MOORLACH UPDATE — Legislative Efforts — June 29, 2017

Barbara Venezia provides an excellent status report on my office’s efforts with the possible future of the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa. It’s in the Daily Pilot piece below.

What is becoming very clear to community leaders is the need to address those dealing with mental illness, drug dependency, and, as a by-product, homelessness, in a proper campus-like facility. The column makes a reference to Haven of Hope in San Antonio ( It is a model for what I am trying to achieve, with the assistance of many trailblazers involved in this critical area of need.

Because the Governor’s Budget now includes funding for a site study of the Fairview facility, we have made our bill on this matter, SB 59, a two-year bill. Absent my proposed legislation, it’s very likely that the Department of General Services may have made decisions about this property that were divorced from reality and not in concert with the needs of the city and the county. I’m proud that we had a robust stakeholder process on this issue and that their comments will be considered in the site study. My office will continue to engage as many people as possible to move forward with a comprehensive plan for Fairview once we see what the site study concludes.

In case you wish to catch up on the topic of SB 59 and its journey, as Barbara Venezia did so professionally, here are the previous mentions in date order:

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Senate Bill 59 — February 7, 2017 february 7, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Fairview Developmental Center — February 11, 2017 february 11, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — PACE and HERO — April 30, 2017 april 30, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget Reserve Cap — May 5, 2017 may 5, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Repealing the Cap — May 7, 2017 may 7, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Snubbing — May 10, 2017 may 10, 2017 john moorlach

The second piece is a nice kudo from the editorial staff of a few newspapers, including the Los Angeles Daily News and the OC Register, for another bill that I submitted that did not make it out of committee. SB 247 attempted to expose how certain industries keep competition at bay by requiring licenses and certifications.

I received a kind call this morning from a former colleague who had an intern who wants to be a barber. Cosmetology classes at CSU Fullerton runs about $2,000, but does not make you a barber. Professional training schools that provide the certification will cost $11,000. SB 247 would have fixed this for a young Orange County man who is trying to make ends meet and provide a personal service.

Here’s the chronology of this effort:

* MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 247 — April 20, 2017 april 20, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — There Ought Not Be A Law — April 23, 2017 april 23, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — PACE and HERO — April 30, 2017 april 30, 2017 john moorlach

* MOORLACH UPDATE — Snubbing — May 10, 2017 may 10, 2017 john moorlach

Now that we’re covering bills, this week was a busy one. On Monday, I presented SCA 1 to the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SCA 1 Warranty — March 7, 2017 march 7, 2017 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — SCA 1 — March 6, 2017 march 6, 2017 john moorlach). I wanted to memorialize that SB 1234 would be a stand alone state department (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1234 — August 26, 2016 august 26, 2016 john moorlach).

The public employee unions came out in force to oppose. I thought it odd, because the bill would insert a requirement in the State’s constitution to prohibit any state subsidies for the Secure Choice program, which would prevent budget cuts and employee layoffs.

SCA 1 is consistent with SB 1234’s actual language. Knowing that a future legislature may make dramatic changes to this program, and require taxpayers to pay for more unfunded liabilities should this program tank as a state enterprise, such a future maneuver should be prevented now. The ballot measure would have also broadcast this defined contribution program to all the voters at virtually no cost to the program.

Ironically, not one of the unions that opposed my bill would have actually wanted to be in the Secure Choice program that they continue to advocate for. They have sweet and rich defined benefit plans. They understand this is a swindle and are doing what they can to keep private citizens in the dark on their ploy. Because everyone will now, supposedly, be in a retirement plan, the taxpayers should not be complaining about the defined benefit systems that public employees participate in.

Another irony is the logic behind one of the votes to oppose SCA 1. It can be explained in the following exchange with my colleague, the chair of Senate Public Employee and Retirement Committee:

Chair: So just the one brief question, the, so I appreciate your testimony, for this SCA however I just want to clarify that the language in your amendment really is, is a repetition of the, of the, what’s already in statute, but you just want to make it a constitution, to put it in the constitution. Is that correct?

Moorlach: That’s correct.

Chair: Ok. Alright. Ok. Well, I, I think as it was noted by I think any of us who’ve seen the initiative process even if we pass it as a legislature there’s still an expense associated with running the appropriate campaign. I appreciate your statements about the opportunity to publicize this, but I think political campaign for an amendment might not always be the most efficient way to publicize with the same recourses. So I think, for that reason, I think that, you know, unfortunately I am not able to support this today. You know. Do you wish to close?

He said that with a straight face after voting for a bill to change the process of a recall that is currently underway in Orange County. The ironies continue up in Sacramento. This proposed constitutional amendment failed on a 2-to-3 vote.

On Tuesday, I presented SB 764 to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Fiscal Frogality — May 11, 2017 may 11, 2017 john moorlach). It passed with 15 votes and one abstention.

On Wednesday, I presented SB 653 to the Assembly Local Government Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — PACE and HERO — April 30, 2017 april 30, 2017 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Budget and House of Origin Deadlines — June 1, 2017 june 1, 2017 john moorlach). It passed unanimously, with all nine votes.

This morning, on the Senate Floor, SB 665, passed under unanimous roll call with 36 votes (as four Senators were absent) for concurrence with the Assembly amendment. For more information, see MOORLACH UPDATE — There Ought Not Be A Law — April 23, 2017 april 23, 2017 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Repealing the Cap — May 7, 2017 may 7, 2017 john moorlach).

And also this morning, SB 742 passed on the Assembly Floor with almost unanimous approval (see MOORLACH UPDATE — PACE and HERO — April 30, 2017 april 30, 2017 john moorlach). It should be coming to the Senate Floor soon for concurrence with the minor Assembly amendments.

The fun life continues.

Fairview site could be a cornerstone for addiction and mental health services

By Barbara Venezia

You can’t talk about addressing the mental health crisis in this county without including the issues of homelessness and addiction.

This is why a coalition of addiction and mental health experts from Hoag and St. Joseph hospitals, as well as local and state government officials, have been meeting to come up with a plan.

No one facility or community can bear the burden, but networked campuses countywide just might.

Could a portion of the Fairview Developmental Center property in Costa Mesa be one of these?

Fairview is slated to close in 2021, with a proposed plan to transition residents into smaller regional centers.

The state Department of Developmental Services has the ability to lease the land to a nonprofit organization or sell it without any say-so from local city or county officials.

Faced with this possibility, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) introduced Senate Bill 59 .

Co-authored with Sens. Ted Gaines (R-Redding), Mike McGuire (D-Eureka) and Jim Beall (D-San Jose), the bill would give local cities and counties a voice in repurposing the land.

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown is ready to sign a new budget, and there’s $2 million allocated for a site study for Fairview, Moorlach says it’s time to move SB59 forward.

Moorlach has been meeting with Hoag and St. Joseph and county and Costa Mesa city officials, as the group looks to address mental health issues and homelessness as part of a larger county network.

“We are meeting on a regular basis, and the coalition we are building is phenomenal,” Moorlach says.

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley says of the 105 acres at Fairview Developmental, 50% could be set aside for single-family housing, 25% for open space, 15% for mental health-institutional services of some sort and 10% to be determined.

I’m hearing 25% for mental health, however, is being discussed by the coalition.

The mental health aspect of this plan would be part of a larger countywide public-private partnership.

Costa Mesa City Manager Tom Hatch likes the regional approach because trying to solve the county’s homeless and mental health crisis with just one site isn’t the answer.

Hatch wants help available in every community.

As part of this coalition’s research, a group including Hatch, Foley and former assistant City Manager Rick Francis, hospital and county mental health officials, made a trip to Haven for Hope in San Antonio.

Haven for Hope is a successful model of how combining services with a public-private partnership, including local nonprofits, state and local agencies, can make a difference in addressing mental health services, addiction and homelessness.

A center there allows law enforcement to bring those needing to sober up only for the night as an alternative to taking up space in jails. Individuals opting for longer addiction care programs can stay.

Haven of Hope also has transitional housing for homeless families, along with more than 80 service providers, to help folks get back on their feet with training and job skills.

And it has a shelter for those looking for a safe haven for a night, rather than a long-term stay.

With a capacity of 1,500, the Haven of Hope model could be applied here.

In theory the concept being explored holds promise, but will political difference hamper progress?

Though Moorlach has reached across the political aisle, there are those with reservations.

Foley, a Democrat, is concerned the state’s assessment study could value Fairview at a high price, making it prohibitive for any kind of affordable project.

She questions why there isn’t another O.C. senator supporting Moorlach’s bill. Until I told her two Democratic senators co-authored it, she was unaware of the bipartisan cooperation and went online to look up the bill’s progress for herself.

Foley admits her trip to Haven of Hope was enlightening, and there are components — like having service providers for the homeless in one location and the transitional housing concept — that could work here.

But she isn’t counting out another concept being considered by the city for Fairview: affordable housing. And she tells me there have been talks with a provider.

There’s certainly a need to address the full scope of local mental health issues. The coalition’s plan may be a good start to a comprehensive solution, barring politics getting in the way.

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1.

Reduce glut of occupational licensing laws

By The Editorial Board, LA Daily News

Occupational licensing laws increase costs to consumers, restrict employment opportunities and make it difficult for people to work in other states. While little has been done to curb even the excesses of licensing laws in California, momentum appears to be building across the country to undo licensing schemes which do little to benefit the public.

In 2015, the Obama White House called on states to ensure that licensing actually protects consumers “without placing unnecessary restrictions on employment, innovation, or access to important goods and services.”

Last year, the Little Hoover Commission reiterated these calls, noting the growth of licensing over the past 60 years, with the proportion of workers requiring licensure growing from 1 in 20 to now 1 in 5 in California. As the commission argued, California’s “thicket of occupational regulation … desperately needs untangling” to reduce barriers to employment and the cost of services.

Much of the problem comes down to the fact that California, like most states, not only licenses so many occupations, but also refuses to remove even the most arbitrary of them. While there are more than 1,100 occupations which require licensure in at least one state, fewer than 60 require licensure in all 50 states. Consequently, California often licenses occupations that most don’t.

For example, as of 2012, California was one of only 13 states to license locksmiths and one of seven to license tree service contractors and upholsterers. This year, Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, suggested dropping licensing requirements for those and a handful of other occupations. As sensible as it was, Senate Bill 247, was voted down in on a 6-2 party line vote in committee.

Fortunately, there are encouraging developments elsewhere. The Federal Trade Commission has stepped up efforts to support licensing reform, creating an Economic Liberty Task Force geared in part toward assisting governors, legislators and other stakeholders wishing to pursue reform of licensing laws.

There’s also the new bipartisan coalition Justice for Work, made up of groups like the R Street Institute and Americans for Tax Reform, which astutely notes licensing laws make it difficult for people with criminal records to reintegrate into society by restricting access to employment opportunities.

This was also raised by the Little Hoover Commission, giving an opportunity for the state to tie licensing reform to criminal justice reform.

While there are officially sunset hearings of California’s licensing programs, they usually amount to a rubber stamping of the status quo, which burdens the public with fewer jobs and higher costs.

It’s time for California to give liberty a try and repeal dubious licensing laws.

California was one of only 13 states to license locksmiths and one of seven to license tree service contractors and upholsterers.


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