Sen. Nancy Skinner Applauds Gov. Newsom’s Budget Proposal and Plan to Close a State Prison

January 13, 2020

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, issued the following statement today on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 budget proposal:

“Gov. Newsom has issued a thoughtful and powerful 2020-21 budget, one that delivers on our homeless and housing crisis, increases funding for wildfire and disaster response and preparedness, and tackles costly prescription drugs and our teen vaping epidemic, while still saving significantly for a future downturn.

“As chair of the Senate’s Public Safety committees, I particularly welcome the governor’s plan to close a state prison and to shutter privately run prisons. I look forward to working with his team to help bring the era of mass incarceration to an end and to enact further reforms to our prison system.

“I’m pleased that funding for rental assistance to Californians facing eviction and homelessness gets a big boost. Gov. Newsom is right: ‘Homelessness is the issue that defines our times.’ The most effective way to help people avoid homelessness is to keep them in their homes. The governor’s budget includes rental assistance as part of $750 million in funding to establish the California Access to Housing and Services Fund. I’m heartened to see that Gov. Newsom has fully embraced the rental assistance plan I proposed last year as Senate Bill 18, Keep Californians Housed.

“Teen vaping is a California public health crisis, wiping out the reductions in youth tobacco use that were hard fought for over the past 20 years. Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal to tax vaping devices based on nicotine content is a brilliant and necessary measure that I strongly support.

“On the education of our children, the governor is thinking big. His budget expands access to child care, preschool, and full-day kindergarten, helping California move closer toward universal preschool. To help recruit and retain our K-12 teachers, there is funding for recruitment, training, and an extra $20,000 stipend for those teachers working at our highest need schools. And our children will benefit from healthier school meals with a big increase in the amount the state pays per meal, as well as providing grants for farm-to-school meal programs.

“Recognizing the ongoing threat of wildfires, power outages, and other disasters, the governor is proposing nearly $1 billion to strengthen emergency response and prevention capabilities, including additional firefighters and emergency personnel, and to make homes more fire and disaster resistant.

“Taking on the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs, Gov. Newsom has proposed that California be the first state to establish our own generic drug program, making prescription drugs under that program available to all Californians.

“And I applaud Gov. Newsom’s decision to implement my legislation from last year, SB 337, through his budget proposal, in order to help low-income parents and caregivers. Under the governor’s plan, starting in 2022, child support payments passed through to CalWORKs families will increase from $50 to $100 to those with one child and from $100 to $200 for families with two or more kids. This reform will result in an estimated $34 million in extra funds each year for California’s poorest families.”


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th District and is the Senate Majority Whip. She is also chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and Public Safety Budget Committee.