News

New vaccine allocation aims to reach farm workers as second season approaches during pandemic

The recent announcement by the governor's office that 40% of upcoming vaccine allocations in the state will be distributed among the most vulnerable residents that have been impacted by COVID-19, is welcome relief to the cherry industry, where vaccinating staff is an urgent need.

The cherry industry has not only worked through a year of COVID-19 protocols, but will be packing and exporting its second harvest during the pandemic. 

Villapudua Bill Would Relocate State Utilities Regulator to Stockton

A new bill would move the office of California’s powerful public utilities regulator to Stockton and encourage the selection of commissioners from the Central Valley. The bill’s author, Asm. Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton), says that it could create as many as 1,000 jobs in the Stockton region.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which is currently located in San Francisco, oversees the state’s natural gas, telecommunications, water, and power utilities like PG&E. The agency also has field offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

State lawmaker introduces bill for homeless shelters to allow pets

A state lawmakers is pushing for homeless shelters to allow pets. Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua introduced Assembly Bill 258, which would require shelters that receive money from the state to accept people living on the street and their pets.

The bill is modeled after a Stockton pilot program, where the shelter for the homeless in Stockton allows individuals to take in one pet as long as it’s vaccinated.

Villapudua says about 5% of the homeless in the state own pets.

California liquor bill aims to make restaurant parklets permanent, plus zones for open containers

A post-pandemic California could potentially feature permanent restaurant parklets, open-container zones in cities. and an easier road for opening pop-up restaurants, if a new bill introduced Friday is passed by the Legislature.

Sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the Bar and Restaurant Recovery Act, or SB314, would loosen certain alcohol laws throughout the state. The goal, Wiener said, is to give more flexibility to bars, restaurants and music venues in order to help them stay afloat.

Hall of Fame case for Tom Flores gets a boost from state Latino legislators

The push to get former Raiders coach and quarterback Tom Flores into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — which picked up speed as a nationally broadcast beer commercial earlier last month — took a political turn Monday when a group of California Latino legislators introduced a resolution urging the NFL to make it happen.

Assembly House Resolution 13 was introduced Jan. 25 and adopted Monday “with overwhelming support,” according to a statement sent by the office of Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Coachella whose 56th District includes Indian Wells, where Flores lives.

CDFA would help farmers adapt to SGMA under new bill

A new measure aims to offer technical assistance grants to help landowners reduce water usage under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). It targets critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley and prioritizes socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The bill would allocate up to $300,000 for each project.

The bill’s author, Asm. Carlos Villapudua of Stockton, recognizes the “staggering effect” SGMA will have on the valley, with as many as a million acres of productive farmland to be fallowed.

New Bill Would Permanently Change Winery Container Laws

AB 239 would allow winery customers to fill their own containers with wine during downturn

Earlier this week, a bill that would allow winery customers to fill their own containers with wine, or for wineries to deliver wine in personal containers to customers, was introduced in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 239, authored by Assemblymen Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) and Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), would allow reusable containers to be refilled at wineries and tasting rooms. While Californian breweries are currently allowed this practice with containers such as “growlers,” it is currently not allowed at wineries.

Security remains high at Capitol as California lawmakers return to work

Security at the California state Capitol in Sacramento remained heightened Tuesday. A heavy law enforcement presence has been disbursed around the Capitol building grounds and throughout the city’s surrounding downtown area since last week in anticipation of protests and violence after the Jan. 6 siege in the U.S. Capitol. 

All remained fairly placid near the Capitol well into the afternoon, where dozens of California Highway Patrol officers and National Guard soldiers were stationed and patrolled the grounds behind a chain-link fence surrounding the building.

Carlos Villapudua: Elected to serve His Community

By Bob Highfill

Carlos Villapudua took a moment to look up at the ceiling from the floor of the state Capitol in Sacramento.
There to undergo training as the newly elected State Assemblyman, District 13, the 52-year-old Stockton native could see the same balcony where he once stood and looked down as a 10-year-old during a tour. Villapudua called it a “wow moment,” when he realized his path from community center director, legislative aide, county supervisor and businessman had led him to the state legislature.