Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Jul 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningYou were recently named chair of the Assembly Health Committee.  What does the role entail, and what bills will the committee be taking up in the near future?

The Assembly Health Committee is one of the busiest in the legislature and one that will play a pivotal role in guiding California’s healthcare policies in light of the new federal law. Many questions remain about how to pay for the expansion of healthcare coverage, as well as how insurance exchanges will be managed, and as Committee Chair I look forward to helping shape the state’s healthcare policy.

Last week, the Assembly Health Committee heard 19 bills, including Assembly Bill (AB) 2470 authored by Assemblymember de la Torre, that will stop health insurance companies from canceling an insurance policy without an independent third party hearing. The committee also heard AB 2578, authored by Assemblymembers Jones and Feuer, that will require state approval of any health insurance premium increase exceeding 7 percent in one year.

Additionally, I am authoring AB 2112, a measure to prohibit the sale of physicians’ prescription records to pharmaceutical companies. Pharmacies currently gather data on the prescriptions doctors write to their patients. Current law allows this data to be sold and used to market higher-cost prescription drugs to physicians who were prescribing lower cost generics. AB 2112 will stop this practice. I am also co-authoring Senate Bill 1210, authored by Senator Florez, which would tax sweetened beverages in order to assist in funding public schools’ physical education programs.

While I remain committed to the single-payer health care solution, the passage of the national healthcare bill is a huge step forward and I look forward to having the opportunity to assist with its implementation.

California contributes 54 percent less to the University of California system than it did in 1990-1991. With a $20 billion deficit, it doesn’t seem the state will be able to restore that funding anytime soon—a cause for a lot of concern amongst UC students and faculty. What does the future of the U.C look like?

On March 23, 2010, the University of California (UC) Regents heard recommendations from the UC Commission on the Future, a panel designed to advise the University on long term funding solutions. The Commission recommended that UC aggressively pursue three strategies: increasing state funding, raising student fees, and increasing efficiency of operations. Other proposals include offering a three-year degree, guaranteed fee schedules over a four year degree, more online courses, replacing student fees with tuition, and charging more at campuses such as Berkeley and UCLA.

Another option being discussed is increasing student fees to $27,500 a year in order to cover 50 percent of the expected $1.7 billion UC funding shortfall anticipated over the next decade. The fee increase would be in addition to the UC request for $3–4 billion from the state over the next decade.  The Commission acknowledged that this option would be a hard sell.

I have heard from hundreds of students who have been directly impacted by cuts to higher education and, as UC continues to raise student fees, more students are opting to attend out of state colleges. This “brain drain” is expected to create a workforce shortfall in California of one million college graduates if current trends continue.

While I agree with many of the Commission’s recommendations, I also believe that the crisis confronting all of California’s public education systems requires emergency action. A Field Poll shows that eight in 10 California voters oppose making further cuts to public schools in order to reduce the state budget deficit. Removal of the two-thirds vote threshold to pass a budget and to raise revenues would empower the legislature to protect and maintain one of California’s most valuable resources: our higher education system.

Your legislation to help establish a California Veterans Cemetery was recently heard before the Veterans Affairs Committee of the State Assembly. What is the status of that legislation and the cemetery project?

Assembly Bill (AB) 1757, which will enable the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord to raise and spend funds incrementally allowing the cemetery to be built in phases, recently passed out of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs by unanimous vote.

Testimony at the hearing included representatives from the Monterey Bay veteran community, which is estimated to be more than 100,000 residents in the tri county area. In addition to the region’s living veterans who support the establishment of the cemetery, there are many families of deceased veterans in who have been holding on to the remains of their loved ones in hopes that they can be interred in a veterans cemetery closer to their homes. AB 1757 will allow this dream to become a reality.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

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

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food