John's Journal - August 2023 Edition

Dear Friends,

Can you believe it’s August? We are already more than halfway through the year, and the legislative session is almost over, but more on that later. I hope your summer has been restful with family, friends, and loved ones. The continued sun that we have been experiencing is very much appreciated after the dangerous and wet weather events earlier this year. But with the sun comes the risk of heat exposure. To learn tips/tricks about how we can keep our community safe while still enjoying the summer heat, please visit: Home | With fire season in full swing, let’s make sure we clear any unnecessary brush near our homes, structures, and buildings. As Smoky the Bear says, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” For more information please visit

As most of you are already aware, the 17th Senate District hosts some of our state's most beautiful landscapes, and it brings individuals from across the country and world to visit us and experience its magic. Let’s remember to keep a safe distance from our beautiful flora and fauna (Otter 841 I’m looking at you), so that we can ensure their continued protection for future generations.

Below you will find updates from my Capitol and District staff regarding where we are in the Legislature and what we are doing in the community. If you ever have any comments, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office: or from my website.

Warm Regards,

Senator, 17th District


The Legislature will reconvene from summer recess on August 14th. Both the Assembly and the State Senate will then have until September 14th to pass bills out of their respective houses to the Governor’s desk. I am proud to have already had 4 bills (SB39, SB304, SB510, and SB564) signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom this legislative session.

A few marquee bills I wanted to share that are still making their way through the Assembly include:

Enhanced Safety at Battery Storage Facilities

Record temperatures have put immense strain on our state’s electrical grid. Blackouts were avoided last fall due in part to our investments in clean energy battery storage. As more of these facilities come online, we must ensure workers and communities are kept safe. SB 38 was introduced in response to the fire that was ultimately contained at the PG&E/Tesla Elkhorn Battery Storage Facility in Moss Landing.

Sea Level Rise Planning

Last year, I introduced a bill to help ensure that local communities are prepared and ready to mitigate the effects of sea level rising within the coastal zone by requiring that local coastal programs & San Francisco Bay Shoreline Coastal Resiliency Plans are updated to reflect the best available science. The Governor unfortunately vetoed this bill, but I have brought it back this year as SB 272. The information gathered by these programs is precisely what our local partners need to help plan for the future when it comes to our rising seas brought about by climate change.

LEED Certification for State Buildings

Climate Change is a serious threat across the world, and California is no different. That is why it was so concerning to find out that there are currently no regulations or state laws that require new state building constructions be built above LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver. SB 416 would require that any new state building larger than 10,000 sq. feet or major renovation project be certified at a minimum LEED Gold. Energy use in buildings has been identified as the second largest contributor to California’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is time for our state to correct this so that we can continue to be a climate leader on the global stage.



I was honored to help advocate for over $20 million dollars to go to community projects here in the 17th Senate District. These projects are a culmination of constituent driven input related to disaster recovery efforts, services for underserved populations, advancing climate change priorities, land conservation, and more.

Example projects include:

  • West Cliff Drive Recovery and Resilience - $1 million appropriated to the City of Santa Cruz to assist in resiliency beyond the recovery phase to support a West Cliff coastal recreation and tourism corridor that is equitable and accessible to all.
  • Palenke Arts Multicultural Arts Center - $1 million appropriated to help fund the creation of a LEED Certified Multicultural Arts Center at the Seaside High School campus.
  • Arroyo Grande Creek Levee – $1.236 million appropriated to the County of San Luis Obispo to help offset the repair costs of the levee system, including a breach on the south side. In turn, this will help protect the disadvantaged community of Oceano from losing its critical infrastructure such as the wastewater treatment plant and regional airport.

To see the full list of projects click here.

I was also proud to work with Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas to resecure $17 million that was reverted to the State General Fund for the installation of fish screens, a key piece of the Interlake Tunnel Project. We made sure of its inclusion in this year’s budget.

When you have a Senate District that stretches from South San Jose all the way down to the Santa Barbara County line, you get used to long road trips. I am including just a few of my visits across the Central Coast to meet organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and constituents like yourself. If you see me around the district, please feel free to stop me and say hello! My district staff remain committed to serving the 17th District. Please reach out if you have any issues with state departments or agencies.

I took great pleasure in presenting a certificate of recognition for the 20 year Anniversary of the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum in San Luis Obispo. They are doing important work to shine a light on what veterans have done for us all, and if you are near SLO, come by and visit! Admission is free.

Santa Cruz Pride is an event near and dear to my heart since my time on City Council. It was an honor to speak to the crowd during its 48th inception ‘Waves of Pride’. LGBTQ+ rights continue to be under threat in our state and our country. I am committed to protecting our community from the demonization and vitriol.

A beautiful day celebrating Juneteenth in Seaside with Congressman Panetta, Mayor Ogelsby, Councilmember Garcia-Arrazola, CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones, MPC Board Chair Rosalyn Green, and community leaders Helen Rucker, Tinisha Dunn, and Annalisa Mitchell.

Infinera Corporation in South San Jose is doing some pretty amazing things with compound semiconductors and photonic integrated circuits. It was great to learn more about their work with Assemblymember Gail Pellerin.

Truly honored to be putting my hand in the cement, in lieu of a shovel in the ground, to commemorate the Imjin Parkway Widening & Roundabout Project in Marina. This is an important project that will help ease traffic congestion in the County of Monterey.

The NorCal Carpenters Training Center in Morgan Hill helps many of my constituents in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey County by equipping them with the latest skill sets needed in the industry. I stopped by their facility to see how it all gets done!

The Abalone Farm in Cayucos is on the precipice of being a world-class center for aquaculture. Great to see the efforts being put forward by the Harmony Coast Aquaculture Institute to make this a reality. A true gem for the Central Coast!

I worked tirelessly to save the Watsonville Community Hospital from shutting its doors. Glad to hear an update from its new leadership and board on how they plan to keep this very important community resource open for years to come!