The California State Senate adjourned the first year of the 2021-22 legislative session having made monumental strides for Californians and historic investments in climate change, wildfire, drought, schools, infrastructure, and health care.
“When we were first preparing for this year’s legislative session, we knew California would be facing some of the toughest challenges in our history,” President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) said. “So I am enormously proud of my colleagues in the Senate for doing some of the finest work in our history—helping small businesses, tenants, and landlords weather the pandemic, providing record funding for schools, homes, and health care, and creating new work opportunities through child care and hiring credits. The human instinct to step up and help during an emergency is strong. In 2021, the Senate, Assembly and Governor stepped up, stood strong, and helped turn tough challenges into new opportunities for the people of California.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact California families, businesses, and the state’s economy, the Senate began the year focused on continuing to provide the services, support, and protections that were needed in the short and long term.
The following are some of the actions taken during the 2021 legislative session:
• Extended the moratorium on evictions and protections for tenants and small landlords.
• Invested $8.1 billion in tax cuts through the Earned Income Tax Credit and stimulus funding for working people earning up to $75,000.
• Passed $5 billion in additional tax relief and grants to help small businesses through the pandemic.
• Passed legislation to support schools, teachers, and students as they transitioned back to in-person learning.
• Expanded health care to all Californians over the age of 50, regardless of immigration status.
• Invested $12 billion to tackle housing and homelessness.
• Provided record levels of funding for K-12 education, and made historic investments in child care and universal transitional kindergarten.
• Invested in higher education and took action to make college more affordable at levels we haven’t seen in generations, paving a pathway to debt-free college.
• Took action to close the digital divide with a $6 billion dollar investment in broadband infrastructure.
• Passed a $262.6 billion state budget that was one of the most equitable, and boldest, in the state’s history.
• Passed budget trailer bills that included the largest environmental and climate expenditures in California history to address the climate crisis, expanded funding for wildfire preparedness and response efforts, allocated additional funding for water resiliency to help California and its residents with ongoing drought conditions, and invested resources that will make student housing within California’s public university systems more affordable.
This legislative session, the Senate also authored and passed bills to address some of the most pressing issues facing California, including expanding access to and supply of affordable housing, increasing police accountability, and tackling the looming impact of climate change and sea level rise.
“While smoke still fills our skies, COVID is advancing among the unvaccinated, and too many communities still fear those who swore to protect them, we know there is still much to do to deliver real and lasting solutions to the people of California,” Atkins said.