Biography

Septic Tanks Press ConferenceAfter four years of service in the State Assembly and four years of service in the State Senate, in 2014 Senator Anderson was re-elected to represent San Diego county for a second term in the Senate.

When first elected to the Assembly, he promised his constituents, "I am not going to Sacramento to be a potted plant." True to his word, Senator Anderson authored a landmark piece of legislation in his first year.

Assembly Bill 221 required the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System to divest from companies that violated federal law by doing business in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This legislation called for the divestment of over $24 billion of our public pensions from the Islamic Republic of Iran - the top exporter of terrorism throughout the world.

Anderson and the Governer

The bill sparked a national movement which led 28 other states and the United States Congress to introduce similar laws. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced to the world that he would sign AB 221 on the floor of the United Nations during his speech to the General Assembly.

AB 221 garnered national and international media coverage in over 300 articles in 13 countries. Media coverage included Time Magazine, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto," BBC, Bloomberg, The National Review, Le Monde (France), and The Jerusalem Post (Israel).

To keep our roads safe, Senator Anderson authored legislation that same year to make San Diego’s Regional Transportation Management Center a 24/7 operation.

In recognition of the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military in protecting our freedoms, Senator Anderson passed Assembly Bill 257 into law, which granted free state park passes to disabled veterans and recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Senator Anderson was also recognized with the 2007 "San Diego Psychiatric Society Legislative Award" for his "interest in, sensitivity to, and knowledge of mental health issues."

"(AB 221, authored by Assemblyman Anderson) sends a strong message that we as a country will not tolerate anyone assisting or profiting off a country that is actively plotting our deaths... I wish there were more people like you. Thank you, sir, for getting it." – Glenn Beck, “The Glen Beck Show”

Senator Anderson’s success in 2007 led national talk radio host, Roger Hedgecock, to call him, "the greatest freshman Assemblyman from San Diego ever."

In 2008, Senator Anderson joined forces with the state's sheriffs and district attorneys to curb the rampant crime of metal theft. For his dedication, these groups named Senator Anderson their “Legislator of the Year.”

His efforts on a wide array of issues were recognized by groups who identified Senator Anderson as a champion for their cause. For his efforts to protect the Second Amendment, Senator Anderson was named the "2008 California Rifle & Pistol Association Legislator of the Year." He also fought hard to keep public land open for public use during his first term which earned him the "2008 California League of Off-Road Voters Legislator of the Year Award."

As one of their most successful alums in recent memory, Senator Anderson was awarded the "2008 Young Republican Federation of California's Legislator of the Year Award" for his tremendous record of success during his first term in the Legislature.

In 2009, Senator Anderson focused on fixing the state's economy and bringing jobs back to our great state. Many California businesses began leaving as the state started issuing IOUs. Senator Anderson responded by authoring Assembly Bill 1506, which was designed to protect taxpayers from the state's "forced-borrowing" by requiring the state to accept its own IOUs for payment of state taxes and fees.

AB 1506 had 74 bi-partisan co-authors and received over 3,000 letters of support from taxpayers, labor unions, small businesses, and elected officials, including State Controller John Chiang.

SB 797 Press Conference

Senator Anderson’s efforts to protect small businesses and taxpayers earned him the "2009 Lakeside Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year Award" and the "2009 Pacific Water Quality Association's Legislator of the Year Award."

In recognition of his efforts on behalf of veterans and their families, the California Branch of the American Legion named Senator Anderson as their “Legislator of the Year” in 2010.

After being sworn in as the State Senator from California’s thirty-sixth Senate District, representing over 1,000,000 constituents, Senator Anderson affirmed his commitment to make government work for those he represents. In 2011, for his efforts to protect small businesses during the great recession, Senator Anderson was named the “California State Senate Legislator of the Year” by the California Small Business Association and California Small Business Roundtable.

In 2012, as Vice-Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, Senator Anderson continued his work to protect crime victims by authoring Senate Bill 1371, which passed both the Senate and Assembly unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Brown.  SB 1371 closed a loophole in existing law that allowed convicted criminals to avoid restitution to the victims of their crimes.

Anderson was recognized by American Veterans (AMVETS) with their Legislator of the Year award for his work toward improving veterans’ lives in California.

“Joel has shown that he understands the challenges that small business owners on California face – we are proud that he has a 100% voting record with us and look forward to working with him in the future,” said John Kabateck, California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

In the following year, Senator Anderson passed another important measure that preserved California’s commitment to the brave men and women who have served our country. Senate Bill 725 ensured that veterans organizations would not unfairly lose their right to return to halls and buildings dedicated for their use when temporarily displaced for repairs and renovations.

Senator Anderson received the Thomas Paine award from the San Diego Republican Liberty Caucus in 2014 for his efforts to expel three senators indicted or convicted of felonies, including perjury, gun running, and bribery. He strongly opposed changes to the constitution that would ultimately perpetuate the culture of corruption, deny Californians their voice in the Capitol, and stifle minority viewpoints.

When the news of terrible violence and persecution perpetrated by  the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against Iraqi religious minorities broke in 2014, Senator Anderson quickly introduced Senate Joint Resolution 17. The measure urged President Barack Obama’s administration to expedite visa processing for Iraq’s minority groups and lift the refugee quota cap for Iraqi-Christians in order to streamline the process of accepting them into the United States as refugees.

Anderson Caucus

That same year he was a joint author with Senator Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) on the successful Senate Bill 828, which used the Tenth Amendment to enforce the Fourth amendment, and protected the privacy of law-abiding Californians by prohibiting the state from providing electronically stored information or metadata to the Federal Government without due process.

In 2014, Senator Anderson was re-elected to the California State Senate, representing Senate district thirty-eight.

WIRED magazine called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (SB 178), which he joint-authored with Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), “the Nation’s best digital privacy law.” SB 178 was signed by Governor Brown in 2015. Prior to its passage, a person’s cell phone meta data, location information, text messages, e-mails and phone calls could be accessed without a warrant.

For Anderson’s strong defense of internet and digital privacy and his efforts on Assembly Bill 691 (The Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices Act) with Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), Anderson made NetChoice’s iAwesome list in 2015. The PEAC Act sought to protect the internet and digital privacy rights of California citizens after death in order to ensure that estate managers and other parties do not gain access to information that they were not explicitly given access to by the deceased.

Steve DelBianco, Executive Director of NetChoice, stated, "Senator Anderson was the first California lawmaker to take a stand for protecting the privacy of our online accounts after we die. It’s yet another example of Senator Anderson’s legacy of leadership on high-tech policy issues.”

Three more prestigious veterans’ advocacy groups recognized Anderson in 2015 for his unwavering dedication to those who have fought to protect our freedoms. The California State Commanders Veterans Council, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of California, and the Vietnam Veterans of America – California State Council and the all bestowed upon him their “Legislator of the Year” awards.

Never straying from the principles he was elected to uphold, a Sacramento Bee study identified Senator Anderson as the third most independent legislator based on his voting record, and he earned 100% ratings from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Taxpayers’ Association.

In 2015, Senator Anderson hosted 7th annual Legislative Open House where over 4,000 attended to share their ideas to improve state government.

Senator Anderson is proud to serve as the Vice Chair of both the Public Safety Committee and the Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments and as a member of the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review and the Committee on Judiciary.

While Senator Anderson’s accomplishments are many, the most important role in his life is that of being a husband to his wife Kate of 27 years, and a father to their three children - Mary, Maura and Michael.