Biography

Senator Henry Stern is a sixth-generation Californian and native of the greater Los Angeles area who has represented the nearly one million residents of the 27th Senate District since first being elected to serve the 27th Senate District in November 2016.

Stern has chaired the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee since 2018, where he has worked tirelessly to bolster the state’s wildfire preparedness, push to have the state address the climate change emergency, improve our democracy and fight to help some of California’s most vulnerable members.  He also sits on the Senate’s Budget, Judiciary, Environmental Quality, Elections & Constitutional Amendments, and Energy, Utilities & Communications committees.

Since first taking office, Stern has focused his legislative attention in four main areas:

Attacking Climate Change & Increasing The Use of Renewable Energy

  • SB 1320 (2020) requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to conduct a California-specific climate change assessment to determine the costs and risks faced by Californians if the state fails to address the climate emergency.   Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 1215 (2020) intended to promote the use of microgrids to generate electricity by requiring the California Public Utilities Commission to identify critical facilities and infrastructure that need a reliable energy source most. Status: Died in the Assembly.
  • SB 463 (2019) requires Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources to monitor the chemical emissions from gas storage wells, like those at Aliso Canyon, to reveal what’s being pumped into California’s air and water.  It also requires state regulators to increase their oversight over gas storage facilities in response to evidence showing improper activities had taken place at Aliso Canyon.  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 1339 (2018) requires the California Public Utilities Commission to make it financially feasible for customers of large electrical providers to acquire microgrids and connect them with the existing electrical system by creating separate electrical rates and tariffs as needed.  Status: Signed into law.  
  • SB 1477 (2018) required the California Energy Commission to develop a statewide incentive for people to install low-emission space and water heating equipment in their homes and nonresidential buildings.  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 801 (2017) required Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to deploy cost-effective grid-connected energy storage solutions that would also reduce the demand for natural gas.  Status: Signed into law.

Wildfire Preparedness

  • SB 45 (2020) sought to put a $5.5 billion bond measure on the November 2020 ballot to invest in desperately needed climate protection and fire prevention infrastructure.  Status: Died in the Assembly.
  • SB 474 (2020) sought to protect homeowners and businesses by precluding certain types on construction in very high fire hazard severity zones (VHFHSZ).  Status: Died in the Assembly.
  • SB 1348 (2020) would have increased building code standards in fire prone areas, as well as expanding the use of fire prevention measures such as vegetation management programs, defensible space training, and public wildfire resistance education outreach.  Status: Died in the Assembly.

Improving Our Democracy

  • SB 739 (2020) penalizes people who intentionally mislead voters about their right to apply for, receive, or return a vote-by-mail ballot.  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 636 (2019) sought to include a list of supporters of and opponents to statewide ballot measures on the ballot.  Status: Died in the Assembly. 
  • SB 286 (2017) established that if a vote-by-mail voter needed to vote in person, the voter would be able to cast a regular ballot (instead of a provisional).  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 332 (2017) created at way for the state to provide early voter registration forms to foster youth so they could more easily register to vote. Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 596 (2017) sought to create a Student Empowerment Commission to establish civics-related regional and statewide conferences for high school students. Status: Vetoed.

Assisting Vulnerable Populations

  • During the 2019-20 and 2020-21 budget cycles, Stern championed funding for programs to help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  For the 2019-20 budget, he successfully pushed for $250 million in additional IDD funding.  The following year, he sought to increase the IDD budget by another $400 million, but due to COVID-19 related budget cutbacks, the funding was not approved.  However, the existing IDD budget was not reduced.
  • SB 596 (2020) requires county social services agencies to inform people applying for certain government benefits that they may also be eligible for a local utility’s medical baseline program,.  This program entitles participants to discounted energy rates and advanced notice of planned power shutoff events often triggered by wildfires.  Status: Signed into law.
  • AB 1976 (2020), co-authored with Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, requires counties to implement an assistant outpatient treatment program, a less restrictive  alternative to involuntary hospitalization,  to assist patients with severe mental illness.  Status: Signed into law.
  • AB 2213 (2020), coauthored with Assemblywoman Monique Limón, it contained provisions of SB 753 (Stern) to make it easier for fire officials to reach out to elderly Californians and those with special needs who may need help during a public safety power shutoff or other emergency event.  It lets county social services agencies share the phone numbers and email addresses of elderly and disabled residents with fire and other emergency service agencies so they can more easily contact and, if necessary, help evacuate those people during an emergency.  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 542 (2019) created The Trauma Treatment Act to ensure firefighters and law enforcement officers suffering from post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) could receive treatment and assistance.  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 1320 (2018) extended important confidentiality protections to victims of elder or dependent adult abuse to encourage them to come forward without having to fear their names would be made public.  Status: Signed into law.
  • SB 225 (2017) requires the state Department of Justice to revise its model human trafficking notice to include the option of texting, in addition to calling, the state and national hotlines for assistance.  Status: Signed into law.

Other Significant Legislation

  • SB 1175 (2020) sought to establish the Wildlife Trafficking and Trade Act to prevent animals with novel, zoonotic viruses (such as COVID-19, Mers and Sars) from being imported into California, ban non-native, invasive animal species from being sold in California, and ban the possession of certain iconic African trophy species. Status: Died in Senate after being received too late from Assembly to be voted upon.
  • SB 1487 (2018) sought to prohibit the possession of specified African species or body parts or products including  the African  elephant  and black rhinoceros by anyone in California.  Status: Vetoed.

A former educator and environmental attorney, Stern received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and earned his law degree at UC Berkeley.  Born in 1982, Stern lives in Los Angeles County with his wife, Alexandra Stern, whom he married in 2019.

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