CalNonprofits Articles

Nancy Berlin, Policy DirectorOctober 19, 2017 - This has been a year of turmoil, from the unprecedented shifts in national politics to horrific natural disasters, both here and abroad. As many nonprofits have been working tirelessly on these urgent matters, CalNonprofits has been focused primarily on that narrow but crucial band of issues that crosses all the nonprofit subsectors: issues such as regulation, contracting, nonprofit employment, and filing requirements.

Because this was the first year of a two-year legislative cycle, some bills did not pass out of the state legislature this year, but instead will carry into next year. That’s what happened with AB 1250, a serious threat to nonprofit-government contracting. It was a nail-biting finish that went into the wee hours of the last night of the legislative session. And it was a true example of our collective power, with more than 300 nonprofits joining together to persuade the Senate to push the pause button on AB 1250, at least for now.

That was an important and hopeful step, but we’re not done. We’re already preparing our strategy on AB 1250 for next year’s legislative session. We can be proud that our collective efforts have made a difference for nonprofits – and the people and communities we serve – throughout the state. 

Student debt was another of our big policy pushes this year, an issue that impacts 180,000 nonprofit employees in California alone. And we’re pleased to report that AB 461, which we supported, has been signed into law. Previously, when most student loans were forgiven, the forgiven debt was viewed as taxable income. This created an added financial hardship, especially for lower-income students. AB 461 exempts the forgiven amounts from California state income tax -- a minimal loss of revenue for the state and a big burden lifted from borrowers.

You can learn more about CalNonprofits’ student debt project here. And stay tuned for an upcoming hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector which will focus on this pressing topic.

We celebrated an early victory in June when SB 6 was included in the budget. This creates a state program to contract with nonprofit legal service organizations to provide assistance to individuals facing deportation.

We battled another raffles carve-out bill this session, SB 741, but the author cancelled hearings on it, and it has become a two-year bill (meaning it may be taken up again next year.) We committed to working to put together a stakeholder process to get more input on how to create better and fairer raffle laws.

Our amazing Sacramento advocate, Jennifer Fearing, helped us juggle all of this, but as always, we couldn’t have done it without the many hundreds of nonprofit leaders who educated their communities and spoke up to elected officials on these important issues. With your help, we look forward to increasing our advocacy power and impact next year!

For more background on any of these bills, check out our Legislation Tracker http://www.calnonprofits.org/public-policy/bill-tracker.

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