Senate Leader Atkins Issues Statement on End of Session: Championing Progress, Innovative Public Policy
SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) released the following statement after the conclusion of the first year of the 2023-24 Legislative Session:
“This year another challenging one—between the homelessness crisis, a tough budget forecast, and destructive storms driven by a warming climate, we had our work cut out for us. Despite these difficulties, my Democratic Senate colleagues and I continued to protect the progress we have made as a state by championing new approaches to our mental health, homelessness, infrastructure, climate, and housing challenges.
“This year, we took historic action to solve the homelessness crisis by addressing mental health issues and by significantly changing how individuals who are living on the street and who cannot help themselves due to mental illness can be placed under a conservatorship to receive care. We passed two measures that will go before voters in March. One implements structural reform to the Mental Health Services Act, and the other is a $6.3 billion bond to build more than 10,000 units of desperately needed treatment beds and housing to get people the help, housing and hope they need.
“Leaning on years of responsible budgeting by Democrats, we also were able to avoid making cuts to core programs or increasing taxes during a budget deficit—all while not dipping into our rainy day fund. This year’s budget included record funding for education, increased support for childcare, major reductions in health care costs for the middle class through Covered California, and continued investments in climate resilience.
“And for the second year in a row, we took direct action to combat climate change. We passed a package of bills to build clean energy projects tapping California’s vast wind, solar, and geothermal resources, and secured more than $5 billion for transit over the next four years. We also successfully convened a special session to hold oil companies accountable for their record-breaking profits and to stop price gauging at the pump.
“That is in addition to passing legislation that reflects California’s values, including doubling down on our commitment to keep abortion and contraception accessible to all people, and crafting policies that encourage acceptance and understanding for the LGBTQ+ community.
“I am grateful to my Assembly colleagues, especially Speaker Robert Rivas and Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon, for their partnership this year. I also want to extend my deep thanks to our Majority Leader Mike McGuire, Republican Leader Brian Jones, and Governor Newsom, for their leadership. This has been a remarkable legislative year, and we will keep our momentum as we head into the second half of our 2023-24 Legislative Session.”
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins