The legislature recently concluded one of the most productive years in recent memory. We continued California's global leadership on climate change, made a record investment in K-12 education, expanded access to the University of California and the California State Universities, invested in housing the homeless, increased the minimum wage, and strengthened services for the developmentally disabled community. Problems viewing this E-mail? Please click here.
Senator Ben Allen

Dear Friend,

The legislature recently concluded one of the most productive years in recent memory. We continued California's global leadership on climate change, made a record investment in K-12 education, expanded access to the University of California and the California State Universities, invested in housing the homeless, increased the minimum wage, and strengthened services for the developmentally disabled community. Thanks to a strong economy, we enacted another on-time, balanced state budget.

In this edition of my newsletter, I'll cover some of the recent highlights from the state Capitol, including an inspiring visit from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and provide an update on my work in Sacramento and in the district. Thank you for taking the time to read it!

Senator Ben Allen
Senator, 26th District
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Arts in Education

Environmental Caucus

Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

Woman of the Year

Outstanding Students

Dalai Lama's Visit

Lifesaving Law


Stay Connected

Upcoming Events

Photo Album

Arts in Education

Annette Bening testifies SB 916 press conference (Jan. 27)

Growing up on the Westside, I was fortunate to live in a community that values the arts and understands the positive influence they can have on young people. In fact, students actively involved with the arts are more likely to do well on tests, less likely to drop out, and more engaged in school.

Now, as chair of the legislature's Joint Committee on the Arts, I authored legislation recently signed into law that will strengthen arts education in our schools. While California is the arts and entertainment capital of the world, we're one of only two states that does not authorize teaching credentials in theatre or dance. My legislation, the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!), will correct this problem by establishing teaching credentials for theatre and for dance.

Speaking in support of the bill at a legislative hearing, four-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Annette Bening said, "I think it's the right thing; it serves students, it dignifies our teachers, and it will uplift our community." You can watch a video of her remarks here.

On Sunday, December 11, there will be a community dance event to celebrate passage of this law. All are welcome to come out and join the fun! See below for details under Upcoming Events.

Environmental Caucus

Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

Santa Monica Mountains

I was recently named co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus, which is a forum for like-minded legislators to discuss and plan a pro-active policy agenda for the environment. The Environmental Caucus will be the front line of defense against anticipated federal rollbacks of key environmental laws in the coming year, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, coastal protections, the Endangered Species Act and others.

The Caucus is fiercely committed to maintaining our state's national and global leadership on climate change and the environment. We will take whatever actions we can to fight federal policies that undercut these policies.

Underground gas press conference.

Just over a year ago, the worst methane gas leak in U.S. history happened in Aliso Canyon in the northwest San Fernando Valley. At its peak, the leak caused pollution equivalent to the daily emissions of seven million cars, or six coal-fired power plants.

This disastrous leak showed us that stronger regulations are needed on underground gas storage facilities throughout the state, including one located beneath Playa del Rey. I've coauthored legislation that will require annual inspections, continuous monitoring, and the development of emergency response plans for these types of gas storage facilities. I also authored a measure that will improve the state's response to future leaks, and ensure the cost of mitigating the damage is borne by the responsible company, not charged to utility ratepayers. I sat down with Brad Pomerance of California Charter Edition to talk about these bills which were recently signed into law by the governor. You can watch the interview here.

Woman of the Year

Amy Ziering Amy Ziering and Senator Allen

Each year in honor of Women's History Month, I select an inspiring woman from the 26th Senate District as Woman of the Year. This year I chose Amy Ziering, a two-time Emmy Award winner and Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker. Her most recent film, The Hunting Ground, is a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on college campuses. Her previous film, The Invisible War, was a groundbreaking investigation into the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military. The film spurred significant policy changes and catalyzed the passage of 35 pieces of reform legislation in Congress. She is the producer of several other socially impactful films, and a recipient of numerous, prestigious awards for filmmaking.

Outstanding Students

Carlos Bustos Kelly Blake

We are fortunate to have many impressive young people living in our community. I am pleased to highlight the accomplishments of several outstanding students:

  • Miriam Sachs of Mira Costa High School was the Los Angeles County winner of the California Arts Council's Poetry Out Loud competition.
  • Amber Carrington of El Segundo High School was a winner of the 2016 LegiSchool Essay Contest for her essay on the importance of voter participation and civic engagement.
  • Kelly Blake of Loyola High School won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Scholar award for excelling in sports and academics.
  • Carlos Bustos of Santa Monica High received a rare perfect score on the Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish exam.

Dalai Lama Visit

Dalai Lama in Capitol Dalai Lama in Capitol

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet gave an inspiring address to the California legislature earlier this year. You can watch a video of his remarks here.

Lifesaving Law

It's not often in our daily work that we are fortunate enough to be a part of something that truly saves lives. I was pleased to be a part of such an effort earlier this year when I authored a new law that will help critically ill people in need of an organ transplant. Tragically, 22 people die every day while waiting for an organ donation. Recent medical breakthroughs have proven it safe for HIV-positive persons to donate an organ to other HIV-positive persons, yet they were still prohibited from doing so under state law. I authored Senate Bill 1408 which decriminalized these transplants between HIV-positive persons, saving lives and reducing the wait time on the organ donation list for all patients. The bill received unanimous, bipartisan support in the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.


March of Dimes award

It is an honor to serve the 26th Senate District and participate in governing our great state. The work is its own reward, which is why I was surprised and humbled to be named Legislator of the Year by the Alzheimer's Association; the Freshman Legislator of the Year by the California School Boards Association; and a Legislative Champion by the March of Dimes. I look forward to continuing to work with these great organizations to advance meaningful public policy in the future.

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

In an effort to increase transparency and public participation in government, all state Senate committee hearings and floor sessions can be watched live online. To receive notifications of key hearings and votes, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Upcoming Events

Senator Ben Allen's Holiday Open House and Toy Drive

Senator Ben Allen's Holiday Open House and Toy Drive

Saturday, December 10, 2016
12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
2512 Artesia Blvd., Ste. 320
Redondo Beach, CA

Stop by for light refreshments and to hear about upcoming legislative issues.

Bring an unwrapped toy for a needy child (donations not required to attend.) For toy drop-off locations in the community, go here.


Free and open to the public.

TADA! Community Celebration

TADA! Community Celebration

Sunday, December 11, 2016
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA

Come out to celebrate the enactment of the Theatre and Dance Act (TADA!) at a community dance celebration. California leaders in arts education will make a brief presentation about the new law, and participate in Dance Sundays, a free fun and energetic outdoor dance class for all ages.

For more information, go to

Photo Album

Backbone Trail opening. I grew up hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. With the newly completed Backbone Trail, we can now hike the entire 67 miles between Will Rogers State Park and Point Mugu State Park.

4th of July Parade in Pacific Palisades.

A giant inflatable turtle outside the state Capitol drew attention to my legislation to phase out the use of drift gillnets that harm endangered sea turtles and other sea life.

The long-awaited Expo Line extension to Santa Monica is open for business. What a great addition to our public transportation system!

Team Allen pitches in at the annual Ballona Creek Cleanup.

Reuniting with my childhood tennis teacher and director of Santa Monica's Dudley Cup, Bill Nissley, at the 100th anniversary of the Dudley Cup Tennis Tournament.

The nonprofit organization Safe Place for Youth provides lifesaving services to homeless young people on the Westside. Bari Goldojarb, Director of Programs for the group, accepted a Senate Resolution commending their work.

Community leader Dr. Irving Lebovics visited the state Senate in Sacramento.

Proud to march in the annual PRIDE Parade in West Hollywood.

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Actor's Gang, an organization co-founded by actor Tim Robbins, which provides theatre workshops in prisons that help reduce violence and recidivism among inmates.

California State Senator Ben Allen - District 26
Contact: Senator Ben Allen
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5072
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4026
Fax: (916) 651-4926
District Office
2512 Artesia Blvd., #320
Redondo Beach, CA 90278-3279
Phone: (310) 318-6994
Fax: (310) 318-6733 

California State Senate Majority Caucus (c) 2017 California State Senate