STATE SENATOR BRIAN JONES DISCUSSES HIS LEGISLATION SENT TO GOVERNOR, WILDFIRE SAFETY AND OTHER TOPICS

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By Miriam Raftery

View full video of Zoom interview 

Hear audio from our radio show on KNSJ (updated with status on bills signed into law)

Updated October 7, 2021 with status of bills signed or vetoed

October 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery

Interviews State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) via Zoom.  The Senator discussed his legislative accomplishments in getting several bills passed by the Legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.

 Several have been signed into law, including a measure to help homeless students get resources, a bill to protect foster children from human trafficking, and another to require that conservancy hearings remain private unless a judge finds a compelling reason to make them public.

Others remain pending, including a bill require personal protective gear for social workers during a pandemic, and more.

The Senator also spoke out on concerns over what he views as not enough clearing of forest lands to prevent devastating wildfires, even though funds for the clearing have long been allocated. In addition, he raised criticisms over the state’s homelessness policies and concerns about crime.

Here are Jones' bills passed the the legislature. All have been signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, except SB 549, which was vetoed. Read veto message.

  • Senate Bill 400:  Implements a recommendation from the State Auditor that the California Department of Education work with local schools to more effectively identify homeless students and then link them up with local community organizations to ensure they get meals, housing and counseling.  Most of these services are federally funded so we should better utilize it. 
  • Senate Bill 414: (signed in July):  Technical measure sponsored by Land Surveyors and supported by engineers and the state board that regulates them.   
  • Senate Bill 534:  Code clean-up measure co-sponsored by the CA Dental Hygienists Association and the state board that regulates them.
  • Senate Bill 549:  Makes sure that in future pandemics when social workers are declared “essential workers” they are prioritized to actually receive PPE (personal protective equipment, ie., masks, gloves, etc.).   
  • Senate Bill 578:  Implements a State Auditor’s recommendation to clarify that most conservatorship hearings should be held in a closed hearing unless the court specifically finds that there is a public interest that overrides the privacy of the family members involved.   
  • Senate Bill 584:  Adds “child labor trafficking” to the list of subjects foster families are required to receive training and information about.   

On wildfires, Jones cited a June 2021 Cap Radio report which critized Governor Newsom and revealed that only a small fraction of funds allocated  for clearing forest lands to prevent fires has actually been spent and many key projects have not been completed. "The most fire-prone area in our region is my district," he noted.

Jones wants to see tree clearing done and would support hiring private contractors to work under Cal Fire Supervision if need be. He blames enviornmental regulations for the delays. Cal Fire spokesman Thom Porter has blamed delays in part on environmental approvals not coming through as yet but also on the COVID-19 pandemic that sidelined many firefighters as well as this year's extreme fire conditions that have led to an all-hands-on-deck approach to combat fires in the worst wildfire season on record.

In addition, he called on the U.S. Forest Service to do more clearing. "There's areas of the Sierras where 20% of the trees are dead...and it's a tinderbox. When fire hits that, it's going to explode," he said.  The Biden administration recently did approve a policy change to allow more clearing on federal lands.

The Senator also discussed his ideas on homelessness. He opposes the housing first approach and instead wants a "carrot and stick" approach that would provide help for those who need it (such as his bill signed into law to connect homeless students with resources). But he wants a tougher approach to those with addiction or mental illness problems who refuse help. He noted a rise in homeless camps near his district office in El Cajon and indicated that due to decriminalizing some petty crimes, police have lost tools for holding those who steal accountable.

The Senator indicates he is willing to work across the aisle with Democratic colleages who control the Legislature, where possible, to put through measures to benefit people in his district and others across California.

Senator Jones encourages any constituents who need help with a state agency to contact his staff for help.  You can find contact information for his offices at https://jones.cssrc.us/my-offices.

Audio: 

Comments

Cal Fire comments on burns

After our radio show deadline, Cal Fire  Resource Management Communications Officer Christine McMorrow responded to our request for an update on how much fuel reduction Cal Fire has completed since the CapRadio report in June referenced by Senator Jones. Below is her response: 

I have attached our fuels reduction numbers for the last five years. Fiscal Year 2020/2021 numbers are still being reconciled as we will continue to receive grantee invoices through the end of the month.

 

TABLE 1: CAL FIRE Acres Treated 2015-2020

Fiscal Year           Prescribed Fire (acres)   Mechanical Fuel Reduction (acres)           Fire Prevention Grant Projects (acres)**             Forest Health Projects (acres)     TOTAL  

FY 15/16               2,955     11,481   5,177     0             19,613  

FY 16/17               13,941   15,755   5,732     3,212    35,428  

FY 17/18               19,413   13,344   2,171     6,424    34,928  

FY 18/19               31,305   15,331   13,129   4,864     64,629  

FY 19/20               27,589   31,063   21,810   24,711   105,173                

FY 20/21                                                                               TBD*    

* Fiscal Year numbers not final – awaiting grantee reports.

 

Approximately 42,000 acres have been treated by other agencies between 2015-20, including California State Parks, Coastal Conservancy, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the Tahoe Conservancy.

In addition, private landowners currently actively manage 250,000 to 300,000 acres through fuels reduction, mechanical thinning, and timber harvest projects. 

 

 

 

 

Christine McMorrow

Resource Management Communications Officer

 

 

Carbon emissions

There is a big difference between carbon emissions on new wood burning versus dinosaur blood burning when you're working with carbon emissions. But if u dont get it under control Senator we will have more permafrost melting and thats in the hundreds to thousands of years range, also emitting carbon as opposed to being a net carbon sink which it was until anthropogenic carbon emission warmed the planet so that now even permafrost is emitting more carbon than it captures oh no what now?

it just seems strange

a republican acting like a liberal............... LIBERAL.............. willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas................ relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise................ a supporter of policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare................... a supporter of a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.

Strange?

You want to know what strange is? It's listening to someone like you carry on about respecting, or accepting, behavior and opinions the differ from your own. "open to new ideas" good grief, you are literally devoid of any self-awareness.

Senator Jones did also introduce some conservative measures, but

couldn't get things like a religious freedom measure related to COVID shutdowns passed in the Democratic-controlled legislature.  He is wise to work across the aisle where possible and be respectful of colleagues in both parties, which is how statesmen used to get things done in Congress before things became so bitterly divided down party lines. 

Things like helping homeless students and making sure social workers have masks during a pandemic shouldn't be partisan issues.  The Senator said that in some parts of the state there were long delays placing foster kids in homes because there wasn't any PPE for social workers.

Oh that's good

I'm glad he wasn't able to pass the bad bills