Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Jan 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Assemblymember Mark Stone

Mark Stone newWhat are you doing to protect the environment?

This year I introduced legislation that would provide education about the environment and outdoor recreation for California children, prioritizing opportunities for underserved and at-risk students.

In many underserved communities, participation in outdoor environmental education and recreation programs are the only exposure kids have to nature and the environment. Outdoor environmental education provides students with memorable real-world experiences with the environment, which increases interest in science and environmental stewardship.

Specifically, AB 1603 establishes an Outdoor Environmental Education Program under the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The program would award grants to education programs operated by public entities or nonprofit organizations. The bill prioritizes organizations that reach students who attend schools that are underserved to participate in outdoor recreation and educational activities.

Outdoor environmental education profoundly benefits students of all income levels.  Unfortunately, there are very few funding sources for programs that focus on improving academic achievement and critical thinking through education about the environment. My bill aims to change this.

You serve as the Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, which considers legislation that affects some of the poorest, most vulnerable Californians. What bills are on the horizon that would help this population?

I have authored several bills this year to assist families in crisis, while streamlining and making more cost-effective some cash-aid services. It’s a priority of mine to help needy parents take care of their children’s basic needs, while relieving some of the bureaucratic burden they face. The programs that families rely upon need to be cost-effective and user-friendly.

This session I proposed a law to help ensure that poor pregnant women are healthier and can prepare for a new baby by allowing women who are first-time mothers to access CalWORKs benefits upon the medical verification of their pregnancy. Pregnant women with inadequate financial support are less able to afford healthy diets, preventing them from getting the nutrients necessary for proper fetal development. Women who experience multiple stressful situations during pregnancy, such as homelessness, hunger, violence, and deep poverty, are more likely to have premature and low-birth weight babies, and are at increased risk of mother and infant mortality.  Under current law, pregnant women may not access benefits until the three-month period prior to the birth of the child, unless they are under the age of 18. This bill simplifies this policy by extending the benefit to all eligible pregnant women. The measure is currently being considered in the state Assembly.

I also proposed a law that helps families receiving public benefits that lose their housing and need a place to stay while they find a new place to live. The measure increases the dollar amount of the one-time cash benefit, which these families facing homelessness can use for a hotel room. The bill is designed to make sure that families are not forced to spend the night without shelter. The current temporary shelter assistance benefit under the CalWORKs program has remained unchanged since 2006. The bill would simply increase the base benefit from $65 to $75 and would add a cost of living adjustment to the modest amount, a change that would help homeless families better afford shelter.

In addition to these and other laws I have proposed, I also co-chair the Ending Poverty in California caucus. This group was formed to highlight the issues of poverty and inequality and better educate legislators on these topics. This is a long-term effort to cultivate a philosophy that prioritizes addressing the questions of poverty and inequality.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.