Early in her career, Sydney worked at the Social and Public Arts Resource Center (SPARC) in Venice and then as an advocate for quality childcare and early education at the nonprofit Crystal Stairs in Los Angeles. She served as District Director for Holly Mitchell, when Mitchell was first Assemblywoman and later Senator.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
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.
Introduced, advocated for, and passed the CRISES Act
First-in-the-nation state-level legislation to establish community-based organizations serving as first responders to nonviolent crises instead of police.
Authored and passed AB 127
Which amends the California penal code to permit persons other than peace officers to present a probable cause determination to a judge in seeking an arrest warrant in cases when the suspect is a peace officer.
Authored and passed AB 333
Which limits gang enhancements to the most serious offenses.
Coauthored and passed SB 2
Which increases accountability for misconduct by police officers.
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 audited the L.A., Fresno, and Alameda sheriffs’ departments because of inmate deaths and a county-level refusal to tell the truth.
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 it became Proposition 17 on the November 2020 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
Served 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.
Served as Chair of the Select Committee on Incarcerated Women, focusing on reforming policies to reduce the number of women behind bars and to support the health, dignity, and rehabilitation of women in prison.
My aim is to help create good jobs and to nurture talent in the people who want those jobs. I know 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 have prioritized the expansion of vocational, career, and technical education programs that furnish the skills needed to develop career goals and score high-wage jobs that sustain families.
As a Senator, I co-authored and passed SB 639, developing a plan to phase out the use of the subminimum-wage certificate program, which authorizes employers to pay less than minimum wage for employees with physical or mental disabilities.
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.
The question of safe, equitable access to abortion is now before the Supreme Court, and progressive thinkers are in the minority among our Justices. This is a war to protect the equal stature of women – and in particular the equal stature of poor women. Though judges appointed by the Trump administration are taking sledgehammers to both women’s reproductive rights and the Affordable Care Act, I am determined to fight the dangerous policies that erode the progress we’ve made.
As a proud board member of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, I wholeheartedly support a woman’s fundamental right to control her own reproductive decisions and access to comprehensive health care.
In 2020, I fought for California to stop insurers from charging for abortion services.
Legal and safe abortion is available only in theory and not in practice if the service is cost prohibitive. I want to ensure that access to abortion does not depend upon a person’s privilege or bank account, especially in the midst of pernicious federal attacks on reproductive care.
I also led the fight in the legislature to ensure Prop 56 funding for reproductive health care.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a budget nightmare in California along with federal attacks that resulted in a loss of funds for the state. I secured Proposition 56 funding for reproductive health care so that Planned Parenthood and other providers could continue to provide services.
In this time of global climate crisis, we need to take immediate action 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 a proud member of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPC), fighting for environmental justice.
I joined CA Voices for 100%, a coalition of leaders from across California who share the goal of shifting to 100% renewable energy by 2030 or sooner.
As a Senator, I co-authored the landmark Senate Bill 54, to drastically reduce single-use plastics and packaging.
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 promotes urban farming and identifies land for agricultural use in L.A.’s urban areas. In 2021, I delivered funding to Growing Communities, Inc., for its Urban Farming Initiative in South L.A.
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 Senate, I helped secure funding for the City of Los Angeles for the creation of the TUMO Center with the University of Southern California (USC) Institute of Armenian Studies and for the USC Institute of Armenian Studies.
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 to 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 co-authored legislation to ensure that English learners are not denied enrollment in core curriculum courses required for high school graduation.
The lack of affordable housing in California places people increasingly in unstable living situations and is one of the root causes of the homelessness crisis. Rents soar unchecked, and the cost of homeownership is out of the question for most Californians. No one should have to spend three-quarters of their income on rent or a mortgage or make a choice between the cost of housing and other essential human needs, like groceries or medicine.
Housing legislation is difficult to pass, but I am committed to making California a state that provides housing security, job security, and food security to all of its residents. Safe, affordable housing is a basic human right, and I am determined to make that vision a reality.
As a Senator, I introduced SB 679, to create an independent agency to secure funding for desperately needed affordable housing across Los Angeles County.
I also co-authored AB 989, which would cut government red tape and speed up approvals on affordable housing development.
I successfully established an emergency shelter and transitional housing project in Culver City.
In the Assembly, 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 helped pass a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 financial hardship, and I voted to pass the California Tenant Protection Act.
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.
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
California can pave the way to quality, affordable health care for all. I fight for annual state budgets that preserve and expand health coverage protections for Californians and include policies that lead the nation in reducing pharmaceutical drug prices and hospital visits and increasing access for women, families, and seniors.
I’m a proud co-author of AB 1400 – Guaranteed Health Care for All – to provide quality, affordable, single-payer health care to every Californian. I’m determined to forge an achievable path to universal health care for everyone – including those with preexisting conditions – and make sure guaranteed funding is in place to support its longevity.
Last year, I introduced SB 642, which would limit profit-driven corporate control over the independent clinical judgements of doctors.
I also secured grants for public hospitals and advocated in support of founding UCLA’s Institute on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy.
American history is haunted by centuries of white supremacy and hate against groups and individuals because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. It’s unacceptable that we have not wiped out hate. On the contrary, hate crimes targeting Jewish, Muslim, Asian, and Black people have risen sharply in recent years. Together we must take action. I stand against hate, racism, and all acts of intolerance. And I will not stop fighting to put an end to hate once and for all.
Recently, I fought for grant funding to add security at places of worship.
I secured $10 million in funding to develop an antisemitism exhibition at the Museum of Tolerance.
I served on the Select Committee on the State of Hate to devise ways to prevent hate speech and hate crimes.
I am the proud co-author of SB 17, creating the Office of Racial Equity to establish ways to embed racial equity into institutional culture, policies, and practices.