In the News

April 19, 2023


LONG BEACH, Calif. — For all COVID’s negatives, there was one major upside for California workers last year: supplemental paid sick leave that guaranteed employees ten days off if they fell ill. For many service workers, that was a vast improvement from the three days of paid sick leave employers are required to provide under California law.

Now that expanded compensated sick leave is over, a proposed bill in the state legislature is seeking to raise the required minimum. SB 616 would increase guaranteed paid sick leave to seven days and also allow employees to carry over seven sick days to the following year.

“We talk a lot about California being the fourth largest economy, but that is solely because of our hardworking California workforce that has been showing up every single day,” California Sen. and SB 616 author Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, said at a rally Wednesday. “California is a leader in a lot of ways, but paid sick leave is one where we’re actually trailing behind many other states.”

April 18, 2023
Long Beach has a history with oil. The city, located in Southern California, is home to numerous petroleum refineries as well as one of the largest oil fields in the state. 

Saul Ventura, a resident who grew up in West Long Beach, attended a high school located near the refineries. Although he’d long been aware that they existed, he said he’d never been taught about what their emissions might mean for his own health. 

April 13, 2023

By Hannah Saunders

The California Senate Judiciary Committee meeting unanimously passed Senate Bill 435 on Tuesday, which would require certain state agencies, boards, and commissions to use separate collection categories and tabulations for each major Latino group, Mesoamerican Indigenous nation, and Mesoamerican Indigenous language group. 

Dr. Seciah Aquino, executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California—which is sponsoring the bill—spoke with State of Reform about the need for this bill. 

March 02, 2023


Building schools that run on renewable energy and provide shelter from heat and smoke, the report argues, will not only protect children — it can also support entire communities struggling to deal with climate change impacts and help prepare young people to thrive in a world that’s only getting hotter.

At least one legislator is already listening.

Jonathan Klein — a co-founder of the nonprofit UndauntedK12 and another of the report’s lead authors — pointed me to Senate Bill 394, introduced last month by Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). It’s a “spot bill” still waiting to be filled out with details. But the goal is clear: to “require the creation of a master plan for achieving sustainable and climate-resilient school facilities.”


February 26, 2023


With nearly two months of the 2023-24 state legislative session under their belts, Long Beach’s representatives have drafted a slew of bills to address opioid addiction, gun regulations, air pollution from oil refineries and more.

Friday, Feb. 17, was the deadline to introduce new bills for this session. Some bills are placeholders on topics legislators are still researching, and others may get rewritten in an effort to win support as they pass through committees. Here’s a sampling of the issues the city’s delegation is working on.

February 15, 2023

From CalMatters Capitol reporter Sameea Kamal:

In another effort to help workers, Sen. Lena Gonzalez plans to introduce a bill today to make permanent a pandemic-era policy that extends the number of paid sick leave days from three to seven — or 24 hours to 56.

January 31, 2023


A group of Senate Democrats Monday unveiled new versions of climate bills that died in the Legislature last year, hoping to put a tighter leash on a sector of the population that environmental advocates have long complained pumps an outsized amount of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

The bill package championed by Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and Henry Stern (D-Calabasas) is three-fold and attempts to crack down on corporate “greenwashing,” require climate risk disclosures, and — this is a big one — force the state pension funds to divest from fossil fuels.

January 30, 2023

By Sophie Austin

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in California introduced a package of climate bills Monday aimed at holding corporations accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions.

The bills include legislation to require companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions to the public, ban the state’s public pension funds from investing in major fossil fuel companies, and create a group to analyze climate-caused financial risks for corporations. Similar efforts in prior sessions have failed to win enough support, but the Democratic lawmakers behind them say they’re hopeful for a different outcome this year.

November 15, 2022

This year, California made an investment in the Golden State’s smallest and most overlooked entrepreneurs – specifically, the street vendors running hot dog carts and home kitchen operators selling delicious treats at farmers markets or from their homes.