Spring is here and the NextGen team is gearing up for an exciting and busy month of May! Within the next two weeks, Governor Newsom will release his updated 2023-24 California state budget, known as the “May Revise”, which will include revisions to his January budget proposal based on the most recent state revenue projections. Unfortunately, the May Revise is expected to reflect a significant multi-year budget deficit and NGP will be monitoring how the various solutions proposed to close this budget deficit will affect our most vulnerable communities and families, many of whom are still trying to recover economically post-pandemic. California is well-positioned to weather this fiscal storm – we are sitting on large reserves and a growing rainy day fund, so we are hopeful the May Revise news will not be too bad.
We do have some good news to share – help is on its way for struggling college students in the form of tax relief and we officially launched our Connect Corps Digital Equity Program website – a helpful resource where you can learn more about accessing affordable internet service and digital literacy skills training. Please continue reading to find out What’s Next at NextGen:
★ NGP Launches Connect Corps Website: After months of project design and hard work, the website for our flagship digital equity program, Connect Corps, is now LIVE! This resource hub houses information that will help you learn more about accessing affordable internet service, the work of our digital navigators, digital literacy training opportunities, and other important tools that will assist you in navigating today’s digital world.
★ An Update on AB 1160: It is extremely unfortunate news that one of NextGen’s priority pieces of legislation, AB 1160 (Pacheco), the Protecting Students from Creditor College Act, has become a two-year bill. This means that we will have to wait until next year to move this bill through the legislative process. Although the fight to protect students from the problem of institutional debt will take longer, our efforts to advocate for AB 1160 have only just begun! So, please stay tuned for upcoming events and calls to action that will support this effort.
Make your voice heard! From now until June, you have the unique opportunity to participate in a State Digital Equity Planning Workshop to provide input on how future federal broadband funding gets allocated in your community:
★ Did You Know? It’s an exciting week for AB 41 (Holden) – the Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (DEVFA) – as the bill is now scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee this Wednesday, May 10th! As we wait for more hearing details, check out the testimony of our Executive Director Arnold Sowell Jr. in support of AB 41 at the recent Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee hearing.
★ Member Spotlight: Congratulations to the appointees who’ve been selected to serve on California’s newly established Racial Equity Commission. We want to congratulate Candis Bowles, Dr. Luke Wood, Angélica Salas, and John Kim, who were recently announced as the Assembly and Senate appointees! Last year, establishing a Racial Equity Commission was one of the NextGen team’s priorities. We worked closely with a coalition of community based organizations to get the Governor to issue a Racial Equity Executive Order to establish the Commission and we look forward to working with the new Commission appointees to help build a more equitable and inclusive California for all.
★ What’s Next: Sound the drum roll 🥁… the “Suspense” process is inching ever closer – and NGP will be advocating to move our bills through the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees. Specifically, we’ll be keeping tabs on several priority bills including: AB 280, The California Mandela Act, and AB 41, The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (DEVFA). We’ll be reaching out to ask for your support, so stay tuned for more information on how you can help take action!
★ Our Mission: NextGen Policy fights for progressive policy change to address environmental, social, racial, and economic inequities through justice-centered legislative advocacy, grassroots partnerships, and democratic civic engagement.