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Expanding Access to Higher Education

Ensuring Access to Free Higher Education

  • Authored AB 19 (2017) which creates the California Community College (CCC) Promise Program to provide tuition-free education at a CCC for one academic year for all first-time, full-time (12 units or more) students who submit a FAFSA or Dream application.  By creating a college-going culture throughout California, this measure will expand access to financial aid, promote equity, increase enrollment, help improve academic performance, and boost completion rates.

  • Authored AB 2 (2019) to expand the College Promise program to waive two years of tuition for first-time, full-time community college students. 

  • Author of AB 1862 (2020) – Tuition-Free Bachelor’s Degree Act. This bill expands upon the Promise Program by providing two years of tuition free education at any CSU for students who transfer from a CCC.


Protecting Professional Licenses from Student Loan Debt

  • Authored AB 508, which protects the professional licenses of people who have defaulted on their federal student loan debt by repealing a law that gives some licensing boards the authority to deny licensure to those who have defaulted on federal student loans. 

Climate Change and Environmental Justice

Co-Authored Legislation to Extend Cap-and-Trade 

  • AB 398 extended California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade program through 2030. This market-based approach is a model for greenhouse gas reduction across the nation and world. 

  • Over the last several years the program has also generated over $1.5 billion dollars in revenue from polluters to be used to benefit communities across the state, including AD 54. 


Funded Greater Access to Cleantech Jobs and the Green Economy

  • Secured $5 million in the budget to increase access to cleantech jobs and the green economy, including workforce development and zero emissions transportation pilots in disadvantaged communities.


Secured $6.5 million to clean up lead in Parkways 

  • Secured funding to add parkways to the Exide contamination cleanup


Deployed Air Quality Monitors in Boyle Heights to Combat Air Pollution 

  • Authored AB 617, which requires community-focused action to reduce air pollution and improve public health in the State’s most impacted communities.


Secured Project-Labor Agreements for Exide Clean-Ups

  • Secured $176.6 million for testing and cleanup in the neighborhoods surrounding the Exide Environmental Disaster. This year Assemblymember Santiago secured project-labor agreements to ensure that work will be completed by local workers who will be payed livable wages.

Fighting for Immigrant Rights

Co-authored the California Values Act

  • Immigrants deserve to feel safe in their communities, and to trust local law enforcement. I co-authored the California Values Act (SB 54) to ensure local police are not doing the work of federal immigration authorities, and instead focus on real crime to keep our communities safe.

Funded Immigration Services for Unaccompanied Minors and TPS Recipients

  • Succeeded in appropriating $10 million to the CA Dept. of Social Services to provide a wide array of immigration services to unaccompanied minors and individuals impacted by the elimination of the Temporary Protected Status.


Defended DACA and Offered Free Services for Dreamers

  • Co-authored a resolution to urge the federal administration to defend DACA and our Dreamers. After the decision to end the program, I have worked with community groups and faith groups to provide free resources and legal assistance for Dreamers seeking to renew their applications. 


Protected Census Participation

  • Authored AB 1563, the Freedom to Count Act, promotes a “Census Bill of Rights” and makes it a misdemeanor crime to interfere with the census. This is a common tactic used against immigrant communities.

Expanding Child Care

Stabilized Child Care for Working Families

  • Authored AB 60 which stabilized child care for working families by updating guidelines to raise income eligibility for affordable child care taking into account the new minimum wage; and by allowing children to stay in child care for as long as needed by streamlining reporting requirements.  Provisions of AB 60 were included in the 2017/18 state budget (SB 83). 

  • This is helping 280,000 kids in California. Parents can take the better job opportunities they’ve earned without fear of losing affordable child care, the very thing they need to work and for their kids to learn.


Strengthened Paid Parental Leave 

  • Worked to support AB 568, which requires school districts, charter schools, and community colleges to provide at least six weeks of full pay for pregnancy-related leaves of absence taken by employees.

Expanding Access to Affordable Healthcare

Fought to Protect the Affordable Care Act

  • The ACA has been under attack by the federal administration since their first day in office. Much effort was spent this year to ensure the expansion of health coverage for Californians was not rolled back, and instead continues to expand to cover even more people.

Champion of Healthcare for All

  • Authored AB 4 (2019) which extends Medi-Cal benefits for anyone regardless of their immigration status. 


Author of Legislation that Incentivizes Dentists to Serve in Underserved Areas

  • AB 2485 updates the Dental Corps Loan Repayment Program with revisions to ensure that the Dental Board of California (DBC) can effectively disburse funds in the Dentally Underserved Account.


Author of Legislation that Protects Patients from Surprise Medical Bills

  • AB 72 requires insurers to reimburse out-of-network doctors at in-network facilities fairly, at a minimum, the greater of the average contracted rate or 125% of Medicare.

  • Worked to Increase Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rates.

Combatting Homelessness and Creating Affordable Housing

Instrumental in Obtaining over $1 billion to Fight Homelessness

  • Established the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (2018) and the Homeless Housing Assistance Prevention program (2019) for providing localities with funds to address their immediate homeless challenges.

  • Over $500 million has been awarded to Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County over the last two years.

  • Co-author of No Place Like Home which provides billions of funding for the construction and rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals with mental illness.

  • I am also leading the charge to provide $2 billion for homeless housing and services.


Facilitated Access to Services and Supplies for the Homeless

  • AB 210 (2017) allows counties to develop a homeless adult and family multidisciplinary team (MDT) in order to facilitate identification and assessment of homeless individuals, and link homeless individuals to housing and supportive services, and to allow service providers to share confidential information to ensure continuity of care.

  • Principal co-authored legislation that created the Homeless Coordinating Council & Financial Council (SB 1380, 2016) to facilitate housing first policies throughout the state. This Council was instrumental in distributing billions of funds to localities in a matter of months to help reduce homelessness. 

  • Made it possible for homeless children to receive free school supplies and health-related products via his AB 1789 (2015).


Fought to Prevent Families from Becoming Homeless 

  • Increased benefit pay from $65 to $85 for Families at risk of being Homeless: After a three-year effort, $8 million was appropriated for the fiscal year 2018-19 and $25 million per year thereafter to ensure families that are homeless or at risk of being homeless receive greater financial assistance for temporary housing. 

  • Authored AB 728 (2019) which directs county multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to coordinate services for families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless – expanding AB 210’s scope.

Authored Legislation that Promotes Affordable Housing

  • AB 72 strengthens the state's ability to enforce laws that require local governments to achieve housing goals by allowing the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to review noncompliant housing elements, and allowing HCD to refer cases to the Attorney General. 

  • AB 74 (Santiago/Chiu) creates a program to provide rental assistance to individuals who are homeless and receive services from the Whole Person Care pilot program, Health Homes, or another locally-controlled funding source.

  • AB 73 (Chiu) allows a city or county to create a housing sustainability district to complete zoning and environmental review in order to receive incentive payments for housing projects that are consistent with the district's ordinance.  


Helped Put a Cap on Skyrocketing Rents

  • Co-authored AB 1482 (2019), which limits rent gouging by placing an upper limit on annual rent increases: 5% plus inflation (total 8%). To prevent landlords from engaging in rent gouging by evicting tenants, this bill also required that a landlord have and state a just cause in order to evict tenants who have occupied the premises for a year.


Fought to Reduce Homeless Street Deaths by Facilitating Access to Mental Health Services 

  • AB 1971 (2017) expanded the gravely disabled definition to include medical treatment as a factor for granting conservatorship. Asm. Santiago continues this effort in 2020 via his AB 1946, which looks beyond the gravely disabled and reforms the LPS law in order to get homeless people who are suffering from a mental illness and at risk of dying on the street into life-saving care.  

  • AB 1275 (2019) establishes outreach times to reach out to homeless families and individuals who may be suffering from mental illness and are in need of urgent, life-saving medical care.


Championed Anti-Housing Discrimination by Establishing California’s Fair Housing Law Amidst Trump Threat

  • Anticipating Trump’s reversal of the federal Fair Housing Act, I introduced AB 686 (2017) to establish CA’s own fair housing law to ensure that communities of color did not suffer from housing discrimination/segregation. AB 686 (2017) requires all agencies to administer its programs and activities relating to housing and community development in a manner to affirmatively further fair housing. 

Higher Ed & Housing
Combatting Poverty

Worked to Create the $380 million Cal Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) in 2015

  • 50,000 Californians will be lifted out of poverty and another 50,000 will be lifted out of deep poverty.


Helped Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage

  • Raising the minimum wage will help those who work full-time to be able to provide for their families.  Nearly 6 million California workers will receive a raise, over 1/3rd of our total workforce.


Authored New Law that Alleviates Cycle of Poverty Associated with Parking Tickets

  • AB 1151, signed into law, allows those who receive a parking ticket, to be able to pay it in installments.


Authored New Law that Alleviates Cycle of Poverty among Pedestrians

  • AB 390 ensures pedestrians are not cited for exercising reasonable crosswalk practices by aligning current law with the practices many pedestrians already use to cross an intersection during a pedestrian countdown, protecting people from frivolous citations from law enforcement. 

Expanding Communication Access

Author of Broadband for All Legislation

  • AB 1665 expands broadband access to no less than 98% of Californian households in each consortia region, among other changes.

  • Internet access is a necessity to access education, health care and economic opportunity.  This measure ensures vulnerable communities across the state are not left behind in the 21st century.

Facilitated access to Telephone Services for Deaf and Disabled

  • Authored legislation that allowed the California Public Utilities Commission to continue collecting a surcharge on intrastate telecommunications services to fund the California Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program until 2025. The mission of the program is to provide access to basic telephone service for Californians who have difficulty using the telephone. 


Co-authored legislation to Protect Consumers against Fraudulent Calls

  • AB 1132 (Santiago/Gabriel) (Telecommunications: caller identification fraud) prohibits a person from using false information in a caller ID system with the intent to mislead, cause harm, deceive, or defraud the recipient of a call. 

Enhancing Economic Development

Authored People Over Profits Act

  • Authored AB 857 (2019) which allows local municipalities to open their own community banks so that taxpayers have a say in hour local money is invested.  A public banking system is empowered to offer residents affordable loans – giving people access to the capital they need without sky-high interest rates.


Authored Legislation to Stimulate Job Creation and the Economy 

  • AB 246 will expedite the process for large projects to receive permitting approval, granted that they meet strict environmental quality standards. This will allow those projects to break ground quicker, leading to a stimulus in jobs and economic activity sooner rather than later. 

  • Co-authored SB 384 (2017) and SB 58 (2019) which will allow communities like Los Angeles to set their own alcohol beverage “closing times.” This proposal is a great step forward for Los Angeles and others across the state who thrive on evening entertainment. 

  • Co-authored AB 162 (2017), which redefined what a “small business” was under the California Competes Tax Credit Program. This created a more supportive environment for small and medium-sized businesses to begin operations, thrive, and grow by providing more tax cuts. 

Enhanced Los Angeles River Restoration 

  • Successfully obtained $100 million for restoration projects in both the Upper and Lower River. 

Revitalized the Sixth Street Viaduct 

  • Helped to secure $32 million in state funding for the $482 million Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project.

Improving Public Safety

Secured Funding for Critical Services to Human Trafficking Survivors

  • Secured $10 million in ongoing funding to provide comprehensive services to survivors of human trafficking including medical assistance, legal representation, housing, job training, basic food and clothing, and more

  • Authored AB 260, which provides life-saving resources to trafficking victims. It requires hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns to post a notice that contains information related to human trafficking, including national and statewide hotlines, at a location visible to employees and the public. This bill will provide victims with crucial information that may lead to their rescue and recovery

  • SB 225 (Stern/Santiago) ensures victims of trafficking are aware that they can text hotlines for help.


Protected Child Trafficking Survivors from Re-traumatization

  • Authored AB 1276 (2016), which allowed the courts to order testimony of a minor who is a victim of human trafficking by means of closed-circuit television in criminal proceedings.

  • This bill protects survivors of human trafficking from re-traumatization. Recounting personal trauma in open court is no easy feat. Often times, survivors of human trafficking are often made to feel like the criminal in these types of trials. 


Authored Legislation to Prevent Gun Violence

  • AB 1674 caps the amount of long guns that may be purchased by a person at one per month – the same restriction currently in place for handguns.  

  • AB 1511, signed into law, limits the loan of a firearm to a spouse or registered domestic partner, a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild - people who are best positioned to know if the relative receiving the firearm has a background or circumstance that prohibits gun possession.

Supporting Arts and Cultural Landmarks

Secured Funding for the Korean American National Museum

  • Secured $4 million to construct a first-in-the-nation National Museum focused solely on Korean Americans. This museum will be built in heart of Koreatown.


Secured Funding to Preserve and Promote Latino Cultural Diversity

  • Secured $2 million in funding to support the Latino Arts Theater’s educational programs and operations that preserve and support the cultural diversity of our communities, and expand its outreach.

Korean Museum
Latino Arts Center
6th Street Viaduct
LA River Restration
Human Trafficig
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