At the Tulare County Supervisors’ meeting on April 7, the supervisors voted on sending a letter of support to Mathis’ assembly bill 954. The bill establishes a pilot program that will provide low interest loans or grants to private residences whose wells have gone dry. Up until now, all the funding has been earmarked for communities. Private residents have not been eligible to apply for any drought relief funds.
According to the most recent estimate by the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, the county has experienced 996 private well failures, four fewer than the 1,000 previously reported. The county has not been adequately able to address the well failures due to a lack of funding. Mathis’ bill could help bring in the needed funds to help the owners of domestic wells.
Mathis’ bill states the following:
“Many areas of the state are disproportionately impacted by drought because they are heavily dependent or completely reliant on groundwater from basins that are in overdraft and in which the water table declines year after year or from basins that are contaminated.
There are a number of state grant and loan programs that provide financial assistance to communities to address drinking water and wastewater needs. Unfortunately, there is no program in place to provide similar assistance to individual homeowners who are reliant on their own groundwater wells and who may not be able to afford conventional private loans to undertake vital water supply, water quality and wastewater improvements.
The program created by this act is intended to bridge that gap by providing low-interest loans, grants, or both, to individual homeowners to undertake actions necessary to provide safer, cleaner and more reliable drinking water and wastewater treatment. These actions may include, but are not limited to, digging deeper wells, improving existing wells and related equipment, addressing drinking water contaminants in the homeowner’s water, or connecting to a local water or wastewater system.”
Mathis Against Taxpayers Paying For Sex-change Operation
Mathis has also been very vocal about his objections to a prisoner getting gender reassignment surgery paid for by the California taxpayer. Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy was convicted of murder and has been in prison since 1987. He started identifying as a women in the 1990s.
U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco ruled that Michelle-Lael Norsworthy’s constitutional rights were being violated if the inmate’s “serious medical need” was not met. The operation will be the first in state prison history and cost approximately $100,000.
Mathis’ response in a press release was, Los Angeles Times
“This ruling is proof that our prison system is no longer a deterrent to criminal behavior, instead it has become a retreat at taxpayers’ expenses. For a judge to even entertain the request from a convicted murderer to receive this elective medical procedure, shows a complete dishonor to our justice system, the victim’s family and the taxpayers of California.”
”This judge is setting precedence for criminals to receive elective procedures which are estimated to cost Californians nearly $100,000. The potential increase to our prison budget would be unsustainable especially when our current annual per inmate spending is $60,000,” he said.
Mathis concluded, “we have men and women who honorably served our country, returned home to be productive members of our society, and are denied such basic medical services as eye surgeries or proper hearing aids because they are deemed “elective.”
Veterans are dying on wait lists because some bureaucrat with a calculator and no medical training says it is too expensive, and yet this judge grants a criminal who will spend the rest of his life behind prison walls a sex-change operation… I know Justice is to be blind, I didn’t think it was to be insane as well!”
Mathis urged the California Correctional Health Care Services to help find a way to correct this injustice to California taxpayers, the victims and their families.
Mathis Responds To Governors Drought Proclamation
Mathis also responded to Governor Brown’s first statewide mandatory water reductions. On April 1, with California facing another year of historic drought conditions, Governor Brown held a press conference to enact California’s first ever-mandatory statewide water reductions order. Mathis praised the Governor’s call for working together, as Californians.
“I applaud the Governor for calling on pulling together as Californians in order to survive and solve this crisis. I have been calling for action, in a bi-partisan way since being elected. I’m glad the Governor agrees with me” stated Mathis. “Pointing fingers and partisan bickering will not solve this problem, action will and I stand ready to work with the Governor and the leaders in the Legislature to find a short term and a long term solution to what can truly be called a disaster.
“My district, Assembly District 26, remains the hardest hit by this water emergency. Many of our residents are still without water in their homes and a majority earns their living through agriculture. Residents know to cherish every drop of water and our city leaders have taken stronger real steps to conserve more up front, a PR campaign to ‘save water’ will not bring more water out of our taps,” said Mathis. “Conservation is only a Band-Aid and is a very short-term answer to a major problem our past leaders should have corrected decades ago.”
The Governor’s executive order calls for the streamlining of government response and prioritizing the government’s review and approval of water infrastructure projects.
“The vision,” Mathis said, “has to go beyond this year and look to how we will solve this crisis and the one after that. We need a long-term plan for the people of California consisting of new dams and numerous desalinization plants across our state, to not only provide for our current population, environmental and agriculture needs, but also for future growth. Californians have repeatedly approved bond money for these improvements; these plans must become reality now.”
Mathis Sponsors Other Bills
In Mathis’ first few months in office he has introduced 22 bills, four of which concern veteran issues. One of those bills was co-authored with Thousand Oaks Democrat Jacqui Erwin, who serves as the Veterans Affairs Committee Chair. The bill proposes to increase budgets for community veteran service organizations. Mathis is the Veterans Affairs Committee Vice-Chair.
Another one of the bills Mathis is A.B. 144, which evolved from a conversation he had with Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. According to the Fresno Bee, “It’s a proposal to make illegal dumping on private property punishable as a misdemeanor. It is currently an infraction. For those illegally dumping tires on private property, the misdemeanor fines would be doubled.
The bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee 7-0 on April 14.
“It’s a problem,” said Mathis, “because tax dollars are being used to deal with the illegal dumping. And so, a bill was born.