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Sen. Pat Bates

By Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 8 as the 40th governor of California. Republican Senator Patricia Bates says she looks forward to working with his administration and politicians across the aisle to better serve her constituents.

Bates represents California’s 36th state Senate district, which includes Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

“(The Governor) is true to his promises, which is important for any elected official,” Bates said.

During Newsom’s inaugural speech, he proposed to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants. The comments came ahead of President Donald Trump’s speech Monday night appealing to Congress to fund a border wall, and amidst partisan debate over immigration reform.

Bates says she hopes to focus on citizens who need affordable healthcare.

“I need to be assured first that hard-working (citizens) who are struggling to make ends meet have access to healthcare. Expanding Medi-Cal comes with a $3 billion dollar price tag. We all want affordability, healthcare and a good quality of life for our constituents, but we disagree on how those goals should be attained.”

Bates previously served as a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors from 2007 to 2014 and the California State Assembly from 1998 to 2004. She currently serves as the minority leader of the state Senate.

During Bates’ last term, she co-authored two bills on sober living homes and residential treatment facilities: SB 902 and SB 1290. SB 902 required background checks for licensed operators of residential treatment facilities and SB 1290 prohibited patient brokering, modeled after Florida’s “Patient Brokering Act.”

Both of the bills were held in the Senate Appropriations Committee. But for her current term, Bates hopes to continue efforts to improve sober living home regulation.

“We need to be able to distinguish sober living homes from group homes, on a federal level. Better definitions will help improve accountability,” Bates said.

Bates also says she plans on reforming early-release regulations for felons classified as “serious felons” and are eligible for release, even after committing a violent crime. She hopes to introduce legislation that further scrutinizes who is eligible for early release. —LB

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