Curious about what NextGen Policy is working on? We’ve got you covered! Check out recent editions of our bi-weekly What’s Next email series, a brief breakdown of all the exciting things happening here at NGP and in the California Legislature
You know the drill, friend, — here’s another fresh edition of What’s Next! This one has some key dates to note, so get out your calendars and please keep on reading.
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★ Our Tax Rebate Reco: There’s no other way to say it — we’ve all felt the strain of rising gas prices. And, as our state leaders began negotiating the parameters of a tax rebate to give us some financial help, we wrote to Governor Newsom, Pro Tempore Atkins, and Speaker Rendon with our recommendations to make the proposal more equitable. Read our full letter here
★ Good News on SB 907: SB 907 — or Local Equitable Access to Food (LEAF) — was voted out of the Senate Agriculture Committee on consent, meaning it was approved unanimously by the committee and the author did not even have to present it! This bodes well for SB 907 as it continues to move through the legislative process. Your support is helping us expand access to healthy foods!
★ Digital Equity Bills Prevail: Thanks to the tireless efforts of our equity advocates, we can celebrate big wins on three of our digital equity priority bills! Both, AB 2748 (Holden) and AB 2751 (E. Garcia), defeated strong corporate opposition and passed out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee. AB 2750 (Bonta) was passed on consent and all three bills will be moving forward. This means we’re one step closer to closing the digital divide by prioritizing internet affordability and getting Californians connected.
★ Student Debt Summit: A few weeks ago, our Legislative Manager & Policy Advisor Samantha Seng participated in the Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC)’s State of Student Debt Summit. Her presentation highlighted the severe impacts of the nation’s student debt crisis — especially on women of color. Samantha, among other event participants, was quoted in this Diverse article. Policy solutions to the student debt crisis must prioritize equity for all borrowers. (Watch the whole summit on YouTube here.)
Climate Action is a Necessity, not a Luxury: We’re so excited to announce the official publication and release of our Climate 100 report, From Luxury to Necessity: Budgeting for Climate Action, where we break down the steps policymakers need to take to integrate an all-of-government approach when it comes to climate budgeting — sign up to stay in the loop about upcoming updates and ways to get involved.
★ Member Spotlight: Take a minute to tweet your thanks to Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo and Senator Sydney Kamlager for uplifting equity in their respective Budget Subcommittees. NextGen is co-sponsoring SB 17 which requests $40 million in the Governor’s Budget — these funds will help establish the first-ever statewide Office of Racial Equity in California.
★ Key CA Election Dates: This year’s Primary Election is on Tuesday, June 7, and the deadline to register to vote is Monday, May 23. Mark these key dates so you’re ready to vote!
★ What’s Next: Keep an eye out! The Governor’s revised budget is expected to be released mid-May. NGP is fighting to ensure that climate solutions, increased accessibility to broadband, and racial equity are top priorities in California’s 2022 budget. Take a look at our full list of 2022 budget priorities.
Welcome to another installment of What’s Next, friend! Our NGP team has been extremely busy — we recently launched a new initiative, Climate 100, a framework to advance a fully climate-aligned government. Our equity work also continues, as we fight for SB 907 (LEAF) to become law and receive program funding. Keep reading to find out more!
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★ Climate Launch 🌎: Last week, we announced our new climate initiative, Climate 100! We’re calling on California’s leaders to put 100 percent of our taxpayer dollars to work in a manner that is consistent with our state’s climate goals — sign up to stay in the loop about upcoming updates and ways to get involved.
★ Op-Ed from NGP’s Executive Director: In conjunction with the Climate 100 launch, our Executive Director Arnold “Arnie” Sowell Jr. published an op-ed which outlines why this project is so urgently needed. California leaders have the chance to address the climate crisis in a significant way, but they need to act now. Read the full piece here, then share with your networks.
★ Biden Extends Student Loan Payments: We applaud the Biden Administration’s “Fresh Start” program which will ensure that student borrowers are in good standing coming out of the pandemic. However, we want the President to go further and cancel student debt before payments resume — extending the payment pause is appreciated, but it is only a band-aid on the student debt crisis.
★ Did You Know? On the last day of Women’s History Month, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis — who was serving as Acting Governor — became the first woman in California to sign a bill into law! She signed AB 2179 (Grayson) to extend eviction protections, and she also signed SB 504 (Becker) to make voting more accessible for military and overseas voters.
★ Member Spotlight: Thank you, Broadband Champions! Take a minute to tweet your thanks to Assemblymembers Chris Holden and Eduardo Garcia for sponsoring two key bills — AB 2748 and AB 2751 — to modernize and reform the state’s broadband system.
★ What’s Next: While the California Legislature was on Spring Recess, NGP prepared for the work and months ahead — the deadline for Senators and Assemblymembers to submit their budget requests and pass bills out of policy committees. A few weeks ago, we promised you our 2022 priority bill list, wait no more! Here is our 2022 Legislative package, read up on our priority bills.
Coming at you with another What’s Next! Keep reading for budget updates, new research on institutional debt, a special shout-out to one of our Senate leaders, and more.
We’ll be sharing “What’s Next” with our insiders list only soon. If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up to keep receiving these updates!
★ College Creditors Report: In partnership with the Student Borrower Protection Center and a team of University of California researchers, we conducted groundbreaking research that shines a light on institutional debt, or money owed directly to colleges from fines and fees. Our research found that the impacts of COVID-19 resulted in nearly 750,000 low-income students owing $350 million in institutional debt to California public colleges — more details and our recommendations to lawmakers here.
★ Priority Bill Update: SB 907, the Local Equitable Affordable Food (LEAF) initiative, passed on unanimous consent in the Senate Human Services Committee on March 29, 2022. Passing the first committee on unanimous consent is a great sign that SB 907 will successfully advance to the finish line, become law, and ultimately ensure low-income Californian’s gain more access to healthy foods. Follow the bill’s progress here.
★ Care4All Coalition: NGP supports the Care4All Coalition which comes together every year to prioritize bills designed to improve our healthcare system. From providing healthcare to everyone – regardless of immigration status – to ensuring health plans provide gender-affirming care to trans people, these bills will help put California on a path to achieving affordable, equitable, and universal healthcare. Click here to see the 2022 legislative agenda.
Follow us into the weeds for a second: The CA Legislature must finalize our state budget by June 15 at midnight, so we’re busy pushing for key investments in the areas of climate, education, broadband, environmental justice and more — read the full list.
★ Senator Spotlight: Sen. Dr. Richard Pan is championing two of our key priority bills (SB 17 and SB 907) this year. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with him, and we’re grateful for his leadership and help in our push for a more progressive California. Take a second to tell him thank you!
★ What’s Next: Stay tuned for the launch of our new initiative Climate 100 — we’ll be working with environmental leaders and key policymakers to ensure California’s budget actions on climate match our climate goals. In the meantime, please take the time to read what our Senior Policy Advisor, Dave Weiskopf, had to say about gas rebates in this recent CalMatters article.
NextGen Policy (NGP) is starting a new series to keep you informed about the happenings in Sacramento. We’ll be sharing what’s next regarding legislative updates, policy information, relevant resources, upcoming events, and ways you can take action to advance new and important policy changes. Here’s some quick-hits from February!
★ Words From our Executive Director: Over the next several months, the Legislature’s bill and budget hearing schedule will be in full swing. NGP will be calling for even bolder actions in the fight against climate change; further integration of environmental justice, racial and gender equity, and digital inclusion into government programs; increased state efforts to combat food, housing, and economic insecurity; and policy, program, and budget actions that will advance access to and the affordability of our higher education system. We hope you’ll join us in advocating and fighting for these progressive changes!
★ Legislative Priority: We believe all Californians deserve access to local, equitable access to food (LEAF). That’s why we’re co-sponsoring SB 907 (Pan) which will help expand EBT access to all California certified farmers’ markets. Learn more about LEAF.
★ Noteworthy Legislation: Last month, Assemblymember Chris Holden introduced AB 2632 “The Mandela Act on Solitary Confinement” which limits the duration any person can be held in solitary confinement and bans the practice for women who are pregnant, those with disabilities, or individuals who fall within certain age limits.
★ New Appointments: California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon recently appointed Assemblymember Issac G. Bryan, one of our Black History Month honorees, as Chair of the Assembly Elections Committee.
★ TAKE ACTION: Demand environmental justice NOW — tweet at Governor Newsom and tell him to stand up to the oil and gas industry by creating setback zones that distance homes, schools, and other sensitive areas from oil drilling operations: Take Action Today!
★ Did You Know? The California Budget is bound by what’s known as the “Gann Limit” or a state appropriations limit (SAL). This places certain restrictions on the amount of tax revenue the state can spend year over year – which is expected to come into play this year as there is an estimated budget surplus of $23 billion. Learn more about Gann Limits here.