Your February Digest! Climate Letter, Virtual Events, & More

Nextgen What's Next
February 10, 2023

We are two months into the new legislative session and February is shaping up to be another very productive month for the NextGen Policy team!

This edition of What’s Next will update you on the recent equity and justice policy and advocacy work that we have underway, including our newly released California climate budget letter; last week’s virtual webinar events; volunteer opportunities for you to engage in; information about free tax preparation services; and much more! So, please take a look:

[NEW] Climate Budget Committee Letter: Earlier this week the Assembly Budget Committee held an oversight hearing on the Governor’s January budget proposal, and our Climate 100 sent a comment letter to the committee. Our letter addresses the multi-billion dollar funding cuts proposed to last year’s California Climate Commitment and calls on State Legislators to restore the climate budget allocation. Specifically, our comments focus on allocating the much needed funding for public transit operations and active transportation programs. California must stop treating climate as a niche spending category, separate from all other government spending and state operations – meeting our state’s climate goals needs to be fully integrated into the way we approach our budget and state operations! We strongly support policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and urge our State Legislators to prioritize climate justice by restoring public transportation and other California Climate Commitment program funding.

[NEW] Students’ Basic Needs Legislative Briefing: On February 2nd, we held a Legislative Briefing with Compton College President and CEO Dr. Keith Curry to discuss our joint Students’ Basic Needs Policy Brief. Over 50 legislative staffers, students, and other key stakeholders participated in this short webinar. The discussion focused on how higher-ed institutions across California can help ensure their students can fully fund the cost of college by having access to the necessary resources to meet their basic needs, including: food, housing, broadband services, transportation, and more!

[UPDATE] The California Mandela Act (AB 280): “California cannot reverse the damage already done by solitary confinement, but our state can prevent future harm.” This is an Assemblymember Chris Holden quote from the press conference we held to reintroduce The California Mandela Act (AB 280). We’re happy to share the full recording of the press event reintroducing the bill in case you missed it – the event features firsthand accounts from solitary confinement survivors and comments from solitary confinement reform advocacy experts.

[ICYMI] Closing the Digital Divide – DEVFA (AB 41): In early January, our Executive Director Arnold Sowell Jr. was joined by Assemblymember Holden, who represents California’s 41st district, and additional guest speakers in a virtual Town Hall to discuss AB 41 – The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023 (DEVFA). Under the provisions of DEVFA, all Californians will have more equitable access to high-quality, affordable broadband services and its full implementation will bring us one step closer to closing the digital divide!

If you want to develop skills that benefit you as both a student and mentor, while helping to pay for your education, #CaliforniansForAll College Corps is for you!

Get more information on this unique partnership with Cal Volunteers and apply today!

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Did You Know? Tax season is here! And you should know that there are many programs available for Californians that will enable you to prepare and file your taxes free of charge – our friends at Cal EITC are one of the many organizations that provide these services. No matter your circumstances, find out if you qualify and take advantage of available resources today!

Member Spotlight: In honor of Black History Month, we’re celebrating Black leaders in our state and shining a spotlight on their work and how it makes an impact in our communities, state, and country! We highlight a new leader every few days via our Twitter page, so be sure to follow along and keep up with their amazing work!

What’s Next: Meet and Greets! In the weeks to come, our team will be focused on meeting with members of the California State Legislature, finalizing our bill and budget priorities, and implementing various program activities in our digital equity, climate, and racial equity issue areas! We’re looking forward to working closely with our legislative partners on this year’s priority items to help further our equity and justice mission and, in so doing, build a better California for all. Upcoming meetings include:
  • Assemblymember Dawn Addis (AD-30)
  • Senator Steve Padilla (SD-18)
  • Assemblymember Avelino Valencia (AD-68)
  • Assemblymember Liz Ortega (AD-20)
  • Senator Caroline Menjivar (SD-20)

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.