State Legislature

Courage California released their new Courage Scores for the 2019 legislative year. Courage awards the top scorers with their “All Star” designation. Courage also targets legislators with the worst scores and track records of working in alignment with corporations and lobbyists with their “Hall of Shame” designation. 


District Attorney and Criminal Justice Updates

Chesa Boudin was sworn in as San Francisco District Attorney on January 9. San Francisco Rising Action director Emily Lee spoke at his ceremony on the next challenge of now governing in partnership (link to the video of Emily’s speech). “‘Winning is hard — governing is harder,’ Lee said, adding that Boudin was ‘put in [the DA’s] office by a movement — and he is now accountable to that movement.’”


Other reformer DAs are lining up to support Los Angeles DA candidate George Gascón as they seek to grow a national criminal justice reform movement. ”The unfolding March 2020 contest between Gascón and Lacey promises to become a nationally watched — and funded — race, and it poses a prominent test for the movement in a massive and influential jurisdiction that was once among the principal drivers of mass incarceration.” 


Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton will clear marijuana convictions of 2,400 people under Proposition 64, “which removed certain marijuana offenses from the state penal code.”


Proposition 47, which reduced some felonies to misdemeanors, “is projected to save a record $122.5 million next fiscal year by keeping 4,569 inmates out of state prisons.” However, Prop 47 is facing a challenging ballot measure, co-written by Assemblymember Jim Cooper, that would roll back some of the reforms and allow law enforcement to charge theft and fraud crimes as felonies again. 


Inland Empire

CDT ally Karthick Ramakrishnan’s UC Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation released a report on Inland Empire civic engagement that “showed an 84% increase in Inland voting between 2014 and 2018, including a 260% surge in voting by 18- to 24-year-olds, a 214% surge among 25- to 34-year-old voters and a 159% surge in voting by Latinos in those age groups,” setting the IE up as a key region in the 2020 election. 


Social Justice

Low- and middle-income people are leaving California at greater rates than the wealthy.


California and 13 other states sue to block the federal administration’s new rule that would eliminate food stamps for 688,000 nationally.


A California appeals court ruled that California cities have to comply with sanctuary state policies.


The rate of sexual assault and rape of women farmworkers is likely higher than the national average (though currently no statistics capture the problem). Some rape crisis centers in CA are successfully working with women farmworkers, though the barriers are significant enough that there is not the level of need support.



According to polling of California voters by the Public Policy Institute of California, homelessness is the priority issue they want the governor and state lawmakers to address.


In his recently announced budget proposal, Governor Newsom wants to dedicate $750 million to help housing the homeless, and his homelessnes task force has proposed a ballot measure to require local and state governments to increase housing and services. 


Assemblymember Luz Rivas introduced a bill to establish an Office to End Homelessness. She has also introduced a bill that would require climate change to be taught in schools. 

CalMatters looks at how California’s policies have been adopted on presidential candidate’s campaign platform, which demonstrates how California still needs to push to continue to lead on progressive policies.