Press Releases

October 8, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed into law Senate Bill 394 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 394 is aimed at keeping children with their parents when a parent or guardian is charged with a nonserious, nonviolent crime by allowing counties to create a pretrial caregiver diversion program. Such a program would allow a primary caregiver of a dependent child to enter alternative supervision and avoid incarceration — if both the judge and the prosecutor agrees.

“SB 394 is a commonsense reform,” Skinner said. “When incarceration separates a child from their parent, the outcomes for the child are rarely good. Kids often end up in foster care, with the absence of strong family ties impacting children’s physical, emotional, and psychological health. SB 394 will improve kids’ lives.”

October 8, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed into law Senate Bill 310, also known as “The Right to a Jury of Your Peers,” by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 310 allows people with a prior felony conviction to serve on juries in California for the first time. It will also help ensure that the fundamental right to a jury of your peers applies to all defendants.

“It’s easy to take for granted the notion of a jury of your peers, but in reality, if you’re Black and a man, it’s almost impossible. Why? Existing law excludes 30% of California’s Black male residents from ever serving on a jury,” Skinner said. “SB 310 rights that wrong by giving those with a former felony conviction the ability to be at the heart of a fair and impartial judicial process.”

September 30, 2019

In a historic moment for college athletes, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 206, the Fair Pay to Play Act, by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Sen. Steve Bradford, D-Gardena. SB 206 makes California the first state to restore to student athletes a right everyone else has: the right to earn money from their name, image, and likeness.

The new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Newsom signed SB 206 on Sept. 27 in Los Angeles, during a taping of LeBron James’ HBO show, “The Shop.” James has been a vocal advocate against the exploitation of student athletes, and his support of SB 206 brought international attention to California’s effort.

“For decades, college sports has generated billions for all involved except the very people most responsible for creating the wealth. That’s wrong.” Skinner said. “With SB 206, a student athlete like Katelyn Ohashi will no longer be the only person on the planet denied the right to monetize 60 million YouTube followers.”

September 20, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed into law Senate Bill 44, “Ditching Dirty Diesel,” by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 44 will help California move away from pollution-spewing, petroleum-diesel trucks and accelerate the transition to zero emission fuels and technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

 “Tailpipe pollution from petroleum diesel is bad for our health. That’s especially true for West Oakland and Richmond neighborhoods near ports and trucking routes where childhood asthma rates are far higher than neighborhoods just half a mile away,” Skinner said. “SB 44 will clean up our air and protect families and children.”

 SB 44 won approval in the state Assembly on a 63-12 vote, and the state Senate gave its final OK to the bill on a 30-9 vote. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

September 12, 2019

The California Legislature has approved SB 337, “The Child Support Reform Act,” by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 337 will help low-income families by ensuring that more child support payments go to kids and less is taken by the state. The bill increases the amount of the child support payment that is passed through to custodial parents from $50 to $100 for families with one child and to $200 a month for those with two or more kids.

“California takes the lion’s share of support payments that rightfully belong to families and kids. SB 337 helps right that wrong by ensuring that more money is directed to the children, rather than to the state,” Skinner said.

September 12, 2019

The California Legislature has approved Senate Bill 42, also known as the Getting Home Safe Act, by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 42 is designed to end the dangerous practice of county jails releasing people in the middle of the night.  

SB 42 was inspired by the tragic case of Jessica St. Louis, who died July 28, 2018 after she was released from Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail at 1:30 a.m.

September 11, 2019

The California Legislature has approved SB 44, “Ditching Dirty Diesel,” by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 44 is designed to incentivize the move away from pollution-belching, petroleum-diesel trucks and speed the transition to zero emission fuels and technologies for medium and heavy duty vehicles.

“Families and children living near ports and trucking routes, like many neighborhoods in West Oakland and Richmond, are especially harmed by diesel emissions,” Skinner said. “Air pollution particularly associated with diesel emissions increases the risks for asthma, especially for kids, and childhood asthma rates in Richmond and West Oakland are far higher than in other parts of California.”

September 11, 2019

The California Legislature today approved Senate Bill 310, also known as “The Right to a Jury of Your Peers,” by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 310 allows people with a prior felony conviction to serve on juries in California for the first time.

“SB 310 will ensure that Californians can be tried by a true jury of their peers,” Sen. Skinner said. “Currently, 30% of African-American men living in California are denied the basic civil right to serve on a jury. SB 310 will right that wrong.”

September 11, 2019

The California Legislature today approved SB 206, the Fair Pay to Play Act, by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 206 will give California student athletes the right to their name, image, and likeness, allowing them to earn money from sponsorships, endorsements, and other activities related to their hard work and talent — a right that all other students and California residents have.

“California is loud and clear: Our student athletes will no longer be denied the right to their name, image, and likeness,” Sen. Skinner said. “SB 206 brings an end to the exploitation of student athletes by the multibillion-dollar college sports industry, which generates wealth for all involved except the students. SB 206 doesn’t force colleges to pay; it simply opens the door for athletes to earn money just like any other student, whether it’s monetizing YouTube videos, teaching swim lessons, or accepting sponsorships.”

September 9, 2019

Gov. Newsom today signed Senate Bill 419 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 419 is designed to keep kids in school by eliminating willful defiance suspensions in grades 4-5 and banning them in grades 6-8 for five years. The new law applies to both traditional public schools and charter schools.  

“SB 419 puts the needs of kids first,” Sen. Skinner said. “Ending willful defiance suspensions will keep kids in school where they belong and where teachers and counselors can help them thrive.”

SB 419 received bipartisan support in the California Legislature, winning approval in the state Senate on a 31-8 vote, and garnering a 58-17 vote in the state Assembly. It takes effect on July 1, 2020.