The past few months have been a whirlwind as my wife and I welcomed our son into the world, and I began my second term as your state Senator.Problems viewing this E-mail? Please click here.
Senator Ben Allen


Dear Friend,

The past few months have been a whirlwind as my wife and I welcomed our son into the world, and I began my second term as your state Senator.  I am grateful to everyone who has shared in our joy.  It was also a time of incredible sadness as we grappled with the senseless shooting rampage in Thousand Oaks, the wildfires that ravaged our state, and the loss of a beloved community member, Barbara Yaroslavsky.

In this newsletter, I'll recap highlights from 2018, and preview key issues I am working on in 2019.  I value your feedback so please feel free to email, call, or write any time.  My office is here to serve you.


Senator Ben Allen
Senator, 26th District
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Environmental Quality Committee
Scenic overlook in the Santa Monica Mountains.

I recently was appointed Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, where I am responsible for policies addressing climate change, air quality, toxic substances, hazardous waste, recycling, and solid waste. This position enables me to continue my work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting energy consumption, ending single-use plastic packaging, protecting our coast and marine life and much more.  I've remained co-chair of the legislature's Environmental Caucus, which continues to be front and center on key environmental challenges facing the state. This year I'm also serving on several other policy committees, including Judiciary, Natural Resources and Water, and Governmental Organization.

New Laws

Here's an overview of new laws I authored in 2018 that took effect January 1, 2019:

  • Marine Life Protection Act, SB 1017, phasing out the use of deadly, mile-long fishing nets that kill and maim sea turtles, whales, dolphins and other marine life.
  • Sustainable Packaging for the State of California Act, SB 1335, which will prohibit single-use food packaging in  facilities, such as state parks, prisons, and state office buildings.
  • Local neighborhoods and transit, SB 961, which provides an additional tool for communities to help reduce traffic congestion, and incentivize jobs and housing near public transit.
  • Protecting pensions from climate risk, SB 964, directs our public pension funds to analyze the effects of climate change on their investments.
  • Environmental principles in curriculum, SB 720, will help to educate young people about environmental responsibility and stewardship by including these principles in the K-12 curriculum.
  • Electric vehicle ownership, SB 1016, will remove barriers to electric vehicle ownership by making it easier for condominium dwellers to install charging equipment.
  • Redistricting reform, SB 1018, is a measure that will enable local governments to use independent redistricting commissions that will reduce partisanship and enhance public participation in government.
Increasing Transparency in Elections

We've all been there – approached outside the grocery store by a friendly person holding a clipboard requesting a signature on an initiative petition.  It is hard to tell in those brief few moments what you are being asked to sign.  To increase transparency, I am authoring legislation (Senate Bill 47) that will require petition circulators to disclose the top three funders of their measure when they ask people to sign. I am working closely with the California Clean Money Campaign, an advocacy organization that has been fighting for greater disclosure in political campaigns. I was recently named the group's "Clean Money Champion" for the second year in a row, as the top scorer in the legislature on clean money issues.  Reducing the influence of money in our political system will continue to be one of my top priorities.

Pain at the Pump

I joined with 18 of my colleagues to call on the state Attorney General to investigate the extraordinary high cost of gas we have all been paying since the 2015 explosion at the Torrance Refinery. The oil companies' original justification for the increase was the disruption in supply caused by the refinery shutdown. The refinery has long since come back online and is fully functioning, but they have kept gas prices inflated to an extra 20 to 30 cents per gallon. All signs point to some gouging here and my colleagues and I have requested the state Attorney General to get to the bottom of it and to hold the companies accountable for any collusion or anti-trust violations that are found. You can listen to a recent radio interview I did on this issue here.

Wildfire Response
Woolsey Fire in Malibu

The wildfires that raged through California, including in our own backyard just to the north in Malibu, Topanga Canyon, and across the northwestern San Fernando Valley destroyed homes, businesses and wildlife. We owe our greatest thanks and admiration to the first responders who put their lives on the line battling these calamities. But it's clear that the existing firefighting systems are no match for fires that burn faster and hotter than ever before.  The legislature is tackling this issue in earnest this year.  I've proposed a state bond measure, Senate Bill 45, to begin an aggressive program of adaptation measures in local wildland areas, such as the Santa Monica Mountains, that will reduce combustible materials, create barriers and safe spaces, and mitigate the impacts of a warming climate.  I'll keep you posted on the progress of this important measure as it moves through the legislature.

In Memoriam - Barbara Yaroslavsky

We are deeply saddened to say goodbye to Barbara Yaroslavsky. She was so full of life, humanity, conversation, and so very kind. We are going to miss her tremendously.  This is an absolutely senseless, devastating, untimely loss for her family and our entire community.  Please take a moment to watch the tributes paid to her as the state Senate and the state Assembly adjourned in memory of this incredible woman.

Photo Album
Special Guests in Senate District 26
My wife Melanie and I were honored to be with now-Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom at
Rosh Hoshanah services last fall at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills and Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades.We are shown
here with Rabbi Ellis Kirschenbaum.
Americans for the Arts Award
I received the 2018 Public Leadership in the Arts award from Americans for the Arts for my work as chair of the legislature's
Joint Committee on the Arts, which highlights the important role the arts play in our state's creative economy. 
Holiday Toy Drive Walk to End Alzheimer's
Thank you to everyone who participated in our holiday toy drive benefiting three great organizations – the Children's Lifesaving Foundation, Venice Community Housing and Santa Monica Police Activities League, and to DK's Donuts & Bakery for donating delicious treats. Alzheimer's is a devastating disease affecting thousands of families in California.Thank you to Marcia Gay Harden, shown here with her daughter, Assembly member Richard Bloom, and everyone else who came out to walk and raise funds for a cure.
LA Philharmonic 100th Anniversary
What a thrill it was to help the LA Philharmonic orchestra celebrate its 100th season.  We are lucky to have such a stellar
organization enriching our lives and contributing so much to the cultural vibrancy of Los Angeles.
Welcoming Ambassador Zhang Ping
I had the privilege of hosting China's Los Angeles Consul General, Ambassador Zhang Ping, in Sacramento, and introducing
him to many of my colleagues. We hope to see him in the state Capitol again soon.
33rd District PTA Edward James Olmos
Always a pleasure speaking with friends from the 33rd District PTA on their annual trek to Sacramento. Saying hello to legendary actor and activist Edward James Olmos.
End Child Poverty in California

Tragically, more than 450,000 children live in deep poverty in our state. I've joined with a coalition of legislators and advocacy groups to put forward a plan to end child poverty in California.


Compton School District Council Members in the Capitol
Congratulations to Compton Unified School District for their Bonus Tracks program, an innovative partnership with Capitol Records, that teaches students about careers in the music industry, and helps to keep them engaged and on track to graduate. I enjoyed speaking with leaders from the cities of Hermosa Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates, Beverly Hills and Lomita when they visited the state Capitol in January.

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In case you missed it, here is a link to my last newsletter. Until next time, please be well.


California State Senator Ben Allen - District 26
Contact: Senator Ben Allen
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 4076
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