How courageous were our representatives?
California’s 2023 legislative session ended on October 13, when Governor Newsom signed or vetoed the last of the bills on his desk.
Overall, while advocates had some big wins in environmental justice, healthcare, housing, and worker rights, we also saw losses in these areas. Frustratingly, state legislators and the governor lacked the courage to pass many key public safety bills that would have aligned policy with research and best practices – including limiting traffic stops that are often the starting point for violent and fatal police interactions – and continued the progress our state has made on criminal justice reforms. Courage California will work with our partners to ensure these bills are revived and passed in 2024.
Courage California Priorities:
Out of the 363 Courage and partner bills we tracked this legislative session, 133 were passed and signed into law (37% of total bills and 75% of bills that made it to the Governor’s desk), 44 were passed and vetoed by the Governor (12% of total bills and 25% of the bills that made it to his desk – compared to his overall veto rate of 15%), 187 are inactive or held in committee (51% of total bills).
Courage California prioritized our lobbying on 27 bills across issue areas that were sponsored by key partners and coalitions and/or authored by Courage All-Stars and endorsed candidates.
- Ten bills made it through the legislature and were signed into law by the Governor (AB 1, AB 421, AB 1228, SB 253, SB 261, SB 476, SB 555, SB 567, SB 616, SB 770 – 37% of total Courage priority bills, 77% of the bills that made it to the Governor’s desk);
- Two constitutional amendments were passed by the legislature and qualified for the November 5, 2024 general election ballot (ACA 5, ACA 13);
- One bill was passed by the state legislature but held by the author out of caution that the Governor would not sign it this year (AB 280);
- Three bills made it through the legislature and were vetoed by the Governor (AB 309, AB 1306, SB 799 – 11% of total bills, 23% of bills that made it to the Governor’s desk);
- Two constitutional amendments need to be passed by ⅔ of the legislature by June 2024 to qualify for the November 5, 2024 general election ballot (ACA 3, ACA 4, ACA 8); and
- Eight are inactive or held in committee and may move in the 2024 legislative session (AB 83, AB 259, AB 280, AB 550, AB 617, AB 710, AB 1672, SB 50, and SB 252 – 30% of total bills).
Learn more about our priority bills by visiting: 2023 Priority Legislation
Courage California is also part of several advocacy and lobbying coalitions that saw mixed results this legislative session.
- California Dream Alliance (60+ organizations and labor unions statewide dedicated to cross-issue lobbying on progressive bills): Of our 23 legislative priorities, 10 were passed and signed into law.
- California Green New Deal (70+ organizations and labor unions statewide focused on a just transition to a clean energy economy ): Of our 13 legislative priorities, four were passed and signed into law and two were vetoed by the Governor.
- Care4All California (70+ organizations and labor unions statewide working to advance quality affordable health care for all Californians): Of our 10 legislative priorities, two were passed and signed into law and two were vetoed by the Governor.
This year started out with the introduction of strong progressive legislation, especially from the newest cohort of legislators Courage endorsed and helped elect in 2022. Ultimately, the Legislature and Governor failed us bill after bill due to pressure from corporate lobbyists, opposition from corporate Democrats, and the biased media coverage of issues that tended to prioritize pathologizing problems over centering community voices and demands.
With the conclusion of the 2022-23 legislative session, we will continue to endorse progressive candidates to replace corporate Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature and hold legislators accountable for their votes on our annual Courage Score (our 9th annual Courage Score will launch January 2024!).
Thank you for joining Courage California and our partners in advocating for progressive bills this year. We are already looking forward to fighting the good fight on the policies we need to win in 2024.