February 2018 Medina Messenger
This past month has been a difficult time for our district as we discovered the horrific violence that occurred at a home in Perris. I am grateful for the way our community rallied to support these siblings, whether by making care packages, raising money, or donating funds. These kind acts and contributions speak to the comradery and generous spirit we have in Assembly District 61. I am proud to live in such a compassionate community.
Detailed in this newsletter are many upcoming opportunities and events I encourage you to take advantage of in February. As always, if you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. It is my honor to serve the 61st Assembly District.
Assemblymember, 61st District
IN THIS ISSUE
- Black History Month
- Rebuilding California
- California Earned Income Tax Credit
- Cash for College Workshops
- Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship
- Upcoming Events
- Team Medina in Action
In February we celebrate Black History Month to reflect and recognize the enormous contributions African Americans have made to our economic, political, cultural and social landscape.
We also recognize the struggle for equity and civil rights continues today. At a time of heightened tension and divisiveness in our country, it is important to take time to learn more about the sacrifices endured to make the United States a more just country.
A new gas tax that took effect Nov. 1, 2017 will create a new revenue stream for the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA), which will prompt route expansions, improve frequencies and provide new services to enhance the travel experience in the area for years to come.
The gas tax is part of Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), a transportation funding bill that passed the California Legislature in April. Funding will also be generated from increased vehicle registration fees beginning this year. The tax adjustments and registration fees are designed to raise $5.2 billion a year for the next 10 years to enhance roads, build highways, and fund transportation improvements statewide. RTA expects to receive $7 to $8 million of those funds each year for the next decade.
The projects are contingent on reception of funding as well as RTA Board of Directors approval. For more information on transportation projects happening in AD 61, please click here.
CALIFORNIA EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT (CalEITC)
The California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) is now bigger and better!
This cash-back credit is designed to put money in the pockets of low-income working families and individuals. Claiming this credit is easy. Eligible taxpayers just need to file a state tax return. Many more families are now eligible for the credit.
Starting with the 2017 tax year, families earning up to $22,300 may qualify for CalEITC, which is a dramatic increase of the upper income limit over past years. Plus, for the first time, those who earned self-employment income in 2017 may qualify.
If you do not owe taxes, CalEITC will provide you with a tax refund when you file your return. If you owe taxes, CalEITC reduces the amount of taxes you might owe and may allow you a refund when you file your taxes.
CalEITC was created by the Governor and Legislature as a supplement to the federal EITC and took effect starting with 2015 tax returns.
Free help is also available at free tax return prep sites around the state from now until Tax Day in April. To find free tax prep location near you, please visit my website.
CASH FOR COLLEGE WORKSHOPS
Do you want to go to college but are concerned about the cost? Be sure to apply for financial aid by the March 2 deadline! Attend a Cash for College Workshop for FREE assistance in filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), California Dream Act Application, or Chafee Grant Application to access thousands of dollars in financial aid resources. Below are upcoming workshops happening near you:
February 28 at 5:30 p.m. - John W. North High School, 1550 Third Street, Riverside
For more information about Cash for College or financial aid resources, click here.
JESSE M. UNRUH ASSEMBLY FELLOWSHIP
The California State Assembly Fellowship Program, founded in 1957, is one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious legislative fellowship programs. This unique program provides an opportunity for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to directly participate in the legislative process. Each year, 18 individuals are selected to participate in the program. The 11-month fellowship provides an introduction to public policy formation and adoption in the California Legislature through full-time work as a professional legislative staff member.
Assembly fellows receive fully-paid enrollment at California State University, Sacramento, and earn graduate units for seminars taught by faculty from the Sacramento State Political Science Department.
The deadline to apply is Monday, February 12 at 5 p.m. To learn more, click here.
UPCOMING DISTRICT EVENTS
For questions about community events, please contact my office at: (951) 369-6644.
February 9 - Riverside Unified School District Education Action Summit
9:30 - 11 a.m.
2521 Arroyo Dr.
Please join me at the RUSD Education Action Summit, where I will join Senator Richard Roth on a panel to discuss bringing flexibility and innovation to public education through policy changes. Come ready with your questions and ideas!
Continental breakfast will be served. For more information, please contact my office at (951) 369-6644. To register your attendance, please click here.
February 10 - 39th Annual Riverside Black History Parade Expo & Car Show
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Riverside Black History Parade Expo & Car Show brings inclusiveness within the community by celebrating Black History together attracting thousands of attendees annually. This year's theme, "Celebrating Community Leadership," honors those at the forefront of making a difference in Riverside and surrounding areas. Come out and enjoy food, music, and fun-filled family activities!
For more information, click here.
February 10 - Tacos & Taxes
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Perris Valley Resource Center, Suite C1
2055 North Perris Blvd.
I am partnering with CalEITC4Me to host a FREE tax preparation event to provide guidance to those who need help filing their taxes. We will also have FREE tacos, raffle prizes, and some great guest speakers.
You will need to bring the following documents with you to file your taxes:
- Proof of income, including W-2s and/or 1099
- Verification of tax-deductible expenses (ex: Property tax statement, child care provider information)
- Form of current government identification for taxpayer and spouse (ex: driver license, state ID, passport, or military ID)
- Original social security card for each family member (no copies)
- Account and routing numbers for checking or savings accounts for direct deposit and a faster refund
- Health insurance marketplace statement (1095-A, and/or C)
- Copy of 2016 tax return, if available
For more information, please visit my website.
TEAM MEDINA IN ACTION
Speaker's Delegation to Mexico
On January 11 and 12, I had the honor of joining the Speaker of the California State Assembly and a few of my fellow Assembly colleagues on a delegation to Mexico. On this trip, we had the opportunity to meet with the Mexican Senate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the US Embassy to discuss strengthening our relationship with Mexico.
Pictured on the left, from L to R: Asm. Jose Medina, Asm. Kevin McCarty, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Asm. Todd Gloria, and Asm. Eloise Gómez Reyes.
Pictured on the right, from L to R: Asm. Kevin McCarty, Asm. Eloise Gómez Reyes, Asm. Todd Gloria, Asm. Jose Medina and Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Walk-A-Thon
On Monday, Jan. 15, Team Medina celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by participating in the City of Riverside's 25th Annual MLK Jr. Walk-A-Thon. We had such a great time joining everyone to honor the legacy of Dr. King.
Pictured right: Jorrel Verella, Tiffany Tran, Cesar Gomez, Asm. Medina, Jennifer Vaughn-Blakely, Chair, The Group, and Hardy Brown Jr., San Bernardino County Superintendent
Pictured below: Asm. Jose Medina with the 61st AD Youth Advisory Committee, which volunteered at the Walk.
I had the honor of joining my colleagues for Governor Brown's 16th and final State of the State Address on January 25.
Pictured (L to R): Asm. Patrick O'Donnell, Asm. Jose Medina, Asm. Tony Thurmond, and Eric C. Heins, president of the California Teachers Association
On January 22, I joined Planned Parenthood in celebrating the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade by rallying outside the Capitol. Pictured with me is Nora Vargas, Planned Parenthood's vice president of community & government relations.
The month of January also brought many wonderful visitors to the Capitol.
Pictured right: I gave a tour of the Capitol to the Riverside Council PTA.
I had the pleasure of meeting with my colleagues from Riverside Community College District.
Pictured L to R: Bill Hendrick, Trustee, Dr. Wolde-Ab Isaac, President, Virginia Blumenthal, Trustee, Tracey Vackar, Trustee, Chris Carlson, Chief of Staff, Mary Figueroa, Trustee, Jeanette Hazelwood, Student Trustee
I was incredibly honored to welcome renowned musician, Joan Baez, to the Assembly Floor on January 29 while she visited the State Capitol to recognize the 70th anniversary of the Los Gatos Canyon plane wreck.
Pictured L to R: Asm. Eloise Gómez Reyes, Asm. Joaquin Arambula, Joan Baez, Asm. Jose Medina, and Author Tim Z. Hernandez
Team Medina in the Community
Carmen Cuevas and Tiffany Tran of Team Medina dropped off the book donations we collected at our Holiday Book Drive to the Community Settlement Association and Carolyn E Wylie Center.
Caleb Ragan, Jorrel Verella, Tiffany Tran, Juan Negrete, Cesar Gomez, and Carmen Cuevas of Team Medina enjoyed rallying at the Women's March in Riverside.