Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 963, the Student Civic and Voter Empowerment Act, into law. The bill, authored by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), makes an historical investment to increase civic engagement among California’s 3.1 million students enrolled at the 147 public universities and colleges across the state. AB 963 gives these campuses the resources to designate a Civic and Voter Empowerment Coordinator, who will:

  • Create a civic engagement education campaign and develop a Civic and Voter Empowerment Action Plan specific to their campus;
  • Work with the Secretary of State to send campus-wide emails, which share specified voting- and election-related dates and information, as well as to include those dates in printed and online academic calendars;
  • Disseminate civic-related dates and information through campus social media means; and
  • Organize three events each academic calendar year that focus on civic engagement, voter turnout and community building.

For California students, “a comprehensive education should not end in the classroom, but extend into the real world,” said AB 963 author Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris. “We want to provide our students with the necessary tools to be engaged citizens, to shape their own political reality and create the future of the great state of California.”

“As pillars of our democracy are threatened, through suppressive voter registration and ID laws, manipulative re-districting efforts, interference by foreign governments, and more,” Feminist Majority Foundation National Campus Organizer Carmen Liñero-Lopez says, “California has fought these threats and strengthened our democracy by enacting AB 963.”

“Empowering students to become active citizens, who vote and participate in their government,” Liñero-Lopez continued, “will help ensure the future of our country reflects our shared values of a representative democracy and a government by and for the people.”

Alongside the Feminist Majority Foundation, the campaign for AB 963 was waged by students from across the state, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and several organizations, including Young Invicibles, A Band of Voters, CA Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP, March For Our Lives California, Mi Familia Vota, and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition. At FMF, advocacy efforts involved summer interns Amaya Hampton, Hallie Hoch, Navdeep Sidhu, Gwynneth Tanner, India Military, Kristie-Valerie Hoang, Nicole Cohen, Emilia Kyriazis, Jennifer Marroquin, and Nicole Hatzakis.

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