John’s Journal March 2024 Edition

 Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I think it is safe to say that March has just flown by and we are heading into an equally busy April. This month has been jam packed with celebrations whether it be to commemorate Women’s History Month, St. Patrick's Day, Ramadan, Easter or Cesar Chavez Day – I hope you have taken this time to reflect with hope and deep appreciation for our communities efforts towards progress and future successes.

As Chair of the Senate’s Budget Subcommittee on Education, I hear from countless students and families about their concerns and frustration with the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). I was proud to support AB 1887 by Asm. Sabrina Cervantes (D – Riverside), which extends the deadline for state financial aid programs such as the Cal Grant and Middle Class Scholarship through May 2nd, and was recently signed into law by Gov. Newsom. As the child of educators, I truly believe that the knowledge gained in school stays with you the rest of your life. I will continue to advocate for students to receive an affordable and quality education.

Illegal dumping is a nuisance for so many and it degrades not only our quality of life, but also harms the biodiversity of so many unique flora and fauna in our beautiful district. That’s why I want to thank the Trash Talkers Coalition through the Santa Cruz County-Wide Pitch In Initiative for their efforts to eliminate litter and dumping in Santa Cruz County. 

Together we can continue to transform the South Bay and Central Coast for the better. Please continue to reach out to my office for assistance on state matters. 

Warm Regards,

John Laird
Senator, 17th District


Capitol Update

Water is a necessity and the state of California became the first to recognize water as a human right back in 2012. But sometimes good water quality isn’t being delivered to our residents, particularly in rural communities. That is why I recently introduced SB 1188 to promote safe drinking water by establishing minimum standards for Technical, Managerial, and Financial (TMF) capacity for small water systems serving under 10,000 homes. This bill was introduced in response to unsafe water quality and supply issues plaguing local systems across the 17th District, including the Big Basin Water Company located in Santa Cruz County, which experiences many of the TMF deficiencies addressed in SB 1188. With the implementation of minimum standards included in SB 1188, the state will be able to proactively identify specific challenges within individual water systems that could affect their sustainability. 

I have also introduced Senate Resolution 75 (S.R.75)  to declare 2024 as “Year of the California Grizzly Bear” to mark the centennial of the extirpation of our state’s official animal. The extirpation of the grizzly bear from California a century ago is one of the most significant species loss in the state’s history. The grizzly was ecologically and culturally significant to California, and today, 100 years since its disappearance, it remains an important icon for the state, evident by its place on our state flag and seal. We should reflect upon its loss and do everything we can to ensure no other native species goes extinct under our watch.



Go Go Go. That’s often what I hear from my staff as we move from meeting to meeting across the district. But when you represent four counties across the South Bay and Central Coast, you have to constantly be on the move – oftentimes hitting 10,000 steps by lunchtime. It is all worth it when I hear from members of the community about their passion for our region and a shared dream of prosperity, freedom, and happiness. See below for pictures of my travels to see the amazing and inspiring people of the 17th District.


Had the pleasure of visiting Marina High School and discussing the importance of supporting students and families experiencing homelessness with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District and National Center for Youth Law.


Always a good time speaking with Francie Newfield about the Alzheimer's Association’s 2024 priorities to improve dementia care in California.

What a great visit with the SLO Climate Coalition and its College Corps advocates/Cal Poly students. Gives me great hope for the future.


I had the honor of seeing the South County Reentry Resource Center in Santa Clara County where I was inspired by their dedication to supporting our community's reentry efforts. Grateful for their impactful work.


Thrilled to be recognized by the CA Commission on Aging for updating requirements for teleconferencing in the Bagley-Keene Act through my bill SB 544.


Mary Cortani was my 2022 Woman of the Year and is Founder/Executive Director of Operation Freedom Paws. A phenomenal organization that matches veterans, first responders, and children with dogs to train them as a service pair. 


I joined Asm. Addis on stage at the Association of California School Administrators in San Luis Obispo to discuss our legislative priorities and the importance of education for all Californians. 


The Governor’s Senior Advisor on Homelessness Hafsa Kaka visited Santa Cruz County to see the efforts of our local and state officials in combating one of our region’s most pressing concerns.