Stone Sentinel: November 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

November is the month we salute our Veterans and give Thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.

My staff and I are proud to participate in many Veterans Day events across Riverside County, I know of no other place that does a better job of showing how much they appreciate their veterans than we do here in Riverside County.

Senator Stone in Veterans Day parade

While many Veterans issues involve the Federal government, there are both State and County agencies standing by to assist the men and women who have honorably served our great nation.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs website can be found here: https://www.calvet.ca.gov/

The office of Riverside County Veterans Services can be found here: http://veteranservices.co.riverside.ca.us/opencms/

Of course, Veterans and their families can always contact our office and we will do our best to serve you. It’s the least we can do.

Happy Thanksgiving

On November 23rd many of us will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving. As Americans, we truly have much to be thankful for and I hope you enjoy the day and sharing the bounty of our great country.

I know there are also thousands of people across Riverside County who, for whatever reason, are among the less fortunate.

If you find yourself in need—not only during the holidays, but any time—there are numerous Senior Centers and Food Banks that offer assistance in Riverside County.

On my website there are links to organizations that are here to help.

Click on http://district28.cssrc.us/content/senior-services-food-banks-and-more to learn more.

On behalf of my family and my staff in Sacramento, Indo and Murrieta, I wish you the best this holiday season.

It is an honor for me to be your State Senator and to be able to represent the people of the 28th Senate District in Sacramento.

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An Open Letter to the People of the 28th Senate District

November 2017

Senator Jeff Stone, California's 28th Senate District

My Fellow Constituents:

What a difficult legislative year it has been.

Being a Republican in the State of California Legislature has given me a little understanding of what David must have felt like when battling Goliath in the Old Testament. It is a battle that is often lonely, frequently difficult, and because of a very few Republican legislators who put their own personal agendas ahead of the common good of taxpayers, is seldom won.

Since I was first elected to the State Senate—the first partisan office I’ve ever held—I’ve learned a lot. When I arrived, I figured Republicans stood for lower taxes, personal responsibility and liberty. When I first became active in politics, Republicans were the Party of the taxpayers, small business families and everyday people who just wanted to live their lives with minimal government interference.

When I started my first pharmacy in 1983 in Temecula, our schools gave us an educated workforce. Our government gave us good roads (that we paid for with our hard-earned tax dollars). Our police and sheriffs were able to do their jobs to keep the “bad guys” in jail so our kids could feel safe playing in our front yards and in our local parks.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but when I look around our community today, I’m seeing a very different world, and I can only surmise that we’re where we are today because of over 30 years of Democrat control of the Legislature.

In the 1980s, California had plentiful high paying jobs available that let people like my parents buy a home and raise a family. I was fortunate enough to have been able to purchase a home and build a small business, but I’m fearful that future generations won’t have that opportunity because of the high taxes and over-regulation that continues to grow and good paying jobs continue to flee as a result of bigger and more intrusive government.

Somewhere along the way over the last 30 years, politicians who have pandered for votes by offering free stuff to people who will vote for them created a state that has more people on welfare than in any other state in the nation. We have roughly 13% of the nation’s population living within our borders, but we have 33% of the nation’s welfare caseload.

By making people more dependent upon government and building a built-in constituency reliant on government services, the Democrats in charge of Sacramento have created a state where homelessness is rampant and under-employment is a reality. Today, it often makes more financial sense for a person to remain unemployed than to get a job because of the generosity of the state taxpayers who continue to pay for a bloated government that can’t even seem to figure out how to manage its own computer systems.

How does it make sense that a person can make more money by not working than by having a job? If you have a job, you have to pay for healthcare, your cell phone and your Internet. If you’re on welfare, you get all these things for free – and you get to stay home? It makes no sense!

When we had plentiful jobs because of a favorable economic and regulatory climate, we felt safe in our homes and people all across California—from the rural areas of Temecula to the inner cities of Los Angeles, Oakland and San Jose—could trust their children would be safe in their yards and on the local playgrounds.

But somewhere between the passage of the Three Strikes Law that put violent criminals behind bars for the rest of their lives and today, something’s gone wrong. The Left has shown more attention and concern for violent criminals by decriminalizing drug use, gun violence and reducing felonies to misdemeanors at every turn. All of this was done in the name of “compassion.” Where is the compassion for the victims of crime? Where is the compassion for the sons and daughters who lost a parent because of violent crime? It makes no sense.

As a small business owner, I depend on an educated workforce to give the quality service my customers expect and deserve. But the Democrats in charge of Sacramento and the big public employee labor unions that largely run state government have created an education system that is failing our children. With exam scores falling, what answer did the Legislative Democrats and the public employee unions come up with to fix the problem?

Their answer was to just get rid of high school exit exams entirely. After all, if there isn’t a test to judge performance, then nobody can say performance is falling. This is entirely rational, but our kids need to be able to compete in a global economy that requires competence in reading, writing and math. Getting rid of tests isn’t the answer – giving our kids the education they deserve and taxpayers pay for is the best solution.

Believe me when I say that I am friends with many Democrats. I genuinely like many of them, and I have an appreciation for their point of view.

But the Leftist establishment that has hijacked the Democrat Party remains addicted to spending, and their spending spree that continued this year with the largest tax increase in recent history this year will only serve to make California less affordable for everybody.

Sadly, Republicans could have stopped the tax increases this year, but a single Republican in the State Senate cast the deciding vote to raise our taxes. It earned him an F grade from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

So, as we head into the coming year, I will remain true to my Reaganesque Republican background and will continue to lead the fight to lower taxes, reduce the size of State Government, reduce the onerous regulations driving businesses out of our State, and put the needs of victims of crime ahead of the criminals who are justly put behind bars.

It’s an honor to represent you.

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Best and Worst Bills Signed into Law in 2017

State Capitol Building


Here is a partial list of the best and worst bills signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017. 859 bills were enacted into law in 2017, and there were some that were good but many that were bad. I hope you find the information useful.

This is by no means a complete list. I encourage you to visit my website at Senate.Ca.Gov/Stone to hear some of my floor speeches, read some of my veto request letters and listen to some of my questions in committee on many of these pieces of legislation.

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The Good

District Reserve Caps – The Good

SB 751 (Hill) increases the school district reserve cap from between 4% to 6% (depending on district size) to 10%, and excludes small school districts (fewer than 2,500 pupils – about 60% of districts statewide) and basic aid districts. Also, the bill reduces likelihood of imposition of the cap by triggering it only in a year when transfers to the Public School System Stabilization Account is equal to or greater than 3% of the Prop. 98 allocations for that fiscal year. While the entire repeal of the cap was not implemented, this bill is a step in the right direction.

Pet Store Operations – The Good

AB 485 (O’Donnell) prohibits a pet store operator from selling a dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or nonprofit rescue group, as specified. Currently, pet store operators are allowed to sell animals obtained from commercial breeders, and this bill would ban this practice. This measure won’t take effect until January 1, 2019.

Notification of Voter Registration Changes – The Good

AB 4 (Waldron) allows elections officials to notify voters by text message or E-mail when a voter registration card is submitted or updated. Current law requires a county elections official, upon receipt of a properly executed affidavit of registration or address correction or letter, to send the voter a voter notification by first-class mail that can’t be forwarded, address correction requested.

Tax Increase Notification – The Good

AB 195 (Obernolte) provides that if a local government entity places a measure on the ballot that imposes a local tax or raises the rate of an existing tax, the ballot statement must include the amount of money to be raised annually and the rate and duration of the tax to be levied.

Off Highway Motor Vehicle Fund Made Permanent – The Good

SB 249 (Allen) revises and recasts various provisions of California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Act (Act), and extends the Act’s provisions indefinitely. Expands the duties of the Division of Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation, requires the division to implement management and wildlife habitat protection plans for lands within state vehicle recreation areas (SVRAs), and takes measures to protect natural and cultural resources. Existing law would have expired at the end of the year, eliminating the OHV program entirely.

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The Bad … Listed in No Particular Order

Sanctuary College Campuses – The Bad

AB 21 (Kalra) mandates “sanctuary” college campuses by requiring the Trustees of the California State University (CSU), the governing boards of community college districts, and independent colleges and universities that participate in the Cal Grant program to, among other things: 1) refrain from releasing certain personally identifiable information of students, faculty, and staff; 2) advise all students, faculty, and staff to follow specified protocols if any law enforcement officer seeking to enforce immigration law is expected to, will, or has entered a campus; 3) adopt and implement the model policy developed by the Attorney General or an equivalent policy pursuant to the California Values Act; 4) ensure that financial aid and other benefits provided to students in the United States illegally are continued in the event the student is subject to a federal immigration action or order to the greatest extent possible. Requests the Regents of the University of California (UC) to do the same.

Repeal of the High School Exit Exam – The Bad

AB 830 (Kalra) repeals the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) statutes and removes the requirement to pass the CAHSEE (which tests very basic proficiency in English language arts and mathematics) as a condition of receiving a high school diploma or condition of graduating from high school.

Changes to the Recall Process – The Bad

SB 117 (Budget Committee) changed the process for recalls of state officials to delay the timing of a recall. Essentially, this bill will make it virtually impossible to recall sitting members of the State Assembly, and it will delay the recall of a State Senator or Constitutional Officer for months. This bill was passed as a budget trailer bill instead of going through the normal committee process as a way to protect a current State Senator who had a recall petition certified and signatures submitted to local elections officials.

Double Voting Potential – The Bad

SB 286 (Stern) allows vote-by-mail (VBM) voters to vote a live ballot at a polling place, vote center or satellite voting location without having to surrender their VBM ballot, as specified. Current law requires a VBM voter to surrender his or her VBM ballot at a polling place before being given a live polling place ballot.

Cap and Tax Extension – The Bad

AB 398 (E. Garcia) extends and reconfigures the state’s cap-and-trade program created under the California Global Warming Solutions Act to January 1, 2030. Originally, the Cap and Tax program was set to expire in 2020, but AB 398 extends it for another 10 years and changed the program to allow for significant tax increases to be levied by the Air Resources Board.

Discouraging Pharmaceutical Research – The Bad

SB 17 (Hernandez) requires health plans and insurers that report rate information through the existing large and small group rate review process to also report specified information related to prescription drug pricing to the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) and the California Department of Insurance (DOI), of the 25 most frequently prescribed drugs, the 25 most costly drugs by total annual plan spending, and the 25 drugs with the highest year-over-year increase in total annual plan spending. The legislation fails to require health plans and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from making rebate amounts public.

Making Prescriptions More Expensive – The Bad

AB 265 (Wood) generally prohibits a prescription drug manufacturer from offering discounts on name-brand drugs to California consumers if a generic alternative is available. This flies in the face of reason given that name-brand pharmaceuticals bear the majority of Research and Development costs. Companies generally should be allowed to offer discounts to consumers, but this measure prevents that practice.

Elimination of Arbitration – The Bad

SB 33 (Dodd) effectively bans binding arbitration agreements in private contracts involving any business under the regulatory oversight governed by the Corporations Code. The bill was originally drafted in response to the Wells Fargo controversy where accounts were opened without the knowledge of customers, but this bill goes far beyond the bad-faith actions of Wells Fargo. Trial lawyers were primarily responsible for the drafting of this bill, and SB 33 will force contract disputes to be adjudicated by the courts instead of less-costly arbitration.

Mandatory Leave for Small Business Employees – The Bad

SB 63 (Jackson) mandates that employers with as little as 20 employees provide their employees with up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child. Currently, this law applies to companies with 50 or more employees, but reducing the number to 20 will pose significant impacts to the vast majority of small businesses in California making the state even less attractive for entrepreneurship.

Mandatory Transgender Sensitivity Training – The Bad

SB 396 (Lara) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide training and education regarding harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation to all supervisory employees, and to display a poster regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace. Nobody is in favor of harassment, but this legislation requires specific focus (2 hours of discussion) on transgender issues when training people on sexual harassment. It also forces employers to post another notification sign in a visible space on the business premise.

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For Those of You Keeping Score

Chalkboard with tally scores

Here is a final tally of all the bills from the 2017 legislative year. This list was assembled by Chris Micheli, an attorney and lobbyist at the Sacramento government firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. It was published in the Fox and Hounds daily newsletter.

Bills Signed Into Law by the Governor: 859

Bills Vetoed by the Governor: 118

Bills Allowed to Become Law without the Governor’s Signature: 0

Total Bills Acted Upon: 977

Signing percentage: 88%

Veto percentage: 12%

Of the 859 bills that the Governor signed this year, 567 were Assembly Bills and 292 were Senate Bills.

Of the 567 ABs signed into law, 85% were authored by Democrats and 15% were authored by Republicans.

Of the 292 SBs signed into law, 86% were authored by Democrats and 14% were authored by Republicans.

Of all the bills that the Governor vetoed this year, 84 were Assembly Bills and 34 were Senate Bills.

Of the 84 ABs that were vetoed, 87% were authored by Democrats and 13 % were authored by Republicans.

Of the 34 SBs that were vetoed, 82% were authored by Democrats and 18% were authored by Republicans.

1,733 were introduced by the Assembly in 2017.

37.5% got to the Governor’s Desk with 32.7% getting signed and 4.8% getting vetoed.

817 total bills were introduced by the Senate in 2017.

39.9% got to the Governor’s Desk with 35.7% getting signed and 4.2% getting vetoed.

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Senator Jeff Stone Receives Perfect Score from Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association PAC

Senator Jeff Stone’s today voting record was 100% in alignment with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association in the 2017 legislative session. Senator Stone was one of only 10 legislators out of 120 to achieve such a high mark.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, one of the leading and most prominent taxpayer organizations in California, scored a total of 22 bills in 2017, and Senator Stone voted on the side of taxpayers each and every time he had an opportunity to do so. While 26 legislators received “A” ratings from the organization that was created by the late Howard Jarvis—the author of Proposition 13 that passed in 1978 to limit property tax increases—only 10 received a perfect score.

“It is an honor working with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – an organization that puts the interests of everyday taxpayers ahead of special interests – to fight for lower and fairer taxes here in California,” said Senator Stone.

Stone continued, “Every vote I cast in Sacramento is done with the best interests of my constituents, and I’m proud to associate myself with a non-partisan organization that puts taxpayers first. When legislators hear from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, they know they are hearing from real people who pay real money to fund a government that sadly seems to treat tax dollars like a special-interest piggy bank.”

Read the HJTA report here: https://www.hjta.org/legislation/report-cards/

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Senator Stone receives perfect mark on 2017 California Chamber Vote Record

Cal Chamber: California Chamber of Commerce

Senator Jeff Stone was one of 10 state senators to post a perfect 16-0 mark in the 2017 California Chamber of Commerce Vote Record of Major Bills.

CalChamber released the results of their 43nd annual vote record on November 3rd.

“When the people of the 28th District elected me, I promised to support California businesses and the hard working families that are the backbone of our state’s economy,” said Senator Stone. “I applaud CalChamber, and other groups, that help shine a light on those in Sacramento who truly support the working men and women of California.”

This year, the CalChamber vote record covered 16 votes in the Senate and 15 votes in the Assembly. Most bills in the vote record cover major business issues that are of concern to both small and large companies.

CalChamber publishes its report in response to numerous requests by member firms and local chambers of commerce that requested a gauge by which to measure the performance of their legislators.

100%

In his nearly three years in the State Senate, and before that for more than two decades as a Riverside County Supervisor and a Temecula City Councilman, Senator Stone has never wavered in his support of the business community.

In addition to the CalChamber Vote record, Senator Stone was one of only 10 legislators out of 120 whose voting record was 100% in alignment with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association in the 2017 legislative session.

The HJTA is one of the leading taxpayer organizations in California.

To read more from CalChamber and see its entire voting record, click here: http://advocacy.calchamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Vote-Record-11-03-2017.pdf

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There Ought to be a Law!

There Ought to be a Law!

Deadline to enter is December 5, 2017

Have you ever said to yourself, “There Ought to be a law…”?

Once again in 2017, high school students from Senator Stone’s 28th California Senate District are encouraged to propose legislation that may become law in California.

“There Ought to be a Law” is open to all high school students—grades 9-12—in the 28th Senate District. The contest encourages students to submit ideas for improving the quality of life in Riverside County and the State of California.

“By asking our high school students to propose new laws, I am hoping to tap into their bright, inquisitive minds and also to inspire them to get involved in politics and public service,” said Senator Stone. “In 2016, we had more than 120 entries. I hope to see more this year.”

Roberto Ortega, a senior at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, was the winner of the 2016 competition. His proposed law, Senate Bill 583—the California Financial Literacy Act—would provide young people with the tools they need to handle their finances responsibly.

SB 583 California Financial Literacy Act

Roberto was flown to Sacramento as a guest of Senator Stone where he testified before the Senate Education Committee.

Senator Stone with Roberto Ortega in his Capitol Office

The deadline for students to submit their proposed legislation is December 5, 2017. For more information and an entry form visit: www.Senate.Ca.Gov/Stone.

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Jeff in the District

With the California State legislature adjourned for the year, Senator Stone has been spending his time traveling across the 28th Senate District, meeting with families and farmers, community leaders, school groups and business owners.

Here’s a look at some of the places the Senator has visited recently:

Senator Stone in Veterans Parade

Senator Stone was honored to be part of the 15th annual Murrieta Veterans Day Parade.

Boy Scouts holding American Flag in parade

About 20,000 people lined the streets of Downtown Murrieta for this great salute to our veterans.

Senator Stone presented framed certificates to the 2017 Murrieta Rotary Heroes at the Murrieta Field of Honor Luncheon

Senator Stone presented framed certificates to the 2017 Murrieta Rotary Heroes at the Murrieta Field of Honor Luncheon. These heroes, and so many others, serve our nation and our community in so many ways.

Senator Stone spoke at the Opening Ceremony for the 9th annual Field of Honor

Senator Stone spoke at the Opening Ceremony for the 9th annual Field of Honor presented by the Rotary Club of Murrieta. More than 2,000 American flags flew at Town Square Park in Murrieta honoring military veterans and first responders.

Senator Stone was a guest speaker at the annual fundraiser for the USO located at the Palm Springs Airport

Senator Stone at USO fundraiser

Senator Stone was a guest speaker at the annual fundraiser for the USO located at the Palm Springs Airport. Thanks to this great organization that supports our military men and women.

Senator Stone spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Loma Linda University Medical Center

Senator Stone spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Murrieta. The unit will provide much needed services for newborns across the region.

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Team Stone on the Move

Every month Team Stone travels across Riverside County attending events, meeting with constituents and listening to business owners, local officials and the hard working people of the 28th Senate District.

Here are just a few of the places Senator Stone’s staff visited recently:

Team Stone was honored to be part of Operation Recognition 2017

Team Stone was honored to be part of Operation Recognition 2017. Riverside County veterans of both the Korean and Vietnam War, who joined the military before finishing high school, were awarded their high school diplomas by the Riverside County Office of Education. Communications Director John Hunneman and District Representative Debbie Herrera attended the ceremony and presented framed certificates from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Kaiser Permanente Medical Facility

District Director Glenn Miller spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Kaiser Permanente Medical Facility in Murrieta. The new center brings state-of-the-art treatment and care to residents of South Riverside County. Congratulations from Senator Stone to Kaiser and the City of Murrieta.

Team Stone and the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce helped welcome REACH Air Medical Services to Southwest Riverside County

Team Stone and the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce helped welcome REACH Air Medical Services to Southwest Riverside County. The ribbon cutting took place at French Valley Airport. Communications Director John Hunneman spoke and presented a certificate on behalf of Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Jojo's Pizza

Team Stone joined with the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Jojo’s Pizza on Canyon Hills Road. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone joined with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce to welcome new members to the La Quinta Art Association

Team Stone joined with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce to welcome new members to the La Quinta Art Association. District Representative Monica Idnani represented Senator Stone.

Team Stone helped celebrate the completion of the remodel of the Farmer Boys restaurant

Team Stone and the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce helped celebrate the completion of the remodel of the Farmer Boys restaurant on Winchester Road in Temecula. Communications Director John Hunneman presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at at the annual Sun City Shadow Hills Veterans Club's Veterans Day Celebration

District Director Glenn Miller was honored to speak at the annual Sun City Shadow Hills Veterans Club “Veterans Day Celebration”. Thank you for your service to our great nation.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Chill Bar

Team Stone joined with the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Chill Bar in Palm Springs. District Representative Monica Idnani presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone attended the 1st Annual Business Forum: Latino Business Community

Team Stone attended the 1st Annual Business Forum: Latino Business Community. The forum showcased Spanish small business programs and services offered in the Coachella Valley through Get in Motion Entrepreneurs. District Representative Consuelo Arias represented Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Sonya Health Mart

Team Stone joined with the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Sonya Health Mart & Chiropractic on Los Alamos Road. District Representative Debbie Herrera presented a certificate from Senator Stone.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Thrivent Financial

District Director Glenn Miller and District Representative Debbie Herrera represented Senator Stone when the Temecula Valley and Murrieta chambers of commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Thrivent Financial located on Better World Circle in Temecula.

Team Stone speaking to so many wonderful people at the Mecca Family Resource Fair

District Representatives Josie Arechiga and Consuelo Arias had a great time speaking to so many wonderful people at the Mecca Family Resource Fair.

Team Stone table at Peltzer Farm Winery during the Temecula Chamber of Commerce Ultimate Business Mixer and Expo

Thanks to all who came by Senator Stone’s table at Peltzer Farm Winery during the Temecula Chamber of Commerce Ultimate Business Mixer & Expo. It was great to see so many members of the business community.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting for Temecula Valley Taxes

On Halloween Team Stone teamed up with the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the ribbon cutting for Temecula Valley Taxes on Jefferson Avenue in Temecula.

Team Stone at the ribbon cutting ceremony for CityByApp

Communications Director John Hunneman represented Senator Stone at the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony for CityByApp. Thanks for all the good work this business does by supporting veterans in our community.

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