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February 2024 Newsletter

I am excited to share a first look at the bills I've introduced this year.

Many of this year’s bills were brought to me by you, my constituents. You shared your ideas about how to solve a problem you saw in the community, and together we developed legislation that will improve the lives of all Californians.

A top priority of mine this year is safety, including protecting Californians from the malicious use of new technology. While the rapid expansion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exciting, it has also created dangers that demand immediate action, such as the risk of bad actors using AI to sexually exploit children or to generate deceptive deepfakes in an attempt to trick voters and influence elections.

We must also prioritize the safety of students who are walking and biking to school. I introduced a bill to update school zone policies to prioritize the safety of students, not the convenience of speedy drivers. 

I am also continuing my efforts in two priority areas: increasing access to computer science education and combatting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector. 

These are just a few of the bills I will be working on this year. Learn more below.

In this newsletter:


Marc Berman
Assemblymember, 23rd District



Preventing AI-Enabled Child Exploitation Act

AB 1831 will prohibit using AI to create child sexual abuse material (child pornography), which can be virtually indistinguishable from real children. Every one of these AI-generated images victimizes thousands of real children because they are a part of the formula that goes into creating that awful image. AI datasets are made by using publicly facing photos on the internet, known as “scraping,” including images on school websites or social media. While existing law prohibits sexual abuse material depicting an actual child, it does not apply to AI-generated images, even if they are intentionally created to look like a known child or child celebrity. We must put an end to this. Read more in Politico.

Support this bill now

Safer School Zones Act

The safety of every child walking and biking to and from school should be a priority, and that’s exactly why my new bill will create a bold set of reforms to update school zones in California. I’ve heard from too many parents concerned about close calls in front of schools or, tragically, kids being hit by cars and seriously injured or even killed.

Research shows that reducing speed limits in school zones brings significant safety benefits by limiting the harm done or even preventing crashes that could lead to fatalities or injuries. Of the 39 states that set a maximum school zone speed by statute, California is one of just eight states with a school zone speed limit greater than 20mph.  California’s school zone policies are an outlier – and not in a good way. To protect all kids, parents, teachers, and school staff, we must slow down. AB 2583 will increase safety in school zones through lower speed limits, clarify timeframes of when the speed limits are in effect, and improve safety-oriented planning practices.

Voice your support now

Protecting Elections from Armed Coercion and Extremism Act (PEACE Act)

AB 2642 strengthens safeguards by allowing voters to cast their ballots free from interference and intimidation. The bill updates existing anti-intimidation laws passed under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for the current era of increased gun violence and election denialism by recognizing that the presence of guns in proximity to elections can be presumptively intimidating. The PEACE Act makes it clear that the polling place is not the place for guns and ensures that Californians have the freedom to vote without fear of intimidation or harassment.

Cracking Down on Revenge Porn

AB 1962 will strengthen California’s laws against revenge porn by closing a loophole used by perpetrators to evade punishment for distributing private sexual images of another person, either photos or videos, without their consent. In partnership with Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, closing this loophole will ensure that, if you record and distribute another person’s sexually explicit images without their consent, there will be legal consequences.

Defending Democracy from Deepfake Deception

AB 2655 will protect election integrity by regulating the spread of AI-generated disinformation and deepfakes online meant to influence the outcome of an election. This bill will build upon my first-in-the-nation legislation from 2019 to regulate the use of deepfakes and manipulated media in elections. More to come on this important bill in the coming weeks…


Bills from the community

Constituents in the District Office sharing a bill idea
Tuition Waiver for West Valley-Mission Community College Students

I am excited to join forces with West Valley-Mission Community College District to eliminate tuition fees for students. My bill, AB 3158, will ensure students don’t have to choose between taking the extra class they need or affording groceries or rent. Read more in the Mercury News.

Health Insurance Coverage for Wigs

Last year, two local high school students who have alopecia areata met with me to share their stories about hair loss, and the critical role that wigs played in helping them reclaim their confidence and identity. Together, we turned their experiences into a bill to help others like them who are struggling with hair loss due to various medical conditions. AB 2668 will provide health insurance coverage for wigs or hairpieces for Californians experiencing hair loss due to health conditions, including alopecia areata. Read more in the Mountain View Voice.

Access to Education for Incarcerated Youth

Introduced in partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education, AB 2176 will ensure that all minors can access an equitable education, even while a ward of the court.

Children in California have a constitutional right to an equitable education, but some incarcerated youth are excluded from school as a punishment imposed by officers at the jail, and thus are denied their constitutional rights. To address this injustice, AB 2176 prohibits juveniles detained in juvenile halls from being denied access to an equitable education, except in limited and temporary circumstances where the juvenile poses a risk of causing immediate harm.

Mental Health Resources for Family Members

A group of constituents shared with me their experiences of a family member undergoing a mental health emergency. Based on their feedback, we developed AB 2154, which will ensure that when a person is involuntarily detained under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act for mental health assessment, evaluation, or treatment, a family member will be provided a copy of the Department of Health Care Services' prepared patients' rights handbook to better support their loved ones. No loved one should be left reeling and without resources in this critical time.

Special Education Teacher Workforce Development

I am working with the locally-based Children’s Health Council to ensure that all special education teachers serving public school students qualify for California’s teacher student loan forgiveness programs.

AB 2768 opens these loan forgiveness programs to special education teachers at schools like the Esther B. Clark Schools, AchieveKids, Pacific Autism Center for Education, and Palo Alto Prep, among others. These are nonpublic nonsectarian schools, which are California Department of Education (CDE) certified schools that partner with school districts to serve public school special education students. Special Education teachers are the greatest teaching need area for CA schools, with shortages being reported in over 90% of districts within CA, and greater than 70% of districts reporting moderate to severe shortages.

VTA Governance Reform 

AB 1958 continues my years of reform work to ensure the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors is equipped to meet Santa Clara County’s complex transportation needs.

Expanding Access to Pacifica State Beach and the Coastal Trail 

AB 1937 would facilitate the City of Pacifica’s acquisition of an excess Caltrans property near Pacifica State Beach. The property would provide additional public beach parking for Pacifica State Beach and would eventually serve as the trailhead parking lot for the California Coastal Trail, which is being constructed through the Pedro Point Headlands.



Computer science press conference

Computer Science for All

Despite growing recognition of the importance of computer science education, 60% of high schools in California do not offer any computer science courses, lagging behind 41 other states. The reality is that far too many California students grow up in the shadows of tech companies, yet go to schools that don't even offer them the chance to learn the skills they need to one day work there.

I introduced AB 2097, in partnership with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, to expand access to computer science education in California by requiring that all public high schools in California offer at least one computer science course. The bill also establishes computer science as a high school graduation requirement by the 2030-31 school year.

Voice your support now

AI Literacy

AI has the potential to transform the way we live. However, society will achieve maximum value from AI only if citizens know how to use it, and use it responsibly. Sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce, I introduced AB 2876 to equip students with the skills and training they need to harness the benefits of AI in their lives.

GAINS for Student Parents

AB 2458 would help student parents afford, enroll in, and successfully complete their higher education journey. Specifically, this bill would ensure that student parents obtain the financial aid they are eligible to receive by taking into account their child care expenses and require campuses to collect and report data for advancing student parent success.



Roadmap to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Industrial Sector

Industrial heat roadmap

Industrial emissions make up 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in the state - the second largest source behind transportation. While California has been a leader in transitioning from combustion to zero emissions in the electricity and transportation sectors, industrial emissions have largely remained unaddressed and have stayed flat or even risen in recent years. AB 2083 will require the California Energy Commission to develop a plan for the state to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in the state's industrial sector and reach California's ambitious climate targets.

Closing the Loop on Beverage Container Recycling

AB 2511 extends the sunset on California’s successful plastic market development program, which continues to encourage increased use of California generated recycled beverage container material, create and maintain jobs in California, and close the loop on plastic beverage container recycling.


Side Note: New Year, New Social Media

One of the first things I did this year was transition off of X (formerly known as Twitter). If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest, follow me on Facebook or check out CivicBell, a local social media platform focused on civic engagement.