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Due to the recent redistricting process, the 1st Senate District lines have been redrawn to now include Shasta and Siskiyou counties. The district no longer includes Amador, Calaveras and Mono counties or parts of Placer and Sacramento counties. To look up and confirm your Assembly and Senate representatives, click here.

Due to the new boundaries, we are moving our Roseville Constituent Service Center to El Dorado Hills and setting up a new location in Redding. Below please find the contact information for both offices.

Redding Constituent Service Center
1670 Market Street, Suite 244
Redding, CA 96001
Phone: (530) 225-3142
Fax: (530) 225-3143
El Dorado Hills Constituent Service Center
4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 112
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
Phone: (916) 933-7213
Fax: (916) 933-7234

Due to these moves, there will be several days next week where we will be “down” transitioning phone lines, computers, and more. We ask for your patience during this time and if you need immediate assistance next week, please contact our Capitol office at (916) 651-4001.

Once we are settled, we will be hosting “Open House” events where you can stop by, visit our new locations, and discuss with me legislative or state matters. My staff and I look forward to welcoming you to our new spaces!


I recently sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris requesting an investigation into the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) following reports revealing that the agency hid $3.6 million with the California District Attorneys Association instead of depositing it into the state’s general fund.

This is a very serious and disturbing matter that calls for a thorough investigation by the Attorney General to determine whether there are any related criminal charges that should be brought. Hiding funds outside the state system with an organization that is profiting from the account simply reeks of wrongdoing and demands to be looked into.

This news comes on the heels of the California Department of Parks and Recreation concealing $20 million in a hidden account last year. Following that revelation, auditors found more than $200 million that other state agencies had stashed away.

How can the state get away with charging rural Californians a $150 illegal fire fee specifically to support Cal Fire operations, and at the same time Cal Fire is hiding millions in a secret fund? It’s no wonder there is such a high level of distrust between the government and its citizens. We deserve to know the truth behind what took place and why.

I also strongly support the efforts of the joint Assembly and Senate committee hearings into whether there are millions more hiding completely off the grid.

Unfortunately, our oversized government makes it far too easy for state agencies to get away with this kind of activity and have it go unnoticed for years. I welcome the joint committee hearings and commit to working with my colleagues to determine necessary reforms to put a stop to this unethical behavior and return any funds where they belong - with California’s taxpayers.


Senator Gaines, Assemblywoman Beth Gaines and Giants CEO Bill Neukom stand with World Series trophies and an autographed Giants bat.
Senator Gaines, Assemblywoman Beth Gaines and Giants CEO Bill Neukom
stand with World Series trophies and an autographed Giants bat.

I’m a huge San Francisco Giants fan and of course I was ecstatic when they won the 2012 World Series. That’s why it was such a thrill to see both the 2010 and 2012 World Series trophies when they came to the Capitol as part of their World Champion Trophy Tour across Northern California. Special thanks to the Giants organization for sharing these special trophies with their dedicated fans!


In my continued efforts to fight against the illegal fire tax, I have introduced three pieces of legislation this session that will provide relief for rural Californians forced to pay the fee.

This $150 fire tax is illegal and unfair - plain and simple. My goal with these bills is to offer some hope and support to Californians who are still facing a 10-percent unemployment rate and struggling just to make ends meet.

Senate Bill 17 would reverse the Governor’s and legislative Democrats’ decision to raise $84 million in taxes by charging rural property owners a “fee” for fire prevention services as part of the 2011-12 budget. These communities are located in “State Responsibility Areas” (SRA) designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), even though their property taxes already contribute to the service contracts that counties have with Cal Fire.

Senate Bill 125 would exempt a property owner of a structure that is located both within an SRA and within the boundaries of a local fire protection district from having to pay the $150 tax. Many rural property owners already pay local fire agencies for protection so this legislation would eliminate the double-taxation scenario for those residents.

Senate Bill 147 would exempt any property owner located within an SRA that has an income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (as determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines) from paying the $150 fire tax. Many Californians fall within this low and fixed income category.

This fire tax has been imposed on the owners of more than 800,000 properties in the state. According to census and Cal Fire data, my largely rural district includes nearly 25 percent or approximately 200,000 of the properties whose owners are subject to the fee.

My legislation comes at a time when Cal Fire has been accused of hiding millions in a secret fund. I hope my legislative colleagues realize that charging rural Californians a $150 illegal fire fee specifically to support Cal Fire operations, at the same time they are hiding millions provides enough justification to support these bills.

I would like to request that anyone who has suffered a serious financial hardship due to the $150 fire tax contact me via email at
senator.gaines@senate.ca.gov to share your story and contact information. Your compelling stories could be used during committee hearings to make the case for why the bills should move forward.

Stay tuned for additional updates as the bills progress through the legislative process.


Many of you may have recently watched Governor Jerry Brown deliver his annual 2013 State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature and the people of California.

I believe California’s future can be bright and full of promise if the government provides the foundation for its prosperity and is not a barrier to its success. Smarter regulations and a government that lives within its means - that is the path to a vibrant and prosperous California and I hope the Governor and legislative Democrats follow that course.

During his address, Governor Brown focused on his “good news” budget plan. While it’s a less painful budget than we've seen in the past, it is only balanced due to the $50 billion tax increase felt by every Californian across the state.

At a time when we should be buckling down and tightening our belts, state spending will grow by $5 billion with new funding for state programs and major pay and benefit increases for state employees. Is that really the wisest use of our dollars? Classrooms will see additional funding but it’s not nearly the level it should be given the promises made during the Proposition 30 campaign.

Education reform should be a priority. I agree with the Governor that certain authority and decision-making should take place at the local school district level in order to best light fires in California’s young minds.

With the legislative session ahead of us, I’m concerned that the Governor and my Democrat colleagues will take the rosier budget outlook as license to charge ahead with increased deficit spending. It is critical that we reign in spending and remain in the “black” so that California never falls back into the fiscal pit we’ve dug ourselves into in the past.

I will do all I can to help guide our state down the path towards a better California. I will continue working tirelessly across the aisle to find bi-partisan solutions for job-creation and regulatory reform, including reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that will help hard-working California families and businesses prosper.


Production begins on Senator Dave Cox Memorial Interchange signage
Production begins on Senator Dave Cox Memorial Interchange signage.

Last session, I received unanimous, bi-partisan support for Senate Concurrent Resolution 97 honoring Senator Dave Cox and naming the Highway 50 Interchange at Hazel Avenue in Sacramento County as the “Senator Dave Cox Memorial Interchange.”

The next step in the process of completing this project is to raise the appropriate funds to create and erect the signs marking this special designation. All funding will come from private donations and other non-state sources. No state monies or resources will be used. All fundraising for this signage is being handled by the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce.

If you are interested in donating to the “Senator Dave Cox Memorial Interchange” signage, please contact the Chamber at (916) 967-2903 for more information. Checks can be made payable to the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce/Dave Cox Memorial Sign and mailed to P.O. Box 352, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

A dedication ceremony will be held to unveil the new signage once the appropriate funds have been raised and the signage erected.

Senator Cox represented the First Senate District for six years prior to his untimely death in July of 2010. Senator Cox was an instrumental member of the California State Legislature who served as Assembly Republican Leader from 2001-2004. A pillar of the Sacramento community, he also previously served on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and was an elected Board Member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Beyond his achievements and contributions, Senator Dave Cox was a friend and beloved colleague. Senator Cox was held in very high regard amongst those he represented and was respected as a dedicated and fair lawmaker who worked tirelessly for his constituents. I felt it was only appropriate to honor Senator Cox by naming this portion of the First Senate District on Highway 50 in his memory.


I’m proud to announce that I have scored 100 percent on the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/California’s 2012 Legislator Voting Record on small business issues. I was one of only 30 state legislators out of the 120 Assembly and Senate members to receive the top score.

As a small business owner myself, I know first-hand the hurdles and burdens California’s job creators face every day. I am committed to generating opportunities for small businesses to thrive, not stifling their growth with excessive taxes and onerous regulations.

NFIB/California’s Voting Record is designed to provide a critical evaluation of a legislator’s attitude towards small business. NFIB/California is the state’s leading nonprofit, nonpartisan small business association representing nearly 22,000 small and independent businesses in California.

The Voting Record is developed by selecting key bills proposed by the legislature that affect small business and on which every member of the legislature had an opportunity to cast a vote. The votes on those bills are then recorded and a percentage is determined for each member of the Assembly and Senate.

In my continued effort to help lighten the load for California small businesses, I plan to support legislation this session that would reduce and streamline onerous state regulations and allow small businesses to focus on what they do best – create jobs and spur the economy – with the ultimate goal of getting our state back on track.

The NFIB/California Voting Record, with descriptions of the bills used in the report, is available on
their website.


With the start of the new 2013-14 legislative session comes new committee assignments. I have been appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

I am honored to have been given these committee assignments in critical areas that affect the lives of all Californians. I will work hard to achieve bipartisan solutions to the important issues facing our state and defend the interests of hard-working taxpayers.

The Environmental Quality Committee reviews legislation dealing with environmental quality, air quality, water quality, integrated waste management, toxics and hazardous waste. I plan to focus my time looking at necessary reforms of California’s environmental laws and regulations.

For years I have been calling for reforms to the often-abused California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). With California’s unemployment rate still hovering at close to 10-percent, economic growth must be our number one priority. One of the best ways to accomplish that is through CEQA reform. While on the Environmental Quality Committee, I will advocate for reforms that allow job creation and businesses to flourish while protecting California’s beautiful natural environment.

The Appropriations Committee is responsible for fiscal bills that are not referred to the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, as well as bills that constitute a state-mandated local program.

I take this responsibility very seriously and will work hard to make sure we are maintaining the people’s trust in their government by holding the Legislature financially accountable. Californians must be assured that their elected officials are enacting legislation that spends their hard-earned tax dollars in a fiscally responsible manner.

I will remain in my posts as vice chairman of both the Senate Insurance Committee and the Transportation and Housing Committee. I am also a member of the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee.


February is National Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease as the #1 killer of women and promoting women’s heart health. Will you join me in showing your support for heart health?

We’ve made significant progress, but we have far to go. Here’s why:

  • One woman in three dies of heart disease.
  • More women’s lives are taken by heart disease than all cancers combined.
  • Heart disease kills more women than men.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. Heart disease risk factors for women are high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, stress, age, race, and family history of heart disease.

Here’s how you can join in:

  • Go Red. Show your support throughout the month of February and encourage others to do the same. Collective action can make a life-and-death difference.
  • Share woman to woman. Inspire others and be inspired. Tell your story, offer your wisdom and learn from other women at GoRedForWomen.org.
  • Take care of your heart. To make a habit of healthier food choices, visit GoRedForWomen.org.
  • Donate to help save women’s lives. The American Heart Association uses all revenue from Go Red For Women activities to support awareness, research, education and community programs benefiting women.
  • Help make America go red and save women’s lives! If you have any questions regarding Go Red For Women or for more information, please visit GoRedforWomen.org.



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              Page Updated: Saturday February 02, 2013 02:04 AM  Pacific

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