2021-2022 Legislation

Environmental Leadership
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.
  • 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.

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.


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.


Housing Affordability
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.
  • 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. 


Consumer Protection


  • 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. 


Educational Opportunity
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.

Public Health
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.
  • 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.

Workplace Fairness


  • 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.
  • 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.


Youth Services
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.
  • 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.