Education, Advocacy and Networking: 2019 CSAC Legislative Conference
April 25, 2019
More than 350 representatives from 52 California counties converged in Sacramento this week for CSAC’s 2019 Legislative Conference, providing an excellent opportunity to hear directly from Governor Newsom, network, educate and advocate on behalf of counties.
“The Legislative Conference provides an excellent opportunity to continue collaborating with the state as a strong State-County partnership can be incredibly effective in making a difference in our communities,” said Virginia Bass, CSAC President and Humboldt County Supervisor, in her opening remarks.
Governor Gavin Newsom kicked off the conference with an overview of the first 100 days of his administration, budget highlights and policy priorities. Governor Newsom emphasized the critical role that California Counties play in the delivery of services. “Leadership at the local level is potent and powerful,” he told the standing-room-only crowd. Governor Newsom also spoke to the challenges of preserving the California Dream, the state’s housing affordability crisis and making sustainable progress on homelessness. For a video of Governor Newsom’s comments, visit https://youtu.be/7djfBnbaU8k.
Following Governor Newsom’s comments, attendees could choose between workshops on aging or criminal justice fees. Preparing for the Silver Tsunami examined how counties and the state can best prepare for and serve the growing population of older adults. It featured a panel of experts from San Diego County, Shasta County, the California Health and Human Services Agency, and the Alzheimer’s Association. Participants heard about the state’s progress towards a Master Plan on Aging, critical efforts to identify and raise awareness about dementias, and innovative county programs related to housing, community support, and social participation for the aging population.
CSAC’s Administration of Justice Policy Committee hosted Nickels and Dimes, What Every County Should Know About Justice Related Fees and Fines, which included representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Napa County and the advocacy community. There was a lively conversation centered around counties’ use of fines, the amount of fines collected and the impact paying those fines have on the offenders and the families who pay them.
Wednesday’s featured program, Getting to Know the New Administration, included Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency; Wade Crowfoot, Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency; and Kate Gordon, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The panelists shared priorities and opportunities for county partnerships that align with the policy priorities of the new Administration. Additionally, they discussed the many ways that issues, like wildfires, climate change and health and human services issues overlap departments as well as local government.
The 2019 Legislative Conference also provided a forum for policy committee, advisory board and caucus meetings, including a Women’s Leadership Forum breakfast featuring state Senator Hannah Beth Jackson and Assembly Member Blanca Rubio and a meeting of the Latino Caucus of California with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Somehow, in between all the informative meetings and networking functions, attendees found time at visit their state representatives individually and in small groups, for a fast, but effective 36 hours of education, advocacy and networking.