- Ruy Laredo
- Communications Director
SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ (D-San Fernando Valley) Assembly Bill (AB) 46. 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. With AB 46’s signing, California will give our youth the opportunity to provide their innovative and unique perspectives on the critical issues affecting our state. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing this historic legislation that recognizes the need to uplift our state’s younger generations and creates a more inclusive policymaking space to the benefit of our state’s future.”
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.
“California is elevating, activating, and empowering young leaders in this historic time thanks to our Governor, Gavin Newsom,” said Jevon Wilkes, Executive Director of the California Coalition for Youth. “Our young leaders have been marching and advocating for better futures and through our Governor signing AB 46 into law our futures can all become more secure and bright.”
The California Youth Commission will consist of thirteen 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 Adrianna Zhang, Chair of the San Francisco Youth Commission. “We see the potential for the California Youth Empowerment Commission to both provide statewide support to existing local youth commissions 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 unhoused youth, to pushing the envelope on transformative justice models, young people are best placed to know what their communities need– not just for the future, but right now. Thank you Governor Newsom for signing AB 46, supporting the role of young people in government, and building a network for youth to engage in the conversations they deserve to be a part of.”
“Thank you Governor Newsom for signing AB 46. This legislation is extremely important for our younger generations," said Theresa Zamora, Active California State Director. “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.