Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningYou recently had a consumer assistance bill dealing with healthcare signed by the governor. What did this bill do?

My Assembly Bill (AB) 922 will enable California consumers to more easily access information and assistance about their health plan eligibility.

Federal healthcare reform will expand healthcare coverage to more than four million Californians and AB 922 will streamline the confusing and burdensome number of agencies that currently exist to assist consumers by making the Office of Patient Advocate (OPA) a one-stop-shop for that assistance. The bill will also ensure that Californians get clear and understandable consumer information and assistance by strengthening current programs, and OPA will catalog and direct complaints about healthcare coverage, as well as create a clear internal chain of command for the Administration with regard to health care coverage.  

Additionally, the governor signed my AB 151 which will allow individuals affected by increases in Medicare Advantage premiums to switch back to original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Gap or Supplement policy. If you would like more information about this program, or if you have questions about Medicare, please visit seniornetworkservices.org or call 462-5510.

Can you elaborate on the bipartisan bill package you and Assemblymember Berryhill had this year addressing the issue of the underground economy?

Right after first being elected, I was made aware of the issue of the underground economy and its adverse impacts on local businesses, primarily in the construction industry. Since then, I have been working with Assemblymember Bill Berryhill (R- Ceres) to stop this industry from hurting local small businesses and our efforts culminated with Gov. Brown recently signing the package of three bills we sent to him.

The underground economy refers to individuals and businesses that pay under the table and operate outside the scope of California law. The extent of damage done by non-compliant business owners cannot be exactly known, but it is estimated that there is between $60 and $140 billion in illegal economic activity annually. More importantly, law-abiding businesses are going under because they cannot compete against non-compliant business owners whose prices are 15-20 percent lower because they do not pay the taxes and fees as required by law.

The three bills enacted were developed by meeting with various business, labor, and government agency stakeholders.  Assembly Bill (AB) 397 requires the recertification of workers compensation at the time of license renewal every two years. AB 766 permits the sharing of payroll records for public projects between specified state agencies and law enforcement entities involved in underground economy enforcement, and AB 878 requires a workers’ compensation insurance carrier to report to the state when a workers’ compensation policy is cancelled due to fraud.

The success of these measures has been rewarding to all of us who have been working to tackle the underground economy and demonstrates how bipartisan collaboration can achieve major accomplishments.

You recently spoke at an environmental forum in Felton. What were the main topics you discussed?

The San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club, a long-time social service and environmental organization, sponsored a town hall meeting focused on the environment.

Some of the topics posed by the more than 50 people in attendance focused on recently enacted environmental legislation. One of the more significant bills is Assembly Bill 1319, authored by Assemblymember Butler, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any bottle or cup that contains bisphenol A (BPA), at a detectable level above 0.1 parts per billion, if the bottle or cup is intended to be filled with any liquid, food, or beverage primarily ingested by infants or children three years of age or younger.

In addition, there was great interest in AB 376, authored by Assemblymember Fong, which makes it unlawful for any person to possess, sell or trade a shark fin. This bill won broad support from Central Coast residents as well as from national and international environmental organizations.

I always appreciate the level of civic engagement at town hall meetings and want to thank the San Lorenzo Valley Women’s Club for its leadership and all who attended for their participation.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival