Skip to main content

January 2024 Newsletter


Happy New Year, Assembly District 78! I'm your representative Chris Ward and I want to bring you up to date on everything coming up in the month of January.

Click To Play

As many of you know, the state is facing a major budget deficit estimated between $39 and $68 billion for this fiscal year. The Governor has laid out his draft budget just his week with realities to address - but this is just the first step in a long process to balance our books. Proposals to reduce state support for affordable housing, climate, and other investments do not sit well with me as we face multiple crises to address. As a newly appointed member to the Budget Committee, the Legislature will begin its work on the proposal line-by-line, to deliver all we can responsibly to California communities, and I look forward to the hard work ahead.


Speaking of which - we had some leadership changes at the Capitol. I had mentioned before but in case you missed it, I am proud to have been appointed Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development. In addition, I will be a member of the Budget Subcomittee on State Administration, Privacy and Consumer Protection, Local Government, Labor and Employment, and Transportation Committees. That's quite a workload in addition to my roles as Vice-Chair of the LGBTQ Caucus and Chair of the Select Committee on Biotechnology. But my team and I are ready to dive deep into these areas to deliver good policy to benefit our district.


After a short break for the New Year holiday, the Assembly got back to work in the first week of January. In the coming weeks, my office is evaluating proposed new legislation, as well as continuing unfinished work from bills introduced last year. There are no shortage of problems to tackle in California, and we will have a clearer sense of which bills are ready to introduce and debate by the end of February. But here are a few bills carried over that have passed committees just this past week and are headed to a floor vote:


For several years, plans to redevelop the DMV field office in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego for affordable housing have stalled or were almost abandoned. With California in the midst of a housing crisis, this property represents a missed opportunity to maximize our housing outcomes and provide more homes for lower- and middle-income families. AB 1635 will update current law to direct and expedite redevelopment of this site into an affordable housing project that will complement the city of San Diego's Community Plan for the area with additional input from local groups. I look forward to the discussions with stakeholders in the coming months.


As California continues to face a housing crisis, data shows that investors are growing into the single family housing market at a time when Californians are competing to purchase their first home. The rapidly expanding trend of "build to rent communities" is facilitated by discounted bulk sales before they are even listed, undercutting the opportunity for homeownership and prioritizing housing stock onto wall street equity sheets. AB 1333 would fight back, and prohibit the bulk sale of two or more parcels of single family homes to institutional investors, granting families and individuals the priority opportunity to purchase their new home.


Last week I presented AB 1316 which I have jointly authored with Assemblymember Irwin to the Assembly Health Committee where it passed unanimously. As we all can appreciate, some in psychiatric distress are taken to hospitals and unfortunately held there due to bureaucracy rather than referred to an inpatient psychiatric bed, taking up valuable resources in emergency departments. In fact, more than 25% of those presenting with severe psychiatric conditions are in the emergency department for more than 3 days, if they are well enough to discharge where some fall onto the streets. AB 1316 will authorize hospitals to transfer a patient out of the emergency department when an inpatient psychiatric bed is identified rather than wait for approvals, and require Medi-Cal to cover department expenses for low-income Californians.




From top to bottom: Top left: Assemblymember Ward presents AB 1635 in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. Top right: Touring the East County Advanced Water Purification Project. Bottom left: Meeting with local leaders and Children First Collective on the importance of quality childcare. Bottom right: A San Diego Unified student board member discusses the impact of AB 275 after it went into effect at the beginning of the year.


As 2024 gets underway, I wanted to let you know about a few events coming up in Assembly District 78 that you may be interested in.

First, the annual Point in Time count will take place on January 25th from 4-8 AM and they are calling out for volunteers. #WeAllCount is a one-day snapshot of the minimum number of San Diegans living in shelters and transitional housing, and on our streets or in canyons or along riverbeds. It is important to get this count right to help qualify for federal assistance, so if you would like to join please register at the link below.


The Lunar New Year begins on February 10th, and House of China's Chinese New Year Festival will take place in Balboa Park on February 17th at 11 AM. You can find more information and RSVP at the link below.


My office will also be hosting the webinar "Conversations with the Controller" with State Controller, Malia Cohen. As chief fiscal officer of the world's fifth-largest economy, she and I will discuss how the State Controller's office protects the state's financial resources and programs available to you like accessing unclaimed property and more. Mark your calendars for February 13th at 5:30 PM, and you can register at the link below.


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

P.S. Follow my office on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and Threads to stay updated on the latest news on state and federal resources.