2023 Selected Signed and Vetoed Bills Affecting Persons with Disabilities

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2023 Selected Signed and Vetoed Bills Affecting Persons with Disabilities

2023 Selected Signed and Vetoed Bills Affecting Persons with Disabilities

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The first year of the 2023-24 legislative session came to an end on October 14, the deadline for Governor Newsom to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature. Over 2,600 bills were introduced in the 2023 legislative year, the most in almost a decade. Of the bills introduced, 1,046 made it to the Governor’s desk with 890 bills signed and 156 vetoed by the Governor. 

Over the course of the year, Disability Rights California’s (DRC) Public Policy Unit analyzed or reviewed 816 bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments. DRC took either a support or oppose position on 156 and monitored the remainder of bills throughout the year. 

DRC began the 2023 legislative year sponsoring or co-sponsoring 11 bills. Five of the bills made it to Governor Newsom’s desk and we are pleased that all five bills, AB 87 (Quirk-Silva), AB 545 (Pellerin), AB 1029 (Pellerin), AB 1418 (McKinnor), and SB 274 (Skinner), were signed by the Governor. Four co-sponsored bills were made two-year bills. 

DRC was also active in the budget process, ensuring that voices of the disability community were heard as the state made funding decisions on health, mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities programs, public safety, education, transportation, and housing. DRC’s advocacy had a significant impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities served by California’s regional centers. This led to increased access to regional center-funded social recreation and camping programs; establishing an Employment First Office within California Health and Human Services to improve coordination between state and local agencies and employment outcomes; fighting back efforts by the Department of Developmental Services to lower the standards for the use of physical and mechanical restraints in the settings it operates; and stopping additional funding that would have unnecessarily expanded the number of beds at Porterville Developmental Center. 

This legislative year, conservatorship bills and other harmful mental health legislation moved easily through the Legislature and were signed into law by the Governor. SB 43 vastly expands the definition of “gravely disabled” under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS), which could subject more people to involuntary detention, treatment and conservatorships. Major portions of AB 531 (Irwin) and SB 326 (Eggman) will go before the voters for approval in March 2024 as a single measure, Proposition 1, that includes a $6.38 billion bond and makes substantial changes to the Mental Health Services Act. 

Below are highlights of enacted and vetoed bills affecting persons with disabilities:

DRC Sponsored Bills Signed by the Governor: 

AB 87 (Quirk-Silva) – Special Education: Section 504 Plans: Team Meetings

AB 87 allows parents of pupils to record audio of team meetings under Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under previous laws, parents were authorized to record Individual Education Plan meetings, but not Section 504 meetings. With the passage of AB 87, Section 504 meetings may be recorded as well. 

AB 545 (Pellerin) – Elections: Access for Voters with Disabilities

AB 545 makes impactful and low-cost improvements to in-person accessible voting for voters with disabilities. Curbside voting, magnifying glasses and signature guides are available at many voting locations statewide but there were minimal or no requirements in the Election Code. This law creates clear requirements to improve the supplies, services and practices at voting locations impacting voters with disabilities. It requires all in-person voting locations offer curbside voting and to establish uniform requirements for curbside voting statewide. AB 545 also removes the requirement for voters with disabilities to swear under oath if they need assistance completing a ballot.  

AB 1029 (Pellerin) – Mental Health Care Decisions 

AB 1029 lays the foundation for Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) under California law. A PAD is a type of Advance Health Directive intended to give voice to a person’s preferences for treatment in the event of a mental health crisis.  

A person with a Psychiatric Advance Directive is typically someone with a mental health condition whose condition previously led to a crisis involving medical intervention. A person completing a PAD may choose to have it as a standalone document or as part of an overall Advance Health Directive. 

The Psychiatric provisions come into play when a mental health crisis occurs and provide for treatment preferences related to mental health. 

AB 1418 (McKinnor) – Tenancy: Local Regulations: Contact with Law Enforcement or Criminal Convictions

This law prohibits the most harmful common provisions of so-called "crime-free housing" policies and nuisance ordinances, such as requirements that landlords evict tenants who have been accused of a crime or who call 911 multiple times. With no relationship to crime, these policies function as a tool to exclude Black and Latinx renters, people with disabilities, people with criminal histories, and survivors of domestic violence.

SB 274 (Skinner) – Willful Defiance 

SB 274 prohibits “willful defiance” suspensions for middle school students (grades 6th-8th) and extends the protection to high school students (9th-12th) until 2029, and retains an ongoing prohibition on suspending K-5 students. Willful defiance suspensions are used in response to behaviors resulting from a student's disability. SB 274 aims to keep California students in school while protecting students from harmful and discriminatory school climates. 

Significant Bills Supported by DRC and signed by the Governor:  

Abuse and Neglect: 

AB 751 (Schiavo) – Elder Abuse

AB 1417 (Wood) – Elder and dependent adult abuse: mandated reporting


AB 410 (Jones-Sawyer) – Shared mobility devices  

AB 413 (Lee) – Vehicles: stopping, standing and parking

AB 557 (Hart) – Open meetings: local agencies: teleconferences

SB 411 (Portantino) – Open meetings: teleconferences: neighborhood councils

SB 544 (Laird) – Bagley-Keene open meeting act: teleconferencing 

SB 748 (Roth) – Disability access and information: local government: notice


AB 298 (Mathis) – Honoring Our Blind Veterans Act

Civil Rights: 

AB 449 (Ting) – Hate crimes: law enforcement 

SB 545 (Rubio) – Juveniles: transfer to court of criminal jurisdiction

ACA 5 (Low) – Marriage equality 


AB 447 (Arambula) – Public postsecondary education: students with disabilities: inclusive college programs

AB 497 (Quirk-Silva) – Special education: braille instructional aide: notice of teacher credentialing programs

AB 611 (Weber) – Special Education: nonpublic: nonsectarian schools or agencies: change in certification status: parental notification 

AB 1340 (Garcia) – School accountability: pupils with exceptional needs

AB 1466 (Weber) – Pupil Discipline: restraint and seclusion: reporting

SB 323 (Portantino) – Comprehensive school safety plans: individualized safety plans 

Emergency Preparedness: 

AB 781 (Maienschein) – Accessibility to emergency information and services: emergency shelters: persons with pets


AB 230 (Reyes) – Menstrual products: Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021


AB 1218 (Lowenthal) – Development projects: demolition of residential dwelling units

AB 1620 (Zbur) – Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act: permanent disabilities: comparable or smaller units

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: 

AB 248 (Mathis) – Individuals with disabilities: The Dignity for All Act 

SB 805 (Portantino) – Health care coverage: pervasive developmental disorders or autism 


SB 474 (Becker) – Canteens


AB 12 (Haney) – Tenancy: security deposits

SB 567 (Durazo) – Termination of tenancy: no-fault just causes: gross rental rate increases 


AB 223 (Ward) – Change of gender and sex identifier

SB 760 (Newman) – School facilities: all-gender restrooms


SB 311 (Eggman) – Medi-Cal: Part A buy-in

Mental Health: 

AB 289 (Holden) – Mental health services: representation 

AB 360 (Gipson) – Excited delirium 

AB 1412 (Hart) – Pretrial diversion: borderline personality

Public Benefits:

AB 339 (Irwin) – Qualified ABLE Program: age limit

AB 712 (Carrillo) – CalFresh: hot and prepared foods

Public Safety: 

SB 519 (Atkins) – Corrections 


AB 857 (Ortega) – Vocational services: formerly incarcerated person

AB 1487 (Santiago) – Public health: Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Wellness Reentry Fund

Residential Care Facilities:

AB 979 (Alvarez) – Long-term care: family councils


AB 398 (Pellerin) – Voting: replacement ballots

AB 421 (Bryan) – Elections: referendum measures

AB 626 (Pellerin) – Voting: returning vote by mail ballots in person

AB 969 (Pellerin) – Elections: voting systems

AB 1037 (Berman) – Vote by mail ballots: signature verification

AB 1219 (Berman) – Elections: ballots

SB 77 (Umberg) – Voting: signature verification: notice


AB 426 (Jackson) – Unlicensed residential foster care facilities: temporary placement management

Significant Bills Supported by DRC Vetoed by the Governor:  

Civil Rights:

AB 1079 (Jackson) – Discrimination: public engagement 


SB 435 (Gonzalez) – Collection of demographic data: CalFresh program and State Department of Public Health


AB 819 (Bryan) – Crimes: public transportation: fare evasion


SB 271 (Dodd) – Powered wheelchairs: repair

SB 635 (Menjivar) – Health care coverage: hearing aids 


AB 309 (Lee) – The Social Housing Act

AB 1085 (Maienschein) – Medi-Cal: housing support services


AB 524 (Wicks) – Discrimination: family caregiver status

SB 686 (Durazo) – Domestic workers: occupational safety

SB 731 (Ashby) – Employment discrimination: unlawful practices: work from home: disability 


AB 957 (Wilson) – Family law: gender identify 

Mental Health: 

SB 58 (Wiener) – Controlled substances: decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances

Non-Profit Organizations: 

AB 590 (Hart) – State-funded assistance grants and contracts: advance payments

SB 557 (Limón) – California Prompt Payment Act: nonprofit organizations

Public Benefits

AB 1536 (Carrillo) – Cash assistance program for aged, blind and disabled immigrants 

Significant Bills Opposed (or with concerns) by DRC and Signed by the Governor:


SB 515 (Stern) – School facilities: shade structures

Civil Rights: 

AB 455 (Quirk-Silva) – Firearms: prohibited persons

Conservatorships/Mental Health: 

SB 35 (Umberg) –   CARE Court cleanup legislation

SB 43 (Eggman) – Behavioral Health 

AB 531 (Irwin) – Behavioral Health Infrastructure Bond Act of 2023 

SB 326 (Eggman) – Behavioral Health Services Act 


SB 423 (Wiener) – Land use: Streamlined housing approvals: multifamily housing developments


SB 626 (Rubio) – Smoking tobacco in the workplace: transient lodging establishments

Residential Care Facilities: 

AB 1360 (McCarty) – Hope California: Secured residential treatment Pilot Program