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By Jeff Pack

Melendez hosts town hall meeting in Wildomar


Last updated 1/31/2019 at 5:52pm

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California state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez speaks the audience at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1508 in Wildomar during a town hall meeting last week.

California state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez held a town hall meeting Friday, Jan. 25, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1508 in Wildomar. Melendez represents the 67th Assembly District.

After being introduced by Wildomar City Council member Joseph Morabito, Melendez recognized Tony and Rosa Falco and Gloria Sanchez for their efforts in hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner at Kay Ceniceros Senior Center in Menifee each year.

"They think that giving back is more than just well-wishes. They think you need to put it into action," Melendez said. "They welcome anyone who is in need. ... They make sure no one goes without a meal that day."

Melendez gave the nearly two dozen attendees an update of legislation she has or intends to introduce this year.

First, she talked about her bill, Assembly Bill 71 – "Protecting Small Businesses and Independent Contractors," which she introduced last month and codifies former employment case law and restores an independent contractor's right to flexible work hours and ability to work in various services.

"I introduced this bill just to restore the rules back to what it was before," Melendez said. "Which is something called the Borello test, I don't expect you to understand that, but it's less stringent than what is currently in place."

She said there is a bill contrary to hers' that would make the laws more stringent.

"So, it should be an interesting year," Melendez said.

This month, Melendez joined Republican Assemblymember Kevin Kiley from California's 6th District to introduce Assembly Bill 162, which prohibits the California Public Utilities Commission from taxing or placing fees and surcharges on text messages.

"They floated this idea, but I will tell you happily, (CPUC) walked this one back," Melendez said. "That doesn't mean it won't come back in some form of legislation so I introduced a bill by colleague Kevin Kiley to prohibit them from ever doing that."

In February, she plans to introduce a bill that designates California as a "Shall Issue State" for concealed carry weapon permits and allows individuals who reside out of state to apply for a concealed carry weapon permit in California.

"Right now, California is a 'may issue state,' with respect to getting a concealed carry permit," Melendez said. "So that means, whoever is issuing the permits in Riverside County and that is the sheriff, it depends on how your sheriff feels about issuing CCWs. If your sheriff thinks yes, everybody has a right to be armed, and you're not a prohibited person, then yes, they will issue a CCW.

"If you're in a county like Los Angeles or San Francisco, where they don't feel like that, there's far less permits being issued.

"My opinion is, it should be shall issue, the state shall issue you a permit, unless there's some legal issue why you should not have that right," Melendez said.

Also in that discussion, Melendez addressed Assembly Bill 18 which creates a new gun tax on all purchases of handguns and semi-automatic rifles in California.

Melendez took issue with Assembly Bill 2, introduced this month, which would make the first two years of community college free for all full-time students.

"The other issue that we're thinking about this is, if it's free, our schools are already impacted, you can't get classes you need, so if it's all free then you're going to see an increase in enrollment, which means the kids who are serious about their education are going to have to wait," Melendez said. "So you come in, take some classes and then say 'I'm done,' because you've got nothing to lose, you're not paying for it."

The members of the audience had plenty of opinions regarding this bill, and several residents suggested that the area needs more trade school options.

"I am all for education, whether it's for your degree or you just want to continue learning as an adult, I'm all for that," Melendez said. "I have master's degrees, so I'm not going to knock education, I just know that it's not for everyone."

Melendez also covered during the meeting was Assembly Bill 161, introduced this month, which makes it illegal for any restaurant or small business to provide paper receipts to customers unless they ask for one.

Jeff Pack photo

An audience member talks about one of the issues brought by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez to the town hall meeting.

"They want to ban paper receipts so you would have to give the merchant your email address or your cellphone number to get either an email receipt or a text receipt," Melendez said. "It's not optional."

Melendez also quickly covered Senate Bill 24 which requires all public universities to provide abortion medication to students; Assembly Bill 44, which prohibits the sale and manufacture of all new fur sweaters, boots, blankets, rugs or any type of fur product in the state of California; Senate Bill 61, which limits firearms purchases of any kind to one gun per month and Assembly Bill 123, which creates universal preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, increases pay for preschool teachers and allocates additional state funding to make transitional kindergarten full-time.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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