Grants unemployment benefits for workers during first 3 weeks of a strike
Lead Author: Lorena Gonzalez
Summary: Corporations have vastly more resources than individual workers, and often leverage those resources during a strike to “starve out” a workforce — negotiating slowly as workers worry their bank accounts will run dry. AB1066 grants workers an opportunity to collect unemployment benefits for the first three weeks of a strike, lending essential support to the bargaining power of labor. This bill failed by 2 votes in the Senate.
Creates comprehensive plan to reduce waste by single-use packaging
Lead Authors: Lorena Gonzalez, Friedman, Calderon, Ting
Summary: This decade will bring a 40% increase in plastic production and many cash-strapped governments are starting to send their plastics to landfills instead of recycling centers. California needs to lead on limiting plastic pollution. AB1080 would have required all single-use plastic packaging be reduced or recycled by 75% by 2030 while also requiring all single-use packaging to be recyclable or compostable after that point. It was not given a floor vote in the Senate.
Establishes civilian oversight of county sheriff departments
Lead Author: McCarty
Summary: A 1994 court ruling established the right of counties to oversee Sheriff Departments. Across California, however, many overzealous Sheriffs continue to resist this essential check on their power — including a Sacramento Sheriff who blocked an Inspector General from coming to work after a reckless shooting performed by his office. AB1185 would codify the court ruling and affirm the right of counties to create oversight boards. It was not given a floor vote in the Senate.
Bans (for 3 yrs) biometric surveillance and facial recognition from use in police body cameras
Lead Author: Ting
Summary: Facial recognition technology is a nascent technology, both invasive and prone to systematic errors when used on women and people of color. As privacy concerns grow around personal privacy and our increasing surveillance state, AB1215 prohibits police departments across the state from using this harmful technology until 2023. This bill passed and has been signed into law.
Encourages affordable housing production in “high-resource” areas that show patterns of exclusion
Lead Author: Bloom
Summary: A widespread lack of affordable housing is the most pressing issue facing California today. AB1279 would identify “high-resource” areas that show patterns of exclusion, encourage the production of affordable housing there — and prevent displacement where cheaper housing exists. It would force certain areas to accommodate people in desperate need of housing. It has yet to be considered by the Senate.
Strengthens emissions reporting requirements and transparency on environmental impact of abandoned wells
Lead Author: Holden
Summary: Over 30,000 abandoned or idle oil and gas wells are scattered across California, and in many cases, nearby highly residential areas. A recent Los Angeles County report found many wells capable of leaking toxic chemicals, putting people and wildlife at risk. AB1328 requires two state agencies to study defunct wells to determine if greenhouse gases, volatile compounds, toxic contaminants and other pollutants are escaping into the air. This bill passed and has been signed into law.
Shortens length of probationary period for unclassified employees from 1 year to 6 months
Lead Author: Wicks
Summary: School districts that use a merit-based classification for employee hiring currently allow new hires to be considered probationary for a period of up to 1-year. AB1353 limits the time unclassified employees can spend in this period to 6-months or 130 days of paid service, streamlining hiring processes and preventing abuses. This bill passed and has been signed into law.
Strengthens food safety training requirements and mandates employer-provided insurance for delivery drivers
Lead Author: Ting
Summary: One devastating component of what we call the gig economy — from driving to task apps — has been the lack of critical training and oversight apps like Uber and DoorDash provide their employees. AB1360 mandates that third-party food delivery platforms require employees to take food safety training and carry insurance for these drivers, protecting consumers, as well as the low-wage employees who do the work. This bill did not receive a floor vote in the Senate.
Eliminates critical oversight of telecom companies
Authors: Daly, Obernolte
Summary: In 2012, the legislature eliminated the authority of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – thinking that an unregulated market would produce more affordable, widely available broadband. It didn’t happen. Instead, as is most common, the lack of regulation created monopolistic conditions – and expensive, slow internet speeds throughout the state. Corporate providers like AT&T and Comcast would have loved to see such conditions continue, and tried to extend them via passage of AB1366. Internet and technology issues are complicated and, for a time, this complication obscuring these truly damning effects of the bill. Eventually, though, everyday people’s voices won out and the bill was pulled after wide protest.
Doubles fees paid by manufacturers of lead-acid batteries toward cleanup costs at contaminated sites
Lead Author: C. Garcia
Industrial toxic emissions put Californians’ lives at risk, and can go overlooked as a dangerous component that jeopardizes our environmental health. AB142 extends the battery recycling fee, forcing manufacturers to pay the same fee consumers pay. Additionally, AB142 clarifies certain provisions of the state’s battery recycling program aimed at stability and effectiveness. This bill passed and has been signed into law.
Forces landlords to provide 'just cause' and opportunity to remedy before evicting tenants
Lead Authors: Grayson, Bonta
Summary: AB1481 would have forced landlords to provide “just cause” before evicting tenants. This bill was dropped, but had its key provisions folded into AB1482.
Caps rent increase at 5% in 12-month period, and forces landlords to present 'just cause' before evicting
Lead Authors: Chiu, Bloom, Bonta, Grayson, Wicks
Summary: The systemic lack of affordable housing in California grants landlords extraordinary power to gauge renters. Limiting rent increases creates stability, helps vulnerable Californians plan for their future and balances the playing field between renters and landlords. AB1482 will cap rent increases at 5% over 12-month periods, as well as force landlords to show “just cause” before evicting. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Creates Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, to raise and distribute affordable housing funds
Lead Author: Chiu
Summary: Affordable housing is a priority concern all across our state, and no region has a bigger housing problem than the Bay Area. AB1487 creates the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, which will raise and distribute funds for affordable housing and tenant protection. Unlike previous attempts at similar relief, the BAHFA will assess and meet challenges on a region, not just municipality level. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Empowers local districts to evaluate charter school applications based on economic impact criteria
Lead Authors: O’Donnell, Bonta, McCarty, Smith
Summary: California has over a 1300 charter schools, many of which siphon resources from public education, disproportionately harming low-income families and accelerating the wealth gap. AB1505 would give local districts more power to evaluate charter applications based on the charter’s projected fiscal impact on the district as well as a potential school’s redundancy with other nearby charters. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Grants local districts more leeway in evaluating charter school applications
Lead Authors: Smith, McCarty, O’Donnell
Summary: Due to a loophole in California law, school districts have been allowed to authorize charter schools not within their geographic boundaries — often leading to charters popping up within geographic districts that expressly oppose them. AB1507 closes this strange loophole, and was passed and signed into law.
Expedites the process to obtain police misconduct records in a criminal trial
Lead Author: Kalra
Summary: A defendant facing trial should have every opportunity to know if an officer involved in their case has any instances of documented police misconduct. AB1600 helps to expedite this process by shortening the notice requirement from 16 days to 10 days after the defendant has filed a motion to obtain these records. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Requires insurance providers to charge same out-of-pocket costs for emergency care whether in plan or not
Lead Author: Chiu
Summary: The practice of “balance billing” — forcing patients to pay surprise costs after they are treated, usually in an ER, by doctors who happen to be out of network — is yet another example of our broken healthcare system. AB1611 strikes down this practice, requiring providers charge the same out-of-pocket costs for emergency care whether the doctors who treated a patient are in the patient’s plan or not. This bill has yet to be considered by the Senate.
Requires immigration advisers to be lawyers or federally licensed consultants
Lead Author: Carrillo
Summary: In 2018, complaints about unscrupulous immigration services jumped by 90% in Los Angeles County — totaling over four million dollars of extortion. Immigrants are prime targets for fraud due to language or resource barriers that may increase their challenges in pursuing relief. AB1753 would allow only federally accredited non-profits and licensed attorneys to provide fee-based immigration services. This bill was not given a floor vote in the Senate.
Prevents dialysis companies from steering patients from medi-cal to boost corporate profits
Lead Author: Wood
Summary: The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is primarily funded by the two largest dialysis providers in the US — DaVita and Fresenius. AKF steers dialysis patients from Medi-Cal and toward private insurance, where the reimbursement rates they receive are much higher. This practice has helped enable these two companies to make profits exceeding four billion dollars since 2017. AB290 stops this heinous, price-gouging practice and will benefit both patients and taxpayers. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Makes ethnic studies a requirement for all public and charter high schools
Lead Authors: Medina, Bloom, Bonta, Lorena Gonzalez, Ramos, Weber
Summary: Ethnic studies is a multidisciplinary field which includes economics, history, literature, sociology and political science. It offers a comparative study of various ethnic groups. California is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and this curriculum is an essential part of building understanding and empathy. AB331 would require ethnic studies be part of the curriculum as a graduation requirement at public and charter high schools. This bill did not receive a floor vote in the Senate.
Allows state to contract safe-injection site operators in the Bay Area
Lead Author: Eggman
Summary: Safe-injection sites offer protected space and clean supplies for people to use drugs with assistance from trained medical staff. Far from enabling drug use, safe-injection sites have played a role in reducing overdose mentality and improving public health in Canada. AB362 would allow California to establish contracts with safe-injection site operators in the Bay Area. It has yet to be considered by the Senate.
Protects student loan borrowers from unscrupulous practices and strengthens loan provider oversight
Lead Author: Mark Stone
Summary: Under the Trump Administration, the federal government has dramatically stepped back from its duty to protect education consumers — students — from unscrupulous practices. In 2018, the CFPB even shuttered the office investigating student loan abuses and fraud. AB376 will protect students by ending abusive practices, creating new rules for loan providers, creating special protections for vulnerable borrowers and increasing transparency from the loan industry. This bill did not receive a floor vote in the Senate.
Guarantees collective bargaining power to early child care providers for state-subsidized families
Lead Authors: Limón, Lorena Gonzalez
Summary: Early childcare providers play critical roles in educational and emotional development of countless California children. Despite their vital role, many childcare providers are underpaid, on the cusp of poverty, and lack the power to collectively bargain. AB378 guarantees this right to early childcare providers for families receiving state subsidies to support childcare. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Lengthens statute of limitations for filing workplace retaliation claims from 6 months to 3 years
Lead Author: Kalra
Summary: Workplace retaliation claims — where an employer takes adverse action against an employee as retaliation for exercising their rights under the Labor Code — increased by 22% in 2016, and immigration-specific retaliation claims increased by 90% in 2017. Immigrant workers are often afraid or unable to quickly come forward with a claim for a number of reasons. AB403 lengthens the statute of limitations for filing a claim from 6 months to 3 years. It passed, but was vetoed by the Governor.
Prohibits the state from charging inmates an administrative fee for a medical visit
Lead Authors: Mark Stone, Jones-Sawyer
Summary: Incarcerated people enter prison with disproportionately high rates of poverty, then often forced to work manual labor for almost nothing. Charging inmates administrative fees (or co-pays) for medical visits is unnecessary and unfair. The barrier it creates to inmates receiving basic care exacerbates minor conditions and leads to the spread of infectious diseases. AB45 ends this practice. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Strengthens protections for migratory birds beyond those in federal law
Lead Author: Kalra
Summary: In 2017, Trump’s Interior Department issued memos saying it no longer interpreted accidental harm done to migratory birds as criminal — only intentional harm. This constitutes a rollback of statutes that have allowed the collection of damages from environmental tragedies like the Exxon Valdez oil spill. AB454 retains the old protections and closes loopholes where California law defers to the federal laws that have been weakened by Trump’s administration. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Prohibits employers from forcing job candidates to waive legal rights in favor of forced arbitration
Lead Author: Lorena Gonzalez
Summary: Employers make common practice of forcing workers, as a condition of employment, to sign mandatory arbitration agreements — in effect, demanding they waive their full legal right to pursue damages in a potential dispute — to get a job. This practice is unethical and protects offending companies from being held fully accountable for causing injury — especially in cases made more visible through the #MeToo movement. AB51 ends the practice of forced arbitration and has been passed and signed into law.
Bans local authorities from towing vehicles due to excessive unpaid tickets, lapsed registration or 72-hour immobility
Lead Authors: Chiu, Santiago
Summary: The average cost to retrieve a vehicle from a Bay Area tow lot is $500. Once other administrative fees are added in, the cost of having a vehicle towed is often much higher. The current California practice of issuing tows on a vehicle with 5 or more unpaid parking tickets is not only disproportionately painful to those in poverty, but counterproductive. AB516 would end this practice, which accelerates a cycle of poverty. This bill did not receive a Floor vote in the Senate.
Permits construction of two ADUs on same property
Lead Author: Ting
Summary: One potential remedy for California’s housing crisis is ADUs — Accessory Dwelling Units — being constructed on single-family lots. ADUs are small structures, typically under 1,000 square feet, that could both increase the housing supply and allow homeowners to earn rental income, at no cost to taxpayers. AB68 permits construction of two ADUs on the same property, overriding the strict and onerous barriers set up by some municipalities, often driven by NIMBY groups opposed to affordable housing construction. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Requires same rate review practice for large-group health insurance plans as smaller ones
Lead Authors: Kalra
Summary: Health insurance premiums for employer coverage have increased at 6 times the rate of inflation in the past 15 years. For coverage sold to individuals and small employers, California regulators use “rate review” to assess whether proposed rate hikes are based on credible data and realistic projections of increased costs. AB731 expands this practice to large group plans, which saves money for the 10 million Californians covered under these plans or union trust funds. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Prohibits "no rehire" provisions that bar victims of mistreatment from employment with offending company
Lead Authors: Mark Stone, Lorena Gonzalez, Reyes
Summary: Many California employers settle threatened claims or lawsuits with agreements that includes a no re-hire provision, preventing the aggrieved employee from ever applying for a job within the company or its subsidiaries again. No re-hire provisions do nothing more than punish an employee who has been harmed. AB749 prohibits these provisions from being included in settlement agreements. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Allows local governments to sponsor public banks
Lead Authors: Chiu, Santiago
Summary: Nationally-owned banks dominate the financial marketplace, and time and again, invest resources in causes opposed to the values of Californians. Wall Street-backed banks often charge whatever exorbitant fees they can, enabled by their stranglehold on the market. AB857 allows local governments to sponsor public banks, which will be FDIC-insured, likely to charge lower fees and invest in locally-oriented resources while increasing competition in the marketplace. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Decriminalizes truancy and limits power of probation departments over youths not charged with crimes
Lead Author: Gipson
Summary: Current California law allows juvenile court judges to criminalize youth for truancy and other non-criminal offenses. This practice increases the chances that youth end up in a juvenile court and, therefore, the juvenile justice system. AB901 firmly decriminalizes truancy and forces counties to seek non-criminal alternatives, including referring juveniles to community based diversion programs before issuing a notice to appear in court. This bill did not receive a Floor vote in the Senate.
Strengthens transparency around nonfloating oil transport and creates contingency plans to prepare for spillage
Lead Author: Rivas
Summary: Despite progress being made toward renewable energy by California environmental groups, the state is still deeply invested in oil refining — and the dangers of a spill of highly toxic ‘non-floating’ crude oil are vast. Past spills, like the Santa Barbara spill in 1969, have the potential to devastate both natural and human life. AB936 strengthens transparency around non-floating crude oil, forces into law a proper definition of this substance and requires the state energy commission to create contingency plans, in the event of a transportation accident. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Allows people incarcerated as youth to earn time off their earliest parole date
Lead Author: Mark Stone
Summary: Under current code, people are entitled to a hearing for early parole if they were less than 26 years old at the time of the controlling offense. However, the Department of Corrections holds a confusing, problematic definition of ‘initial hearing’ when measuring the time served of those incarcerated as youth. AB965 clarifies the definition and offers these folks the opportunity to earn credit toward earlier release dates, benefitting from the provisions of Prop 57 and having a smoother path toward rehabilitation and reintegration into society. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Forces UC system to reduce contracted services in order to increase percent of union workers on their payroll
Lead Author: Lorena Gonzalez
Summary: Current practice allows schools in the University of California system to subcontract out many staff positions, relieving them of the burden to offer certain benefits and protections a worker receives as part of a union. The UC system has displaced more than 7,000 of these jobs in recent years. ACA14 would force UC campuses to increase the percent of union workers on their payrolls. This proposed amendment fell 4 votes short in the Senate.
Restores voting rights for people on parole
Lead Authors: McCarty, Bonta, Carrillo, Gipson, Lorena Gonzalez, Kalra, Kamlager-Dove, Mullin, Mark Stone, Weber
Summary: Over 50,000 Californians still on parole for past crimes are not allowed to vote. Not only is this practice wrong — a person who has served their time should have the same rights as anyone else — but it disproportionately impacts low income Californians and people of color. ACA6 would restore voting rights for people on parole. This proposed amendment passed the Assembly but was not considered by the Senate.
Lowers voting age to 17
Lead Authors: Low, Gonzalez, Voepel
Summary: Youth voters are chronically underrepresented in the voting population. At 17, many Californians are earning income on which they can be taxed, and facing life choices which can be severely affected by the decisions of elected officials. ACA8 lowers the minimum voting age to 17 years old in California. This proposed amendment has passed the Assembly but has not been considered by the Senate.
Strengthens California environmental standards to pre-Trump federal levels
Lead Authors: Atkins, Portantino, Stern
Summary: In just three years, the Trump administration has gutted many federal environmental regulations and attempted to roll back dramatic environmental progress made in California. SB 1 would override Trump-era concessions made to corporations and Big Ag, in order to protect California’s environment. SB 1 cements any rolled back environmental standards as state law, particularly as they apply to the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. It passed but was vetoed by the Governor.
Repeals sentencing enhancements for those with prior offenses
Lead Author: Wiener
Summary: Incarcerating individuals costs California citizens $80,000 per individual year. Current law includes mandatory sentencing enhancements that add 1 year of incarceration for each past offense committed by the accused — a mandatory add-on that impacts a third of the incarcerated population. Significant research suggests these enhancements do not deter crime. SB 136 repeals these enhancements, ending this costly practice which leads to major inequities in the justice system. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Requires employers to provide lactation rooms and reasonable break time for lactation needs
Lead Author: Wiener
Summary: Current law requires employers to provide reasonable break time for lactation needs, but often does not mandate adequate space to produce lactation with privacy. Employment law truly devoted to gender equity would ensure this space existed. SB142 mandates that, in a new construction of commercial space, including those undergoing significant renovation, reasonable amount of lactation spaces be created. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Overturns statute that forced LGBTQ offenders to register as sex offenders in disproportionate numbers
Lead Author: Wiener
Summary: California law mandates that offenders who engage in consensual, yet illegal, sex with 14-17 year old be treated differently, based on whether the sex is penile-vaginal, or anal and oral intercourse. This distinction creates more significant penalties for LGBT offenders, despite having committed the same offense — resulting in disproportionate numbers of LGBT people on the sex offender registry. SB145 ends this irrational, discriminatory distinction. This bill did not receive a Floor vote in the Assembly.
Establishes penalties for claims that arise under Fair Housing and Employment Act
Lead Author: Bradford
Summary: SB218 allows local governments to better enforce anti-discrimination laws, to establish remedies and penalties for violations for claims that arise under FEHA — the Fair Housing and Employment Act. The bill passed, but was vetoed by the Governor.
Penalizes hospitals that violate California law regarding nurse-to-patient ratios
Lead Author: Leyva
Summary: Many of California’s regulations regarding nurse-to-patient ratios go unenforced — this has been the case for nearly two decades. When hospitals fail to follow these regulations, both patients and nurses suffer. SB227 creates unannounced inspections for hospitals with a special focus on adherence to nurse-to-patient ratios. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Allows select development projects to skirt environmental review
Lead Authors: Glazer, Caballero
Summary: CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, requires state and local agencies to identify environmental impacts of their actions and then avoid or mitigate those impacts. This longstanding law has proven instrumental in retaining a seat the table for environmental considerations related to housing and construction projects. SB621 was one of two bills, along with SB621, that would have weakened CEQA processes in order to expedite new construction. While perhaps well-intentioned, both bills laid blame for California’s lack of affordable housing at the feet of CEQA and environmental concerns – an unfair attribution of blame. We and our allies contend affordable housing scarcity can be – and must be – addressed without sacrificing environmental protections. This bill passed the Senate but did not see a vote in the Assembly.
Offers voters more information on potentially progressive taxation measures
Lead Author: Wiener
Summary: California makes it very difficult to generate revenues for essential services, often requiring two-thirds majority of voters to approve any tax hike. A recent law mandates ballots include descriptions of these proposals that do not exceed 75 words. However, this makes it nearly impossible to pass progressive-minded parcel taxes, which often contain multiple tiers that can not be detailed in 75 words. SB268 allows detailed information to be included in the official voter guide, which has more space, instead of the ballot itself. This bill passed but was vetoed by the Governor.
Allows all Californians to seek election to Democratic Party offices and committees
Lead Author: Wiener
Summary: In a step toward the goal of including all those who live in California in the democratic conversation, SB288 allows anyone — regardless of immigration status — to seek election to the Democratic Party’s offices, including state planning committees and state delegations. This bill did not receive a Floor vote in the Assembly.
Expands Medi-Cal to all residents, regardless of immigration status
Lead Author: Durazo
Summary: Undocumented people live among us, work alongside us, and are often the most vulnerable when it comes to emergency medical costs. SB29 extends Medi-Cal to all these people, as an attempt to improve health care while lowering emergency room costs across the state, which often end up burdening all Californians. This bill did not receive a Floor vote in the Assembly.
Overrides federal order to waive state level environmental review of Cadiz Water Project
Lead Author: Roth
Summary: The Mojave Desert sustains legally-protected wildlife and untold acres of public land. The Trump Administration has imperiled the desert and its surrounding ecosystem by unrolling environmental protections, including those related to a potential pipeline which would drain 16 millions tons of water from the desert each year, courtesy of Cadiz, Inc. SB307 would require a full, state level environmental review of the Cadiz Pipeline, overriding federal attempts to lower environmental safeguards. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Allows formerly incarcerated people to serve on juries
Lead Author: Skinner
Summary: A person who has been incarcerated and released has served their debt to society, and should be granted equal rights to any citizen. Banning formerly incarcerated people from serving on juries disenfranchises them, while also disproportionately removes people of color — who are disproportionately incarcerated due to our flawed justice system — from the jury pool, perpetuating biased legal outcomes. SB310 reinstates the right of most formerly incarcerated people to serve on juries. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Prohibits landlords from rejecting applicants based on Section 8 status
Lead Author: Mitchell
Summary: Landlords are legally prohibited from discriminating against a renter based on the source of their income — but not required to accept housing vouchers. This freedom to deny renters can limit the mobility of low-income people to move from poverty-concentrated areas. This law passed and was signed into law.
Requires automated transit vehicles to maintain a trained employee on board
Lead Author: Dodd
Summary: ATVs (Automated Transit Vehicles) are nascent technology in a field (transportation) where runaway tech has often gotten so far ahead of regulation as to put at risk the well-being of Californians. SB336 reins in this not yet fully vetted technology by requiring any public transit operator to have at least one employee fully onboard any ATV it puts into service. This bill did not receive a vote in the House.
Removes the Kaiser Permanente loophole in state financial disclosure laws
Lead Author: Pan
Summary: Healthcare behemoth Kaiser Permanente currently lumps its financial disclosures — information on the revenue and profits of individual hospitals — into broad categories instead of following the rules every other hospital does, and listing this information by specific hospital. Kaiser controls 40% of the healthcare market in California and earned over $2B in profit in 2018. Mandating clearer financial disclosures from Kaiser will increase transparency and create more cost pressure, helping healthcare consumers across California. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Undermines environmental protections by incentivizing dam building and easing requirements for wind and solar energy
Summary: 2018 saw the passage of SB100, an environmental law requiring California to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. The goal of the legislation was to catalyze the construction of new renewable sources – chiefly, wind turbines and solar farms. Powerful Central Valley agriculture – and their representative in the Capitol, Anna Caballero – crafted SB386 as an attempt to count existing hydroelectric projects as qualifying energy sources. This exemption would undermine both the goals – and the effectiveness – of SB100 and compromise California’s commitment to true climate progress. It did not receive a vote on the Senate floor.
Repeals California's status as a sanctuary state
Summary: The Trump era has brought a wave of anti-immigrant vitriol our nation has not seen in many years. SB429 was a toxic attempt – with no real chance of passage – to repeal California’s status as a sanctuary state, opening immigrants in our state to persecution, harassment and deportation by federal agents of ICE. It was soundly defeated by a vote in the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Grants tenants right to organize as part of a tenant association
Lead Author: Durazo
Summary: Renters across California create and join tenants organizations as a way to level the playing field in negotiations with landlords. However, many tenants who join such organizations are met with retaliatory evictions. SB529 would explicitly forbid tenants from being evicted from homes as a consequence for joining tenant associations. This bill failed in the Senate by 1 vote.
Requires producers of single-use packaging to hit reduction targets by 2022 and 2026
Lead Authors: Allen, Skinner, Stern, Wiener
Summary: The United States produces 30 million tons of plastics each year, and the recycling industry, often underfunded by local governments, does not seem equipped to stem this tide. Unused plastics that find their way to oceans and forests have awful effects on the wildlife and natural beauty of those places. SB54 requires producers of single-use plastic packaging to hit certain reduction targets — among them, 75% by 2030 — in an attempt to limit pollutive plastics from contaminating our natural environments. This bill did not receive a vote in the Assembly.
Classifies PTSD as a condition for which first responders may receive workers' compensation
Lead Author: Stern
Summary: First responders and firefighters encounter high-stress, traumatic situations while performing their life-saying duties. The long-term toll of this trauma can have enduring effects, often presenting as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — a manageable condition that requires professional mental health treatment. SB542 classifies PTSD as a condition for which first responders may receive workers’ compensation, that could contribute to their treatment and recovery. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Mandates development of plans for decommissioning, cleanup and remediation of abandoned wells
Lead Author: Jackson
Summary: Under current law, the Department of Conservation regulates the operation and maintenance of oil and gas wells in the state. This bill would require the division to develop a mechanism to assess the cost of cleanup and remediation of infrastructure related to the oil and gas industry, including pipeline, pump and storage facilities. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Forces debt collectors to leave final $1,724 in a bank account
Lead Author: Wieckowski
Summary: Aggressive collection practices can wipe out families and send them into poverty instead of moving debt collection toward resolution. Allowing debt collectors to empty entire bank accounts is harmful and dangerous. SB616 forces debt collectors to leave the final $1,724 — the minimum amount a family of four needs to survive a month — in a debtor’s bank account, leaving them breathing room to work out repayment terms. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Creates environmental review loopholes and lowers requirements for affordable housing construction
Lead Authors: Glazer, Caballero
Summary: CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, requires state and local agencies to identify environmental impacts of their actions and then avoid or mitigate those impacts. This longstanding law has proven instrumental in retaining a seat the table for environmental considerations related to housing and construction projects. SB621 was one of two 2019 bills, along with SB25, that would’ve weakened CEQA processes in order to expedite new construction. While perhaps well-intentioned, both bills laid blame for California’s lack of affordable housing at the feet of CEQA and environmental concerns – an unfair attribution of blame. We and our allies contend affordable housing scarcity can be – and must be – addressed without sacrificing environmental protections. This bill passed the Senate but did not see a vote in the Assembly.
Expands Election Day registration to every voting site
Lead Author: Umberg
Summary: There are currently 5.5 million eligible but unregistered voters in California. What can stop people from voting isn’t often apathy — but barriers like time and proximity. SB 72 expands Election Day registration to every voting site, ensuring no potential voters will be turned away if they show up at the ballot box, ready to exercise their voting right. This bill passed and was signed into law.
Establishes 2-year moratorium on new charter schools
Lead Author: Durazo
Summary: The rapid growth of charter schools has contributed to a decline in resources and attention paid to the public education system. The industry also does not always display the accountability and transparency we should require from educational institutions. SB756 would establish a 2-year moratorium on new charter schools until the full impact of charters on our communities can be studied. This bill did not receive a full vote in the Senate.
Lowers threshold for parcel tax approval to 55%
Lead Authors: Hill, Allen
Summary: Parcel taxes are one of the only means school districts have to supplement budgets and meet the needs of local students. Last year, however, only 20% of parcel taxes statewide were approved — the excessively high ⅔ threshold currently in place to pass means a minority of voters consistently blocks vital education funding. SCA5 would lower the threshold for parcel tax approval to 55%. This bill did not receive a full vote in the Senate.