Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez conducts coffee chat in downtown Hemet

She supports several bills, but is adamantly opposed to many others

Photo by Matthew McPherson/The Valley Chronicle
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-67) addresses the crowd at Diamond Valley Arts Council April 21.

■ By Matt McPherson / Columnist

State Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-67) received an enthusiastic introduction by Hemet City Manager Alex Meyerhoff at her recent coffee meeting with constituents April 21 at the Diamond Valley Arts Council. That enthusiastic introduction was met with cheers and applause by citizens who were appreciative that one of the few conservative-minded legislators that represent the Inland Empire came to visit and hear what Hemet has to say. Many attendees voiced their frustration and outrage – shouting and even crying – over California’s present state of affairs.
Melendez initiated her talk addressing the current education crisis in our state and nationwide. She supports a movement that will allow parents to choose schools that reflect their values in opposition from those that want to control education statewide. She also said that CalPers and the pension liability associated with the present retirement plan among educators are anticipated to go bankrupt.
“The economy is not healthy enough to support the benefits you were promised,” she explained. When asked by audience members what direction the state is headed, Melendez responded, “I see our governor and state legislators increasing spending, and I do see them increasing taxes.”

Melendez working hard on legislation to protect citizens
Melendez provided literature and gave the crowd an update on the legislation she is currently working on. This year she is working on six notable pieces of legislation starting with AB 27, which will make rape a violent felony. Under the present law sexual predators are eligible for parole and will be released early under Prop 57 unless this bill passes. Assembly Public Safety passed this bill and it will be heard in Assembly Appropriations in May, said Melendez.
The next bill Melendez is introducing is AB 403, establishing the Legislative Employee Whistleblower Protection Act. This protects employees of the California Legislature who report any ethics violation from retaliation. The Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed this bill and it will be heard in Assembly Rules Committee in April.
AB 537 allows an opt-out of state policies by counties, especially if the policies jeopardize federal funding. This would allow the counties to work independently with the federal government. This bill will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee this month.
The fourth bill Melendez is introducing is AB 757, which is upholding the Second Amendment. This bill will establish acceptable justification for obtaining a conceal carry permit as a right toward clarifying self-defense. This will ensure and protect Californian’s right to bear arms. Unfortunately this bill was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

She’s not buying Brown’s gas tax
The last two bills Melendez is working on are AB 351 and AB 496. These bills would have reallocated existing funds to pay for road construction in opposition to Gov. Edmund “Jerry” Brown’s recent gas tax. Sadly the Democratic majority refused to hear the bills during the Assembly Transportation Committee meeting and opted to pass the biggest state gas tax in history.
Some information provided about Senate Bill 1 is that it will raise the gas tax by 12 cents and increase with inflation over time. Diesel gas can expect to raise an additional 20 cents, and a 4.5 percent sales tax will be levied on diesel. Vehicle registration is expected to rise by $300 in some instances.
Melendez has called Attorney General Becerra to initiate a full Department of Justice investigation into the doling out of $1 billion in taxpayer money by Gov. Brown, Speaker Anthony Rendon, and President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon to buy a handful of legislator’s votes to pass the $52 billion gas tax.

No pull with Caltrans
One audience member referenced the proposed median down State Route 74 (Florida Avenue) here in the city of Hemet.
“Why don’t you call President Trump and address the federal regulation that has allowed Caltrans to throw this median down our throat,” asked an audience member.
After some clarification of jurisdiction and the region Melendez represents, the assemblywoman responded: “I am flattered that you think I have that much power, but that is an issue that must be taken up with Caltrans.”

Bills Melendez refuses to support
After proposing the bills Melendez supports, she named an extensive list of public safety bills she adamantly opposes. Please understand these bills are not a joke, but are actually real bills currently proposed by the highly democratic state legislature:

SB 54 will make California a sanctuary state, which will prevent all state law enforcement from working with federal illegal immigration law enforcement.
SB 439 will exclude juveniles aged 11 and under from being prosecuted for any crime regardless of the circumstances.
AB 42 will eliminate the current bail system and replace it with a “risk assessment” system of evaluations to determine release from jail before trial.
AB 90 will prohibit state and local law enforcement from sharing any gang database information with any federal agency.
AB 186 will force the state to create “safe places” for individuals to use illegal drugs without the threat of arrest.
AB 811 will allow juveniles in the jail to use social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to contact friends and family.
AB 878 will prohibit any and all law enforcement from using handcuffs or any restraints on juveniles outside of a local juvenile facility.
AB 1344 requires the Department of Corrections and probation departments to provide inmates on probation or parole voter registration cards.
AB 1448 will allow the release of criminals who commit heinous crimes such as murder to be released if they are 60 or older and have served at least 25 years.

Patrick Cullen-Carroll, a local educator, was in attendance and voiced his concerns regarding education and curriculum in California and nationwide.

“I was very appreciative of the opportunity to be able to listen and speak with Assemblywoman Melendez,” said Cullen-Carroll. “I believe more of our representatives should follow her lead and listen to the people they represent. She said she would like to talk more about the education issues on developing curriculum and addressing physical education needs of children that I brought up and I look forward to that.”

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez represents the 67th District, which includes Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Menifee, Winchester and parts of Hemet. She hosts Q&A sessions like this at least once a month. Email her at Assemblymember.Melendez@assembly.ca.gov or call her district office at (951) 894-1232 with any questions or concerns.

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