Statements Stories

CIPC’s End of Legislative Session Update

Saturday, Oct. 14 was the deadline for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto bills that made it to his desk. In many ways, this marks the culmination of months, even years, of tireless organizing and advocacy work with you and all of our partners. 

To see the outcome of the more than 70 bills that CIPC supported or opposed this year, click here.

Here are three highlights to celebrate:

  • Maintaining funding for Health4All: Despite a multi-billion dollar shortfall, the 2023 Budget Act maintained funding to extend Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented residents of all ages, with the expansion to 26-49 year olds beginning Jan. 1, 2024.  
  • Upholding the commitment to Food4All Older Adults: California upheld its commitment to expand CalFresh food and nutrition benefits to all California residents over the age of 55, regardless of their immigration status, with a target implementation date of October 2025. 
  • Funding for resource centers for undocumented students: AB 278 (Reyes), sponsored by Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), will establish a grant program to help more high schools set up Dream Resource Centers, to provide counseling on financial aid, immigration law, and other resources for immigrant students and their families. 

Gov. Newsom also vetoed some of our key bills:

  • Health and Safety for All Workers Act: SB 686 (Durazo) would have ended the exclusion of privately paid “household domestic service” employees from health and safety protections under California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSHA). Despite overwhelming support from the legislature and no formal opposition, Gov. Newsom vetoed the bill, saying that households cannot be treated like a workplace and that it would be too much of a burden on employers, despite employersadvocating for the bill. This veto leaves domestic workers vulnerable to exploitation, isolation and life-threatening workplace conditions. 
  • The Harmonizing Our Measures for Equality Act (HOME Act): AB 1306 (Carrillo) would have prohibited the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from transferring Californians who have served their time and earned their release to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). AB 1306 passed through the California Assembly and Senate with a supermajority vote and no formal opposition. Gov. Newsom justified vetoing the HOME Act by saying that communication between CDCR and ICE would continue and that “ICE will determine how it will proceed with its enforcement of federal law.” However, through his veto, the governor is in effect endorsing California’s collusion with ICE. This veto continues a cruel “double-punishment” for thousands of Californians who are transferred to ICE and leaves California behind Oregon, Illinois, and Washington D.C., which have officially ended their state and local law enforcements’ aid for immigration enforcement. 

The fight for equity continues:

Although this year’s legislative session has ended, it by no means represents the end of our efforts to provide food security, ensure health access, expand the safety net, and challenge the mass detention and deportation of immigrants in our communities. We need your support for the work ahead, which includes:

  • Closing the remaining gaps to fulfill Health4All: AB 4 (Arambula), is now a 2-year bill that will help over half a million uninsured Californians who are ineligible for Medi-Cal. The bill would allow people to get health insurance by establishing a state marketplace parallel and equivalent to Covered California for undocumented people. See our fact sheet here and reach out to CIPC Policy Analyst Carlos Alarcónto get involved.
  • Winning Food4All: Despite progress in winning food and nutrition benefits for all Californians ages 55+, the Food4All coalition, through SB 245 (Hurtado) and AB 311 (Santiago), is working to ensure that all Californians have access to food, regardless of their immigration status or their age. Both SB 245 and AB 311 passed through their houses of origin and have become two-year bills. They are scheduled to be heard in their respective policy committees next legislative session. Learn more with our Food4All fact sheet and reach out to CIPC Policy Manager Benyamin Chao to get involved. 
  • Creating a SafetyNet4All: SB 227 (Durazo) would have created a state unemployment benefits program for the one million Californians who are excluded from regular unemployment insurance, solely due to their immigration status. Unfortunately, since the proposal was not included in the budget this year, the bill was put on hold before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it can be acted on next year. Learn more by reading our Safety Net for All fact sheet and join the Safety Net for All Coalition here.
  • Ensuring Representation for All: AB 617 (Jones-Sawyer), the Representation, Equity, and Protections (REP) for All Immigrants Act, would strengthen the state’s immigration legal services program, One California, by ensuring all Californians, regardless of their history, have access to legal representation when faced with detention and deportation, or when they need assistance to apply for benefits and relief like DACA, citizenship or asylum. AB 617 is a 2-year bill and will be heard in policy committees in January 2024. Learn more by attending the Rep4All webinar on Oct. 25, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and partner with us by joining the REP4All campaign.