Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo Reflects on 2020

For immediate release:
Assemblywoman Carrillo ensuring frontline workers and community members are safe from COVID-19.

"My third year in the legislature was one in which tremendous steps forward were made in the face of unprecedented challenges. I have never been prouder or more humbled to serve all of you who call the 51st Assembly District home."

CA COVID-19 Website

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

2020 changed us.

It is a year that will live in our memories forever. It highlighted what many of us already know, many of our systems are broken and we need bold and innovative ideas that will provide us the opportunities to rethink how we live, how government operates and ultimately, how we can heal and take care of one another.

As the year came to an end, and as a nation we mourned the loss of over 365,000 American lives taken by COVID-19, people across our city, our state and our nation, found themselves doing what they could to help stop the spread of this virus, despite the inaction of our federal government. It has been a bewildering and frighting year, but as Mr. Rogers once said in light of being scared, "look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping."

And that is exactly what we did, throughout the year, my team and I, alongside neighbors across our community found ways to show up and be helpful to those most in need.

My job has, and always will be to fight alongside you for a better life for you, your loved ones, and all those who call the 51st Assembly District home. That's why you sent me to Sacramento. That's why I have worked, and will continue to work tirelessly, to pass the laws we need, and use the resources we have to lift our communities up.

COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS:

PPE Distribution — Early in the pandemic, in partnership with BizFed, the Hospital Association of Southern California, the Service Employees International Union and the Los Angeles County Delegation, comprised of Assembly and Senate representatives, launched EquipLA, an effort to procure as much Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our frontline and essential workers amid shortages worldwide. Most noteworthy, we procured and delivered 106,000+ surgical masks, 15,000+ bottles of hand sanitizer, in addition to N-95/KN-95 masks, face shields, protective gowns, soap and eye protective gear. These efforts continue to be ongoing.

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Assemblywoman Carrillo delivers over 50,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to health workers facing shortages.

In our district, I worked closely with our local unions SEIU 2015 in supporting homecare and skilled nursing home workers and with SEIU 721, SEIU UHW, and SEIU 121RN in supporting hospital frontline workers. We distributed much needed PPE in partnership with the Los Angeles Community Clinic Association to Clinica Monseñor Romero in Boyle Heights, the Chinatown Worker Service Center in Chinatown, Via Care Community Health Center in East Los Angeles, Arroyo Vista Family Health Center in Highland Park and El Sereno in addition to LAC+USC Medical Center and the LA County Probation Department.

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Assemblymember Carrillo and Arroyo Vista Family Health Center with Board Member, Mark Gonzalez at PPE distribution event.

Food Distribution Drives — In collaboration with Labor Community Services, the non-profit arm of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, over 78 events across Los Angeles county helped over 112,000 families and over 451,000 people with food insecurities amid the pandemic. In our community, these events were held in City Terrace, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights and East Los Angeles. Additionally, my office supported LAUSD's Grab & Go meal program which ensured children on the free and/or reduced meal program had food despite schools being closed down.

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Assemblywoman Carrillo loads a car with food supplies amid pandemic.

Help for Undocumented Families — Amid the outbreak, the State of California established The Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) program, a one-time $75 million disaster relief assistance effort for undocumented adults impacted by COVID-19. Individuals received $500 in direct assistance with a max of $1,000 per household. The program reached its goal of helping 150,000 people across the state, but glaringly illustrated the unequal treatment of the two million undocumented Californians who pay approximately $40 billion in local and state taxes each year and who where left behind with no assistance. The fight to protect our most vulnerable is a fight worth fighting, an one that I am committed to.

Eviction Protection — I was proud to co-author the Tenant Relief Act of 2020 (AB3088) which provides a method for tenants enduring financial hardship due to the pandemic to remain in their homes without fear of eviction due to loss of income or loss of employment because of COVID-19.

Project Room Key — More than 22,000 people experiencing homelessness and who were exposed to COVID-19 benefited from the program. Individuals and families were able to recuperate and properly quarantine outside of a hospital. It also provided a safe place for isolation for people who were experiencing homelessness and at high risk for medical complications should they to become infected.

LEGISLATION:

In a year in which very few bills made it past the legislative process and were signed into law by Governor Newsom, your ideas and your voices made it possible for us to create new laws to protect workers, give families a chance to be reunited, increase safety measures around food delivery, benefiting the health and safety of the public.

  • AB 1512 (Worker Protections): Provides guidance to employers to better protect security workers and ensure public safety during COVID-19.
  • AB 2325 (Child Support Systems): Restores California law that helps incarcerated parents have a successful reentry and return to their children.
  • AB 3336 (Safe Food Delivery): Creates basic consumer protections against food contamination from ready-to-eat food delivery services by requiring tamper-evident packaging to better protect the health of Californians.
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Assemblymember Carrillo shows example of a Tampered Proof label on a food box.

We led efforts that were held back due to the pandemic, but these issues are were worth the fight and worth continuing.

AB 3052: Eugenics: Would have established the Forced Sterilization Compensation Program to provide monetary compensation to women who were forcibly sterilized, as well as those sterilized without medical necessity or demonstrated informed consent while incarcerated.

AB 2478: International Medical Graduates: As California is experiencing an increasing shortage of primary care physicians, which is only expected to increase with COVID-19 needs in addition to an aging population, this would have directed the California Medical Board to conduct a study on increasing the existing pool of international medical graduates by January 1, 2022.

AB 683: Medical Assets Test: Once an adult turns 65 or becomes Medicare eligible, their MediCal eligibility is determined by a restrictive set of rules that require them to have minimal assets to remain eligible. This would update the assets limit to $10,000 for programs serving seniors and $5,000 for each additional household member while also eliminating the assets test for the Medicare Savings Programs, programs where MediCal pays for an individual's Medicare premiums and copayments.

AB 2976: Expanding Behavioral and Mental Health Access: Seeks to remove additional requirements that restrict Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors from obtaining their license and increases

AB 1725: After School Programs: provides $112.8 million in continuous funding to the CA Department of Education for these critical after school programs and allow the After School Education and Safety (ASES) funding to grow with future minimum wage and cost-of-living increases to continue serving California students and families.

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Assemblymember Carrillo with LA's Best students from Buchanan Elementary in Eagle Rock. (photo is pre-COVID)

In addition, I co-authored and supported key proposals to meet the need for housing and financial security, educational equity, environmental justice, and accountability and oversight in policing. Several were signed into law, some will require more work in 2021.

  • ACA 6 (McCarty): Free the Vote: Asks California voters to restore the right to vote to people on parole in the 2020 ballot, which voters approved.
  • AB 1196 (Gipson): Use of Force: Eliminates the practice of using carotid restraint (knee on neck), the same method that took George Floyd's life.
  • AB 1876 (Arambula): Expanding California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC): ensures all California tax filers, specifically ITIN filers, may quality for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EIYC) and the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC).
  • SB 852 (Pan): Lowering Prescription Drug Prices: Creates the Office of Drug Contracting and Manufacturing in order to increase access to, and reduce the cost of, generic medications.
  • AB 1506 (McCarty) Deadly Force Accountability: Requires the Attorney General to investigate fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians.
  • AB 3214 (Limon): Oil Spill Criminal Penalties: Updates current criminal penalties for companies that knowingly cause oil spills or failed to take actions that they knew would have prevented an oil spill into state waters.
  • SB 793 (Hill): Bans Flavored Tobacco: Bans the sale of all flavored tobacco products, tank-based systems, menthol cigarettes, chewing tobacco and most urgently, to address the rise of teen vaping — bans the sale of flavored vape pens targeted at youth.
  • SB 1383 (Jackson): Paid Family Leave Expansion: provides greater worker protections and ensures more Californians can return to their jobs after taking paid family leave.
  • SB54 & AB1080 (Allen/ Gonzalez): The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act would ensure single use plastic (non-reusable, non-recyclable, and non-compostable products) be 75% recyclable by 2030 and eliminate all together their use thereafter. Plastic is destroying our oceans, endangering marine life around the world and is a huge obstacle in fighting climate change.
  • AB 1775 (Jones-Sawyer): False Reports and Harassment: Makes it a crime to make a discriminatory 911 call, and acknowledges the importance of protecting the rights of the person singled-out by the discriminatory call.
  • AB 331 (Medina): Ethnic Studies: Requires a one-semester ethnic-studies course as a high school graduation requirement.
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Assemblymember Carrillo at SB54 / AB1080 rally. (Photo is pre-COVID).

BUDGET WINS:

$70.5B in k-12 education: These funds to support the needs of school districts, staff, and students, particularly those in economically disadvantaged areas and with special needs to transition to distance learning and mitigate learning loss.

$300M for Homelessness Assistance: These resources are additional homelessness funding to support local cities that allow continued regional coordination to address immediate homelessness challenges.

$163M from in Federal Cares Act for LA County: These funds are flexible federal funding to support Los Angeles County in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on homelessness, public health, and public safety.

DISTRICT NEWS & HONOREES:

While traditionally, honorees have traveled to Sacramento and be recognized, this year, it was much more solemn as the celebration was postponed in an effort to protect everyone's health.

  • Woman of the Year — Officer Gina Jojola, California Highway Patrol
  • Nonprofit of the Year — Centro de Niños, East Los Angeles

Through our fundraising efforts with The California Latino Legislative Caucus and the California Legislative Women's Caucus, my office was able to provide four $5,000 scholarships to four well deserving students.

  • Melissa Barales-Lopez, East Los Angeles, attending Dartmouth
  • Mariela Barrales, East Los Angeles, attending Yale
  • Katherine Fong, Monterey Hills, Cal State Los Angeles
  • Cecilia Elena Bachmann, Pasadena City College

Rio de los Angeles State Park Veterans Memorial: After years of planning, we were finally able to celebrate a great win — the unveiling of the "El Rio Veterans Memorial" at El Rio de Los Angeles State Park in the neighborhood of Cypress Park. This is a historic win for our community in recognizing the contributions of veterans from the Northeast and all who have bravely served in our nation's military. It is my hope that residents see themselves reflected in this memorial in addition to the many contributions of our veterans right here at home. This project is the result of stakeholder collaboration and an understanding from our California State Parks on the central role they play in our local communities.

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Census: Every ten years, the US Census embarks on the hard task to count every single person that lives in each community and therefore determine resources for roads, community clinics and healthcare programs as well as education. The census count also determines Congress and Electoral College votes for each state. This year, that proved challenging as the federal administration continuously tried to derail efforts by changing the dates, creating conflicts and continuously attempting to fear monger immigrant communities with questions around citizenship. We partnered with non-profits and trusted groups in our community, like the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights Los Angeles to ensure our most vulnerable communities were not left behind.

Thanksgiving and the Holidays: The pandemic certainly created an enormous need for many families experiencing hardship. In a effort to be of service, my office and I partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the California Water Service, the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and others to provide turkeys and meals at various locations in the district including the Centro Maravilla Service Center, the Chinatown Service Center, the Lincoln Heights Boys and Girls Club, Victory Outreach El Sereno, the Northeast Business Association, Eagle Rock High School, and the Hathaway Sycamore Child and Family Services.

Our office was able to provide resources to ensure families and children felt the love of the Holiday season. We partnered with the El Sereno Bicentennial Committee, the Northeast Democratic Club, the California Highway Patrol, IBEW Local 11 and passed out toys at various locations including the Eastmont Community Center, the Cypress Park Community Center, and the YMCA East Los Angeles to name a few.

As we start a new year in 2021, there is hope for a better tomorrow; a vaccine for COVID-19 is in the process of distribution. As it is delivered to frontline and essential workers, we will do the work necessary to ensure our community, which has been largely impacted by COVID-19, receives the vaccine alongside additional necessary resources.

I am committed to the task at hand, ensuring the health and well being of our community.

Thank you for the immense opportunity to represent you and your families in the California State Assembly during these unprecedented times. There is hope in our horizon.

In service,

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