- Ruy Laredo
- Communications Director
SACRAMENTO – Today, the California State Assembly approved Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ (D-Arleta) Assembly Bill 46 with bipartisan support. AB 46 establishes the California Youth Empowerment Commission, designed to empower underrepresented youth with civic engagement opportunities throughout California’s legislative process.
“From California’s annual wildfire disasters to its growing homelessness crisis, we’re seeing that twentieth century policy solutions are not the answer to the increasing cascade of crises we’re facing today,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “Millennials and Generation Z have mobilized to hold governments accountable for their failures to address the brewing storm of issues that we are leaving our future generations to resolve on their own. Not providing our youth with a platform to voice their policy concerns and solutions now is a disservice to them and the future of our state. AB 46 serves our democracy better by creating a more inclusive policymaking space and giving our youth the chance to provide their innovative and unique perspectives on the critical issues affecting California.”
Currently, there are over 130 active local youth commissions throughout California that advise local governments on public policy, but there is no statewide commission appointed to serve the millions of Californians under the age of 24. The California Youth Empowerment Commission offers a statewide opportunity for civic engagement for our state’s younger generations to offer their valuable policy input. Among the commission’s duties are policy research, roundtable discussions with youth advocates and the public, and developing grants designed to rectify the blatant inequities affecting young Californians.
“AB 46 is our great opportunity to activate and empower our young leaders of today, tomorrow, and the future to help develop and push California to set us all up for success, and we want to thank Assemblymember Luz Rivas for championing this important issue,” said Jevon Wilkes, Executive Director of the California Coalition for Youth. “When young people share power and engage in the transformational work of today, we have the brightest of futures tomorrow and for years to come.”
The California Youth Commission will consist of twenty-five individuals from across the state, between the ages of 14-25. AB 46 mandates that at least half of the commissioners must have experienced youth homelessness, foster care, juvenile incarceration, or have special needs. This bill seeks to prioritize representation on the Commission from traditionally underserved youth and provide an equitable platform for our state’s younger generations.
"The San Francisco Youth Commission is excited to see this bill creating a youth-led advisory commission at the state level move forward,” said Calvin Quick, Legislative Affairs Officer for the San Francisco Youth Commission. “We see the potential for the California Youth Empowerment Commission to both provide support to existing local youth commissions across the state and provide a forum for youth of many backgrounds to collaborate on policy recommendations informed by their lived experiences. From youth voter engagement and expanding the franchise, to building supportive housing and communities for youth experiencing homelessness, to pushing the envelope on transformative justice models, youth are best placed to know what their communities need, not just for the future, but right now."
“This legislation is incredibly important for our younger generations,” said Theresa Zamora, Interim California State Director for Mi Familia Vota. “In creating the California Youth Empowerment Act, this bill addresses the growing need to engage youth directly with policymakers. We want to thank Assemblywoman Luz Rivas for her incredible work on this issue.”
AB 46 is sponsored by the California Coalition for Youth, the California Youth Connection, the Alliance of Boys and Men of Color, the California Association of Student Councils, Mi Familia Vota, and the San Francisco Youth Commission.
Assemblywoman Luz Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and the City of San Fernando.