Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jul 31st
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

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

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

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover