First Year Legislative & Budget Wins

October 17, 2023


Dear Burbank & San Fernando Valley Neighbors, 

As we come to the official close of the 2023 legislative session with Governor Newsom’s decisions, I want to share the wins we had during my first year as State Senator. I made a commitment to fight for the people of Burbank, San Fernando Valley and California, and our work so far reflects that mission. Our work was focused on increasing access to quality mental health services, protecting and expanding programs that lift up the most vulnerable Californians, and advancing equitable policies for our youth so they can be successful now and throughout their futures. 

These are the four bills signed by Governor Newsom before the October 14, 2023, deadline:

SB 223 Child Welfare & Attendance Certification — Improves attendance and student well-being in K-12 public schools by increasing the number of specialized school mental health professionals. This is accomplished by allowing Child Welfare and Attendance authorization by Local Education Agencies on their campuses.

SB 457 Minor Vision Care — A dangerous gap in access will be closed by establishing that unaccompanied homeless minors, 15 years or older and in charge of their finances, can consent to vision care services.

SB 372 Respect for Names Act — Eliminates the use of deadnames at the Department of Consumer Affairs for licensed professionals who have changed their legal names.

SB 732 California State Bat — The Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus) is now the official state bat of California.

These are our wins included in the 2023-24 CA State Budget through my Chairpersonship of Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health & Human Services:

CalFresh Minimum Nutrition Benefit - Pilot program that will raise the minimum monthly benefit for households of 1-2 people from $23 to $50 in three counties. Counties and stakeholders will convene to choose which counties are selected based on the highest levels of hunger. The pilot program will work to help support my ongoing push to expand this program statewide based on the needs of our most vulnerable communities. 

CalFresh Safe Drinking Water Pilot Program - $3 million to continue the program and provide time-limited additional CalFresh nutrition benefits to residents of prioritized disadvantaged communities that are served by public water systems and consistently fail to meet primary drinking water standards.

Covered California - Provides $165.4 million ($330 million ongoing) from penalty funds to lower copays and deductibles of Covered CA plans beginning January 1, 2024.

CA Harm Reduction Initiative - $15.3 million annually for four years from the Opioid Settlements Fund to support harm reduction programs for staff and costs related to delivery of naloxone, fentanyl test strips, overdose prevention and response training, and drug treatment provision and navigation. 

Pediatric Subacute Facilities - $2.2 million in 2023-24 and $454,000 in 2024-25 to include free-standing pediatric subacute facilities (two of which are in our district) in the current Medi-Cal rate "hold harmless" statutory language under the CalAIM program.

Hepatitis C Virus Public Health Services - $10 million, over three years, to support expansion of outreach, testing, linkage and engagement in care to support young people who use drugs, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and those experiencing homelessness in curing HCV. 

Thank you, to my legislative staff and the co-authors and co-sponsors of each bill and budget win, for your hard work and commitment. I hopefully have eleven more years serving the people of our beautiful district as State Senator, so I will not be deterred by any setbacks. I gained an invaluable amount of knowledge and experience this first year, and I will kick-off 2024 even stronger, better prepared, and more determined than ever. As a Marine Corps veteran and social worker, I am resolved to complete my mission and make our state healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous for all Californians.


May you and your families be well,

Senator Caroline Menjivar, MSW


For questions on Senator Menjivar’s bills, constituents are encouraged to call (916) 651-4020.

Press inquiries: Celeste.Jale@sen.ca.gov