NextGen California Celebrates 2023 Legislative Successes

For Immediate Release: October 16, 2023
ontact: Tyler Bushnell,

NextGen commends the Legislature and Governor Newsom for their support of legislation
that promotes equity, justice, and progress to improve the lives of all Californians

SACRAMENTO – NextGen California’s hard work and commitment to justice and equity for all Californians was rewarded this legislative session as Governor Newsom signed the majority of our priority bills into law – progressive policies that will help build a more prosperous future for everyone who calls the Golden State home.

“On behalf of the entire NextGen team, I commend the State Legislature and Governor Newsom for supporting policies that will provide comprehensive solutions to many of the most pressing problems impacting the lives of Californians, especially our most underserved populations,” said Arnold Sowell Jr., Executive Director of NextGen California. “We applaud the Governor, the State Legislature, and our coalition partners for their continued commitment to equity, justice, community, and progress.”

By the October 14th deadline to sign or veto bills, Governor Newsom had signed 15 of NextGen’s key bills into law, including the following bills which were part of our organizational 2023 legislative package: 

NextGen California priority bills signed into law include:


  • SB 253 (Wiener) – Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act: Requires businesses with at least $1 billion in annual revenue to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions, including an accounting of emissions that indirectly result from company operations.
  • SB 261 (Stern): – Climate-related Financial Risk Disclosure Act: Requires certain entities doing business in California to prepare and submit climate-related financial risk reports consistent with recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).

Criminal Legal Reform:

  • Racial Justice Act: Makes technical changes to the current Racial Justice Act to help streamline the process to ensure claims are acted upon efficiently – saving time and resources for all involved.

Education Equity:

  • AB 789 (Berman) – Financial Aid Access: Enables students who have struggled academically to continue their educational pursuits by removing hurdles related to financial aid

Inclusive Democracy:

  • AB 421 (Bryan) – Referendum Reform: Protects the integrity of the California referendum process by making ballot language less confusing to voters.

Solving Food Insecurity:

  • SB 348 (Skinner) – Nutritious School Meals: Updates school meal sugar and sodium standards, ensures students have two nutritious school meals daily, and requires students to have adequate time to eat.

This legislative session, NextGen also made the necessary decision to switch from supporting to opposing one of our priority bills – AB 41 (The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act [DEVFA] of 2023). After Senate amendments stripped the bill of its equity provisions and weakened many of its equal access, consumer protection, and build-out requirements, NextGen and our 50 plus member coalition had no choice but to change our position on the bill. Governor Newsom listened to our arguments, recognized that AB 41 would widen the digital divide, and vetoed the bill. We look forward to working together with our digital equity partners next year to develop and support the solutions needed to address inequities and disparities in broadband access in California.

NextGen California looks forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Newsom, State Legislators, and our partners in the year ahead as we continue our mission to help build a California that is more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous. Visit NextGen’s website to review our entire 2023 legislative bill package.


The mission of NextGen Policy and NextGen California is to fight for progressive policy change to address environmental, social, racial, gender, and economic inequities in California through justice-centered legislative advocacy, grassroots partnerships, and democratic civic engagement.