Making Democracy Work

Interview with Senator Jim Beall

Jim Beall Interview 2017

Legislative Interview State Senator Beall, District 15 February 10, 2017 by the League of Women Voters Southwest Santa Clara Valley and San Jose/Santa Clara

1. Funding of Elections: What legislative measures would you support to ensure adequate and stable funding of election administration in California?

The funding of campaigns is very expensive and has become heavily influenced by independent expenditures and outside money," said Senator Beall. As a strong supporter of campaign finance reform, Beall has been a supporter of the DISCLOSE Act. He also supports overturning Citizens United at the federal level. Beall also focused on the high cost of holding special elections. He suggested studying whether they should be consolidated with regularly scheduled elections, such as primary or general elections. Ensuring that the community has proper representation is something that the state needs to continue working on. Senator Beall said he would also like to see a larger push to keep special interest groups from influencing elections at every level of government.

2. Public Higher Education: How can Californians meet the challenge of enrolling more students, including students with greater needs, at the UC and CSU? Is more state funding needed? Where does this issue rank in your legislative priorities?

The budget for education is a top priority for Senator Beall. He said state universities and community colleges need to focus on graduation rates and increasing enrollment for in state residents. He emphasized the importance of community colleges because students are able to attend at a much lower cost and are able to transfer to a four-year universities. Senator Beall supports the expansion of community colleges as well as a more CSU campuses. He believes the state should look into doing a bond to update facilities at CSUs. He also thinks that there is a need for more full-time tenure track professors rather than part-time adjunct professors to improve graduation rates and time to completion. Additionally, Beall supports more community colleges offering four year degrees and finding ways to make college more affordable.

3. Water Resources: What kinds of legislative proposals would you support to ensure that enough water of adequate quality is available for municipal and industrial uses, agriculture, and the environment in the face of over-stretched surface and groundwater resources and climate conditions different than those California has experienced in the last century?

California has faced one of the most severe droughts in the state's history in the last two years and Beall has work extensively with state and local leaders to find solutions for conservation and recycling of water. "Conservation is vital in our state," said Beall. "It is everyone's responsibility from a homeowner to a farmer to smartly conserve water." Beall is no stranger to helping get cities assistance for conservation. He authored legislation to get the city of San Jose the approval to fast-track the expansion of drought-proof ground water storage. The Purple Pipe project replenishes drought-exhausted ground water tables with recycled water that is naturally cleansed through percolation. When finished the project will save enough potable water for 175,000 people a year. He also has ideas about how to lower the usage of water on farms. "We need to find ways to incentivize agriculture crop owners and encourage a metering system state-wide," said Beall. Beall also believes that the state needs to repair and upgrade our levee system and consider what to do with the Delta.

4. Local issues in our district:

Beall emphasized the need for more affordable housing, locally and statewide. The high cost of living in Silicon Valley has caused people to move out of the area or to travel long distances to work. Beall introduced Senate Bill 3 to generate more affordable housing throughout the state. The bill proposes to put a $3 billion housing bond before voters to assist the homeless as well as create more homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income earners.

Beall also stressed that the savings of housing a chronically homeless person is far less expensive than using government resources. Housing studies show that they are better able to get services they need and to get a job that results in a better life.

5. What other major issues do you think the legislature must deal with in 2017? What are your personal priorities?

As the chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing committee, Beall has been working to fix to the state's aging transportation infrastructure. Beall introduced SB 1 this session which will add more than $5 billion annually for road repairs and mass transit.

Another issue that the legislature must deal with is immigration. Not only is immigration a moral issue but it is an economic issue in California and could have a major impact on our interdependence. San Jose is home to over 100,000 undocumented residents that contribute to the well-being of our state.