2022 Year in Review

Dear Friend,

I hope this newsletter finds you well in this holiday season and my very best wishes for you and your loved ones. 2022 has been an eventful year, and I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know about some of the work of our office serving our state and community. 

This year marked the end of the 2021-22 legislative session, contentious nationwide elections, and the inauguration of a whole new batch of legislators while those of us who returned were elected to serve newly redrawn legislative districts. Through several hundred bills and scores of committee hearings and floor debates, the Legislature worked to address many of the pressing concerns in our state, seeking solutions for issues ranging from homelessness to action on climate and other pressing environmental needs while continuing relief for small businesses and individuals deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this newsletter are highlights of some of that which was accomplished, including much of the work my team and I were able to contribute.

I know I speak for our entire team when I say what an honor it is for us to continue serving and representing you in Sacramento. My staff and I are here to help you in any way we can, so please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have about our legislative work or assistance with accessing state programs or services.




Ben Allen

Senator, 24th District


End of Session Summary of Bills

Here are some of the bills my team worked closely on this year that were signed into law by the Governor:


Protecting our Environment

SB 54



For four years, my team and I have been working hard on developing a comprehensive approach to reducing the overwhelming amount of plastic waste filling up our landfills and waterways in California. Local governments and taxpayers have faced increasing costs caused by a broken system that historically left all the responsibility on consumers and local governments. Waste is accruing in our oceans, our communities, our increasingly expensive landfills, and in the case of microplastics—in our own bodies and those of our children.

Engaging with industry stakeholders, local governments, and environmental experts, we came up with a negotiated deal that imposes rates and dates for waste reduction and recycling that plastics producers must meet with oversight of a producer responsibility organization. Plans are subject to final approval by the state’s CalRecycle department, aiming for a 25 percent reduction in the amount of new plastic materials introduced to the market within a decade.

“It puts California at the forefront of national efforts to eliminate polystyrene and other plastics that litter the environment.”

Los Angeles Times

Read more details of the bill and its journey to becoming law here. The bill has been widely hailed in newspapers around the world as an important step in the fight against plastic pollution and toward a more coherent waste management system, and I am proud of what SB 54 will do for the collective futures of our state, nation, and world. We are already seeing an influx of interest from the next generation of innovators who are looking to design and scale much more environmentally sustainable products and packaging.

SB 502



In 2008, state leaders created the Green Chemistry Initiative to identify toxic chemicals in household products and move manufacturers to switch to safer and more environmentally sound alternatives when feasible. Yet the Initiative has lacked teeth and no chemicals have yet been regulated under the program. SB 502 implements recommendations from a Public Health Institute evaluation of the program to improve accountability and transparency, along with streamlining the process to make it more effective.


SB 1122

This new law will expand the existing San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountain Conservancy (RMC) to include the Dominguez Channel Watershed from Manhattan Beach south to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, as well as Santa Catalina Island. This will allow RMC to support projects and provide grants for conservation and climate adaptation efforts, as well as disadvantaged communities that can benefit from increased access to recreational opportunities. I am particularly excited about the opportunities for land acquisition and preservation that might arise under our bill on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. 


Expanding Access to Affordable Housing


In 1950, Californians voted to amend our state constitution to include a requirement of voter approval for a community to develop, construct, or acquire publicly funded low-rent housing projects. For seven decades, the California Constitution’s Article 34 has stood in the way of more affordable housing while predominantly affecting minority communities. Nearly 40 percent of California residents live below the poverty level, and a majority of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. The bipartisan passage of SCA 2 places it on the 2024 statewide ballot so that Californians can decide if they want to rid our state of this longstanding discrimination.


SB 1444

Amid intense debates over housing, zoning, and local control, I wanted to help our local governments struggling with new mandates by giving them more tools to address their housing challenges. SB 1444 creates the South Bay Regional Housing Trust, giving participating cities in the South Bay the right to pool funding and resources to develop affordable housing to assist homeless populations along with people and families of extremely low, very low, and low income within the South Bay. This is a voluntary system, supported by our South Bay city governments, which will help them meet housing requirements.


Increasing Transparency for Consumers and Voters

SB 1322


There is no debate: Californians are forced to pay more at the pump than most Americans. Of course, the gas tax and the cleaner gas blend we use are part of the story, but a California-specific mystery surcharge remains on top of the calculable environmental and tax costs with no real explanation and a lot of finger-pointing. This surcharge has only grown over time. What we do know is that major oil companies have reported record profits of late in the wake of the recent spikes in gas prices. SB 1322 is simple in nature, requiring that the oil refineries in our state open their books to the California Energy Commission to shed some additional light on the pricing structure that has been hitting drivers hard. It was referenced in the Governor’s declaration of a special session relating to gas prices and could prove essential in the gathering of data to inform further action to dissuade gouging. 


SB 459

Lobbying plays a significant and sometimes positive role in the development of legislation, but the current campaign reporting structure leaves our watchdogs and the press in the dark during the most critical periods of lobbying when it comes to finding out who is putting financial weight behind a particular cause, bill, or issue. My SB 459, sponsored by California Common Cause, brings more transparency to lobbying efforts during the most crucial period of the legislative calendar—the end of the legislative session—by requiring timely and useful reporting of last-minute lobbyist/lobbying hiring.


Bringing You Piece of Mind

SB 1138

In the first four months of the pandemic, approximately four million Californians filed Unemployment Insurance claims with the state’s Employment Development Department, along with one million self-employed Californians who filed through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program made possible by the federal CARES Act. Our office was flooded with calls from constituents, and we helped many thousands deal with their challenges during the pandemic. Now, those historic government assistance supports have ended, and self-employed workers have no access to these benefits when they cannot find work. SB 1138 seeks to help spur a permanent solution by studying various policy options that would allow independent contractors impacted by economic conditions not of their own making the ability to collect benefits when facing work scarcity.  


SB 1194

Several of the cities in our district approached our office when they were running into problems with state code while trying to put gender-neutral bathrooms in various facilities within their jurisdictions. With SB 1194, we were able to give local governments the tools they need to broaden access to safe restroom facilities for all.


Additional Legislative Accomplishments



The Climate Package

As chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, much of the work I am directly involved in surrounds guaranteeing the health of our world for years to come. My colleagues and I crafted a powerful climate package this year which puts California once more at the forefront of climate policy and focuses on ensuring that as we ratchet down emissions, we also protect workers and vulnerable communities. My committee staff was intimately involved with the drafting and finalizing of several of the key bills, and I have highlighted some of our biggest wins below. The measures will require the state to become carbon-neutral by 2045, produce 90% of its electricity from clean sources by 2035 –ramping up to 100% by 2045– create safety zones around oil wells near homes, schools, and other sensitive sights, and draft rules to fast-track the permitting of technology that aims to remove carbon from the air as we steadily reduce carbon emissions. This aggressive package will create 4 million new jobs, cut air pollution by 60%, "including refinery pollution by 94%" and reduce the state’s oil consumption by 91%.


  • SB 1020 (Laird) – Clean Energy, Jobs, and Affordability Act of 2022
  • AB 1279 (Muratsuchi) – The California Climate Crisis Act
  • SB 1314 (Limon) – Enhanced Oil Recovery
  • SB 1137 (Gonzalez) – Oil and Gas Local Restrictions


Defending Reproductive Rights

As access to abortion and other reproductive services is stripped away in states across our nation, I was a principal co-author of SCA-10, which paved the way for voters to make it clear that California will always back access to reproductive care and the right to choose. Prop 1 ultimately passed with 67% of the statewide vote and a whopping 73% of support from voters in Los Angeles County. 



I was happy to show my support for those working on the front lines of this effort when the Planned Parenthood Pink Bus came to Sacramento!


Supporting Small Business


I enjoyed dropping by Card de A gift shop while on a small business tour in Redondo Beach.


Our small businesses are the heartbeat of our community, and the last few years have not been particularly kind to them. That’s why I joined with many of my colleagues as a principal co-author to SB 87, which brought over $2 billion in relief to small businesses trying to stay afloat amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional $150 million was given to the program in February, leading to a total of $4.2 billion in supports (including federal funds). Additionally, the 2022-23 State Budget saw $250 million in relief grants for small businesses with employees who utilized California’s supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave.

Craft distillers were affected in a unique way by the pandemic as they were unable to ship the liquor they distill directly to consumers in the same way that wineries can because of antiquated state laws. As a result, the Governor issued an executive order to allow them to do so, and I have since been involved in efforts to extend that program. Working with colleagues, we were able to get an extension passed for this program through AB 920, and I look forward to continue advocating for a permanent solution for this challenge that these small businesses face.

I recently held a webinar to support small business owners looking to better understand the resources available through state government and nonprofit programs. You can check out what experts from the Los Angeles Regional Small Business Development Center and the nonprofit legal resources organization Bet Tzedek told me by clicking here to watch our webinar. If you have additional questions or need help with your small business, please feel free to reach out to my office and we will do our best to connect you with available resources. 



Homelessness has reached a crisis point in our community. The suffering on our streets is tragic and unacceptable. There is so much more to do, but the state acted this year with affordable housing funding and record funding for local governments to help them address the homelessness crisis, and there are new key provisions holding local governments accountable for producing results in assisting homeless people and getting them onto paths toward self-sufficiency. I was a co-author of SB 1338, which establishes the CARE Court Program that will compel some people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders to either accept treatment plans or, if they refuse, to be placed under conservatorship. It is a path that will help to address real needs on the streets by providing an avenue for individuals suffering from severe mental illness to get treatment and housing without subjecting them to the criminal justice system. We are hopeful that the CARE Court will be both compassionate and firm while ensuring that the most mentally ill folks on our streets get the help they need. The Los Angeles Times recently highlighted inadequacies in current state law, and I am in discussions with Senate colleagues about ways that we might alter the law to address the crises the article explores.  Broadly speaking, there is so much more work to be done as we work with local governments to meet our state’s ambitious goals for addressing the homeless crisis on our streets. 


Earlier this fall, I met with SHARE! to learn more about their collaborative housing model and the work they are accomplishing in our community to help those experiencing homelessness. I am very interested in finding ways to scale and expand their successful and cost-effective work. 


Election Transparency

I have long looked for ways to further transparency and public scrutiny of the issue advocacy and lobbying campaigns that influence public policy in our state. This year, in addition to my SB 459 described above, I worked closely with the California Clean Money Campaign as a principal co-author of SB 1360, which provides voters with more clarity about who is behind petition-gathering campaigns as well as campaign advertisements. 


Supporting the Arts

Our community is at the center of the arts world, and I have the honor of serving as the Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Arts. As Chair, I was part of a legislative effort to extend the Film & TV Tax Credit Program. You can read more about the details here, but I was glad to see the Governor’s support and investment of $1.65 billion over the next five years into California’s unrivaled film industry.  I serve on the California Film Commission, and am committed to keeping our robust TV and film production industry home here in California where it belongs.



I have been very involved with our State’s cultural/arts districts program and had the opportunity this fall to visit a number of our Golden State Cultural Districts with Assemblymember Tasha Boerner-Horvath, Vice-Chair of our Arts Committee and other legislators on the Committee. We are working to chart a plan for expansion of this very successful statewide program.


Budget Roundup


This year, the Legislature passed a comprehensive budget of over $300 billion for the 2022-2023 fiscal year that prioritized supporting Californians as they deal with increasing prices caused by global inflation and the COVID-19 Pandemic, updating our state’s infrastructure to accommodate increased need, and moving California towards cleaner energy. To learn more about our state’s budget, you can find a comprehensive breakdown here, but below are some of the highlights:

  • Direct relief to support small businesses
  • $17 billion in inflation relief
  • Nearly $20 billion to tackle environmental threats
  • Historic investments to modernize our infrastructure and create jobs in the process
  • A 13% increase in school funding from last year’s budget
  • A record $37 billion in reserve funding to protect our state from future economic threats

Additionally, I was pleased to see the State Budget reflect support for our various programs, needs, and institutions in our community. Highlights included $5,000,000 for the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, $5.9 million for the Associated Students of UCLA to fix their building, and $500 million for the development and construction of a groundbreaking Immunology Institute at UCLA that will be a major game-changer for biosciences in our region. Additional state investments into our district included:

  • $10 million to Redondo Beach for wetland conservation and park space creation at the AES power plant;
  • $5 million for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to support their work on habitat restoration, recovery of endangered species including the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, and wildfire prevention;
  • $3 million for Los Angeles-based nonprofit Project Angel Food to upgrade their infrastructure as a result of significant demand growth which began during the COVID-19 pandemic and is projected to continue in the years ahead as they produce and provide medically tailored meals to those living with serious illnesses;
  • $1.2 million for the construction of the Rolling Hills Estates Nature Center.


Recognizing Our Community


Every year, each Senator has the wonderful – albeit challenging – opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations in our community.


Woman of the Year: Debbie Allen


For 2022, we selected the indefatigable Debbie Allen (no relation!) as our District Woman of the Year. Debbie is a highly acclaimed legend of the entertainment and arts world. She has worked with, discovered, and learned from some of the biggest names in the industry throughout her career and has been recognized widely for her accomplishments. Her biography is truly remarkable, with some highlights including her appointment by President George W. Bush to represent the United States as a Cultural Ambassador of Dance, the fact she has been an artist in residence for 15 years at the Kennedy Center, founding the nonprofit Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, and, of course, her three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, five NAACP Image Awards, a Drama Desk, the first Astaire Award, four honorary Doctorate degrees, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But most important, Debbie has devoted much of her time and talent toward inspiring the next generation of young people, especially in disadvantaged communities, toward careers in the arts. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of honoring Debbie in person at the Wallis Theater in Beverly Hills. The City Council under the leadership of Mayor Bosse declared December 11 Debbie Allen Day in the City!


Nonprofit of the Year: Grades of Green


For over a decade, Grades of Green has been educating young people on the importance of environmental action and leadership. Through a number of projects, Grades of Green provides students with opportunities to address the climate crisis worldwide and have reported some impressive accomplishments through its efforts, including 21 million gallons of water saved by the more than 670,000 students who have been involved in their programs. It was my pleasure to have them in Sacramento in June to be recognized for the impact they are having in our community, and I look forward to seeing the work they will continue to accomplish. Click here to read more about Grades of Green and their selection as Nonprofit of the Year. I enjoyed reconnecting with them at their annual Gala in November!


Around the District


We were able to celebrate the passage of SB 54 by Hermosa Beach’s iconic pier in the fall.


Celebrating the City of Rolling Hills Estate’s 65th birthday!



Opening of Community Corps’ beautiful new Pacific Landing affordable housing project.


Celebrating our nation’s independence this past July!



Much of my time when I’m home in the district is spent attending civic events and providing updates to constituents.



In April, local and state leaders joined together to break ground on the new Wallis Annenberg Wildlife crossing in the Santa Monica Mountains. We celebrated an important state investment that, combined with philanthropic support, will provide an important asset to help to preserve and protect our region’s biodiversity. Our work was highlighted at the COP Conference on Biodiversity in Montréal earlier this month (see below).


One of several examples of state funding that will directly benefit our community. This one was for land preservation led by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy who has been doing such great work through their #GoWildforthePeninsula initiative.



At the end of October, elected officials and the many coalition advocates who helped pass SB 54, our landmark plastic bill, gathered at the Hermosa Beach Pier.



Swearing-In Ceremony of the 2023-24 Legislative Session. I am excited for what’s ahead representing you in the newly drawn District 24.




This month, I joined with other legislators, Natural Resources Secretary Crowfoot, and other state officials to represent California’s biodiversity initiatives at the United Nations COP15 Summit in Montréal, Canada. We were able to highlight many great successes in our state, including the construction of the wildlife corridor in Liberty Canyon, an important part of our 30x30 land preservation and broader biodiversity efforts.




We joined civic leaders earlier this month to celebrate Hanukah but also to #ShineALight on the distressing increase in antisemitism and hatred and bigotry of many forms.




In the spirit of giving, my office hosted a toy drive for our community’s children in need in partnership with local nonprofits, all made possible by the generosity of our wonderful residents. It was wonderful to welcome many constituents and community leaders, including former Manhattan Beach Mayors Wade Powell and Dave Lesser, just elected back onto the Council!



From our family to yours: Melanie and I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!