Senator Stern’s Bill to Empower Foster Youth Signed by Governor

Measure to improve voter registration among foster youth approved with unanimous support

August 1, 2017

SACRAMENTO – State Senator Henry Stern’s bill to increase voter registration opportunities for California’s foster youth is set to become state law after yesterday receiving Governor Brown’s signature. Senate Bill 332 earned unanimous support in both houses of the legislature and will ensure foster youth, an often marginalized group, receive voter registration services when transitioning to adulthood.

“Foster youth may not have an adult in their lives to provide them with voter registration information, something easily overlooked during this transitional stage,” said Senator Stern. “By providing these services we are adding another tool to the toolbox encouraging these young people to become civically engaged participants in society.”

SB 332 would make sure that foster youth are presented with voter registration resources by simply adding the information to already existing forms. With 60,000 foster youth currently living in California, SB 332 could reach between ten to fifteen thousand foster youth.

“The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy and yet the voices of many vulnerable groups, such as young adults in or aging out of foster care, are often not represented,” said Susanna Kniffen, Senior Director of Child Welfare Policy for the advocacy organization Children Now. “SB 322 takes a critical step in increasing the voices of these young adults by ensuring they receive the information they need on their right to vote and guidance on how to register.”

SB 332 is one of a package of civic engagement initiatives introduced by the freshman Senator and Chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee and the first to earn the Governor’s signature. SB 332 will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

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Henry Stern is Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, and the first millennial elected to the California State Senate. Senator Stern also serves on four additional key committees: Energy, Utilities and Communications, Environmental Quality, Judiciary, and Natural Resources and Water. He represents nearly 1 million residents of the 27th Senate District, which includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, part of Santa Clarita and the following Los Angeles communities: Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills. http://sd27.senate.ca.gov.