Working with a new colleague can sometimes be difficult, but State Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and legislative veteran State Senator Steve Glazer showed a united front at their joint Dublin Town Hall March 12, where they discussed the various issues affecting the Tri-Valley, as well as how they are working together to represent their constituents.
“Obviously I have a great partner in the legislature," Glazer said of his counterpart. "She has a great legislative program, some of the bills I’m co-authoring are hers, some of my bills she is co-authoring... and I think we are really working together well with our staffs here in the district.”
Approximately 80 residents from throughout the East Bay gathered at the Dublin Civic Center to listen to their representatives discuss the issues affecting the region and state, as well as ask their most pressing questions.
An attorney by trade, Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) was first elected to the State Assembly by voters in this past November’s Election. Serving in the 16th Assembly District, she represents Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley.
Glazer (D-Orinda), a former mayor of Orinda, won a special election to the State Senate in May 2015 and was re-elected to a four-year term in 2016. He represents the 7th District, which encompasses most of Contra Costa County and the eastern portions of Alameda County, including Pleasanton.
At the town hall the lawmakers reviewed their legislative packages, and answered a number of questions from the audience. Topics covered included education, gun control, women’s health, housing and daylight saving time, to name a few.
A fact that is well known to many educators, Bauer-Kahan highlighted that the amount of funding California dedicates toward education is among the lowest in the entire country. She explained this is why she is supporting the AB-39 Education Finance bill, which would greatly increase state funding for education and make the Golden State one of the biggest investors in education in the country.
“It would take us from about $9,000 per pupil on average to $17,000. It would take us from the bottom ten in the country in education funding to the top ten in education funding,” she said. “I think that is really where our money should be spent in the state and our priority.”
Bauer-Kahan and Glazer have both proposed legislation to support California college students. Glazer’s SB 14 would place a $4 billion bond on the March 2020 ballot that would be used for facility improvements at California universities. He has also introduced SB 114, which incentivizes colleges to participate in programs aimed at increasing four-year graduation rates among students.
For her part, Bauer-Kahan has introduced AB 1344, which seeks to protect college students by requiring out-of-state online, for-profit colleges to abide by the same regulations that apply to in-state colleges.
Both legislators acknowledged that California has done a lot in terms of gun control, but there is always room for improvement. Glazer said that this year legislators are working on limiting the number of guns that can be purchased in a month.
“We’ve done a lot in the area on public safety and gun reform. Whether that's background checks or waiting periods," Glazer said. "There are so many things where we have made positive steps,” he added. “Not to take away a gun for hunting, not to take away a gun for home protection, but to take away these weapons of war from our streets and limit the carnage that can occur.”
Gun control being a staple of Bauer-Kahan’s campaign, she has placed two bills that pertain to gun control in her legislative package, such as AB 1121, which prohibits individuals going through court-ordered mental-health diversion programs from possessing firearms while in the program, and AB 1292, which regulates the process of transferring a firearm housed in an estate or trust.
Inspired by young active duty military members in Dublin's Camp Parks, who are often unable to find adequate housing due to the high cost of living in the Bay Area, Glazer has introduced SB 644, which would prohibit a landlord from demanding a security deposit from a military service member in an amount greater than one month's’ rent.
Both legislators also mentioned that they are firmly opposed to Governor Gavin Newsom's threat to hold back gas tax revenue to cities that oppose the state’s housing plan.
A long time environmental lawyer, Bauer-Kahan cited battling climate change as one of her top priorities. Highlighting that reducing commuter congestion is one way to increase quality of life and reduce on negative environmental impacts.
“I also have three children who are inheriting this world and I feel really strongly that the battle over climate change should be a priority for all of us,” she said. “And it is something I am committed to doing every day.”
Proposition 7 -- approved by votes in the Nov. 6 Election -- will install permanent daylight savings time and remove the traditional biyearly time change, if approved by both the state and federal legislature. Bauer-Kahan acknowledged that it is a complicated process with many moving parts, but a bill was on its way to consider the change.
“My parents were at my house on Sunday lobbying me on this as well… I did refer them to their member since they do not live in my district,” Bauer-Kahan said to a room full of laughs. “The bill is coming forward and I urge all of you to tell us what you think… because there are benefits on both sides.”
Rep. Bauer-Kahan and Senator Glazer will again meet with constituents in Martinez on March 28, where they will be joined by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) at the city’s Civic Park Assembly Hall, 1375 Civic Drive. Interested residents are invited to RSVP by calling Rep. Bauer-Kahan’s district office at 328-1515.