My Priorities and Record of Accomplishments
Since joining the legislature in 2018, I have been working for you.
And a just new world.
In this time of global climate crisis, we need to take steps to protect our health and reduce our impact on our environment. We must reshape how we work, live, consume, produce and recycle. We must reimagine land use in urban settings to sustain us in new ways. We must be bold.
I’m proud to serve as a member of the Environmental Caucus and champion laws that have public health and environmental quality at their core.
I joined CA Voices for 100%, a coalition of leaders from across California who share the goal of shifting to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible.
I co-authored the landmark Senate Bill 54 and its companion Assembly Bill 1080, which aimed to reduce pollution from single-use plastics and packaging. Though the bills were stymied in 2020, Sydney remains committed to working on similar legislation in 2021.
I supported the Assembly Green New Deal Resolution to encourage the U.S. Congress to treat climate change as a national catastrophe and create innovative policies and programs to lower emissions and improve public health while developing more equitable and just economic prosperity.
One of my signature initiatives is an urban farming project designed to identify land for agricultural use in LA’s urban areas.
We are not the only species that matters. Often we do not grasp how ecologically connected we are to all the life on the planet.
But we are connected – closely. This bond is the reason I:
- Authored and passed legislation to ban the trophy hunting of bobcats in California.
- Carried a bill to end unnecessary toxicological testing on dogs.
- Shepherded a bill to prohibit the possession of African trophy animals in California.
These legislative efforts are part of the continuing struggle to protect the creatures that share the planet with us and provide us with a healthy ecological balance.
In recognition of these efforts, I received the 2020 Humane Legislator Award from the Humane Society of the United States.
The United States has the largest prison population in the world, and the highest per-capita incarceration rate. In California, the female jail population has increased six fold since 1970, twice as much as the male population during the same period.
We can and must do better.
As Chair of the Select Committee on Incarcerated Women, I am focused on reviewing and reforming policies to reduce the number of women behind bars and to support the health, dignity and rehabilitation of women in prison. I also serve on Governor Newsom’s Penal Code Revision Committee, which studies and recommends ways to simplify and rationalize the substance and procedure of criminal law in California.
Introduced and advocated for the CRISES Act, first-in-the-nation state-level legislation to establish a pilot program to have community-based organizations serve as first responders instead of the police.
Passed the most transformative probation reform legislation in the country. My historic bill caps probation terms for most offenses at 1-2 years – reasonable limits that will help break the cycle of incarceration, reduce officers’ caseloads and save millions of dollars.
Successfully sought an audit of the LA, Fresno and Alameda sheriffs’ departments because of budget battles, inmate deaths & a county-level refusal to conduct an audit, respectively. Results of the audit will allow me to discern whether sheriffs are spending funds as intended and in ways that support the health and dignity of incarcerated Californians.
Sought answers and accountability via letters, committee hearings and media from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regarding the spread of COVID-19 in California’s prisons.
Coauthored Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, which allows people on parole to vote and became Proposition 17 on the November general election ballot. The proposition, approved by voters, eliminates an arbitrary barrier to voting and gives formerly incarcerated people an opportunity to exercise their voice and be part of our democracy.
Coauthored a bill to end private prisons in California.
In the early days of my career I was an advocate at Crystal Stairs, a nonprofit providing childcare and early learning to children in Los Angeles County, including children in foster care. I saw firsthand how high-quality, early childhood education improves the lives of families.
In the Assembly, I fought for a budget that affords free public preschool for all four-year-olds living in neighborhoods where most school children come from low-income families. My long-term objective is to implement free, universal preschool throughout our state.
During my time as President of the Los Angeles Community College Board, I committed myself funding free education for a student’s complete path from early childhood through higher education, including college. I remain committed to that goal.
In 2018 and 2019, I supported increasing the state budget to provide two years of free community college tuition for first-time, full-time students. The legislature also passed a tuition freeze and increased enrollment slots at University of California and Cal State University systems for 2019-2020.
I voted to support legislation to help low-income student parents pay for books and college supplies through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program.
I also coauthored legislation to ensure that English learners are not denied enrollment in core curriculum courses required for high school graduation.
Access, equality and justice should be the foundations of government and business. They also should form the basis for how we treat our neighbors. Yet, discrimination and bias creep into behavior, systems and policies at alarming rates..
In my first year in office, I introduced three bills (AB 241, 242, 243) that require mandatory implicit bias training for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, judges and trial lawyers. AB 241 and 242 were signed into law by Governor Newsom.
I co-authored SB 188, known as the Crown Act, to end discrimination based upon a person’s natural hairstyle and ensure that no one has to abandon healthy, natural hair to placate unhealthy and unnatural biases.
I voted to expand paid family leave and to require publicly held corporations headquartered in California to have at least one director from an underrepresented community by the close of 2021.
I have a 100% score from Equality CA and was the only California legislator to receive a perfect score from Disability Rights CA. I am a staunch advocate for members of the LGBTQ community and for Californians with disabilities.
The cost of housing in California has skyrocketed. The lack of affordable housing places families increasingly in unstable living situations and is one of the causes of the homelessness crisis. People should be able to afford to live here without spending three-quarters of their income on rent.
I am committed to seeing that California be a state that provides housing security, job security and food security to all of its inhabitants. Affordable and safe housing should be a right like universal healthcare and I am determined to make that vision a reality here.
I supported establishing a statewide right to housing for children and families.
I fought alongside state Senator Holly Mitchell to protect Californians from discrimination by landlords who refuse to accept Section 8 housing vouchers, which level the playing field for renters who need financial assistance.
I advocated for and voted to pass a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship.
I voted to pass the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 which requires a landlord to have “just cause” to terminate a tenancy and limits annual rent increases statewide.
I also voted to provide the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (HHAPP) with $300 million dollars as part of the Budget Act of 2020.
I will continue to make affordable housing a top priority and explore innovative investment in housing and homelessness initiatives.
My aim is to help create good jobs and to nurture talent in the people who want those jobs.
As your Assemblymember, I prioritize the expansion of vocational, career and technical education programs that furnish the skills needed to develop career goals and score high-wage jobs.
For our district to thrive in the rapidly changing global economy, we need to cultivate new industries (technology, clean energy) and invigorate the existing ones (sports, entertainment, transportation).
I wrote and passed Assembly Bill 987 to help build the new state-of-the-art Los Angeles Clippers sports arena in the City of Inglewood, creating thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in public revenue to provide vital services for our region.
I worked to ensure that the budget extended California’s earned income tax credit — a cash rebate to low-income workers — and increased free childcare and preschool slots for working families.
I partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on an expansion of the Metro Crenshaw Line to improve public transportation access and quality jobs to our district.