For further details on the status of each bill, please visit the California Legislative Information Website.
Combating our Climate Crisis
- SB 30 - The State Buildings and Assets Decarbonization Act of 2021: SB 30 mandates that State buildings and assets achieve carbon-neutrality by 2035 and that the State divest from projects that are not zero emission by 2023. Beginning in 2022, all newly designed and constructed state buildings must be zero emission.
- SB 31 - The Decarbonization Programs Act of 2021: SB 31 will develop new building decarbonization programs through the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission, with a particular emphasis on providing opportunities for low-income customers.
- SB 32 - The Decarbonization Act of 2021: SB 32 will require all cities and counties in California to update their General Plans with objectives, targets, and policies to decarbonize their building stock in line with State targets.
- SB 37 – The Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup and Safety Act: Honoring the legacy of his father Dominic Cortese, who served in the State Legislature in the 1980’s and 90’s, Cortese has introduced SB 37 which updates and revitalizes the Hazardous Waste and Substances Sites List, or the “Cortese List (AB 3750)”, that his father authored in 1986.
- SB 790 - Advance Mitigation Program: Wildlife Connectivity Barriers: Cortese is a joint author of SB 790 with Senator Henry Stern to expand the applicability of wildlife mitigation credits, ensuring that state agencies are able to access mitigation funds for projects that reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, protect wildlife and promote highway safety. Supporters of this bill include The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, National Wildlife Federation, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority and the Endangered Habitats League. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
- SB 475 - Transportation Planning: Sustainable Communities Strategies: While SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) required that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) across California adopt land use strategies and prioritize transportation investments that reduce GHGs in long-range plans known as Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS), Cortese’s SB 475 will update SB 375 to incorporate social equity and climate resilience goals and provide direction to regions as to how they can best reach these goals.
- SB 1219 - State Water Resiliency and Modernization Act: Senator Cortese is a joint author of SB 1219 with Senator Melissa Hurtado to reimagine water management in the 21st century and create a sustainable water system prioritizing preservation and sustainability for all of California.
SB 1385 – Multi-Family Solar Energy Access: SB 1385 requires that the California Public Utilities Commission establish a multi-family housing local solar program that would require each electrical corporation with more than 100,000 service connections to construct a solar and storage system on or near multifamily housing in underserved communities.
SB 1297 – Low Carbon Construction for Climate Restoration: Senator Cortese is working with stakeholders from environmental justice groups, labor, and industry to craft a plan for California to not only adapt to, but to reverse climate change. SB 1297 calls on the state to develop a strategic plan to advance carbon reduction across all building and construction materials and maximize carbon sequestration
SB 1244 - Waterfowl Funding: SB 1244 will ensure that the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has sufficient and reliable annual funding for waterfowl conservation purposes, including the operations and maintenance of managed wetland habitat on its State Wildlife Areas.
Criminal Justice Reform
Re-envisioning our Justice System
- SB 300 - The Sentencing Reform Act of 2021: SB 300 will reform California’s unjust “felony murder special circumstance” law and ensure that the death penalty and life without the possibility of parole cannot be imposed on those who did not kill, nor intend that a person die, during a crime, providing recourse to hundreds – potentially more – of people convicted under this law currently awaiting execution or condemned to die in prison. Sponsors of SB 300 include Silicon Valley De-Bug, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), The Drop LWOP Coalition, Families United to End LWOP (FUEL), and the Felony Murder Elimination Project.
- SB 383 - The Juvenile Justice Diversion Act: Sponsored by the California Judges Association, SB 383 will remove barriers and increase access to diversion programs for youth that commit non-violent felonies. Numerous peer-reviewed studies point to diversion as a more effective tool in reducing recidivism than conventional judicial interventions. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
Sexual Assault Prevention
Fighting Sexual Assault, Exploitation and Trafficking
- SB 435 - The Ending Online Sexual Trafficking and Exploitation Act: Sponsored by the California Women’s Law Center, SB 435 will allow a victim of online sexual trafficking or exploitation to bring a civil action for damages against any person or entity that makes, obtains, uploads, reuploads or distributes in any form, sexual content without their freely given permission. Once a victim has given notice that their rights are being violated, a distributor has two-hours to take down this content. After that, an offender must pay damages of $100,000 for every two hours of online exposure, or $200,000 for every two hours if the victim is under 18 years of age.
- SB 530 - The Repeal of the Spousal Rape Exception Act: SB 530 will eliminate the “spousal rape exception” in the California Penal Code (Section 262) to ensure that “spousal rape” is treated and punished as seriously as rape of a non-spouse. (Corresponding Bill in the State Assembly Signed Into Law in 2021)
- SB 1210 - Ending Online Abuse: SB 1210 will prevent online sexual exploitation, non-consensual sharing of obscene images, and provide survivors recovery for online trafficking and an avenue for relief, recourse and recovery.
Addressing the Root Causes of our Housing Crisis
- SB 649 - The Tenant Preferences to Prevent Displacement Act: SB 649 will support the use of Tenant Preferences, such as Neighborhood and Anti-Displacement preferences, in affordable housing using tax credits and bonds in order to mitigate the displacement of low-income renters who are disproportionately people of color in many communities.
- SB 780 - Improvements to EIFD and CRIA Tax Increment Laws: SB 780 will provide helpful clarifications to improve the functioning and usefulness of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) and Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities (CRIAs), Special Tax Districts that are used by local governments, especially after the elimination of Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs), to fund community infrastructure projects through tax increment public financing. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
- SB 791 - The State Housing Finance Agency Act: SB 791 will enable the State to provide credit enhancements as well as tax credits and to facilitate joint ventures between local and state agencies and builders, including incentives for housing production on state and local agency surplus land. The equity and revenues from said investments will in-turn fund further affordable housing production and fuel our growing housing workforce. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
Government Accountability & Transparency
Looking Out for People and Protecting Consumers
- SB 461 - Unfair Competition Law Enforcement: SB 461 will allow County Counsels, of a county within which a city has a population in excess of 750,000 people, to enforce the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) that prohibits false advertising and unfair business practices. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
- SB 1100 – Open and Safe Public Meetings: SB 1100 will ensure safe, open, and accessible public meetings by creating a process to restore order when disruptions occur that prevent a meeting from continuing in accordance with law.
Investing in the Needs of All Children
- SB 692 - The Special Education Inclusion Act: With numerous studies indicating that inclusion significantly increases graduation rates and academic performance for students with disabilities, Cortese has introduced SB 692, sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). By adding an existing federal inclusion indicator to the state accountability dashboard, this bill would expand awareness of inclusive options for students with disabilities and promote the use of existing resources for general education teachers to receive training and professional development on teaching strategies and frameworks that optimize education for students with individual learning differences.
- SB 1170 – Recall Reform for Small School Districts: Sponsored by the Small School Districts Association, SB 1170 will ensure small school and community college districts, and their financial stability, are less disproportionately impacted by recall petitions that require a comparatively low signature threshold.
Strengthening Our Public Health Infrastructure & Protecting our Frontline Heroes During COVID-19
- SB 213 - Presumptive Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation for Nurses: Sponsored by the California Nurses Association, SB 213 will modernize outdated California laws and make it easier for registered nurses to access the workers’ compensation system, just like the law currently protects other frontline healthcare workers. These frontline heroes deserve adequate and equal protections to ensure their own safety and the safety of all of us.
- SB 707 - Corrective Action Orders: Sponsored by the Continuing Care Residents' Association, SB 707 requires continuing care facilities to provide notice to current and prospective residents of any pending or recent corrective action orders issued by the State Department of Social Services, as well as any complaints or concerns filed with the facility’s management or board. The bill protects current and future residents by providing them with transparency on the financial status and safety of the facilities they are making a lifelong commitment to.
- SB 564 - The Hospital Seismic Compliance Deadline Extension: SB 564 extends the hospital seismic compliance deadline from July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024 for two Santa Clara County projects - the O’Connor Hospital (OCH) Seismic Compliance Project and the Valley Medical Center (VMC) Bascom Seismic Compliance Project. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the County’s hospital system, paired with the County’s only recent acquisition of the O’Connor Hospital, an extension for both the OCH and VMC projects is much needed to maintain access to health services for County residents. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
- SB 335 - Presumptive Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation for Firefighters: Sponsored by the California Professional Firefighters, SB 335 will require better enforcement around workers compensation presumptions for Firefighters.
- SB 999 - California Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Patient Safety and Fairness Act: SB 999 will ensure that Californians suffering from substance use disorders and addiction are able to receive residential treatment for the length of time that is medically necessary and consistent with specific treatment criteria developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
Ensuring Equity, Parity, and Opportunity for All Workers
- SB 411 - The Working After Retirement Act: Under current law, some retirees in the CalPERS system are currently facing significant fines and penalties for inadvertently going over the statutory limitation of 960 hours per year if they want to work for a CalPERS agency after retirement. Many retirees were not aware of the limitation, while others may have been misinformed by their employers. SB 411 will simply provide the authority to the CalPERS Board the flexibility to waive or reduce fines based on the conditions and circumstances of the violation, without having to force a retiree to reinstate into the system. (Signed Into Law in 2021)
- SB 33 - Inclusive Apprenticeship Opportunities: Unfortunately, despite growing efforts of outreach, recruitment, and reporting, representation disparities amongst women and other underrepresented minority populations in the building and construction trades sector persist. SB 33 creates the Construction Apprenticeship Advancement Task Force to study the recruitment, retention, and barriers to entry of women, underrepresented, and disadvantaged populations in the State of California for purposes of ensuring high-wage apprenticeship opportunities are more inclusive of those populations to promote significant growth in the economic security of all communities.
- SB 868 - Equitable Distribution of Excess Funds: Sponsored by the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Retired Teachers Association (CalRTA), SB 868 will ensure equity and financial stability for California’s oldest retired educators through the equitable distribution of excess funds within CalSTRS’ Supplemental Benefit Maintenance Account to retired teachers that are most in need.
- SB 874 - Promotional Probation Procedure Parity: While the statutes of the California Education Code governing non-merit K-12 and Community College districts make it clear that if an employee does not pass probation for a promotional position they return to their previous classification, the corresponding law for merit districts are silent on these promotional probation procedures, even though the permanent status of classified employees are consistent among the two sections. SB 874 would rectify this by providing clarity and equity between merit system and non-merit system procedures.
- SB 831 - Protecting Entertainment Workers: SB 831 sets up a first-in-the-nation regulatory process to protect all entertainment workers; specifically, the bill restricts the use of live ammunition and firearms on sets of all entertainment and theatrical productions, establishes safety protocols, including safety trainings, codifies proven safety measures, creates a penalty structure for violations, and enables the state to enforce and ensure compliance while creating an avenue of recourse for employees.
- SB 1004 - California State Public Works Apprenticeship Bid Preference: To show a strong commitment to apprenticeship programs and further the Governors ambitious, yet achievable, goal of establishing 500,000 apprentices in the State by 2029, SB 1004 would establish a five percent bid preference for contractors who are active participants in State approved apprenticeship programs.
- SB 1126 – CalSavers Retirement Savings Expansion: SB 1126 would reduce complexity for employers and expand access to CalSavers to all small businesses; in doing so, this bill would improve employee recruitment and retention across California.
- SB 1168 - Postretirement Death Benefit Equity Adjustment: SB 1168 increases equity in the CalPERS postretirement death benefit and addresses the substantial erosion in the benefit’s value for those receiving the basic benefit.
- SB 1294 - Worker Wellness: In response to the tragic mass shooting that occurred one year ago at the Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in downtown San Jose, Senator Cortese worked with local workers impacted by this tragedy to craft SB 1294, a bill that would provide more support to employees in high stress industries through workplace wellness centers statewide to prevent further senseless violence.
Providing Support to our Youth and Young Adult Population
- SB 739 - The Universal Basic Income for Transition Age Foster Youth Act: SB 739 will provide direct, monthly cash assistance through a statewide universal basic income (UBI) Pilot Program for the approximately 3,000 youth who age out of Extended Foster Care in California each year. (Incorporated Into the 2021-22 State Budget)
- SB 384 - The Family Finding Act: Sponsored by the California Judges Association, SB 384 requires that counties implement best-practice family finding protocols, increasing the likelihood that a child removed from parental care, for instance as a result of parental neglect or abuse, be placed with relatives.
SB 1184 – Student Mental Health Through School-Linked Services: SB 1184 would define in California law a “School-Lined Services” coordinator as those individuals or entities, who serve as licensed educational psychologist, located on a school campus or under contract by a county behavioral health provider, and ensure that these “School-Lined Services” can better refer both students and families to mental health treatment and care.
Cortese's Requests Secured in the 2021-2022 State Budget:
- Student Mental Health - an augmentation of $205,000,000 to create school and county mental health partnerships across California
- VTA Recovery - $20,000,000 to VTA to provide post-tragedy relief to traumatized employees and help get essential transit services running again as soon as possible
- Universal Basic Income - an historic $35,000,000 “California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program” to serve California youth exiting the state’s extended foster care program as well as pregnant women
- Highway 17 Wildlife and Trail Crossings Project - $2,000,000 to create connectivity and a safe crossing for trail users to enjoy the natural beauty of our Santa Cruz Mountains
- Litter Abatement - $2,000,000 to assist local jurisdictions with the removal of trash and debris from local streets and along state highways in Santa Clara County
- San José - Evergreen Community College District - a planning and community engagement grant of $1,000,000 to plan the development of vacant college property to serve students
- Wildfire Preparedness Technologies - over $2,000,000 to provide state-of-the-art technology to communicate securely and effectively during a wildfire or natural disaster including emergency mobile cell phone coverage