Newsom’s State of the State, Annotated

The following is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2019 State of the State Address, annotated by CALmatters’ reporters. The prepared text has been updated, where possible, with Newsom’s live remarks. 

Mr. Speaker, thank you for being a champion for all Californians – and for welcoming Jen and me into your house today.

Madam Pro Tem – thank you for your commitment to collaboration, which has helped make our first month together so productive.

Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego is the first woman and first open member of the LGBTQ community to lead the state Senate.

– Elizabeth Castillo

I also have the honor of saying for the first time ever in this chamber: thank you Madam Lieutenant Governor for that very kind and short introduction.

Newsom is introducing his successor, Eleni Kounalakis, who technically is not the first woman in the job. Mona Pasquil did serve as acting lieutenant governor between 2009 and 2010, the first woman to hold the office. But she was appointed, not elected, and Governor Brown didn’t mention her in his 2010 State of the State speech.

– Ben Christopher

To all the constitutional officers and legislators assembled here today – thank you for your service to our state.

And let me reassure everyone: Our son Dutch is not here.  We learned our lesson at the inauguration.

Dutch was a show-stealer during the inauguration. Laurel wrote a great piece about how Newsom’s children could shape his outlook on some important policies.

– Matt Levin

It was just over four weeks ago that I stood in front of this Capitol and pledged to defend not just the California constitution but the California dream.

Today, I want to talk about how we can do that together.

By every traditional measure, the state of our state is strong.

We have a record-breaking surplus.

We’ve added 3 million jobs since the depths of the recession.

Wages are rising.

We have more scientists, researchers, and engineers, more Nobel laureates, and the finest system of higher education anywhere in the world.

But along with that prosperity and progress, there are problems that have been deferred for too long and that threaten to put the California dream out of reach for too many.

We face hard decisions that are coming due.

The choices we make will shape our future for decades.

This is what I want to talk about today, as frankly and directly as I can:

The tough calls we must make together on rail, water, and energy. How we protect migrants, care for seniors, and help the homeless, and how we will tackle the affordability crisis that is coming to define life in this state.

I won’t pretend to have all the answers. But the only way to find them is to face these issues honestly.

This way of thinking has been a through-line for Newsom. When I asked him whether he could make good on his many ambitious campaign promises (single payer healthcare, 3.5 million new housing units in seven years, universal preschool), he said “I’d rather be accused of those audacious stretch goals than be accused of timidity.”

– Ben Christopher

Let’s start with the fear mongering from the White House about the so-called “emergency” at our border.

For me, this is an echo from fifteen years ago.

I was a new mayor sitting in the gallery at the State of the Union  when President Bush said LGBT Americans should not be able to get married.

Newsom has said that it was during this speech, when President Bush called for a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, that he decided to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in San Francisco. That decision catapulted the young mayor onto the national stage. Arguably it’s why he is governor today.

– Ben Christopher

It was an attack on our friends and neighbors, and on California’s values.

I was so proud to watch brave Californians answer those attacks with love and courage. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin made history when they were married 15 years ago to this very day.

Now, just like back then, we must stand up for those maligned, marginalized, and scapegoated.

Because last week, we heard another president stand up at the State of the Union and offer a vision of an America fundamentally at odds with California values. He described a country where inequality didn’t seem to be a problem, where climate change doesn’t exist, and where the greatest threat we face comes from families at the border, seeking asylum from violence-stricken countries.

Just last night, he went down to El Paso and said it again.

Let us state the facts. We are currently experiencing the lowest number of border crossings since 1971. In California, like our nation, our undocumented population is at its lowest level in more than a decade. Some 550,000 fewer in our state alone. Immigrants, both those here legally and those without documentation, commit crime at a lower rate than native-born citizens.

In 2017, Customs and Border Patrol apprehended 303,916 immigrants trying to illegally cross the southern border. The last time the numbers were that low was 1971. This figure obviously doesn’t include the people who are not apprehended, but the federal government typically uses the arrest count as a general indicator of whether total illegal crossings are increasing or decreasing.

– Ben Christopher

And those families, women and children, seeking asylum at our borders, are doing so lawfully.

Those are the facts.  The border “emergency” is a manufactured crisis.  And California will not be part of this political theater.

We’re not backing down. Just yesterday, I gave the National Guard a new mission—one that will refocus on the real threats facing our state.

Gov. Brown ordered California National Guard troops to the border last year. We asked Newsom about it when he was on the campaign trail. Here’s what he said.

– Ben Christopher

A third of our forces currently on the border will be redeployed to help prepare for the upcoming fire season by joining Cal Fire in prevention and suppression. Work, ironically, the Federal government curtailed during the recent shutdown.

Another third will boost the National Guard’s statewide counter-drug task force by redeploying up north to go after illegal cannabis farms, many of which are run by cartels, are devastating our pristine forests, and are increasingly becoming fire hazards themselves.

The remaining third of our Guard will focus on stopping criminals smuggling drugs and guns through existing border checkpoints.

A wall that stretches thousands of miles through the wilderness will do nothing to stop this threat.

This is our answer to the White House: No more division, no more xenophobia, and no more nativism. We suffered enough from that in the 80s and 90s with Props 187 and 227.

Voters approved Prop. 187 in the early 1990s to deny state and public services to undocumented immigrants. It later was overturned by the courts. It was a turning point for the GOP and Latino political power in California, and many of the state legislators in the chamber listening to Newsom recall it a pivotal moment in their political careers. Prop. 227, approved in 1998, also was later overturned. It was intended to change how English was taught to English language learners in school.

– Elizabeth Aguilera

Next, let’s level about high speed rail.  I have nothing but respect for Governor Brown’s and Governor Schwarzenegger’s ambitious vision. I share it. And there’s no doubt that our state’s economy and quality of life depend on improving transportation.

But let’s be real. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.

Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.

However, we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield.

This may be a big rhetorical break from Gov. Jerry Brown, but in many ways Newsom is just stating the obvious. With cost overruns and uncertain federal support, the short, medium, and potentially long-term plan has been to focus on the Central Valley. That’s where much of the initial work has already been done and that’s where the jobs are most needed. The big question: Once this first leg is complete, will the state commit to extending it to the Bay Area, connecting the state’s biggest job centers with one of its most economically troubled regions?

– Ben Christopher

This was one of the big pieces of news Newsom made today. Republicans from the Central Valley who oppose high speed rail were sounding less opposed after Newsom’s remarks. Some may even change their minds now. He also made clear that he is interested in Central Valley economic development. If the Merced-Bakersfield leg gets built, the Bay Area can always seek to link up.

– Dan Morain

I know that some critics will say this is a “train to nowhere.”  But that’s wrong and I think that’s offensive. The people of the Central Valley endure the worst air pollution in America and have some of the longest commutes in this state. And they have suffered too many years of neglect from policymakers here in Sacramento. They deserve better. And the high speed rail project can be part of that.

You can’t say this enough: High Speed Rail is much more than a train project.  It’s about economic transformation, it’s about unlocking the enormous potential of the Valley.

We can align our economic and workforce development strategies, anchored by High Speed Rail, and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, that can form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy.

Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield, and communities in between are more dynamic than people realize.

The Valley may be known around the world for agriculture, but there is another story ready to be told. A story of a region hungry for investment, a workforce eager for more training and good jobs, Californians who deserve a fair share of our state’s prosperity.

Look, we will continue to support our regional projects north and south. We’ll finish Phase 1 of the environmental work. We’ll connect the revitalized Central Valley to other parts of the state, and we will continue to push for more federal funding and private dollars. But let’s get something done, once and for all.

And for those of you, I know you’re out there, who want to throw away this whole project, walk away from this whole endeavor, I offer you this:

Abandoning high speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it.

And with all due respect, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump. That fundamentally would have to happen if we just walked away.

Nor am I interested in repeating the same old mistakes.

Today I am ordering new transparency measures.

We’re going to hold contractors and consultants accountable to explain how taxpayer dollars are spent – including change orders, cost overruns, and even travel expenses. And we’re going to put it online, so everybody can see it. New day.

You’re also going to see some governance changes, starting with my pick for the next chair of the High Speed Rail Authority, Lenny Mendonca, my Economic Development Director. Because, at the end of the day, transportation and economic development must go hand in hand.

We also need a fresh approach when it comes to meeting California’s massive water challenges.

We have a big state with diverse water needs. Cities that need clean water to drink, farms that need irrigation to keep feeding the world, fragile ecosystems that must be protected.

Our water supply is becoming less reliable because of climate change. And our population is growing because of a strong economy. That means a lot of demand on an unpredictable supply. There are no easy answers.

How things change. No way a Jerry Brown speech would have mentioned the words “climate change” without reminding us of the “existential threat.” Brown favored a broad-based approach in which all policies had climate change as their starting point. Thus his big-picture solutions such as cap-and-trade and aggressive carbon cutting. Newsom seems to view this overarching environmental problem as one that creates a series of individual challenges to be resolved. More emphasis on detail. Perhaps this shows the state’s maturity on this issue: Are we moving beyond the need to explain how climate change is a threat to justify policies? – Julie Cart

But let me be direct about where I stand:

I do not support the Water Fix as currently configured. Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.

The status quo is not an option.

We need to protect our water supply from earthquakes and rising sea levels, preserve delta fisheries, and meet the needs of cities and farms.

Rising seas are a real threat, with airports, power stations and homes in peril. The state has a multi-pronged response to the complex issue.

– Julie Cart

Newsom breaks with Jerry Brown, but sides with Public Policy Institute of California’s water experts’ view that one tunnel is a workable compromise. It probably still won’t be enough to bring opponents in the Delta aboard.

– Dan Morain

We have to get past the old binaries, like farmers versus environmentalists, or North versus South. Our approach can’t be “either/or.”  It must be “yes/and.”

Conveyance and efficiency. And recycling projects like we’re seeing in Southern California’s Met Water District, expanding floodplains in the Central Valley, groundwater recharge, like farmers are doing in Fresno County. We need a portfolio approach to building water infrastructure and meeting long-term demand.

Here’s a look at how managing floodplains is saving lives and water.

– Julie Cart

To help bring this balance, I’m appointing a new chair of the California water board, Joaquin Esquivel.

Our first task is to cross the finish line on real agreements to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.

This is a very complicated, contentious topic that envisions the re-plumbing of California.

– Julie Cart

We must get this done – for the resilience of our mighty rivers, the stability of our agriculture sector, and the millions who depend on this water every day.

Now, let’s talk honestly about clean drinking water. And that’s not just me taking a drink of water as a prop.

Just this morning, more than a million Californians woke up without clean water to bathe in or drink. Some schools have shut down drinking fountains due to contamination.

In 2017 the state passed a law that requires all school districts to test their water for lead and other contaminants. State tests have shown that at least 2 percent of children have elevated levels of lead. But it’s not just drinking water, air pollution is also impacting the health of children.

– Elizabeth Aguilera

Some poorer communities, like those I visited recently in Stanislaus County, are paying more for undrinkable water than Beverly Hills pays for pristine water.

With respect, this is a moral disgrace and it’s a medical emergency. There are literally hundreds of water systems across the state contaminated by lead, contaminated by arsenic, or uranium.

You know Gov. Newsom is about to get antagonistic when he uses the term “with respect.” As we’ve noted, the governor has a funny way of speaking sometimes. – Ben Christopher

Solving this crisis demands sustained funding. But more important, it’s going to demand political will from each and every one of us.

Next, let’s talk about our energy future – and PG&E’s bankruptcy.

PG&E is an unwelcome road bump in Newsom’s first year. The company announced it would file for bankruptcy in Newsom’s second week as governor. Here we  lay out why bankruptcy is bad for customers, wildfire victims, PG&E workers and the state’s clean energy goals.

– Judy Lin

We are all frustrated and angry that it’s come to this. PG&E didn’t do enough to secure dangerous equipment or plan for the future. My administration will work to make sure PG&E upholds its obligations. I have convened a team of the nation’s best bankruptcy attorneys and financial experts from across the energy sector.

PG&E has a history of deadly disasters…

– Judy Lin

They will work with my strike team to develop a comprehensive strategy that we will present within 60 days. We will ensure continued access to safe affordable power. We will seek justice for fire victims, fairness for employees, and protection for ratepayers. We will continue to invest in safety, and we will never waver on achieving the nation’s most ambitious clean energy goals.

The state’s ability to meet its ambitious climate goals is getting more challenging.

– Julie Cart

But the problems we face are far greater than PG&E.  Climate change is putting pressure on all of our utilities—public and private, north and south. Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric both recently had their credit ratings downgraded.

This pressure comes at a time when the entire energy market is evolving. From roof-top solar and wind generation to smart grid technologies. From Community Choice Aggregators to direct access service, otherwise known as power purchasing agreements. More and more of our electricity now is procured outside of investor-owned utilities.

The legislature is, haltingly, addressing this new energy world. One idea up for consideration: Connecting California to its Western neighbors in a unified electricity grid.

– Julie Cart

Regulations and insurance practices created decades ago didn’t anticipate these changes. So we must map out longer-term strategies, not just for the utilities’ future, but for California’s energy future, to ensure that the cost of climate change doesn’t fall on those least able to afford it.

The governor is correct that California’s energy future is poised at the edge of great change. That begins with modernizing the electricity grid.

– Julie Cart

Now I want to turn briefly to education.

The teachers’ strike in LA is over – but the need to confront its underlying causes has only just begun. Understaffed schools, overcrowded classrooms, pension pressures, the achievement gap, and charter school growth — these stressors are showing up all over the state, right here in Sacramento, in Fresno, and Oakland.

The growth of charter schools was one of the main points of tension in the LA teachers’ strike, and the governor has asked the state Department of Education to study the financial impact that new charters have on district schools.

– Ricardo Cano

Districts across the state are challenged to balance budgets even in this strong economy, and at a time when we’re spending more on schools than ever before.

Seven years ago, we invested $47.3 billion in our schools. Next year, with your support, we’ll invest more than $80 billion — that includes $576 million for special education.

Newsom is talking about money spent on K-12 schools here. No mention in this speech of higher education, though it was an emphasis of Newsom’s on the campaign trail. He has proposed sizable increases in state spending on the University of California and California State University, plus a second year of tuition-free community college for full-time students, and more financial aid for students with children.

– Felicia Mello

But it’s not enough. We’re still 41st in the nation in per pupil funding. Something needs to change.  We need to have an honest conversation about how we fund our schools not only at the state level but at the local level.

Are we really 41st? The governor is using a ranking that is adjusted for cost of living and that is often cited by education groups and advocates lobbying for more funding. The state’s education spending, without any weights or adjustments, ranks near the middle of the pack nationally, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

– Ricardo Cano

But at the same time, let’s remember that the measure of a school system’s excellence is more than the sum of its budgets.

We need clear and achievable standards of transparency, more information sharing, and accountability for all public schools … traditional and charter schools.

The governor makes reference to a push he’s making to require charter schools to meet the state’s open meeting laws.

– Ricardo Cano

We need a new President for the State Board of Education, to lead the way and work alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and to lift up all of our students. And my pick for that position is nationally recognized education expert Linda Darling Hammond.

Darling-Hammond was once in the running to become U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama. She also was appointed by Gov. Brown to lead the body responsible for credentialing teachers.

– Ricardo Cano

There’s another urgent moral issue we must confront: that’s this homelessness epidemic.

So many of California’s homeless – whether they’re families, veterans, victims of rent spikes, or survivors fleeing domestic violence – are invisible and left behind by our society. Too many on the streets are suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or paranoia. Many of them self-medicating with drug or alcohol as a consequence. Our homelessness crisis has increasingly become a public health crisis.

Our intern Victoria Cabales did some excellent data visualizations on California’s homelessness crisis.

– Matt Levin

Newsom talks about homeless people with schizophrenia. I’ve been to SOTS speeches since Pete Wilson and can’t remember one when a governor uttered such words about severe mental illness.

– Dan Morain

Last year, there was a Hepatitis-A outbreak in San Diego. Recently, there was an outbreak of Syphilis in Sonoma.  Typhus in Los Angeles. Typhus. A Medieval disease. In California. In 2019.

I know mayors, county supervisors, and city councils around the state are working hard to reduce homelessness and its underlying causes. We’ve got to have their backs.

But they cannot do it alone. To help lead this discussion, I’m appointing Darrell Steinberg to a new Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing. Thank you, Mayor Steinberg.

Newsom made a campaign pledge to appoint a “homelessness czar” cabinet-level position. It’s unclear how this new commission relates to that promise, but the goals is similar: coordinating a regional response to homelessness, and basically forcing cities to work together.

– Matt Levin

With your support, let’s put half a billion dollars into immediate funding for navigation centers – emergency shelters with services on site, and another hundred million for Whole Person Care to replace a fragmented approach to services with one that’s more integrated and comprehensive.

This is part of the more than $2 billion in new housing and homelessness funding Newsom proposed in his January budget.

– Matt Levin

And while cities and counties are on the front lines, this challenge will only be solved regionally. We need to work together as a state to focus on prevention, rapid rehousing, mental health, and more permanent supportive housing – because while shelter solves sleep, only permanent supportive housing solves homelessness.

Now, let’s talk about something too often overlooked:

The Golden State is getting grayer. We need to get ready for the major demographic challenge headed our way.

For the first time in our history, older Californians will outnumber young children. Over the next decade, our statewide senior population will increase by 4 million. In 25 years, it will double.  And more than half will require some form of long-term care.

Growing old knows no boundaries – aging doesn’t care what race you are, your economic status, whether you’re single or have no other family support.

I’ve had some personal – and painful – experience with this recently. I lost my father over the holidays, as some of you knew him, after years of declining physical health and dementia. He was determined to live out his days with dignity. He also happened to be a retired public official with a pension and a support circle of family and friends.

But even with all those advantages, it was a daily challenge to meet his needs so he could live in place and maintain a good quality of life. Millions of Californians share a similar story, and the numbers are going to only grow.

It’s time for a new Master Plan on Aging in California. We’ve deferred for too long. Way too long. In it, it’s got to address: person-centered care, the patchwork of public services, it’s got to address social isolation, bed-locked seniors in need of transportation, address the nursing shortage, LVNs and RNs, and demand for In-Home Supportive Services that far outpaces its capacity.

And we can’t talk about aging without focusing on Alzheimer’s.

Too many of us have seen the crushing grip of this disease on our loved ones – and especially on our wives and mothers – because two-thirds of new Alzheimer’s cases are women. Two-thirds.

In addition to those stats, women also make up 60 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers and need support on that side too.

– Elizabeth Aguilera

Today, I am launching the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, bringing the most renowned scientists and thinkers together to develop first-of-its-kind research in this area. It will be headed by a leading advocate for families dealing with Alzheimer’s, and that is our former first lady, Maria Shriver. She is here today and we are grateful for her continued service.

Gov. Newsom calls for a new master plan on aging as baby boomers retire, focuses on Alzheimer’s research and appoints Maria Shriver to head the effort. No California leader has been more involved in the issue than Shriver. Her father, Sargent Shriver, the founder of the Peace Corps, had Alzheimer’s at the end of his life.

– Dan Morain

Tying together many of the hard challenges we face is the broader cost crisis. In a recent survey, came out last week, 61 percent of young adults in California said they can’t afford to live here. Sixty-one percent. California should never be a place where only the well-off can lead a good life.

It starts with housing, perhaps our most overwhelming challenge right now. We all know the problem. There’s too much demand and too little supply. And that is happening in large part because too many cities and counties aren’t even planning how to build. Some are flat out refusing to do anything at all.

Newsom diagnoses the fundamental problem correctly—we haven’t built enough housing. We’re short about 80,000 units a year, give or take. For more nuance, check out our explainer on why California housing costs are so high.

– Matt Levin

That’s why I have committed $750 million for a major new incentive package for communities to do the right thing. $250 million in support for cities and counties to update their housing plans, revamp their zoning process, and get more housing entitled. $500 million more in grants when they achieve certain milestones.

These are the sweetest carrots Newsom is offering cities that permit more housing construction. The $500 million is general purpose—the cities can spend it on anything they want to. That’s kind of revolutionary. Typically housing money is attached to housing or infrastructure.

– Matt Levin

If we want a California for All, we have to build housing for all.

I want to support local governments that do what’s right, like Anaheim, like Santa Rosa. But there’s got to be accountability for those that don’t.

Two weeks ago, the state of California sued the city of Huntington Beach for failing to meet its obligations on affordable housing. Let me tell you, as a former mayor, the last thing I wanted to do was start my term suing a city.  But respectfully, they left us no choice.

Huntington Beach basically reneged on a commitment they made to the state to zone for new housing. They’re one of three cities that had a state-approved housing plan they later amended to allow for fewer units. But they’re one of hundreds of California cities that aren’t meeting state housing goals.

– Matt Levin

This isn’t about picking on Huntington Beach, they happened to be first because of a statute of limitations. There are 47 other cities across California that are not complying with their planning requirements in one way or another.

Some cities are trying, like Clovis. But others, respectfully, like Wheatland, Huntington Park, and Montebello, are not. I am inviting these cities’ leaders to sit down next week for a candid conversation. I don’t intend to file suit against all 47, but I’m not going to preside over neglect and denial any longer. We all need to step up. Every part of the state. I was a local official. I’m not naive, folks. These cities need to summon the political courage to build their fair share of housing.

This is news. Please invite me to the convo, Gavin!

– Matt Levin

I also want to acknowledge other factors beyond city planning that have limited our ability to provide housing.

In recent years, we’ve done a good job expediting judicial review on CEQA for professional sports. But it’s time we do the same thing for housing.

CEQA stands for the California Environmental Quality Act, which environmental groups laud and developers loathe. The Sacramento Kings arena benefited from a streamlined approval, but most affordable housing projects don’t.

– Matt Levin

There’s some good things happening. I want to applaud the efforts by home builders and labor leaders, who together are working to forge a compromise to accelerate production.

Developers and labor are nearing a compromise on “prevailing” wage.

– Matt Levin

But there is no way we can achieve our ambitious targets unless we train a skilled workforce that’s big enough to meet this challenge… and also make sure we have workers getting wages high enough to support their families.

Let’s encourage this progress, and let’s bring more people to the table, and get something big done. I am confident we can do that this year. And while we’re at it, a lot of us made commitments, myself included, after Prop 10 failed at the ballot box last year.

Prop. 10 was the rent control expansion initiative, that failed overwhelmingly at the ballot box in November.

– Matt Levin

The pressures on vulnerable renters didn’t go away after the election. We need new rules to stabilize neighborhoods to prevent evictions, without putting small landlords out of business. I want the best ideas from everyone in this chamber. Here is my promise to you, get me a good package on rent stability this year and I will sign it.

Newsom promised to “help lead” the effort in crafting this compromise in his first press conference as governor-elect.

– Ben Christopher

Next, if we’re serious about taming the cost crisis we also need to be serious about making sure healthcare is affordable for all Californians.

Our ability to invest in everything we care about is constrained by the pressure of rising health care costs.  It impacts everything else we want to do.

The White House is laser-focused, and has been for years, on destroying the Affordable Care Act. Their vandalism has already had consequences by eliminating the individual mandate. This year’s Covered California premiums increased almost twice as much as we expected. This is just what we feared, and it’s just what they wanted.

That’s why, when it comes to the individual mandate, California must act where Washington failed.

Newsom’s response to the federal change was to pitch a state mandate in his budget proposal that would impose a fee on Californians who do not carry health insurance. Those funds will pay for increased subsidies to middle-income families.

– Elizabeth Aguilera

If we do this, we’re going to be able to deepen subsidies for those earning up to $48,000 and extend subsidies to families earning up to $150,000, something no other state in America has done. We have the ability to do that. We all know California has among the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in America.

That’s why our budget devotes more than $1 billion to increase rates and address the growing provider shortage.

This investment will allow us to increase access to increase access to preventative health measures like immunizations, trauma screenings, and mental health services. And it will provide $100 million for reproductive health and family planning in our state.

While we pursue the long-term goal of single payer financing, let us make a down-payment now by expanding Medi-Cal coverage for Californians up to the age of 26, regardless of their immigration status. Let’s do that this year.

Newsom promised the California Nurses Association, a huge proponent of a single payer system, that he would make it happen. So far he has sent a letter to the federal government seeking waivers to set up such a system and has sought to get more people covered, including undocumented immigrants. The Nurses Association says a new bill will be introduced by Feb. 22. A 2017 bill stalled because it was vague and did not lay out how the estimated $400 billion cost would be covered. Gov. Jerry Brown extended Medi-Cal  to qualified undocumented children in 2016. It cost about $180 million a year to cover approximately 185,000 kids.

– Elizabeth Aguilera

But access is only part of the solution.  Cost is another.

We must address rising costs throughout the system, like the consolidation of hospitals and other health providers, which in many cases have limited patient choice and made care more expensive. And we must continue to bring down the cost of prescription drugs.

Last year Attorney General Becerra sued Sutter Health, the largest hospital network in Northern California, alleging anti-competitive behavior.

– Ben Christopher

My first act as Governor was to lay the foundation for a single-purchasing system – the largest such system in the nation, which will save hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the people of California.

Newsom’s concerns about drug prices are a rare bit of common ground with Trump. Newsom’s plan to put all state drug-buying under one umbrella means the state will be negotiating on behalf of upwards of 13 million people.

– Elizabeth Aguilera

But look, I want to thank President Trump for calling attention to prescription drug prices in his State of the Union. This is a bipartisan issue, at least it should be, and I hope he follows through. But with or without the Federal government, California will lead.

Finally, we must ask ourselves, how do we create a future with more good jobs and higher wages.

Because when it comes to making life in California more affordable, cost is only one side of the equation, the other is income.

Despite our rising wages, working families in California today barely earn more than they did a decade ago. Many working parents are making less than their parents did at the same age.

That’s why, with your support, we will provide a cost of living refund by expanding the earned income tax credit to a million more Californians.  By the way, families with kids under the age of six, they’ll see their benefit go up by as much as three times.

But, in an economy where the world of work is in a perpetual state of flu, where workers are too often displaced, devalued and disconnected from the social safety net, we must also think bigger.

It’s time to develop a new modern compact for California’s changing workforce. This, respectfully, is much bigger than Dynamex.

The California Supreme Court last year made it much harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. The latest opponent of that ruling: Stormy Daniels, who argues that strippers benefit from the financial flexibility that comes with freelancing. Antoinette Siu covered the ruling for CALmatters.

– Ben Christopher

California needs a comprehensive statewide strategy to uplift and upskill our workers, to ensure technological advancements in AI, blockchain, big data, are creating jobs, not destroying them, and to reform our institutions so that more workers have an ownership stake in their sweat equity.

We will appoint a new Commission on California’s Workforce & Future of Work that will bring together leaders from labor and business – both the public and private sectors. Their assignment is this: to come up with new ideas to expand worker opportunity without extinguishing innovation or flexibility.

It will be interesting to see who heads this new commission. The state is already pursuing this type of labor-business partnership for vocational training via its new online community college, with heavyweights like the Service Employees International Union and Kaiser Permanente providing input on curriculum.

– Felicia Mello

Because California is proud to be home to technology companies determined to change the world. But companies that make, respectfully, billions of dollars collecting, curating and monetizing our personal data have a duty to protect it. Consumers have a right to know and control how their data is being used.

So I want to applaud this legislature for passing the first-in-the-nation digital privacy law last year. But California’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data. And so I’ve asked my team to develop a proposal for a new Data Dividend for Californians, because we recognize that your data has value and it belongs to you.

Making the obvious point, we’ve covered a lot of ground today, but there is so much more that deserves our focus. Climate change.  Reforming our tax code and our criminal justice system. Major initiatives like paid family leave, universal pre-school, free community college, re-imagining the DMV…it’s on the list. There’s so much more. And I’ll be talking a lot about those issues in the coming months.

The governor has big plans for using the state’s budget surplus. We know because he spent two hours talking about his January budget proposal.

– Judy Lin

Look, at my inauguration, I quoted the Sermon on the Mount about a house that did not fall in the face of floods and storms, because it was founded upon a rock.

I promised that, together, “We will build one house for one California.”

We’ve started drawing the blueprint for that house, and together we’re going to finish it.

But this goes deeper than budget numbers or program details. This is about the bonds between us as human beings.

As St. Paul said, “we are many parts but one body.” We are all diminished when one of us struggles to lead a good life.

The problems we face are as hard as they come, and they are in many cases decades in the making. But I truly believe we have the tools to solve them.  We have the technology and the know-how.

But most importantly, we have the generosity of our people.

I don’t know how many of you remember the story of the registered nurse in Paradise who was sitting in traffic, trying to escape the fire, as flames started to engulf his car. He thought, “this is it.” And he recorded a goodbye video for his family. Then a miracle occurred: a bulldozer came out of nowhere and cleared burning cars out of his path. At that point, he could have driven away as fast as possible. That’s what a lot of us would have done.

But instead, he turned his car around and drove straight to the hospital in the middle of town, where he worked in the ICU.  He and his colleagues started treating injured people. Then the hospital caught on fire. Then he moved patients to a helipad 100 yards away as fast as he could.

Every single one of them was safely evacuated.

When he was asked why he did this – why he drove back through the fire when he could have saved himself – he shrugged and he said, “This is what we do.”

His name is Allyn Pierce and he’s here with us today.

Allyn is right. Taking care of each other, showing courage when it matters most – this is what we do in California.

Yes, we have much left to do.

But I believe in the remarkable talent assembled here.

And I believe in our state. And I know this in the bottom of my heart: The best is yet to come.

Thank you all very much.

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Derek Duarte, 26, sits outside of his small motorhome near downtown Mountain View, California, on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Duarte lives here with his girlfriend to save money while he pursues an Automotive Technology degree at De Anza College in Cupertino. Duarte has been a beneficiary of the Food Pantry at the school which has helped him lower his food costs. Photo by Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group

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