We hope you’re enjoying what’s left of the summer and staying cool despite the August heat! These past few weeks, the Legislature has been on their summer recess and the NextGen team has taken advantage of this downtime to focus on advocacy strategies for our priority issues during the final month of the legislative session. In this issue of What’s Next, enjoy the recording of our Student Debt Webinar (including important resources for those who were unable to attend); a featured article on AB 280 – The California Mandela Act – a bill that reforms the use of solitary confinement in California’s correctional system; information on regenerative agriculture and the exciting work being done by our friends at TomKat Ranch; and several other hot policy topics that will keep you updated and in the know. Here’s What’s Next at NextGen:
★ Watch Our Student Debt Webinar: A huge thank you to the more than 150 attendees who participated in the kick-off event for the Student Debt Cancellation and Federal Loan Information Workshop Series, with special guest Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco! Our panel of experts shared information on how borrowers can begin to prepare for the restart of student loan payments, provided updates on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan, and answered questions from attendees. Our fellow hosts for the webinar included The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) and The Campaign for California Borrowers’ Rights coalition. If you couldn’t join the webinar in person, no worries – you can still watch the full recording, hear the discussion, and learn about all the resources that are available to help student borrowers navigate the recent changes to the federal student loan program!
★ The California Mandela Act (AB 280) in the News: The research could not be more clear – solitary confinement, which is defined as forced isolation in a cell for up to 24 hours per day without any meaningful activities or human contact, causes significant mental and physical harm to those subjected to this form of punishment in California’s prisons, jails, and detention centers. In a recent article, Terry A. Kupers shares his experience as a solitary confinement survivor and discusses why now is the time for California to abolish the torturous practice of solitary confinement. Terry also outlines how The California Mandela Act (AB 280 – Holden) will catapult California into the forefront as a national leader on the issue of reforming the use of solitary confinement.
★ How Regenerative Agriculture Helps Farmers: When it comes to regenerative agriculture, the practice of farming and ranching in harmony with nature, an essential component for its success is cultivating healthy soil. At TomKat Ranch, they use a variety of techniques to cultivate healthy soils and then share their data with ranchers and scientists throughout California in an effort to help improve our food production systems. We’re proud to call TomKat Ranch one of our good partners. The benefits of regenerative agriculture are shared in a recent Spectrum News series of articles on TomKat Ranch and regenerative agriculture!
NextGen is a founding member of CADE – the California Alliance for Digital Equity – a coalition of like-minded organizations working together to advocate for equitable and affordable access to the digital world! The official CADE website has been updated with resources to help you stay informed on our work and the policy items coalition members strongly support.
★ Did You Know? Governor Newsom recently shared some exciting news – California’s historic numbers are showing the world what’s possible when it comes to adopting zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)! Last quarter, one in four new vehicles sold in California were ZEVs, surpassing the state’s goal of selling 1.5 million ZEVs two full years ahead of schedule. This is a huge milestone for our state and an exciting victory on the road to fighting climate change.
★ Member Spotlight: We’re shining a spotlight on the members of California’s inaugural Racial Equity Commission! The NextGen team congratulates and welcomes Executive Director Dr. Larissa Estes, as well as the Commissioners appointed by Governor Newsom – Virginia Hedrick, Gabriel Maldonado, Traco Matthews, Jolie Onodera, Dr. Manuel Pastor, Yolanda R. Richardson, and Simboa Wright; the Commissioners appointed by the California State Assembly Speaker – Angelica Salas and John Kim; and the Commissioners appointed by the California State Senate President pro Tem – Candis Bowles and Dr. J. Luke Wood. Our team looks forward to working with the Commission to address institutional racism and foster racial equity within California government policies and programs!
★ What’s Next: The State Legislature’s summer recess officially ends on Friday, August 11th. Legislators will be back in Sacramento today and will spend the next month concluding their legislative work for this year. The NextGen team is prepped and ready for the next few weeks, during which time we’ll be ramping up our advocacy efforts on our priority bills as they head towards the final round of Assembly and Senate votes before being sent to the Governor’s desk for signature. We’ll be reaching out soon to ask for your help to get these items across the finish line, so stay tuned for actions you can take to provide the much needed support!
★ 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.
Thank you for being a part of our journey toward a more equitable California. As we continue to push for progressive policy change, we invite you to make a difference by donating to support our organization. Your contribution will directly impact our efforts to address environmental, social, and economic inequities throughout the state.