Senator John Laird Celebrates End of Legislative Session

Contact: Richard Stapler

Senator John Laird Celebrates End of Legislative Session

SACRAMENTO, CA – State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) completes his first legislative session in the California State Senate.

“This year, my colleagues and I accomplished a great deal in light of challenging circumstances,” said Senator Laird. “I introduced a robust bill package tackling a number of the most pressing issues in central coast communities and around the state, including initiatives on wildfire mitigation, tackling sea level rise, fixing a broken EDD system, and supporting those living into old age with HIV. I also worked on legislation and through the budget process to support those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in addition to legislation ensuring victims of negligence can rightfully seek justice.”

Senator Laird served as Chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Education and led negotiations on how to reopen California schools safely to get more students back to in-person instruction and helped advance a state budget that includes historic investments in Pre-K, K-12, and higher education.

While serving as Vice Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Senator Laird helped examine the results of a sweeping audit of California’s EDD. In addition, he served as a member of the Natural Resources & Water Committee, Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, Rules Committee, Appropriations Committee, Budget & Fiscal Review Committee, and Judiciary Committee.

Recently appointed by Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) to the Coastal Conservancy as one of six members of the legislature who provide legislative oversight and participate in Conservancy activities, Senator Laird notes, “I am eager to continue work to address sea level rise, in addition to tackling issues of coastal access and housing affordability along our coastline.”

Laird successfully moved 10 bills to Governor Newsom’s desk for signature. Three measures authored by Senator Laird this session have already been signed into law.

“As I head back to the 17th district for the duration of fall recess, I am certain our work is just beginning,” Laird shares. “I look forward to a productive interim period to cultivate legislative proposals that continue to address the pressing issues of our coastal communities, particularly with respect to wildfire mitigation, addressing sea level rise, and supporting those who are most vulnerable and in need of assistance.”

Legislation authored by Senator Laird during the 2020-2021 Legislative Session:

SB 258 - Updates the definition of “greatest social need” to include cultural or social isolation caused by HIV status. Signed into Law.

SB 272 - Increases inclusivity within California law by updating language within various code sections to be gender neutral. Signed into Law.

SB 390 - Requires the EDD to develop, routinely update; and when needed, implement a recession plan during an economic downturn. Awaiting Governor’s signature.

SB 447 - Updates California law to allow plaintiffs to preserve their human suffering damages, even if they pass away before trial or resolution of their case. Awaiting Governor’s signature.

SB 456 - Requires the state to establish a long-term fire prevention action plan to ensure statewide investments to combat fires are comprehensive, science-based, and utilize complementary partnerships. Awaiting Governor’s signature.

SB 479 - Includes tribal governments as eligible local governments under the RES-BCT program. Signed into law.

SB 496 - Addresses the legal opinion set forth by DWR by amending the Pajaro River flood control State project authorization to direct DWR to fully fund the project at 100% of the non-federal cost share. Awaiting Governor’s signature.

SB 544 - Requires the Bureau of Cannabis Control to establish standardized testing methods and procedures for all testing laboratories by January 1, 2023. Awaiting Governor’s signature.

SB 574 - Proposes the elimination of the requirements for participating jurisdictions to report and consult with the Department of Conservation regarding: non-renewals, diminishments, withdrawals, new contracts, and certain aspects of public acquisitions and cancellations. Awaiting Governor’s signature.


SB 619 - Supports continued efforts by local jurisdictions to achieve statewide organic waste recycling targets and climate goals. Awaiting Governor’s signature.


Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties, the majority of Monterey County, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.