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Senator Ben Allen's Statement at the Start of the New Legislative Session

At the start of the 2021-2022 legislative session on Monday, Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) released the following statement:

These are difficult times, and Californians are hurting today. With the COVID-19 vaccine on its way, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

However, the medical, epidemiological, psychological, and economic consequences of this crisis continue to be alarmingly dire. We must get through this pandemic and fully restart our economy again as quickly as possible.

With that in mind, I'm working on a number of issues with some of my legislative colleagues: relief for renters, smart, neighborhood-friendly ways to improve housing availability, finding new solutions to the homeless crisis, ensuring efficacy and accountability for efforts to fight homelessness, learning from the mistakes of the Employment Development Department and improving and streamlining the system, working to get more money out to deserving folks in need, and assisting businesses struggling to stay afloat.

The big issues we faced as a state before the pandemic, however, still loom large, and in many cases have worsened. As such, I’ll be continuing my leadership efforts from the previous session in environmental protection, climate, improving our election systems while pressing for further political transparency reforms, and access to housing for the disadvantaged.

Today, I’ve introduced several bills in these policy areas and will introduce several more in the weeks ahead, and will be convening and/or participating in a number of informational and oversight hearings focused on these and other pressing matters.

I do want to take a moment to congratulate my new Senate and Assembly colleagues on their victories in an unprecedented election year with record-shattering turnout.

As the author of the Voter’s Choice Act of 2016, I was heartened to see how Californians benefitted from our flexible new voting system and made their voices heard despite the overwhelming challenges of the pandemic. We will study the election closely and make needed modifications to ensure that Californians can vote safely, securely, and conveniently in the years to come.

To my new colleagues to whom we just administered the oath of office on the Senate floor: this is a difficult time to be joining the legislature and it will take the wisdom of Solomon and at times the patience of Job, but also at other times the fierce urgency of Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King.

We owe it to our constituents to do our utmost to ensure the state emerges from this crisis stronger than ever. Let’s get to work.

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