Making a Difference
With action on housing, transportation, climate protection and more, it was gratifying to wrap up my first year in the State Senate with a legislative session that the Sacramento Bee characterized as accomplishing "thoughtful work ... that will affect Californians' lives."
In this year, where each day I've had to summon strength as I hear the news from Washington, it was a true privilege to be a member of the California Legislature.
I hope you agree that California lawmakers responded to your calls to action. We embraced our diversity, stood up to hate, and fought to strengthen opportunity for all. Here are some highlights:
Local streets, our bus and BART systems, bikeways, highways and infrastructure up and down the state will receive a massive and long overdue investment. Learn more here.
Significant bills on housing include: SB 2 which provides permanent funding for affordable housing and SB 3 a $4B housing bond for the June 2018 ballot. My bills SB 166 and SB 167, as well as Sen. Wiener's SB 35, tackle obstacles that keep needed housing from being built.
By extending Cap and Trade, the tool California uses to put a price on GHG emissions, we have funding to begin ditching dirty diesel. Trucks, buses, port equipment and more that damage lungs and pollute our air will be retrofitted/replaced with priority given to neighborhoods with the worst air pollution.
Major progress on restoring justice was accomplished with bills that now eliminate life sentences for youthful crimes, end sentence enhancements for drug crimes, and stop charging families for their children's imprisonment. One such success was my bill SB 312, which provides a pathway for youth convicted of serious crimes to have their record sealed, a right denied when Prop 21 passed in 2000.
While the White House repeals DACA and spews hateful messages, California is resisting. Among the actions taken this year: SB 54 so our law enforcement resources stay focused on protecting, not harming, our communities; multiple bills that limit colleges, government agencies and workplaces from releasing immigrants' personal information; AB 291 that prevents landlords from using immigration status against tenants; and providing over $100 million in legal assistance for DACA recipients, immigrants facing deportation, and more.
We passed tools to help women achieve pay equity; provided 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave for employees of small businesses; strengthened Title IX standards to offset federal weakening of sexual harassment and sexual violence regulations; and passed SB 179 to put a third gender marker on drivers licenses & birth certificates for transgender, intersex and others who do not identify as male or female.
State Senator, Senate District 9