Senator Cortese’s November Newsletter: 15 Bills Signed Into Law!


15 Bills Signed Into Law

Dear Neighbors,

It's my pleasure to share with you that 15 bills I authored have been signed into law in 2023! This year has been incredibly productive and each of these new laws will become effective in January of 2024. This includes legislation focused on protecting young people, workers, businesses, religious minorities, and the environment.

We confronted the pressing issue of curbing youth fentanyl overdoses, which saw a staggering 863% surge in Santa Clara County, enhanced environmental protections and the creation of green jobs, supported animal welfare, and cut red tape to build more affordable housing.

These are the 15 bills I had signed into law in 2023:

  • SB 10 – "Melanie's Law"/ Youth Opioid & Fentanyl Overdose Prevention
  • SB 41 – Commercial Airlines & Cabin Crews / Workforce Standards
  • SB 69 – CEQA Notification Transparency
  • SB 150 – Green Infrastructure Workforce Development (Joint-Author)
  • SB 309 – Protecting Religious Expression
  • SB 332 – Minor League Baseball Players / Workforce Standards
  • SB 335 – County of Santa Clara Critical Services
  • SB 406 – Eliminating Duplicative Review for Affordable Housing
  • SB 432 – Protecting Retired Teachers
  • SB 553 – Preventing Workplace Violence
  • SB 642 – Hazardous Waste Enforcement
  • SB 669 – Improving Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services
  • SB 735 – Safety on Theatrical Productions (Signed into law through SB 132)
  • SB 740 – Workforce Development in Green Industries
  • SB 745 – Reducing Potable Water Use / Water Efficient Buildings

In this year’s 2023-24 state budget, I secured several local investments that will directly benefit Santa Clara County residents totaling $11 million. We secured substantial funding for critical transportation infrastructure, early education, K-12 and higher education, as well as initiatives addressing homelessness and climate resilience. With all this, we've built our reserves to a historic high of $37.8 billion, providing a buffer against economic uncertainties.

The work ahead is not only vital but also inspiring, and I am grateful to continue this work in partnership with you.

Be well,


Senator Dave Cortese



I have joined with leaders in special education to launch the “Corazon Care” project, with a mission to create a new “Corazon Care” Campus in Santa Clara County that will provide a safe and inclusive recreational space for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

"Corazon Care" aims to transform an existing facility in Santa Clara County into an indoor and outdoor, secure environment designed to meet the unique needs of children with ASD. The project is set to enhance the physical and emotional well-being of these children while creating a supportive community for their families and caregivers.

Families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder face significant challenges in finding safe and enjoyable recreational experiences; many parents have expressed to me their concerns and frustrations around the lack of suitable options for their children.

The Corazon Care Campus will offer a range of sensory toys, outdoor play areas, and other features to accommodate children with diverse sensory considerations, taking into account temperature, lighting, acoustic sound, physical features, and sensory stimuli.

I’d like to extend a thank you to Enrique S. Flores, a former staff member in my Office, who helped form the Corazon Care Project & Advisory Board with me. Enrique serves as an Emergency Response Social Worker for the County of Santa Clara. His dedication to mentoring at-risk and high-risk youth spans over 25 years.

Below you can learn more about upcoming local events as well as other community updates:


Unhoused Health Fair: December 8, 2023, 9:00am-1:00pm. Please spread the word about our upcoming event to those you may know in the unhoused community. Members of the unhoused community are invited to join my annual community health fair serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara County. The Unhoused Health Fair, will feature local service providers offering a range of essential services to support unhoused community members. These services encompass health and dental check-ups, mobile shower facilities, haircut services, hot meals, flu vaccinations, bike repair services, and other services.

6th Annual Toy and Food Drive: I am proud to once again visit and co-host a Holiday Toy and Food Drive organized by Mike & Susan Hennessey of Hot San Jose Nights. The event is scheduled for Sunday, November 19, 2023, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Cambrian Park Plaza Shopping Center, 14900 Camden Ave, San Jose 95124. This charitable event invites donations of new, unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items (preferably in cans or sturdy packaging, no glass), and the collected items will benefit the Lord's Pantry in San Jose. Attendees have the option to either quickly drop off their donations and leave or stay to mingle with others.

California’s state tax deadline has been extended to Nov 16, 2023 for most CA taxpayers, due to winter storms. The IRS has offered a federal extension too. Learn more here. Learn more about free tax prep resources from the United Way Bay Area at this link.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Do you or someone you know need help paying home heating bills? To find assistance, visit or call the energy assistance hotline toll-free at 1-866-674-632.




Celebrating the Passage of My Bill SB 309: I joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups supporting criminal justice and religious liberties to celebrate SB 309 being signed into law. SB 309 establishes new religious protections for incarcerated Californians. The bill sets clear rules about religious clothing, headwear, and grooming for people being booked into prison or jail. The new law follows research that shows when inmates can practice their spiritual tradition while in detention, they are less likely to be violent or engage in other negative behaviors. Protection of religious rights among incarcerated people also reduces the chances of recidivism.

Beginning an Investigation to Increase Safety for Driverless Vehicles: This month, I initiated a public inquiry into the permitting process for driverless vehicles within the State of California that seeks to uncover the procedures and protocols governing the granting and revocation of permits for driverless vehicles, with a specific focus on safety standards and the recent suspension of driverless car permits. Given the rapidly-evolving developments in autonomous vehicle technology, including the integration of artificial intelligence, protocols regarding the permitting process require increased transparency to ensure a responsible transportation landscape. We need clear regulations that keep pace with technology, creating innovation while protecting public safety and addressing issues like sudden starts and stops, traffic blockage, and cooperation with our first responders on the road.

California Launches First State-Funded Guaranteed Income Pilot Projects For Former Foster Youth: Two state-funded Guaranteed Income Pilot Programs to serve former foster youth have launched as part of the “California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program”. As regular readers know, I authored SB 739 (2021), The Universal Basic Income for Transition Age Foster Youth Act. SB 739 was incorporated into the 2021-22 budget through the state’s first-of-its-kind investment of $35,000,000 in the “California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program” that has now launched. All of this builds on the work that we started with Santa Clara County’s first-in-the-nation universal basic income program to serve transition age foster youth back in 2020. These programs are a promise to our youth. A promise to hear them, uplift them, and help them build their future.

Learn more and also check out coverage on my new laws that will prevent youth fentanyl overdoses and protect religious freedoms:

The San Francisco Standard: San Jose Lawmaker Demands Answers From DMV After Cruise Robotaxi Suspension

Mercury News: Here’s what California schools must now do to prepare for a fentanyl overdose on campus

NBC Bay Area: New law enhances religious protections for incarcerated people across California

CBS Bay Area: "Melanie's Law" enacted to prevent fentanyl overdoses in California schools

San Jose Spotlight: California workers are gaining new rights next year

Mercury News: Cupertino, Sunnyvale schools educate families on Fentanyl dangers

SF Gate: Former Foster Youths to Get Guaranteed $1,200 Monthly Income in Pilot Program

San Jose Spotlight: Silicon Valley Lawmakers Pass a Flurry Of Laws

ABC 7: New CA Law Aims To Protect Inmate Religious Practices in Prisons

NBC Bay Area: New Law Enhances Religious Protections for Incarcerated People Across California



It was an inspiring evening at the 22-year Tech for Global Good celebration hosted by The Tech Interactive, showcasing innovators using STEAM to solve society's toughest problems.

I was honored to present a Senate Commendation to one of those innovators,, the 2023 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian who has dedicated himself to funding STEAM education programs in underserved communities, nurturing and empowering hundreds of middle and high school young minds.


I'm thrilled that, this year, we have secured $3 million for student field trips to The Tech Interactive, for hands-on interactive education programs, covering critical areas like AI, robotics, digital art, and environmental science, incorporating teachings and actions from my Silicon Valley Kids Climate Club program.




I visited the amazing Bridge the Gap Gala by Hunger at Home, which turns surplus food into nutritious meals for people in need across our region. Thank you to Hunger at Home’s Founder and CEO Ewell Sterner as well their Board for all that they do!


I was thrilled to be a part of the announcement that the NBA All-Star 2025 is coming to the Bay Area! The Golden State Warriors and Chase Center will host the 74th All-Star Game with events held February 14-16, 2025. Mark your calendars!


I was honored to attend the East Side Education Foundation’s Hall of Fame ceremony celebrating our Class of 2023 Community Leaders, including my good friend Mike Hennessy!



Honored to join Senate District 15’s Nonprofit of the Year, Almaden’s Martin-Fontana Parks Association, at their "Heart of the Park" event!


With over $3.6 million in community aid and 10,000 bikes granted, Good Karma Bikes has made a remarkable impact in our region, providing access to transportation, employment, empowerment, and a path to a better future. 
Congratulations to the Good Karma Bikes team, including your CEO Jim Gardner and Board Chair Taurean Dyer, on the grand opening of your new location in downtown San José: 82 South Montgomery!


Thanks to Happy Hollow Park & Zoo and the Happy Hollow Foundation for hosting a “Senior Safari” to improve health and social connection for our older adults!


It was awesome to join the 45+ organizations that make up the Association of Indo Americans (AIA) for another great Diwali Festival of Lights!


I was excited to join the grand opening of West Valley College’s stunning new visual arts building with Chancellor Brad Davis and College President Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, as well as West Valley Mission Community College District Trustees Anne Kepner & Adrienne Grey! Special thanks to the Cilker family for their contribution.


Congratulations to Minnie Uyen Thai, Brian Ly, and the entire team at United Wholesale Flowers in San Jose for celebrating your 14th anniversary!



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