CalNonprofits Articles

2019 was a really busy legislative session! Our new Governor brought in his own bold agenda focusing on hot topics like housing, early childhood education, and criminal justice reform. And new and returning legislators were eager to put their own ideas into action. 

Issues that CalNonprofits takes up are typically lower-profile, yet high-impact for nonprofits, and with over 3,000 bills competing for attention in this crowded session, we had our work cut out for us.

Here’s how we were able to use our clout and maneuver through this challenging session.


We won!

In a win for nonprofits doing habitat restoration and improving public access to coastal resources, AB 1011 by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) provides extra consideration to nonprofits who apply for fee waivers, making it much easier and less costly for nonprofits to undertake this important work. CalNonprofits was pleased to support this bill which was signed into law by the Governor.

Not Done Yet!

This year CalNonprofits decided to take on a transparency initiative regarding Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs).  We surveyed our members about their experiences with DAFs and 65 percent of respondents told us that they think DAFs are "good but need to be Chained money imageregulated."  We also spoke with national experts and local stakeholders, all of which led us to co-sponsor AB 1712 to improve transparency and accountability of donor-advised funds. 

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), explained why she authored this bill:  “I introduced AB 1712 because we must ensure that tax incentives meant to encourage charitable contributions are being used as they were intended: to directly benefit the people and causes of service providers. They should not be used as a vehicle to benefit a few wealthy individuals while depriving the general public of the benefits that result from direct gifts to charitable service providers.”

The bill did not advance this year, but because we just wrapped up year one of a two-year session, we have the opportunity in January to pick up where we left off. Stay tuned – we’ll be asking for your help when the bill is brought up again.

Student debt continues to plague our communities, with an estimated 160,000 nonprofit employees in California alone carrying student debt. As part of our Nonprofit Student Debt Project, CalNonprofits supported Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz)’s AB 376 – the Borrower’s Bill of Rights – to ensure that student loan borrowers are given reliable information, quality customer service, and meaningful access to repayment and forgiveness programs. Ultimately, the bill did not make it to the Governor’s Desk, and will be taken up again in January 2020. 

First we win, then we make it happen

In 2018 CalNonprofits sponsored the Grant Information Act of 2018 (AB 2252) by Assemblymember Monique Limon, chair of the Assembly Select Committee for the Nonprofit Sector, which will create one centralized and searchable database of state grants. With more than 30 percent of nonprofit revenue coming from government sources, this new tool will help nonprofits find and apply for state grants, which is notoriously difficult right now.

The California State Library is managing the effort and will house and maintain this website, scheduled to be up and running by July 1, 2020.  Right now, we are working with the State Library team to help with design and implementation issues. Thanks to all of you who helped make this happen. 

The 2020 legislative session is likely to be just as busy – and nonprofits will also be involved in the Census, redistricting, voter registration, get-out-the-vote efforts, and advocacy on issues and ballot measures. As always, CalNonprofits will be there making sure that nonprofits have “a seat at the table” and we encourage you to continue to be advocates for, and with, your community. 

We can't do our legislative advocacy work without the support of our 10,000 members. If your organization is not a member, please consider joining today. And, if you are not on our email list, subscribe now!

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