Senator William W. Monning was elected in November of 2012 and reelected in 2016 to represent the 17th Senate District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties, and portions of Monterey and Santa Clara counties. Prior to that, he represented the 27th Assembly District from 2008 to 2012, which included portions of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara counties.
From 2015 through 2018, Senator Monning served as the Senate Majority Leader. Currently, he serves as Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Rules, and is a member of the Senate Committees on Budget; Budget Subcommittee #2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation; Health; Joint Legislative Audit Committee; Joint Legislative Budget Committee; Judiciary; Natural Resources and Water; and Rules. He has also been appointed by the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate to represent the Senate on the California Air Resources Board.
During his tenure in the state Legislature, the Senator has been a leading advocate of reducing childhood obesity and other preventable chronic illnesses through the reduction of the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. He has authored legislation that would have established a sugar sweetened beverage tax with the revenues generated dedicated to support childhood obesity prevention programs, and legislation to place a consumer-warning label on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California.
In 2015, Senator Monning was a coauthor of the End of Life Option Act, which provides mentally-capable, terminally-ill Californians with the option to request a doctor’s prescription for aid-in-dying medication.
Additionally, the Senator has been a long-time supporter of the California Central Coast State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Ord, has been active in bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders and developing a strategy to develop the Coastal Trail in the Big Sur area, and has worked with state and local agencies to remove the San Clemente Dam, providing safety and ecological benefits to the region.
As a member of the Assembly, he was instrumental in establishing the California Health Benefits Exchange, a key component for California to implement federal health care reform. The primary purpose of the Exchange is to serve as the State of California’s “active purchaser” of health care coverage for individuals and small businesses that generally do not have access to affordable health care. He also authored landmark legislation that requires the Ocean Protection Council to establish a statewide standard for the certification of sustainable seafood.
Last session, Senator Monning introduced Senate Bill 623, to provide short- and long-term drinking water solutions to Californians who lack access to safe and affordable drinking water. Approximately 300 water systems in California currently have pollutant violations that have been linked to cancer, reduced mental functioning in children, nervous system decline, miscarriages, and numerous other health issues.
Prior to his service in the State Legislature, Senator Monning was a professor at the Monterey College of Law and a professor of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is the former president and co-founder of Global Majority, Inc., an organization committed to education, training and advocacy in the field of non-violent conflict resolution.
Senator Monning served as a Senior Fulbright Specialist, receiving Fulbright scholarships to teach and research in Peru and Chile. Additionally, he was a member of the Monterey County court-directed mediation panel and served for four years as Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
The Senator received a B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law. He and his wife, Dana T. Kent, a family physician, reside in Carmel, California and have two daughters and three grandchildren.