2019 Legislative Accomplishments
Addressing Housing and Homelessness Crisis
Passed landmark legislation to prevent rent gouging and unnecessary evictions and created a state partnership with cities and counties to provide an ongoing source of funding for affordable housing, removed roadblocks to new construction, banned landlords from discriminating against people who receive federal Section 8 housing vouchers and makes it easier to build accessory dwelling units which help low-and middle-income renters and families.
Wildfire Prevention and Response
Overhauled the way our state and electric utilities pay for the cost of wildfire damages to protect ratepayers, required utilities to update their infrastructure for safety to prevent future fires and increase education on how to expand “defensible space” to limit fire damage. Corporate executives will also now be held accountable by tying executive compensation to safety practices.
Prioritizing Public Education
Provided record funding for K-12 schools and our colleges and universities, negotiated common-sense reforms to California’s charter school laws, secured $50 million for mental health services in schools and placed a $15 billion bond on the ballot that will fund new classrooms, labs, and libraries for K-12 and universities. Legislation was also passed to increase literacy and academic enrichment services, address California’s teacher shortage and improved internet access in schools.
Safe and Clean Drinking Water for All
No community in California should be without safe drinking water and Senate Democrats led the way to pass historic legislation to solve this crisis. Critical money will now be available for communities suffering from groundwater pollution, without any burdensome taxes or charges on working Californians or on our farming community.
Protecting Women’s Rights
Senate Democrats expanded women’s access to reproductive healthcare on college campuses and provided critical and necessary funding to replace money cut by the Trump Administration’s attempts to limit access to abortion and other women’s healthcare services.
Reforming Law Enforcement’s Use of Force
Senate Democrats addressed one of the state’s biggest challenges by reforming use of force laws without jeopardizing the safety of law enforcement officers. We also increased training requirements for every law enforcement officer to reduce the use of deadly force.
Building on California’s Environmental Leadership
Senate Democrats passed legislation shielding California’s environment and public health from the reckless deregulation agenda of the Trump administration, ensuring that Californians maintain critical protections even if the President or Congress try to roll them back. The Senate also continued funding to keep California at the forefront of the fight against climate change, and protected endangered lands and species in the California desert.
Preventing Racial Discrimination in the Workplace and Schools
Senate Democrats expanded California’s anti-discrimination laws by including traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and style in the definition of racial discrimination.
Reducing Food Insecurity for Students
No child attending elementary school in California should be denied lunch. Senate Democrats passed legislation to stop the practice of lunch shaming that left too many children hungry and with negative feelings about their learning environment. We also passed legislation to help increase access to programs to curb the growing issue of food insecurity among college students.
Ending the Misclassification of Workers
Landmark legislation was passed to ensure California law conforms to a recent California Supreme Court decision, called Dynamex, that dramatically reduces the ability of employers to misclassify their employees as independent contractors in order to deny them a minimum wage, job protection, and workers’ compensation.
Planning for an Aging California
Senate Democrats expanded services for seniors including long-term care, research grants, and senior nutrition support, ended the “senior penalty” in Medi-Cal and expanded the referral network for senior services. A Master Plan for Aging was initiated to help our state’s older adults avoid becoming homeless or losing access to essential care.
Leveling the Playing Field for College Athletes
Legislation passed will allow college athletes to pursue potential endorsements and use their own likenesses through the Fair Pay to Play Act without being penalized by their school or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Legislation will help alleviate poverty and other economic difficulties often faced by student-athletes.
Expanding Access to Healthcare
Senate Democrats expanded access to healthcare by lowering Covered California insurance costs for middle-class families and expanding Medi-Cal coverage to all low-income California young adults without regard to immigration status. We also expanded transparency and disclosure requirements so that all hospitals and health insurance companies are playing by the same set of rules in supplying information to consumers’ employers.
Passing a Bold and Responsible Budget
The 2019-20 budget provides record education funding, increases access to higher education while keeping tuition flat, makes health care more affordable for middle-income families, allocates $1 billion for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery, provides $2.4 billion for housing and homelessness programs, cuts taxes for small businesses, and expands California’s Earned Income Tax Credit for working families by $600 million – all while building reserves to a record $19.2 billion to protect against the next economic downturn.