When I first ran for State Assembly in 2016 I made a promise to the 38th Assembly district that I would be a champion for the big issues that our community faces, but also to do it in a new way going beyond the ugly partisanship that has hurt our country.
I have worked to fight for public safety, to reduce traffic and improve our infrastructure, to make all our tax dollars work harder for us, and to care for those who need a hand up. From day one I have fought for the promises I made, and I have worked across the aisle to make our community a better place to live. I have ignored the special interests that dominate Sacramento and have supported innovative ideas from both parties.
The approach works, and the results show it. I have authored and co-authored numerous bi-partisan bills that have been signed into law by Governor Brown. Here is a sample of bills I have authored that are now law:
Legislation to allow law enforcement to receive search warrants in cases of invasion of privacy such as unwanted video or images of a sensitive or sexual nature. Now individuals who are victimized can receive justice and recover the offensive images. (AB 539)
Legislation to provide new avenues for motorcycle riders to receive a license using more strenuous testing. This bill will result in greater safety on the road and a streamlined process for more experienced riders who are seeking a license. (AB 1027)
Legislation to relinquish a section of the Sierra Highway to the city of Santa Clarita. This section contained within the city can now be kept up and will avoid the disrepair that the state has allowed it to fall into. This was requested by the city. (AB 1172)
Legislation which requires claims made by manufacturers on recyclable containers to be documented and verifiable. (AB 1294 – Joint Authored with Asm. Berman)
This is just a start, and there is much more work to be done. Below you will find several key issue areas where I have fought for change.
Protecting Women’s equality fair treatment
We need to ensure women in the workplace are treated equally and with dignity. There should never be a gap in opportunity between women and their male counterparts. I have stood up for modernizing the traditional work week to give employees new levels of flexibility in their work schedules. I unequivocally support equal pay for equal work and am fighting to prevent abuses.
Some policies that I have worked on to ensure equality for all women include:
Authored AB 539 - Helps victims of “revenge porn” by giving law enforcement the right to seek a court-ordered warrant for invasion of privacy cases.
Co-authored AB 9 – to exempt feminine products from sales tax
Supported AB 46 - Requires state equal pay laws also apply to public sector workers
Supported AB 3081 – Provides historic protections to victims of sexual harassment.
Supported AB 557 - Provide homeless benefits such as hotel vouchers to domestic violence victims who are awaiting shelter space.
Co-authored AB 1893 – Requires the Department of Public Health to apply specified federal funding regarding maternal mental health.
Co-authored ACR 204 - Establishes Equal Pay Day in recognition of the need to eliminate the gender gap in earnings by women and to promote policies to ensure equal pay for all.
Fiscal accountability and keeping California Affordable
All too often the solutions that seem to come from Sacramento are to tax or fee Californians more and more. I believe with a state budget approaching 200 billion dollars in total spending it is unfair for the legislature to pretend that new taxes and fees are needed. I am proud of my solid record standing up for taxpayers and against the politicians that would weaken Proposition 13 taxpayer protections and make California more expensive to live in.
Some policies that I have worked on to protect taxpayers from unnecessary costs include:
Opposed SB 1 – the 52 billion dollar gas tax and vehicle license fee increase.
Opposed SB 2 – Real Estate Document Tax
Opposed AB 509 - New fee on the retail seller of new tires
Supported AB 363 - Lower Fees for Low-Income/Homeless Veterans for Driver's Licenses with VETERAN Designation
Co-authored AB 2478 – Allows a write off of $5,250 per year to incentivize employers to offer student loan repayment benefits to employees.
92% (“A”) rating from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. in 2017.
Reforming Education to Serve All Children
I’m the parent of three children. One child is still in high school and my daughter just graduated from college. While we are blessed to have mostly great schools in the 38th Assembly district, far too many children from our region are being subjected to a substandard education. Where you grow up shouldn’t determine whether you have an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream which is why one of my top priorities in Sacramento is to reform our public education system to give every child an opportunity to succeed.
As your Assemblyman I am fighting to make sure every dollar possible reaches the classroom to benefit teachers and the students they work so hard to educate. I strongly supported increasing local education funding and creating new pathways to education success for children.
Recently I was proud to support AB 1825 which increased the funding for k-12 students. Since arriving in Sacramento I have fought for students to be given many paths to success and am excited to say that we have ensured 300 million dollars in funding for Career Technical Education (CTE). Furthermore, I have been proud to sponsor legislation backing innovative charter school programs so that every child has options if their local school is failing.
Some bills that I have supported to improve the public school system include:
AB 1743 – Provides $500 million for Career Technical Education to give students new pathways to good paying jobs.
Voted to provide Pre-K education for all, a brand new program that would guarantee access to early education for every California child.
AB 1217 – Establish CA Teacher Corps program to provide funding for matching grants to local school districts to create/expand teacher residency programs.
Co-authored AB 624 – Tax credit to establish robotics clubs at schools.
Co-authored AB 445 – Creates a permanent $300 million Career Technical Education fund to help K-12 schools offer modernized career tech classes
AB 2285 to make it easier for out of state credentialed teachers to get their California teaching credentials when they relocate to California.
AB 2291 – Creates new cyberbullying and school bullying prevention programs.
AB 2547 – The California Teacher Corps Act of 2018 creates teacher residency programs.
AB 3136 – Increases special education funding so that no child is left without the resources to succeed.
Accountability in Higher Education
I have been at the forefront of the fight for accountability and transparency in higher education. Recently corruption has come to light in the University of California Office of the President. A legislative audit revealed a hidden fund of over 170 million dollars and a history of lavish spending on parties and travel, all while leaders of the UC system raised student fees and tuition. Then, to make matters worse it came to light that out of state students were receiving priority admission because of higher tuition costs. I have led the effort to bring oversight and reform to a corrupt leadership. College affordability is a top priority and wiping out corruption is a great first step.
The UC and CSU systems are vital to the future of our state. I am proud to have fought for recent funding increases that ensure fees and tuition remain frozen, and that programs are funded to keep the promise that any student who wants to can graduate from a CSU with a degree in 4 years.
Some bills that I have supported to improve the higher ed system include:
AB 240 - Requests UC Regents to establish CA Institute for Aerospace to achieve specified goals relating to the development of the aerospace industry in the state.
AB 214 - Policy changes enabling more college students to access CalFresh funds.
AB 490 - Increase Cal Grant B Access Award amounts for California’s lowest-income students.
SB 727 – Authorize public postsecondary educational institutions to adopt policies that allow for the use of innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks and other instructional materials.
Crime is on the rise again in our community. Propositions 47 and 57 set our state on the path to a growth in property crime and violent crime. Unfortunately, there remains a lot of work to be done to fix our public safety system. I am a proud supporter of our local police and fire and am proud of my record stretching back to my time as Mayor Pro-Tem of working to make our community safer.
California’s soft on crime policies have put people’s lives and property at risk, but I won’t stop fighting for reform until we get it right.
Some bills that I have worked on to make California safer include:
Opposed SB 620 – Which would have allowed shorter sentences in some gun crimes.
Supported AB 229 – which funds vertical prosecution programs to combat human trafficking.
Supported AB 2302 – Which ensures that any mandated reporter who fails to report the sexual assault of a child can be held personally liable.
Supported AB 1882 – Makes it a crime to contact of communicate with a minor with the intent to commit human trafficking of the minor.
Supported AB 2226 – Makes victims of domestic violence able to reclaim home security costs from the victim compensation fund.
Supported AB 2823 – Makes human sex trafficking a violent and serious felony so that perpetrators cannot avoid punishment for their crimes.
Supported AB 3129 – Creates a lifetime firearm prohibition for anyone who commits domestic violence against a partner.
Supported AB 3078 – Increases punishment for criminals who use the fallout from natural disasters to commit burglary and theft against victims.
Independent, Bi-partisan Leadership
Californians want real solutions to the problems our state faces and partisan excuses just don’t cut it. That is why I have worked closely with legislators from both sides of the aisle to move California forward.
I have a solid bi-partisan record. Over 60% of the bills I have co-authored were introduced by Democrats and many of the bills I have introduced have been co-authored by Democrats. When we work together we can make our state a better place, that is what independent leadership looks like.
All Acosta-authored measures that were signed were passed w/ overwhelming support only one bill received 2 no-votes in the State Senate.
Co-authored Democrat Henry Stern’s SB 57 - Stops the reopening of Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility until state regulators have completed an investigation to determine the root cause of the massive methane leak.
1 of only 2 Assembly Republicans to support AB 3081, historic legislation to end sexual harassment in the workplace.
Key in passing AB 249 and AB 2188 – Known as the DISCLOSE Act and the Online DISCLOSE Act respectively. These measures will end the ability of wealthy donors, unions, and corporations to hide their influence with dark money.
Voted with Democrats and Republicans to oppose the federal government’s proposed offshore oil drilling expansion.
Known for regularly working with legislators across the aisle to build bi-partisan consensus and improve legislation to bring opposition to the table.
Making California a pro-growth state
California has achieved unfortunate recognition as one of the least business friendly states in the nation. Despite this, small and local businesses are overcoming unnecessary burdens to growth and the creation of new jobs. I come from a small business background, so I understand the struggles that many face across our state. I am working hard to make California a state that helps local businesses create new jobs and grow the wages of middle class Californians.
Some policies that I have worked on to make California more business friendly include:
CA Chamber of Commerce “93% rating.”
California Manufacturers and Technology Association “90% rating.”
California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) “91% rating.”
California Small Business Association “Cum Laude” designation.
Supported AB 1734 – Extends the California Motion Picture and Television Production Credit to keep entertainment jobs local to the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys. Also adds the requirement that applicants include their written policy against unlawful harassment.
Supported AB 1216 – Allows a tax credit for a business that increases its workforce by 20 full-time employees.
Supported AB 2913 – Allows building permits to remain valid as long as construction commenced within 3 years of approval. Vital to eliminating costly and wasteful red tape.
Supported AB 3194 – Promotes new housing construction to keep costs in line and create new jobs.
Protecting our environment
We are blessed to live in a beautiful part of California. I am proud to have worked stretching back to my time as Mayor Pro-Tem to expand the parks and open spaces we get to enjoy in our region. Clean air and clean water are goals we all share, and I have worked very hard in a bi-partisan manner to ensure our children grow up in a beautiful environment breathing clean air.
Some policies that I have worked on to protect our environment include:
Co-authored SB 57 - Stops the reopening of Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility until state regulators have completed an investigation to determine the root cause of the massive methane leak.
Supported AB 582 – Prevent manufacturers like VW from bypassing emissions limitations that help the state comply with federal Clean Air Act.
Supported AB 1218 - Streamlines process & reduces costs associated with the creating new bike lanes. transportation plans & bicycle lanes.
Supported SB 51 - Provide baseline protections for the environment, public health, worker safety and other federal regulatory areas to prevent any weakening of guidelines.
AJR 29 – Opposes any efforts to expand offshore oil drilling.
Supported AB 615 - Increased availability of rebates on clean vehicle purchases for low-income and middle-class consumers.
Helping the most vulnerable in our state
California recently became the 5th largest economy in the world, yet we are leading the nation in people living in poverty. Bad policies and irresponsible leadership has cursed millions of Californians with an existence far below the poverty line. We can do better and I have dedicated myself to working for long term solutions.
Some policies that I have worked on to stamp out poverty and protect the vulnerable include:
Authored AB 2725 – Establishes the California Construction Corps to offer training in construction skills to at-risk youth.
Authored AB 754 – Creates a program to offer enrichment grants to foster youth for one-time expenses related to enrichment or extra-curricular activities.
Authored AB 2101 – Establishes the California Care Corps which gives young people education benefits in exchange for full time work providing respite care to families struggling to help a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Supported AB 480 - Allow low-income women on public assistance to get up to $30 a month help to buy diapers for children under three.
Supported AB 490 - Increase Cal Grant B Access Award amounts for California’s lowest-income students
Co-authored AB 75 – Strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit program to add “self-employed” taxpayers who participate in the sharing economy.
Supported AB 214 - Policy changes enabling more college students to access CalFresh funds.
Co-authored AB 227 - Provide CalWORKs recipients financial support to seek further education.
Supported AB 391 - Expand preventive asthma services for low-income Californians.
Supported AB 431 - Require Adjutant General to make state-owned armories available to cities and counties for use as emergency homeless shelters.
Supported AB 503 - Provide flexible options for low-income motorists to pay parking tickets.
Supported AB 563 - Assist CalFresh recipients in securing employment and earnings.
Co-authored AB 824 – “Transitional Housing for Homeless Youth Grant Program.”
Supported AB 992 “CalWORKs Baby Wellness & Family Support Home Visiting Program”
Co-authored AB 15 - Require Dept. of Health Care Services, for fiscal year 2017-18, to double Denti-Cal provider reimbursement rates.
Supported AB 85 - Help veterans suffering from homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse or co-occurring disorders such as PTSD by exempting a veteran from county General Assistance work requirements.
Co-authored AB 316 - Provide education & training to unemployed & low-wage earners to close the skills gap, bring more people into the workforce, and provide better career opportunities.