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February 2024 Newsletter

Hello, Assembly District 78, and to those who celebrate — a Happy Lunar New Year! I’m your representative Chris Ward and I want to bring you up to date on everything for the month of February.

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First, I want to let you know about a couple of new bills I’ve introduced for this legislative session.

AB 1858, the Safe and Prepared Schools Act, will set clear standards for California schools on how to conduct active shooter drills, as well as ensure students who participate have access to mental health support as needed. These drills have sadly become a new normal in schools across the country following several tragic mass shooting events. However, a continued push for students and staff to be “proactive” during these events to save more lives has led to drills that simulate mock shootings, students lying on the floor to represent victims, and even the use of fake weapons and blood. We need to make sure these drills are not doing more harm than good in preparing our schools for the possibility of these tragic events occurring, and that is what the Safe and Prepared Schools Act will do. My office will be holding a press conference on March 12th at 10 a.m., which will be live-streamed, to announce more details.

I’ve partnered with the California Transit Authority on AB 1904. Transit buses currently face many delays when attempting to reenter traffic after stopping to let passengers on at bus stops. AB 1904 will give all California transit agencies the authority to equip buses with yield signs to signal drivers, improving safety and the overall reliability of transit schedules. I’m proud to carry this important piece of legislation with the Association as a co-sponsor.

By the end of February, we will have a deadline in which our entire legislative package must be introduced if it is to be considered this year. I will update you next month on some additional legislative highlights.


Continuing with my Capitol Video Series where I go over how various aspects of state government work, I wanted to start off this year with the role of policy committees in the process.

I have been appointed to sit on several committees this year, including Chair of the Housing and Community Development, Labor and Employment, Privacy and Consumer Protection, Transportation, the Budget Subcommittee on State Administration, and Local Government. I am also a member of several Select Committees, including Electric Vehicle Charging, and one which I chair covering Biotechnology. These appointments mean that I will have more of my time and focus dedicated to bills in these areas – and likewise, other committees may hear bills that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to weigh in if and until they reach the Assembly Floor.

Once a bill is introduced, it is then referred to one or more policy committees to be vetted by the committee members. Bills are not heard in policy committees until 30 days after they have been introduced. Each bill will be listed in the Daily File prior to being heard in a committee, which is essentially the agenda of the day and serves as public notice of bills set for committee hearings so you know when to weigh in on legislation.

Bills will usually generate support or opposition from groups or individuals. The committee hearings are times for groups or individuals may either testify or speak on the bill when it is heard in committee. Of course, writing to your Assemblymember or Senator ahead of the committee hearing is helpful for me to weigh your thoughts as we try to propose amendments to a bill or decide how to vote.

If the bill passes with a majority of committee members, it will then head to the next committee, if it has been assigned to one. If the bill has a fiscal impact or cost to the state, it will be heard in the Appropriations Committee before it can advance to a floor vote in either chamber.

Committees also serve an oversight role. We hold information hearings on focused subjects to shine light on current, important issues. For example, my Biotechnology Select Committee recently reviewed the history and role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in the pipeline of getting life-saving drugs to pharmacists and consumers with an eye toward pricing impacts. Our Housing Committee will be holding a hearing on February 21st at 9 am to understand today’s cost factors of new housing construction, and our budget hearings coming up will be reviewing the state’s programs on housing and homelessness support to underscore what is effective or not as we solve our state budget’s deficit this year. These informational hearings can often lead to legislative ideas for us to make new laws.

Committee hearings are one of the most important times for the public to become involved in the legislative process. This is when your voice is the most crucial in deciding whether or not a bill should move forward or be changed to reflect public opinion. Committee members, including myself, use your feedback to make a decision on voting for or against a bill. I encourage you to get involved and make your voice heard at this important step in the legislative process.


The California Department of Aging is supporting research partners and a statewide coalition of LGBTQIA+ community-based organizations to design and launch California's first statewide survey documenting the needs, hopes and priorities of mid-life and older LGBTQIA+ residents across the state. Please follow the link below to participate.

Take Survey

In an effort to promote civic education and encourage our young minds to become involved in the inner workings of our government and society, I am pleased to announce a special contest for fourth and eleventh-graders who live in the 78th Assembly District!

Fourth graders are invited to participate in the contest by picking one or more California State Symbols to feature in an art piece. Eleventh graders can partake in the contest by nominating someone who lives in the 78th district for a Community Hero recognition. We will be accepting submissions until April 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on April 19, 2024.

Please visit my website at the URL below for more details. I look forward to seeing your submissions!

Make a Nomination

Finally, I wanted to highlight a few upcoming webinars in February that you may be interested in.

On February 28th, my office will be hosting two webinars: Senior Scam Stoppers will go over information on how to protect our seniors from common scams and begin at 1 p.m. You can register at the URL below.


If you have a high school student nearing graduation or other family member going to college, you may be interested in the Cash for College webinar on the same day at 5 p.m. Presenters will delve into essential information about financial aid opportunities, and Cal-SOAP staff will be available for one-on-one personalized guidance! Register at the URL below.




From left to right: Top to bottom: Top left: Assemblymember Ward kicks off the House of China’s Lunar New Year celebrations. Top right: Meeting with community leaders in San Diego for the annual Jewish Roundtable. Bottom left: Attending the swearing-in for Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire. Bottom right: Meeting with experts who spoke during the first Select Committee on Biotechnology hearing of the year.

Finally, I want to let you know that an archive of my recent “Conversation with the Controller” webinar is now available on my website. If you missed it, you can hear State Controller Malia Cohen go over her role as chief financial officer for California and what her office does to protect our financial resources, as well as safeguarding property until it can be claimed by its rightful owner. Click below to watch.

AD78 Conversation with Controller webcast

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As always, I want to thank you for your support. I’m grateful to be your representative and work on these issues and more. One of the best ways to stay informed is to follow my social media accounts where you can know in real time what developments are happening or what I’m working on every day.

And if you need assistance, please know that my district office staff is available and ready to serve or answer any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out to the contact information at the end of this segment, and a staff member will connect with you as soon as possible. I wish you, your family and your neighbors all the best.


signature of Christopher M. Ward
Christopher M. Ward
Assemblymember, 78th District