John’s Journal Feb 2024 Edition

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we step further into 2024, I hope this newsletter finds you well and energized for the year ahead! If you did not already know, this is a Leap Year which means there is one more day in the month of February. So to any of my lucky constituents who were born February 29th 1940, I just want to wish you a happy birthday and I hope you enjoy your first “legal drink” at the ripe age of 21. You truly deserve it!

This month is also important as we celebrate and honor Black History Month, and in particular, the contributions of Black Americans in our state and nation. I am proud to have cities in my district like Seaside that have a storied past in uplifting the Black community and their experiences.

Let us also take a moment to recognize the many groups within the AAPI diaspora who celebrated Lunar New Year on February 10th. A time for celebration and good luck; may the Year of the Dragon bring your loved ones health, happiness, and prosperity.  

With the deadline having recently passed for new bills to be submitted – I look forward to sharing more about some of the legislation I am working on with my team to support the 17th District and California as a whole. Make no mistake that more work needs to be done to help Californians who continue to struggle making ends meet. I look forward to unveiling my legislative package that aims to benefit us all in the upcoming months. 

Many of you don’t need to be told this, but your feedback and input during this crucial time is invaluable. Please reach out to my office if we can be of assistance on any statewide matter, whether it be with casework or potential bills going through the legislative process. As always, it continues to be my honor representing you.

Warm Regards,

John Laird
Senator, 17th District


Capitol Update

Proud to announce that I have introduced SB 1272, the Consumer Access to Stored Holdings Act or CASH Act, to raise the maximum dollar amount on a gift card you can redeem for cash. The current limit of $9.99 was set 15 years ago and an increase is long overdue. This increase will put more cash back in the wallets of Californians at a time when we all know that every penny truly counts. As we move this bill through the legislative process, I want to hear your feedback on what new redeemable maximum would be most beneficial. Please reach out to my office and staff will take your recommendation on what that new amount should be. 

I have also heard from many of you regarding your concerns with AT&T and the recent plans regarding the removal of copper lines which fall under their duties as the Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Hearing many of the concerns you have all raised – they are similar to ones also shared by many of my colleagues in the Legislature including Asm. Gail Pellerin (D-Santa Cruz). My office has been in contact with AT&T, state regulators, and residents like yourself who have questions regarding the process in which AT&T is undertaking. We know rural areas stand to be greatly impacted by these changes, in particular during times of erratic weather patterns like we have been experiencing over the past couple of years. The CPUC must take these serious realities into consideration when making a decision which may ultimately jeopardize residents in places such as the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Sur, and so many other areas across California. Maintaining reliable access to different forms of communication, including landlines, is essential to the safety and wellbeing of many rural communities in the state and 17th District. I will continue to push for more information from AT&T and the CPUC to make sure residents stay connected. 



Given that I spend a majority of my week in Sacramento now that the Legislature has started back up, I truly cherish my trips back home to the 17th District. Although I don’t get to be here as often, my schedule is jam packed the second I’m back because I truly cannot think of anything better than to be with my friends and neighbors along the South Bay and Central Coast. Below you will see a brief snapshot of what I have been up to in the community. 

I did however want to also give a quick shout out to the City of Monterey which was recently featured on CBS Mornings! Click here to see the full segment


As Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, I get pretty excited when I get to see my friends at the California State University System. Passionate individuals all working together to see how we can ensure students graduate in an affordable & timely manner! 


Had an amazing time at the 5th Annual Parent Power Summit, diving deep into the ways we enhance childcare in our region! Big thanks to the Central Coast Early Childhood Advocacy Network for spearheading these crucial conversations.


What an incredible weekend spent with our amazing community in Watsonville, coming together in a powerful display of unity to safeguard our precious wetlands! 


As the former Secretary for Natural Resources, the success of our California State Parks is of utmost importance to me. Great conversations on how we protect these community resources for generations to come. 


It was a beautiful morning as I addressed the crowd at the 2nd Annual Breakfast hosted by the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, discussing topics such as the state budget, bipartisanship in the legislature, and so much more!