NextGen Policy wishes you a happy and healthy New Year, Dustin!
We do hope that you and your loved ones have not been too affected by the severe weather events making their way through California these past few weeks. Stay safe!
Well – the new Legislature convened on January 4th, and, with their return, NGP has begun to identify priorities and develop advocacy plans for our policy and budget goals in the 2023-24 legislative session. In the coming weeks, you will hear lots more about where we are headed in the coming year. For this, our first What’s Next of 2023, we will shed some light on the Governor’s proposed state budget, take a look at what the future holds for California’s climate goals, discuss a few new legislative items we’re keeping our eyes on, and more. Please take a look!
★ [NEW] Governor’s Budget: On January 10th, Governor Newsom released his 2023-24 state budget proposal. Although the proposed budget forecasts a roughly $22 billion deficit, it does reflect the Governor’s continued commitment to advancing equitable opportunities for all Californians. The proposed budget does not dip into the state’s reserves nor make large social services cuts (the climate commitment however does take a hit – see below) as the Governor fills the deficit hole largely through spending extensions and program implementation delays. We’re encouraged by the fact that the budget prioritizes areas that align with our values, including addressing racial equity, climate change and clean energy, health for all regardless of immigration status, the student debt cancellation state tax exemption, as well as housing and food insecurity. Read our full statement responding to the Governor’s budget.
★ [UPDATE] Climate Funding: Though significant investments remain, roughly $48 billion with more federal dollars anticipated, we’re disheartened to see a nearly $6 billion reduction in California’s climate funding this year. It’s imperative we stay vigilant in our policy and budget advocacy efforts to address climate change. With California in the midst of yet another federal state of emergency due to the extreme climate related weather events, we’re reminded that ignoring the climate problem will not make it go away. Our own Senior Climate Policy Advisor, Dave Weiskopf, recently spoke with CalMatters to share his thoughts on the Governor’s budget proposal.
★ [NEW] SB 25/AB 35: California has an incredible opportunity to continue to assist and protect student loan borrowers with the introduction of SB 25 (Skinner)/AB 35 (Ting). This potential early budget action would exempt borrowers from paying state taxes on federal student loan debt relief! We’re keeping our eyes on this one and will be in touch with more information as soon as we have it. Read our full statement on SB 25/AB 35.
★ [NEW] AB 41/DEVFA Advocating for equitable access to high-speed internet across California is a huge priority for NGP. AB 41 (Holden) – the Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (DEVFA) – will address issues related to broadband connectivity, subscriber discrimination by internet service providers (ISPs), and other digital equity barriers. It’s an exciting step in the right direction to help eliminate the digital divide! For now, we’re keeping our eyes on Assemblymember Holden’s Twitter page for the latest information on AB 41.
As we finalize our specific policy and budget priorities for this year, you can get involved in our work and fight for a more just California right now! Will you take our quick, one-question survey so we can understand how you’d like to get involved in our work this year?
★ Did You Know? Next Monday, January 16th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Honor the life of one of history’s most notable civil rights heroes by participating in community events commemorating his life, donating to specific justice related causes, or marching in solidarity with members of your community. For those who live in the Sacramento area, consider attending the March for the Dream event taking place at 8:00 am PST on January 16th at Sacramento City College.
★ Member Spotlight: We’re giving a special shoutout to the California Legislative Women’s Caucus – they are celebrating a record-setting year for the number of women in state leadership positions. We welcome and congratulate the new Caucus members and Committee leadership appointment, and look forward to continuing our work together to protect women’s rights here in California. Give them a follow on Twitter at @CaWomensCaucus!
Can’t get enough of What’s Next? We don’t blame you! Share our bi-monthly newsletter with your friends, family, and network to keep them in the loop, too.
★ What’s Next: We’ll be kicking off February with our Student’s Basic Needs Policy Brief webinar, an opportunity for members of the public to hear from public education experts and advocates as they share how California can best assist our higher education students with access to food, housing, transportation, and other supportive services. Be on the lookout for webinar details and registration information later this month!