Statement from Senator Henry Stern on his first legislative package:
“Our legislative agenda is not driven by Trump mania. We are tuning out the noise and focusing on what matters most: creating jobs that can't be outsourced, preserving our environment, protecting our communities, and empowering the next generation of Californians,” said Senator Stern.
This includes legislation to close loopholes in laws governing sexual assault, edible marijuana, and human trafficking.
Stern also introduced legislation to make the state budget more transparent, offer opportunities for middle class families to purchase more efficient vehicles, boost innovative manufacturing businesses, and address the teacher shortage crisis in California.
He is also part of two bipartisan environmental legislative efforts with Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley) to block the reopening of the Cemex mine and determine the root cause of SoCal Gas' leaking gas storage field in Porter Ranch.
In total, Stern introduced 18 bills with an emphasis on quality over quantity. "My goal, with this legislative package and my approach to service generally, is to show Californians of all political stripes that we can govern without rancor, in a manner that is efficient, fair and effective to enhance middle class families' quality of life,” said Stern.
Senator Stern’s legislative package includes:
Civic Engagement - As the first millennial elected to the State Senate and Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, Stern is interested in inspiring young people to become more civically engaged. He introduced SB 596 to help empower the next generation of voters. The legislation will establish a process to allow California high school students to vote for peer representation in a statewide organization designed to directly participate in state government. A related bill, SB 332, will ensure that foster youth receive additional voter registration opportunities.
Stern is also working with California’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Alex Padilla to increase voter participation, voter registration, civic learning, and encourage young people to actively participate in our democracy through civic education (SB 11).
A Senate Elections Committee hearing to be held in March at a San Fernando Valley high school will examine the youth vote issue and determine steps that can be taken to increase participation, including lowering the voting age to 17. The Senator also plans to launch a “Digital Listening Tour” at local high schools throughout the district to gather input.
Stern’s other priorities include reforming and improving the elections process by saving counties money and making voters feel more confident that their votes have been counted. Senate Bill 286 will allow voters who misplace or do not receive their vote-by-mail ballots to cast a regular ballot if it is certified that the ballot has not already been received. In addition, the Senator is Co-Author of AB 14, the Disclose Act, which will ensure that voters know the true source of funds for state and local ballot measures and independent expenditure advertisements about candidates.
Protecting California’s Kids - Senator Stern is working with the Los Angeles County District Attorney to protect children who have been subjected to sexual assault (SB 756). In other efforts to keep California’s children safe, he will introduce legislation to close loopholes in Prop 64, the marijuana initiative, to protect kids and adults from edible overdoses (SB 794).
Stern has also introduced a bill to modernize and expand California's human trafficking hotline to allow texting (in addition to calling). It will also include hotels and motels as partners in the fight against this increasingly pervasive and profitable problem in our society (SB 225).
California’s Economic Climate - Expanding opportunities for California manufacturers that are cultivating cutting edge technology to clean up the environment and create California jobs (SB 659), is top on Stern’s agenda. Stern is also working to provide access to clean and fuel-efficient vehicles to the middle class through various enhancement measures (SB 745).
Teacher Shortage - The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017 will address California's unprecedented teacher shortage by incentivizing effective teachers to stay in the classroom (SB 807).
Government Transparency – This legislation would increase California's transparency of its budget process by making the Governor’s budget fully searchable and machine-readable (SB 683).
Senator Stern also serves on the Judiciary, Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Water, and Energy, Utilities and Communications Committees.