What's Next: ‘Tis the season for policy updates, taking action, & pumpkin spice! 🍁

September 25, 2023

We’re quite pleased to share that NextGen’s Executive Director, Arnold (Arnie) Sowell Jr. was chosen by the Sacramento Bee’s Equity Lab as one of the Top 20 Black Change Makers in Sacramento! 🎉 Take a moment to listen to a short video clip to learn more about how Arnie’s and NextGen’s work are impacting the Sacramento community and helping to build a more just and equitable California for all.

In addition to this exciting news, please keep scrolling to get an update on: the current status of our bill priorities now that the 2023 Legislative Session has ended and many of these measures are awaiting final action by Governor Newsom; an opportunity to take action to support digital equity reform in California; information and resources from our most recent Student Debt Cancellation and Federal Loan Workshop Series; and so much more. Get comfortable and let’s dive into What’s Next at NextGen:

Final Push On Our Bill Priorities: We’re nearing the finish line for our bill priorities! The legislative measures below are sitting on Governor Newsom’s desk awaiting final action – stay tuned in the days and weeks ahead for opportunities to help us make a final advocacy push for these items:

  • AB 789 (Berman) – Financial Aid Access
  • AB 1118 (Kalra) – Racial Justice Act
  • SB 253 (Wiener) – Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act
  • SB 261 (Stern) – Climate Financial Risk Disclosure
  • SB 348 (Skinner) – Nutritious School Meals
  • SB 394 (Gonzalez) – Master Plan for Climate Ready Schools
  • SB 509 (Portantino) – Youth Mental Health Training

Governor Newsom Commits to Climate Justice: We’re thrilled to share that Governor Newsom has committed to sign two major climate bills – SB 253 (Wiener) and SB 261 (Stern) – that NextGen strongly supported! Both of these bills will help California hold some of the nation’s biggest polluters more accountable by requiring them to publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions as well as the risk posed to their industry by climate change. NextGen’s Executive Director, Arnold (Arnie) Sowell Jr., shares his thoughts on these groundbreaking and exceedingly important bills that will soon become law: “California is once again showcasing unrivaled leadership in shaping national climate policy and advancing climate justice thanks to Governor Newsom and our State Legislature.”

Victory! Governor Newsom Signs AB 421: Your vote is your voice! As proud advocates for voter engagement and empowerment in California, we’re proud to share that Governor Newsom signed AB 421 (Bryan) into law. This new law will help make the state referendum process less confusing and more transparent for California voters so they can make better informed decisions at the polls. Democracy only works when we all participate and AB 421 will help ensure that the will of the people is heard!

The Fight Continues for AB 280 (Holden): There’s no denying that solitary confinement is inhumane and torture! We applaud the resolve of the Legislature to advance The California Mandela Act successfully through the legislative process, passing it through both the Assembly and Senate. Our coalition has decided to make AB 280 a two-year bill as we await an opportunity to enter into negotiations with the Governor’s office to place limits on the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons, jails, and detention centers. Stay tuned for more!

Every Californian deserves equal access to high-speed, affordable internet service – however, AB 41 (Holden), the Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (DEVFA) is not the solution our state needs to reform its broken system!

Join us in asking Governor Newsom to veto this misguided piece of legislation so that we can focus on developing more effective, equitable, and community-centered reforms:

Take Action!

Did You Know? On Tuesday, September 19th, we were joined by more than 400 attendees for our third webinar in this year’s Student Debt Cancellation & Federal Loan Information Workshop Series! The workshop team answered questions and shared vital information on how student borrowers can begin preparing for the restart of student loan payments; receive updates on the Biden Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan; access the newest most affordable repayment plan, the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan; and much more! If you weren’t able to make the event, you can catch up on everything you missed including a full webinar recording and access helpful resources by clicking on this link.

Partner & Member Spotlight: We’re shining a spotlight on our incredible partners and special guest speakers who helped to make the most recent webinar in our Student Debt Cancellation and Federal Loan Information Workshop Series a huge success! A big thank you to our guest speakers, California State Assembly members Chris Ward and Dr. Akilah Weber, for sharing your valuable insight and being supporters for student borrowers throughout California! We’d also like to thank our partners at The California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation (DFPI) and The Campaign for California Borrowers’ Rights coalition for co-hosting these webinars and helping to answer questions for borrowers in California.

What’s Next: As we wrap up the month of September, our team will continue to focus on making a final push to support our policy priorities! Stay tuned for more information about bills that may need your support, additional Student Debt Cancellation and Federal Loan Information webinars, and plenty more!

Our Mission: NextGen Policy fights for progressive policy change to address environmental, social, racial, gender, 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.