Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) today issued the following statement following an initial review after release of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022-23 state budget:
California is amazingly resilient and economically healthy despite COVID-19. That is reflected in the size of the state budget surplus. Now, we must also ensure California residents can be as resilient for their own families, businesses, and communities. The pandemic continues wreaking havoc on our school children and college students, our health care system and essential workers, and our homeless and other vulnerable populations. I was happy to see the governor is proposing $2 billion to clear encampments, but data is needed so we establish a humane approach to offer shelter and services. This budget item will include dollars for behavioral assistance to the homeless. The budget proposal also includes $2 billion for housing construction. That $4 billion total helps our communities and creates jobs.
Part of our COVID response must offer relief to those increasingly plagued by mental health issues, from the very young to the most senior among us. Additional mental health resources are also desperately needed to combat the fentanyl crisis. I will be introducing legislation to ensure timely investigations of drug overdose deaths to determine whether fentanyl is a factor, to make Narcan, a treatment in overdose emergencies, more easily available, and to hold social media platforms accountable for policies that make it easy to buy and sell fentanyl online.
Even as we do all we can to help our vulnerable populations come through this crisis, we must also prepare for the future—by combating climate change exacerbating drought and fire emergencies, by modernizing our technology, expanding renewable energy, repairing and restoring our transportation and infrastructure, bolstering our education systems, and continuing to reduce the state’s debt.
As the only California Native American elected to the Legislature, I applaud the governor’s inclusion of tribal communities in the $648 million to fight fires and $1.2 billion forest management funding programs to address these issues. California Native Americans have valuable expertise to lend to these efforts. My bill, AB 923, will create a means to help tribes learn about this funding and take full advantage of this assistance to aid long-neglected communities.
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.