Welcome to the latest update on what I've been doing in the state Capitol and in the district. Problems viewing this E-mail? Please click here.
Senator Ben Allen


Dear Friend,

Welcome to the latest update on what I've been doing in the state Capitol and in the district.  The highlights include coastal protection and climate change legislation, hearings on issues affecting veterans and the aerospace industry, passing an on-time state budget that includes funding to help keep film and television productions in California, and more.  I hope you enjoy learning more about my priorities in serving our great community and state.

On a personal note, be sure to check out the photo album below for some exciting news about my growing family!

Senator Ben Allen
Senator, 26th District
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Marine Life Protection Act


Did you know that California is the only state that still allows the use of mile-long fishing nets that ensnare and often kill sea turtles, whales, dolphins and other marine life? Even the United Nations has banned the use of these harmful nets in international waters. I've authored legislation to phase out this fishing method, called drift gillnets, and incentivize the few fishermen who still use them to transition to safer, more humane gear. This bill, Senate Bill 1017, passed the legislature and is awaiting the governor's signature. Read the Los Angeles Times editorial here.

Woman of the Year 2018 - Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones & Senator Allen

Each year, the California State Senate honors outstanding women who have made a difference in their communities and beyond.  Our Senate District 26 honoree was Rashida Jones, an actress, writer, director, producer, activist and philanthropist. She recently was one of the founders of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which works to address inequities and discrimination in the workplace through political and legal advocacy.  We had a wonderful time hosting her in the state Capitol at this year's event.

New Laws
Governor Brown signed my electric vehicle legislation, and other bills addressing climate change, on a sunset cruise on San Francisco Bay aboard the first plug-in hybrid ferry boat. Photo credit: Joe McHugh,California Highway Patrol.

We recently wrapped up the 2018 Legislative Session in the state Capitol.   We had a productive year; here's a quick overview of key legislation I authored that passed the legislature: 

  • Marine Life Protection Act, SB 1017
  • Sustainable Packaging for the State of California Act, SB 1335
  • Local Neighborhoods and Transit, SB 961
  • Arts for Every Student Act, SB 933
  • Protecting Pensions from Climate Risk, SB 964
  • Environmental Principles in Curriculum, SB 720
  • Removing barriers to electric vehicle ownership, SB 1016
  • Local water district administration, SB 963
  • Redistricting reform, SB 1018
On-time State Budget

One of the highlights of the recently-enacted state budget is the continuation of the Film and Television Tax Credit Program that has helped California compete with other states to keep movie and TV productions here at home.  The budget includes a 5-year extension of the program supported by $330 million per year.  I was pleased to be a principal co-author of the legislation that laid the groundwork for this policy, which is crucial to our local economy and supports thousands of good jobs.

We also made a record investment in schools, created a plan to lift poor children out of poverty, and took steps to address homelessness and housing affordability.  Click here for a detailed summary.

Arts Education

As chair of the Senate Education Committee, I led the effort to secure funding in the state budget to expand visual and performing arts in schools.  Children who receive instruction in music, theatre, dance and visual arts are more likely to be high achievers on tests, less likely to drop out, and are more engaged in school. This article provides  more information about my arts education proposal.

Aerospace Hearing

The aerospace industry is one of the biggest employers in our region, and we want to keep it that way.  I held a roundtable discussion with aerospace leaders earlier this year, and was surprised to learn that they often have difficulty recruiting college graduates to enter their industry.  As chair of the Senate Education Committee, and vice-chair of the Select Committee on Defense and Aerospace, I wanted to find out why.  We convened a hearing that brought together experts in higher education and the aerospace industry to discuss what can be done to get more students involved. This is a great example of why we need a California Aerospace Commission, whose focus it will be to keep the state of California engaged in issues important to this industry and its employees. I've coauthored legislation with Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, Assembly Bill 427, to establish such a commission. We are continuing to push for the creation of this agency. And thank you to the Boeing Company for their generous donation to Da Vinci Schools that will be used to show young people how science and engineering can solve real world problems.

Save the Coast - No Offshore Drilling

The magnificent Pacific coastline is one of our state's greatest assets.  It was hard to fathom the announcement earlier this year that the federal government was considering re-opening US coastal waters to offshore oil drilling.  Along with other elected officials in the region, environmental organizations and Native Nations, I helped organize a rally to protest any proposal to allow drilling on our coast.  Hundreds of people turned out to voice their opposition to this misguided idea.  As chair of the legislature's Environmental Caucus, I continue to lead the efforts to resist the dismantling of laws that have helped maintain and improve our air and water quality, and other environmental priorities.

Helping Veterans Heal

As chair of the Joint Committee on the Arts, I am involved in highlighting the important role the arts play in all aspects of our lives.  We recently held a hearing to examine how the arts have helped veterans heal from the trauma of armed conflict.  The veterans who testified moved us deeply, sharing how each of them found a pathway to healing through an art form that connected with their unique challenges, including spoken word programs like So Say We All, creative movement therapy by the Diavolo Dance Company, Combat Arts San Diego visual arts projects, the bronze self-portraits created by VetArt veterans, and music therapy programs delivered by music therapists or by fellow veterans. You can watch a video of the hearing here.

Follow Me

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For more frequent news on what's happening in Senate District 26, follow me on social media, Facebook/@BenAllenCaliforniaTwitter/@BenAllenCA, and Instagram/@BenAllenCA.

Photo Album
Baby on Board
My wife Melanie and I are expecting our first child in October – a son. We'll keep you posted on the big event!
Go Bruins!
At a ceremony on the state Senate Floor, I welcomed student athletes from the UCLA Men's Water Polo, Women's Gymnastics and Women's Beach Volleyball teams, all of whom took the 2017 national championships in their sports. Go Bruins!
LA Pride Parade
We had a great turnout at the LA Pride Parade; our contingent rode on an all-electric truck courtesy of our friends at Thor Trucks. Thanks to the wonderful group of friends who marched with us, and a special thank you to actor Jonathan Van Ness of the show Queer Eye for joining our group. He was a crowd favorite!
Flags and Flowers
Honoring fallen soldiers at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.
Park and Recreation Award Dolores Huerta
Thank you to the California Park and Recreation Society for naming me their Legislator of the Year for my efforts to preserve our magnificent National Parks and other public lands. It was an honor to speak with iconic labor organizer Dolores Huerta who worked with legendary Cesar Chavez to create the United Farm Workers union more than 50 years ago.
Israel 70th Bicycle Caucus
As vice-chair of the legislature's Jewish Caucus, I hosted a Senate floor ceremony commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the State of Israel, and welcomed the Israel's Consul General of  the Pacific Northwest and other honored guests to celebrate the occasion. My colleagues and I who are members of the legislature's Bicycle Caucus do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Bowling for a Cause US Japan Leadership Program
Team Allen performed admirably in a friendly lawn bowling outing at an event supporting the Westside Coalition, an alliance of 47 organizations working to address issues of housing, hunger and health. I welcomed this year's cohort of the US Japan Leadership Program which strengthens ties between the United States and Japan. I am a proud alumnus of this great program.
Honoring a Legacy

I was happy to pay tribute to one of my predecessors in this Senate seat, former senator Herschel Rosenthal, who passed away in 2009.  His family visited the Senate and attended our Capitol Seder as my guests.  Thank you to his son Joel, daughter-in-law Susan, and granddaughter Helena for reminding us what an amazing legacy Hersh left us.

California State Senator Ben Allen - District 26
Website: http://senate.ca.gov/allen
Contact: Senator Ben Allen
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5072
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4026
Fax: (916) 651-4926
District Office
2512 Artesia Blvd., #320
Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3279
Phone: (310) 318-6994
Fax: (310) 318-6733