Senator Cortese Celebrates Advancement of Four Crucial Bills Standing Up for California Students

Sacramento, CA – Today, Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) is proud to announce the passage of four significant pieces of his legislation through the Assembly Education Committee: SB 333, SB 483, SB 956, and SB 1445. These bills stand up for California’s students and address critical issues affecting some of California’s most vulnerable populations.

SB 333: California SOAR (Success, Opportunity, & Academic Resilience) Guaranteed Income Program

Every year, thousands of homeless high school seniors in California face insurmountable challenges as they transition into adulthood. SB 333 aims to break this cycle of hardship by establishing the California SOAR Guaranteed Income Program, providing financial support to homeless high school seniors. This transformative legislation grants $1,000 per month for four months to help these students transition to college or enter the workforce.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, a key sponsor of SB 333, emphasized the importance of this initiative: "We must become a village of support around our youth experiencing homelessness. By investing in the financial stability of our most vulnerable young adults, we ensure that none of our bright young minds will be hindered from future success simply because of their circumstances."

Former Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs, founder of End Poverty in California (EPIC), commented, “Poverty should not be a reality for anyone, and especially our young people. SB 333 will be an opportunity to reroute the future for thousands of homeless California students. Similar to the first mayor-led guaranteed income program that I ran in Stockton, SB 333 is an investment in our economy, an investment in education, and most importantly, an investment in our future.”

Teri Olle, Director of Economic Security California Action, added, “Today’s vote by the Assembly Education Committee to advance this bill forward is a win for homeless high school seniors and our entire state. Guaranteed income advocates are working to establish an income floor through pilot programs, tax credits, and other innovative cash policies that ensure Californians have the economic stability and security we all deserve. Economic Security California Action urges lawmakers to continue to support SB 333 as it moves through the Legislature."

Key sponsors and supporters include End Poverty in California (EPIC), Economic Security Project, and the California Department of Education.

SB 483: Pupil Rights – Prohibition of Prone Restraint

Max Benson, a 13-year-old autistic student, tragically died after being restrained face down for over an hour at Guiding Hands School. His story has become a powerful call to action to end the dangerous practice of “prone restraint” in schools. SB 483 will eliminate the use of prone restraints in California schools, ensuring the safety and well-being of students, particularly those with disabilities.

Senator Cortese expressed his deep sympathy for Max Benson’s family and highlighted the bill's importance today: “Max Benson’s story is a heartbreaking reminder of the urgent need for change. As a father, I'm equally heartbroken and enraged at what happened. No child should ever endure the pain and suffering that Max did. SB 483’s advancement today is a monumental step toward safeguarding our students and ensuring a safer learning environment for every child in California.”

Stacia Langley, Max Benson’s mother, testified in support of the bill, sharing her family's tragic experience and the devastating impact of such dangerous practices. “This bill is long overdue and will save the lives of vulnerable children in our state,” said Langley. “We need to do everything in our power to keep children safe at school. I appreciate the Senate for recognizing the urgency of SB 483.”

The bill has garnered support from Disability Rights California, Max Benson’s family, and various educational and disability advocacy groups.

SB 956: K-12 School Facilities: Design-Build Contracts

SB 956, authored by Senator Cortese, saves California taxpayers millions of dollars on school construction by making the successful design-build program permanent. This method allows school construction projects to combine design and construction phases, streamlining the process and locking in costs from the start.

“Design-build allows school boards to modernize aging schools and complete ongoing construction more quickly and cost-effectively," said Senator Cortese. "I am pleased to see we are one step closer to ensuring this effective program continues to benefit students for generations to come.”

SB 1445: Restorative Justice Expulsion Hearings

SB 1445, also authored by Senator Dave Cortese, focuses on providing enhanced support for students through restorative justice in expulsion hearings. The bill allows student board members to recommend restorative justice alternatives in expulsion cases, ensuring a more collaborative and supportive approach.

Testimonies from Ana Petero, Fairfield-Suisun Unified Trustee Area 6, and Garret Xu from the California Association of Student Councils highlighted the importance of this bill in fostering a fair and inclusive school environment.

Senator Dave Cortese represents Senate District 15, which encompasses San Jose and much of Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley. Visit Senator Cortese’s website: