Thursday, May 17, 2018

(Sacramento)Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 27 (ACA 27), which checks the power of the University of California (UC) Regents and the UC President. The legislation would require greater transparency and openness in setting salaries, and how the UC system spends money.

“California taxpayers, and university families, have had enough of a bloated, autocratic UC system that is out-of-control, and unaccountable to anyone,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “We need to send a message demanding transparency, and accountability, in our publicly-funded university finances, especially as the regents consider yet another tuition increase.”

“Given their veil of financial secrecy and extravagant spending, I immediately call on the UC Regents to halt discussion of a tuition increase until the public has a better understanding of the UC system’s financial standing,” said Quirk-Silva.

ACA 27 would limit the length of regents’ terms from 12 years to 4, would prohibit compensation that exceeds $200,000 per year unless approved in a public hearing, would require the Office of the UC President to submit a yearly report on expenditures, and would limit the position of the UC President to be a non-voting member of the board. Quirk-Silva is joined by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D – San Francisco) in authoring this proposed change to the California Constitution.

“ACA 27 declares an end to the era of appointing deep-pocket insiders to comfortable, quasi-lifetime terms,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva, noting that most regents are multi-millionaires who do not identify with the struggles of everyday Californians. “Instead, let us hold these people accountable to parents, students, and taxpayers.”

“California students and families deserve to know that state funds are being spent on UC students, and not on government bureaucracy,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento). “Savings found at the nearly $800 million UC Administration budget means more monies to enroll qualified California students and minimizes the need to hike tuition fees. Increasing public trust through transparency and accountability of UC is critical to the success of the institution.”

“While the UC system has made progress in implementing some financial reforms, we need to take additional steps to ensure the problems don’t resurface and that funding is concentrated on students,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “ACA 27 ends secret reserve funds, keeps spending in check and promotes accountability. When enacted, University of California will be an even greater public institution.”

ACA 27 also removes the UC president from the board of regents. In April 2017 a State Audit of the University of California, Office of the President, found that the Office of the President had "amassed substantial reserve funds, used misleading budgeting practices, provided its employees with generous salaries and atypical benefits, and failed to satisfactorily justify its spending on system wide initiatives." In May, The UC Regents will be meeting on whether to raise tuition, and the student services fee, for state residents by 2.7%, an increase of $342 to a total of $12,972 for the 2018-19 academic year.

ACA 27 will be heard next in the Assembly Higher Education Committee.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

(Sacramento)  – Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), speaking on behalf of the Latino and Women’s Caucuses, proudly voiced her support for the Assembly resolution declaring May 2018 as Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. “California is home to over 6.3 million Asian and Pacific Islander Americans…more than any other state,” Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva said in her remarks. “API Heritage Month speaks to the proud and rich history and culture of people in search of the American dream right here in California.” Watch her entire speech in this Assembly Access  video.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sacramento –Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim) announced today that they will introduce legislation to allow Orange County cities, the County of Orange, local businesses and philanthropists to pool their resources through a newly-established agency to pay for construction of supportive housing units.

“Helping the homeless in Orange County will depend on a multifaceted approach. There is no singular remedy to address the crisis. Supportive Housing means having cooperative actions at every level; local and state resources need to combine with the efforts of the public and private sector,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “Nevertheless, transparency and accountability are of paramount importance to ensure that funds are used with the trust of the public.”

Supportive housing links decent, safe, affordable, community-based housing with flexible, voluntary support services designed to help the individual or family stay housed and live a more productive life in the community.

“Supportive housing is an evidence-based approach that combines affordable housing assistance with wrap-around support services for people experiencing homelessness,” Assemblymember Daly said. “Study after study has proven that supportive housing not only addresses homelessness and increases housing stability, but it also lowers costs to taxpayers by reducing the use of publicly-funded crisis services, including shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers, jails, and prisons.”

The two lawmakers say their bill will support an initiative, led by the Associated Cities of California – Orange County, to establish a regional public-private partnership to help homeless individuals transition off the streets into stable housing.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Quirk-Silva and Cervantes delivered 208 letters representing 219 organizations to the Senate Budget Subcommittee 4, which was hearing the budget appropriation.  Letters included support from the Orange County Business Council, California Food Producers, California Steel Industries, and the University of California at Irvine.SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County), who chairs the Jobs Committee, and Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside), are gratified as $20 million for small business technical assistance advances through budget subcommittee vote. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

(Sacramento) – California small businesses would get a boost under legislation authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County). Assembly Bill 2463, co-authored by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), would create the Small Business Assistance Program to provide matching funds to federally designated small business assistance centers. The proposed 2018-19 budget includes $20-million per year for five years to fund the program. “We believe that this particular legislation is going to make a huge impact for our small businesses,” Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva said. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

(Sacramento) – In her remarks on a measure to proclaim April 16, 2018 as California Holocaust Memorial Day, longtime educator Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) said over the years there has been less and less attention on this history. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 207 would urge all Californians to observe this day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. “We continue your legacy, what you went through, by telling those stories and keeping those memories alive,” Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva said.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Quirk-Silva, Chair of Jobs Committee, Works to Appropriate Funds for Small Business Technical Assistance

(SACRAMENTO) – As Chair of the California State Assembly Jobs Committee, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County), joined by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D – Corona) and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), testified at the California State Budget Subcommittee on State Government.  At today’s hearing, Quirk-Silva and Cervantes discussed the inclusion of a budget request of $20 million for small business technical assistance.

“Let us be absolutely sure we are providing a good deal for the real job creators in California – our small businesses,” said Quirk-Silva. “This $20 million will be provided through grants to Small Business Development Centers, and other federally-designated small business assistance centers. As the 6th largest economy in the world, California must remain competitive as a national and global leader by supporting small businesses, job growth, and the infrastructure on which it relies.”

With this funding request, and Assembly Bill 2463 (AB 2463), Assemblymembers Quirk-Silva and Cervantes seek to help Californian businesses develop by establishing the Small Business Assistance Program. The program would provide matching funds to federally designated small business assistance centers, particularly to those committed to assisting businesses operated by veterans, women, and minorities. Research shows small businesses that receive quality business assistance are more likely to succeed, create jobs, and strengthen the economic viability of the neighborhood in which they are located.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

SACRAMENTO – This week, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D - Orange County) engaged the California National Guard and Governor Jerry Brown about the impact of homelessness in Orange County, and was instrumental in securing the approval of an extension of the Orange County Cold Weather Armory Emergency Shelter Program for at least 90 days past the scheduled April closure. The Fullerton and Santa Ana armories were to be used as shelters up until April 15, 2018.

“Now is not the time to turn our backs on some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Quirk-Silva. “While many cities are coming together to find suitable locations for alternative shelters, due to this unprecedented influx of additional homeless, it is crucial that the Armory continues to be available to shelter the homeless in Orange County, at least until we can find a more permanent solution. These shelters must remain open for at least 90 days.”

For 27 years, the Fullerton Armory has been utilized nightly during the cold winter months, from October through April.  During those months, many homeless individuals have utilized the shelter to have a warm place to sleep.  After the removal of more than 700 individuals from the Santa Ana Riverbed, many of these individuals received 30 day motel vouchers, others utilized the Fullerton National Guard Armory directly.  After the vouchers expire, these individuals will be left with nowhere to go for basic shelter and necessary resources.  Additionally, individuals who were evicted from the Santa Ana Civic Center in March are also looking for emergency housing.

“The extension obtained by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva is a smart, humane step that helps homeless individuals and gives government officials more time to develop long-term solutions,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Lakewood). Solving the homeless crisis will take cooperative actions at every level. I thank the Governor and National Guard for granting this extension and Assemblymember Quirk-Silva for making the request.”

Friday, April 6, 2018

Introduction of AB2521 calls for an End to Predatory Lenders Taking Advantage of Veterans Like those in the National Guard

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) introduces Assembly Bill 2521 (AB 2521) which would seek to stop predatory banking practices that plague reservists. Certain terminology in Military and Veteran Code, section 800 (MVC § 800) has been used as a weapon against reservists who are requesting a deferment of applicable loans and obligations when they prepare for deployment.

“There are bad actors taking advantage of reservists and the programs they use with their well-deserved benefits,” said Quirk-Silva. “Some lenders target reservists that seek payment deferral before being deployed. This often leads to higher loan amounts, and to our reservists and their families in a worse financial position than they had before deployment. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.”

While deployed, reservists like those in the National Guard, are subject to deferred payment deals from predatory lenders that seek to take advantage of reservists through differing interpretation of contractual language. For those serving in the National Guard, these practices are of paramount concern as thousands are frequently called for deployment to address the large amount of emergencies across the state in a given year.

“This simple, yet effective, amendment would seek to protect our heroes from predatory banking practices when reservists are activated,” said Quirk-Silva.

Reservists are not afforded legal assistance in preparing their personal financial documents and may not know if they are using the specific verbiage, in order to obtain the protections afforded.  Recently, servicemembers have experienced denial of the protections provided under MVC §800 by their financial institution under the premise that the reservists did not include the exact verbiage of “under penalty of perjury” in their letter to the financial institution.  As the servicemembers must provide official documentation of their orders to active military service to their obligor, it is redundant to require the current exacting verbiage, and to use this language as a loop-hole to deny a reservist’s protections under state law. 

This bill is sponsored by the National Guard Association of California (NGAC). “The NGAC thanks Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva for carrying this important legislation which will benefit the men and women who serve our country and our state in times of need”, said John Haramalis, President of the NGAC.

The bill will first be heard in the Assembly Committee on Veteran Affairs on April 24.

Friday, March 23, 2018

(Sacramento) – Join Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) in Buena Park on Saturday, April 14 for a free, two-hour women’s self-defense workshop taught by local, highly-skilled experts. “The workshop will be open to all women,” Quirk-Silva said, “So, come learn how to protect yourself, and discuss legislative priorities on women's issues and safety!” Find out details about the workshop in this Assembly Access video.