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'On an unsustainable path': California Senate Republicans unveil priorities

From crime to education to homelessness, Senate Republicans said the state is failing its citizens.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No one should have to go through what Brett Boman has gone through.

“My wife, my children's mother, committed suicide in '09," Boman said. "A couple years later, I lost my son who was hit and killed crossing the street in the crosswalk.”

Depression took over, and that’s when the drinking started. 

“Then one night, I had the opportunity to use some meth, and I started using meth and it was downhill from there," Boman said. "I lost my job in two months, I was out of a place to live because I couldn't pay rent, my children were gone, they were taken into CPS custody.”

He was homeless for two years, and he said handouts made it easier. 

“Nobody really wants to seek treatment when it's too easy to stay on the street," Boman said. "There's too much stuff, there's too many free programs, too much free bedding, free clothing, free food.”

A friend of Boman's was finally able to convince him to go the Salvation Army, which helped address his mental health needs and he was able to turn his life around. 

Boman said it’s the accountability that made him favor the California Senate Republican plan, and why he stood next to them as they introduced their legislative priorities for the 2023 session. 

When it comes to accountability though, Governor Gavin Newsom does admit there wasn’t any for far too long. It’s why he held back funding from local cities until they came up with better plans to address the homeless crisis. It’s why he created the care court system to address mental health among the homeless population. Brett Boman did say he liked the idea. 

“Our state is on an unsustainable path," Senate Republican Leader Brian Jones (R- San Diego) said. "Homelessness is spiraling out of control, public safety is anything but that, the cost of living in this state is too damn high, students are falling behind and our water storage infrastructure and wildfire preparedness efforts have failed us in recent years.”

Lawmakers walked through their list of priorities, starting with affordability.

“We are proposing an increase to the state renters tax credit, working to streamline housing construction by reforming CEQA," Senator Janet Nguyen said.

CEQA is the environmental regulations that can delay projects by years. 

They also want to tackle crime. 

“Violent criminals who commit horrific crimes such as human trafficking, or dealing fentanyl to our schoolchildren, are not held fully accountable for their actions," Senator Kelly Seyarto said. "That's why we are introducing a measure to ensure the punishment matches the severity and seriousness of these two issues."

With back to back mass shootings, what about addressing gun violence?

"We're hopeful that we can work together this year in a bipartisan manner to come up with ideas and solutions and laws that are actually going to make a difference on these horrific shootings  we're having lately," Jones said. "We were just having preliminary discussions at this point in time."

Jones said Republicans have tried to bring up legislation to enhance the punishment for those with illegal weapons. 

“In the the end of session last year was to make possession with a ghost gun a felony," Jones said. "Well, we presented that on the floor of the Senate, and every single one of our democratic colleagues voted against that.”

Here is a list of their top priorities:

  • Cut costs
  • Tackle crime
  • ACT on homelessness
  • Invest in students
  • Prevent wildfires
  • Build water Storage

WATCH RELATED: A look at how California has a unique history with gun violence, control (Jan. 2023).


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