On Feb. 12, Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke to the state Legislature giving his State of State address.
Newsom covered many topics from housing to high-speed railways, and several subjects, which will have direct or incidental effects on the Hill.
Water supply was a major topic to which Newsom devoted significant attention. Not only did he address the issues such as the Delta tunnels and groundwater recharge, Newsom reminded the legislators “… millions of Californians woke up without clean water to bathe or drink.”
Calling this situation both a “moral disgrace and a medical emergency,” he implored them to solve it with sustained funding. His budget proposal in January resurrected the concept of a statewide water tax to fund these systems containing lead, arsenic, uranium or other contaminants.
The Legislature has not acted yet. The Association of California Water Agencies has opposed the tax on individuals. Instead, it has recommended using some of the state reserves to fund the necessary system improvements.
He also touched on energy issues, particularly the financial danger facing Pacific Gas and Electric because of its role in the recent Northern California wildfires. Newsom recognizes this problem affects each of the state’s electric utilities and has created a commission to find solutions.
Southern California Edison has prepared and submitted a Wildfire Mitigation Plan to the state’s Public Utilities Commission.
The growing senior population in the state was another issue Newsom considers important for the Legislature’s attention. The last census reported that the Hill’s senior population was equal to under age 20s, and both are larger than residents between ages 20 and 50.
Not only does he want a Master Plan for Aging, but he will launch an Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force. In just the past few months, the Hill has lost two residents who wandered away from home and could not be found before they died.
And he ended his talk with attention on healthcare and health insurance for state residents. He wants to expand subsidies for those earning less than $48,000 annually and extend help to families making up to $150,000.