bhang, a drink made of cannabis leaves. Holi signifies good over evil, ridding oneself of past errors, ending conflicts through rapprochement (returning to each other). It is a day of forgiveness, including debts. Holi also marks the beginning of New Year. At the Pisces Solar festival we recite the seed thought, “We leave the Father’s home and, turning back, we save.” Great Teachers remain on Earth until all of humanity is enlightened. The New Group of World Servers is called to this task and sacrifice. Sacrifice (from the heart) is the first Law of the Soul, the heart of which is Love. This sacrifice saves the world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Don’t Tell a Soul

The Secret Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Water Street Grill

YOLO gets reincarnated

 

What would make Santa Cruz better?

A lot more outdoor activities such as outdoor movies and concerts, food and art festivals, and more multicultural activites. Emmanuel Cole, Santa Cruz, Bicycle Industry Product Developer

 

Thomas Fogarty Winery

When looking for a bottle of something to have with dinner, Gewürztraminer 2012 is not the first wine to come to mind. Given the popularity of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir—to name but a few—Gewürztraminer sits low on the totem pole.

 

So Long, Louie’s

Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar closes, plus Back Porch pop-up, and 2015 Outstanding in the Field tour