Today, we commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, while also honoring the countless contributions that African Americans have made to our country. Today, let’s also take the time to reflect on the continued need to address the racial and economic inequities in our country and together work towards advancing justice on behalf of all who call this country home. You can learn more about NextGen’s racial equity work here. Continue reading below for a mini breakdown of our official bill package; a quick overview of California’s budget process; an update on the fight to remove barriers to voter registration in California and across the nation; information on the Supreme Court’s decision to cancel student loan debt; and much more. Here’s your exclusive look at What’s Next at NextGen:
★ Bill Package Moves to the 2nd House: We’re officially at the halfway point of the legislative year. Friday, June 2nd was the House of Origin deadline – the timeframe when all bills must be passed out of the house where they were originally introduced. We’re happy to report that our priority bills AB 41 – The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (Holden) and AB 280 – The California Mandela Act (Holden) have both passed and now must go through another round of policy and fiscal committee reviews in the Senate. Check out the rest of our bill package and learn more about how you can take action to support these progressive policy efforts!
★ Budget Bill Adopted by California Legislature: June 15th is the constitutional deadline for the Legislature to pass the budget and this year’s bill number is SB 101. The Legislature did vote to pass SB 101 by the constitutional deadline; however, the bill only reflects a two-party spending deal between the Assembly and Senate as negotiations with the Governor continue. Over the next couple of weeks, Legislative leaders and Governor Newsom will continue budget negotiations as they must complete a deal by June 30th, which marks the end of the state’s fiscal year. From these negotiations, we expect what is termed a “Budget Bill Jr.” to emerge – a bill that will refine and amend the contents of the Legislature’s plan now with the Governor’s input. In addition, the Legislature and the Governor are expected to continue working on a package of Budget Trailer Bills that will provide the policy changes necessary to implement the budget. We plan to share lots of good news on our budget wins in the upcoming What’s Next!
★ Supporting Voting Rights in California and Across the Nation: We recently participated in a rally at the State Capitol, joined by supporters from across California, to advocate for a legislative pathway to 100% voter registration! Currently, there are 4.7 million eligible but unregistered voters in California – a disproportionate number of whom are from low-income households and communities of color. NextGen and our coalition supporters are fighting to pass a Secure Automatic Voter Registration law. This law would increase voter registration through a very simple and efficient solution – automatically registering eligible Californians to vote when they present specific, verifiable information establishing their citizenship during DMV transactions.
Recently, various legal challenges related to voting rights have been in the news and we were thrilled to hear the uplifting results of these cases:
★ The U.S. Supreme Court Will Soon Rule On Student Debt Cancellation: This week we also anticipate the Supreme Court will decide on President Biden’s federal student debt cancellation plan! We’re hopeful they will rule in favor of student loan borrowers and affirm the President’s plan, making federal student debt cancellation a reality for millions of students across the country. Stay tuned for an update and a statement from us as soon as the decision is announced!
★ Working to Protect and Support Migrants: Last week, we joined legal service providers, faith groups, immigrant rights groups, and various community-based organizations from across California in asking Attorney General Rob Bonta to provide “U visas” to dozens of migrants who were flown to Sacramento by Florida contractor – a U visa is a certification which will allow these individuals to be eligible for immigration status in the U.S. Recently, a LA Times article referenced information in our letter to the AG, highlighting the urgency of this situation, which can only be described as a “manipulative political stunt.” More to come!
Across California, many low-income families and individuals – primarily from communities of color – are disproportionately and deeply affected by the interwoven layers of social, economic, environmental, and racial inequities in government policies and programs.
A contribution from you will directly support NextGen Policy’s mission to build a more equitable, climate resilient, and prosperous California for all!
★ Did You Know? We’re excited to join the LinkedIn community! Connect with NextGen Policy on LinkedIn today to read more about how our work is impacting communities up and down the state and to check out our priority bill and budget items as well as learn about our team.
★ Member Spotlight: In honor of Pride Month, we’re recognizing and shining a spotlight on California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins! Pro Tem Atkins is both the first woman to lead the California State Senate and the first openly LGBTQ+ Senate pro Tem in state history.
★ What’s Next: Our next issue will be coming your way in July! As we look ahead to celebrating Independence Day and focus on our work before the State Legislature’s Summer Recess starts – keep a lookout for opportunities to take action and join our work. We’ll be in touch with ways for YOU to help out all summer long, so stay cool and stay tuned!
★ 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.