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What's happening with the seven bills in the California Nonprofit Equity Initiative to improve how nonprofits contract with government? We crossed another milestone last week as the Appropriations committees from both houses voted on six of the seven bills. The results: three bills – all related to how nonprofits are paid – were voted through committee and now await final floor votes.

Read more about the entire California Nonprofit Equity Initiative package of bills.

It's taken a lot to get here. The California Nonprofit Contracting Coalition has led the way with drafting these seven bills, working with seven legislators as authors. Six of the bills have now passed through six separate committees without getting waylaid (one was made a two-year bill). Partners such as PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), RCAC (Rural Community Assistance Corporation), CCCBHA (California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies), California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, KYCC (Koreatown Youth + Community Center), United Ways of California, and many others have put in countless hours on this initiative.

It is thrilling to be looking ahead to SB 336, SB 557, and AB 590 passing and landing on Governor Newsom’s desk. Specifically they address:

  • Advance payments on contracts (AB 590 - Hart) allows nonprofits to get started on work without having to front millions of dollars before reimbursement payments begin
  • Consistent and fair indirect cost rates (SB 336-Umberg) provides steps toward nonprofits getting paid for the full costs of services provided
  • Prompt payments (SB 557-Limón) is a move to correct the waiting periods -– sometimes months and months – between when nonprofits bill government and when they get paid.

That these issues have now been recognized by so many of our state’s representatives, and are expected to receive strong floor vote support in the coming weeks, is a testament to the hard work we as a community have contributed to lifting up the need for these improvements.

At the same time, all the bills in the package are important and we were disappointed to see AB 696, AB 619, and AB 860 fail to garner the support they deserved. We will continue to seek the process modernizations, greater flexibility during times of emergency, and less burdensome requirements for small grants that will assure greater equity for nonprofits partnering with the state. We expect to be working with some departments on making these improvements at a smaller scale and without legislation.

The bill authors – nonprofit champions all – deserve an abundance of gratitude from our community. Reach out with a thank you If you’re a constituent, and even if you’re not, to: Senators Monique Limón and Tom Umberg, and to Assemblymembers Luz Rivas, Gregg Hart, Avelino Valencia, Vince Fong, and Josh Lowenthal.

While our expectation is that our remaining bills will receive strong support on the floors of their respective houses, there’s still a role for you to play. Expect to hear from us soon with a new letter and call to action to help assure that Governor Newsom embraces these bills and signs these important contracting improvements into law.

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