What a month! At midnight on September 1, the California State Senate finished reviewing hundreds of bills as our two-year legislative session came to an end. The end of session is always a crunch time, but this year it was even more complicated because of the measures we had to put in place to keep the public, legislators, and staff safe while doing the people’s business.
The Senate announced in April that we would narrow our bill focus to the most pressing issues facing California, especially the pandemic and economic recovery. We also sought to find ways to address the great call for change spurred by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and too many others, passing several bills to help remove some of the stains of racism from our social fabric. We must keep the legislative momentum going for even more gains.
With COVID-19, as soon as the first stay-at-home order took effect, the Senate began developing a path forward for the people of our state. We approved emergency aid, and laid out proposals that will help Californians – including essential workers, first responders, renters, small businesses and working families – keep their housing, reach financial stability and have safer workplaces. Having focused much of my life’s work on affordable housing, which was a crisis before the pandemic, and has been made worse by it, I know much remains to be done in our next session. In addition to helping meet California’s housing demand, housing production legislation will create thousands of good jobs that strengthen working families and help rebuild the state’s economy. The $100 million hiring credit we enacted this session will also spur new jobs.
While we had to delay several important bills this year, that doesn’t mean it is the end for them. I postponed my big bill of the year, SB 1100, which would have helped local communities combat sea level rise. This is an issue that is not going away, and must to be part of California’s comprehensive approach to climate change. I appreciate the support and input we have received from Scripps and local climate organizations and I’m excited to build on this good work next year. In fact, over the next few weeks, I look forward to having conversations here at home and with Californians all across the state on different legislative approaches the Senate should consider when our new session starts in December. I hope you will be part of those discussions.
We are working on a more in-depth recap of the end of session, which I will be sharing with you soon. My office will also continue to provide important information on COVID-19, fires and power outages, and other urgent situations that may develop. In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, check in on each other, and please, contact me or my office if we can be of any help.