2023-2024 Legislation

Legislative Update 2023


2023-2024 Legislation


Summaries For Senator Cortese's Authored Bills In 2024


Criminal Justice Reform

SB 94 (Judicial Review of Old Sentences): SB 94 would provide a ‘second look’ at Californians sentenced to death or serving life in prison without the possibility of parole by allowing these individuals to petition for judicial review through an arduous process on certain offenses committed before June 5, 1990, after they have served at least 25 years of their sentence. (Contact: Clare Recinos)


Government Accountability & Transparency

SB 915 (The Autonomous Vehicle Service Deployment and Data Transparency Act): Right now, autonomous vehicle services are operating in California communities without oversight from local governments, such as cities and counties that represent residents, emergency responders, and workers. SB 915 prioritizes local control and public safety by guaranteeing local governments can regulate driverless vehicle services in their communities, just as they currently do with all other motor vehicles. (Contact: Evan Fern)

SB 1373 (Water Data Transparency) SB 1373 seeks to enhance transparency and public access to essential water data across California. This legislation mandates the development of a comprehensive water data dashboard, streamlining and simplifying access to the sweeping datasets related to the State Water Project (SWP) and the federal Central Valley Project (CVP). (Contact: Evan Fern)


Good Governance 

SB 1209 (Local Agency Formation Commission: indemnification): SB 1209 addresses a challenge faced by Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCOs). Established under the Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act (co-authored by Senator Dave Cortese's father, Assemblymember Dominic Cortese), LAFCOs play a vital role in defining local governance boundaries. SB 1209 would explicitly authorize LAFCOs to indemnify as states, cities and counties do. Allowing LAFCOs to use indemnification will prevent expenses from being shifted to taxpayers. (Contact: Michael Haleva) 

SB 1226 (Hunting on navigable waters): Current enforcement practices in California conflict with the state constitutional right to hunt in navigable waters, leading to unnecessary legal battles for outdoor enthusiasts. SB 1226 resolves this by aligning state law with the constitution, guaranteeing the public's right to use navigable waters for hunting, fishing, and other public purposes. This bill clarifies existing law, preventing the misclassification of constitutionally protected activities on waterways as trespassing. (Contact: Evan Fern)


Public Health

SB 636 (Preventing Medical Coverage Denials by Physicians Not Licensed in California): SB 636 would stop insurance companies from enlisting out-of-state doctors to deny medical treatment plans proposed by California doctors for workers’ compensation claims for certain patients. (Contact: Evan Fern)

SB 908 (Stopping Fentanyl Exposure to Young Children) With a distressing increase in fentanyl-related fatalities among the state's youngest residents, SB 908 takes steps to mitigate fentanyl exposure risks for infants and toddlers. This bill addresses the critical need for a standardized public health response to the fentanyl crisis affecting children aged zero to five. It mandates the State Department of Public Health to track and analyze trends in fentanyl-related deaths within this age group, develop preventative guidelines, and disseminate this crucial information to all California counties. The bill also requires annual reporting of findings and recommendations to enhance the collective efforts to safeguard young lives from the lethal risks of opioid poisoning.

SB 999 (California Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Patient Safety and Fairness Act): Insurance companies routinely disregard medical advice and enlist unqualified doctors to deny mental health and substance abuse treatment to save money on lifesaving treatment. As a result, patients can relapse and die. SB 999 will ensure that Californians suffering from substance use disorders and addiction are able to receive treatment for the length of time that is medically necessary and consistent with specific treatment criteria developed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. (Contact: Lauren Winn)

SB 1300 (Health facility closure: public notice: inpatient psychiatric and maternity services): SB 1300 responds to the state’s mental health and “maternity deserts” crises by increasing accountability and transparency and mitigating the impact on community health. (Contact: Lauren Winn)


Student Housing

SB 1431 (Facilitating Affordable Student Housing) SB 1431 proposes an innovative approach to alleviate San Jose’s student housing challenges by enabling the adaptive reuse of a modern San Jose hotel into affordable student accommodations. Termed Spartan Village on the Paseo, this San Jose State University (SJSU) project is set to provide housing for approximately 700 students. SB 1431 aims to streamline the development process by shifting fire and life safety oversight to the CSU Office of Fire Safety, expediting the completion for the fall semester of 2024. (Contact: Michael Haleva)


Economic Opportunity & Workplace Fairness

SB 1015 (Clinical Placement Transparency): SB 1015 will help California build an adequate nursing workforce that reflects the diversity of our state by increasing transparency in the management of clinical education placements for nursing students. (Contact: Lauren Winn)

SB 1298 (Data Centers Expansion):  SB 1298 will grow the economy and vitality of California’s technology industry and related sectors and keep critical services operational at all times by increasing data center capacity.  (Contact: Ashonte Smith)

SB 1299 (Fast Relief for Heat-injured Farm Workers) The increased frequency of extreme heat conditions and their growing risks to workers highlight the importance and necessity of employer compliance with California’s outdoor heat regulations to keep workers safe. SB 1299 promotes compliance with the existing outdoor heat regulation through a rebuttable presumption for heat-related injury and death. Farm workers who suffer injury, illness, or death while working for a noncompliant employer will be treated and compensated expeditiously. (Contact: Sunshine Borelli)

SB 1162 (Enforce Skilled Workforce Standards) SB 1162 aims to reinforce the enforcement of skilled and trained workforce standards on public projects within California, which aligns with the state's ambitious infrastructure objectives. SB 1162 supports the creation of high-quality, family-supporting jobs. It prepares California's workforce to meet future demands. (Contact: Sunshine Borelli)


Protecting Sexual Assault Survivors

SB 554 (Survivor's Protection Act): Obtaining a restraining order can be challenging for individuals who have moved away from their abuser. SB 554 would allow survivors of domestic violence or harassment to petition for a restraining order in a California court regardless of residency status, thereby empowering judges to protect individuals and families from further trauma, abuse, or injury. Perpetrators have no borders – neither should a survivor’s protection. (Contact: Clare Recinos) 

SB 646 (Invasion of privacy: distribution of sexually explicit materials: Child sex abuse material is rampant on social media. Too often, victims have no legal recourse for the online distribution of content depicting their abuse. SB 646 gives victims powerful legal remedies against social media companies that profit or benefit from the distribution of child sex abuse material. (Contact: Michael Haleva)


Youth Services & Safety

SB 9 (Raising the Age of Foster Care Act): The Raising the Age for Extended Foster Care Act of 2023 will allow vulnerable qualifying youth to remain in the foster system for an additional year to 22 years old. This change will help prevent homelessness and involvement in the criminal justice system. (Contact: Clare Recinos) 

SB 333 (California Success, Opportunity, and Academic Resilience (SOAR) Guaranteed Income Program): SB 333 establishes a statewide guaranteed income pilot program to provide approximately 15,000 exiting 12th-grade students experiencing homelessness with direct cash assistance during the summer to support their transition out of high school and their access to employment and postsecondary education in the fall. (Contact: Ashonte Smith) 

SB 483 (Prohibiting Prone Restraint): Prone restraint is one of the most dangerous forms of restraint used in a school setting; it is a technique that restricts a student’s airway by holding them in a face-down position. This restraint has resulted in severe injury and even death in our schools. SB 483 aims to prevent unnecessary tragedies by prohibiting prone restraint in every public school in California. (Contact: Ashonte Smith) 

SB 956 (Design-build contracts for school facilities): SB 956 permanently reauthorizes K-12 districts to use the design-build delivery method when constructing and designing school facilities. Design-build is a unique and efficient project delivery method that allows the school to select the design professional and contractor concurrently through a single contract. (Contact: Michael Haleva)

SB 1445 (Restorative Justice in Schools) SB 1445 introduces a transformative approach to student discipline within California schools by integrating restorative justice into expulsion hearings. This legislation permits student board members to recommend restorative actions prior to a closed-session expulsion hearing, emphasizing a disciplinary system that focuses on healing, empathy, and community rebuilding rather than punishment alone, where appropriate. This will only be utilized at the school board's discretion and the students' prior authorization. SB 1445 paves the way for a more inclusive and effective response to school offenses, ensuring the student board member’s voice contributes to fostering a supportive educational environment. (Contact: Ashonte Smith)


Cortese's Authored Bills Signed Into Law In 2023:


  • SB 10  "Melanie's Law" - Opioid & Fentanyl Overdose Prevention Among Youth
  • SB 41 – Commercial Airline Meal and Rest Breaks
  • SB 69 – California Environmental Quality Act Transparency
  • SB 150 – Infrastructure Workforce Development (Joint-Author)
  • SB 309  Protecting Religious Freedom
  • SB 332 – Minor League Baseball Players
  • SB 335 – County of Santa Clara Critical Services
  • SB 406 – Eliminating Duplicative Review for Affordable Housing
  • SB 432 – Relief for Retired Teachers
  • SB 553 – Protecting Against Workplace Violence
  • SB 642 – Hazardous Waste Enforcement
  • SB 669 – Pets and Veterinary Service Expansion
  • SB 735 – Safety on Theatrical Productions (Signed Into Law Through SB 132)
  • SB 740 – Workforce Development in Green Industries
  • SB 745 – Drought Resistant and Water-Efficient Buildings


Cortese's Requests Secured In The 2023-2024 State Budget:

  • Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program for Unhoused High School Students: The state budget provides $3 million to launch a guaranteed income program in Santa Clara County for 50 homeless students exiting high school. This program will help recipients transition into college or a good-paying job by providing a monthly stipend of $1,200 and various lines of support, including financial mentors and peer mentors. Locally led by Susan Ellenberg, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and her colleagues, the program is modeled after a successful 2020 guaranteed income program spearheaded by Senator Cortese that provided monthly stipends for young people leaving foster care to help them transition into college or career. 
  • The Tech Interactive Field Trip Program Incorporating the Silicon Valley Kid’s Climate Club: The state budget provides $3 million to fund field trips to The Tech Interactive, a Silicon Valley museum promoting hands-on STEM education with exhibits in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, digital art, and environmental science. Around 100,000 students visit The Tech on field trips each year, and over half of them come through the Title I Field Trip Scholarship Fund for students in under-resourced communities. The Field Trip program will also include teachings from the "Silicon Valley Kids Climate Club," lessons and resources for teaching climate change founded by Senator Cortese.
  • College of Adaptive Arts - Investing in Higher Education Opportunities: The budget provides $2 million to College of Adaptive Arts (CAA), which offers college-level education for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, to expand its model to more college campuses. CAA's goal is to provide an equal college experience for individuals with disabilities that include autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy by teaching arts, wellness, and vocational skills.
  • Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center: The budget provides $3 million for the African American Cultural Center, a Silicon Valley community initiative to build the Silicon Valley African American Signature Project, a mixed-use development that includes affordable housing, a health clinic, a performing arts theater, a museum, athletic facilities, and retail spaces.