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Deeper Dive - California 100 - Vision & Sitemap

Deeper Dive

Full Appendix

01
Create a state office of diplomatic engagement that centralizes and coordinates agency efforts to collaborate with other states, tribal governments, and countries.

I. Introduction/Background

The need for state-level diplomacy is growing, both within the United States and internationally. U.S. policy making is increasingly shifting towards states, given Congressional gridlock and a Supreme Court providing greater deference to state power. States are increasingly diverging on their policy choices, with opportunities for coordination as well as growing conflicts over state decisions that have spillover effects across borders. As the world’s fifth-largest economy, California has also forged international agreements that advance the state’s environmental and economic goals. In order to strengthen its external engagement, California should create a state Office of Diplomatic Engagement, to enhance diplomatic efforts and foster collaboration with states, nations, and tribal governments through the development of agreements and relationships of mutual understanding. In its first few years of formation, the entity will prioritize intergovernmental cooperation on commerce, water management, including for the Colorado River, climate change mitigation, and civil rights protections.

II. Objectives

  1. Strengthen intergovernmental relationships: Foster cooperative relationships with other states, countries, and tribal governments, promote mutual understanding and facilitate collaboration on shared interests and challenges.
  2. Enhance resource exchange: Facilitate resource trading agreements to promote economic growth, job creation, and educational opportunities between California and other governmental entities.
  3. Support in times of crisis: Develop partnerships with other states to ensure swift and effective responses to emergencies, disasters, and public safety concerns.
  4. Advocate for California’s interests: Represent California’s interests at the interstate and international levels, ensuring that the state’s perspectives and policy priorities are effectively communicated and considered.

III. Key Features of the Solution

The Office of Diplomatic Engagement will undertake the following functions:

  1. Intergovernmental diplomacy: Engage in diplomatic activities with other entities, including establishing formal interstate compacts and informal agreements, fostering relationships through regular dialogues, and promoting intergovernmental cooperation.
  2. Resource exchange facilitation: Facilitate commercial and trade agreements and partnerships between California and other entities, focusing on areas such as natural resources, economic development, education, and workforce mobility.
  3. Crisis response coordination: Collaborate with other entities to develop emergency response plans, share best practices, and coordinate resources during times of crisis, including natural disasters, public health emergencies, and other urgent situations.
  4. Advocacy and representation: Serve as the primary point of contact for diplomatic matters, representing California’s interests and policy priorities in discussions, negotiations, and decision-making processes involving other states, tribal governments, countries, and international associations.

IV. The Problems Being Addressed

  1. Growing need for cross-state coordination: As policymaking power shifts from the federal government to states, interstate compacts and informal agreements offer the promise of greater standardization and predictability across many states.
  2. Growing need for external diplomacy: With growing policy conflicts across states over social and environmental issues, including over water management of the Colorado River, California would benefit from expanding diplomatic relationships with other states to identify and expand areas of cooperation and mutual understanding.
  3. International leadership on addressing societal risks from climate change and disruptive technologies: With Congressional gridlock on many policy issues, California needs to expand its capacity to learn from, and enter into agreements with, national, state, and tribal governments from across the world.  

V. Strategies for Successful Implementation 

  1. Establish Clear Mandate and Objectives: Clearly define the mandate and objectives of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement to guide its activities and ensure a focused approach. This includes specifying the areas of cooperation and collaboration with other states, countries, and tribal governments, such as commerce, water management, climate change mitigation, and civil rights protections.
  2. Resource Allocation: Allocate sufficient resources, both financial and human, to support the effective functioning of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement. Adequate funding should be provided to cover operational costs, staffing, training, and diplomatic missions. This ensures that the entity has the capacity to carry out its diplomatic activities and foster meaningful collaborations.
  3. Diplomatic Training and Expertise: Develop specialized training programs and resources for members of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement to enhance their diplomatic skills and knowledge. This includes providing training in negotiation, diplomacy, cultural competency, and intergovernmental cooperation. Access to subject matter experts and partnerships with academic institutions can further strengthen the expertise of the Office.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement: Foster strong relationships with relevant stakeholders, including other state agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and tribal governments. Regular engagement and collaboration with these entities can facilitate knowledge sharing, joint initiatives, and effective implementation of diplomatic efforts.
  5. Collaboration with Local Governments: Work closely with local governments in California to align diplomatic activities with their priorities and leverage their expertise. Engage local leaders, mayors, and councils to ensure that diplomatic initiatives are aligned with the needs and aspirations of communities across the state. This collaboration can enhance the impact of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement at the local level.
  6. Outreach and Communication: Develop a robust outreach and communication strategy to raise awareness about the activities and achievements of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement. Utilize various communication channels, including traditional media, social media, and public events, to engage with the public and share the value of diplomatic collaborations in promoting California’s interests and global partnerships.
  7. Monitoring and Evaluation: Implement a monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness and impact of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement. Regularly evaluate the outcomes of diplomatic efforts, measure progress against established objectives, and make necessary adjustments to enhance performance and achieve desired results.
  8. Legislative Support: Seek legislative support and endorsement for the establishment and functioning of the Office of Diplomatic Engagement. Engage with legislators to ensure the necessary legal framework and funding mechanisms are in place to support the entity’s activities and ensure its sustainability.
  9. Long-Term Planning: Develop a long-term strategic plan for the Office of Diplomatic Engagement that outlines the envisioned diplomatic engagements and collaborations over a defined period. This plan should consider evolving priorities, emerging challenges, and opportunities to foster effective diplomatic relations with other states, countries, and tribal governments.
  10. Partnerships and Peer Exchanges: Foster partnerships and engage in peer exchanges with other states, countries, and tribal governments that have successful diplomatic initiatives. Learning from best practices and exchanging experiences can inform the formulation and implementation of effective strategies within the Office of Diplomatic Engagement.

V. Benefits and Risks

Benefits

  1. Economic growth and job opportunities: Enhanced intergovernmental relationships can create new economic opportunities through resource exchange, trade agreements, and shared investments.
  2. Educational opportunities: Collaboration with other entities can facilitate student exchanges, research partnerships, and the sharing of best practices in education.
  3. Crisis response support: Intergovernmental partnerships enable California to seek assistance and provide support during emergencies, ensuring more effective response and recovery efforts.
  4. Law enforcement cooperation: Collaborative efforts can strengthen the fight against cross-border crime, improve information sharing, and enhance public safety.

Risks

  1. Federal government dynamics: Depending on the administration, there may be challenges in aligning federal policies with California’s initiatives, potentially affecting the success of intergovernmental collaborations.
  2. Differing ideological positions: Collaborating with states that hold differing dominant political ideologies may present challenges in finding common ground on certain issues or forming interstate compacts.
  3. Complexity and coordination: Managing relationships and agreements with multiple entities requires effective coordination, resource allocation, and navigating diverse interests and priorities.

VI.  Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Current efforts
    1. California’s Cap-and-Trade Linkage programs with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/cap-and-trade-program/program-linkage 
    2. California’s bilateral and multilateral agreements on climate change with various countries and international organizations: https://www.energy.ca.gov/about/campaigns/international-cooperation/climate-change-partnerships 
    3. Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) programs to support international engagement in the following areas:
      1. Exports – https://export.business.ca.gov/ 
      2. Foreign direct investment – https://business.ca.gov/advantages/international-trade-and-investment/invest-in-california/ 
      3. International collaborations and agreements – https://business.ca.gov/advantages/international-trade-and-investment/international-collaboration/ 
    4. California State Senate Office of International Relations: https://soir.senate.ca.gov/cirf  The mission of SOIR is “to assist Senators in furthering strong economic and diplomatic ties between California and the rest of the world.”
    5. Governor’s 2019 establishment of the International Affairs and Trade Development Interagency Committee, headed by the Lieutenant Governor and the heads of 10 agencies: https://business.ca.gov/advantages/international-trade-and-investment/international-affairs-trade-development-interagency-committee/ 
  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“California should team up with other like-minded states like Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and New York and create inter-state compacts on issues ranging from health insurance to the environment.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.6636.609-0.054 (0.565)
Oppose18.0%21.2%3.2%
In the middle6.7%8.4%1.7%
Favor65.9%64.1%-1.8%
Don’t Know or No Opinion9.4%6.3%-3.1%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should open foreign offices in its top trading countries in order to strengthen its economy and its international ties.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.0965.361-0.735 (0.000)
Oppose19.1%32.3%13.2%
In the middle9.8%12.4%2.6%
Favor50.3%44.0%-6.3%
Don’t Know or No Opinion20.7%11.2%-9.5%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
02
Implement a next gen democracy package that includes stronger civics education, youth representation, and intergenerational fairness in California.

I. Introduction/Background

Young people are the future of California, and we need to ensure that that state benefits from their leadership development and expertise. California’s youth population is also shrinking, as the state becomes increasingly unaffordable to live. This proposal aims to strengthen youth participation, empower young leaders, and foster intergenerational collaboration to address the long-term needs of all Californians. This work is particularly important given the massive intergenerational challenges posted by climate change, increasing automation, unaffordable housing, and entrenched partisan polarization.

II. Objectives

  1. Strengthen civics education to provide high school students with practical experiences in democratic processes, including participation, discussion, negotiation, and compromise.
  2. Establish youth representation by mandating that all state and local boards and commissions include at least one voting member under the age of 35.
  3. Implement an intergenerational fairness assessment tool that evaluates legislation and budget activities based on their impact on different age cohorts and the well-being of future generations.

II. Key Features of the Solution

  1. Stronger Civics Education that Promotes Negotiation and Depolarization: Strengthen California’s high school civics requirement to include experiences with participation, discussion, negotiation, and compromise in a democracy.
  2. Youth Expertise on Public Boards and Commissions: Mandate that all state and local boards and commissions have at least one voting member who was under age 35 at the time of appointment or term renewal—start with a pilot program in a few boards and commissions that youth-serving organizations identify as high priorities.
  3. Intergenerational Fairness Tools: Develop intergenerational fairness assessment tools that evaluate the impact of legislation and budget activities on different age cohorts, highlighting potential disadvantages and promoting policies that prioritize the well-being of current and future generations.

IV. The Problems being Addressed

  1. Limited Youth Participation: Engage and empower young people by providing them with opportunities to actively participate in democratic processes and decision-making.
  2. Shrinking Youth Population: Address the challenges faced by young Californians, including affordability issues and limited opportunities for leadership development and civic engagement.
  3. Intergenerational Challenges: Tackle long-term issues such as climate change, automation, unaffordable housing, and partisan polarization by fostering intergenerational collaboration and considering the impact on future generations.

V. Strategies for Successful Implementation

  1. Phased approach: Begin by strengthening civics education to build support for youth representation on boards and commissions.
  2. Identity promising “early adopter” commissions: Work with youth-serving organizations to high-priority boards and commissions for early adoption; draw lessons from those examples to strengthen implementation in additional entities.
  3. Learn from international examples: Draw lessons from countries like Portugal and their intergenerational fairness assessment tools, as well as Wales and its appointment of an independent Future Generations Commissioner.
  4. Collaborative partnerships: Work with youth-serving organizations, educational institutions, and relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the Next Gen Democracy Package.

VI. Benefits & Risks

Benefits

  1. Empowered Youth: Empower young people to actively participate in democracy, fostering a sense of civic duty and cultivating future leaders.
  2. Intergenerational Collaboration: Foster collaboration and understanding between different age cohorts, ensuring policies consider the needs and well-being of all generations.
  3. Sustainable Democracy: Promote a more inclusive and responsive democratic system that addresses intergenerational challenges and encourages long-term thinking.

Risks

  1. Resistance to Change: Some individuals and institutions may resist the inclusion of youth representation or the implementation of an intergenerational fairness assessment tool.
  2. Resource Allocation: Adequate resources and funding will be necessary to implement the proposed changes effectively.
  3. Balancing Perspectives: Ensuring a balanced representation of diverse youth voices and avoiding the dominance of any particular group will be crucial for the success of the youth representation component.

VIII. Relevant Research and Data Points 

  1. Constitutionality of age-based rules on appointments

    In September 2018, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a Bill mandating gender diversity on the boards of directors of publicly traded corporations with their “principal executive office” in the state. By May 2022, a state court judge found California’s law requiring publicly held companies to include women on their boards unconstitutional, dealing a blow to the state’s push to diversify corporate leadership. 

    At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of age-based considerations for public offices, ruling in Gregory v Ashcroft that the state of Missouri could set mandatory retirement age limits for state judges. Thus, while state mandates on age preferences or limitations may be unconstitutional for private or corporate boards, they will likely be deemed constitutional for public boards and commissions.
  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“California should strengthen its high school civics requirement to include experiences with participation, discussion, negotiation, and compromise in a democracy.”

Mean response7.5708.0530.483 (0.000)
Oppose8.0%3.4%-4.6%
In the middle11.6%9.4%-2.1%
Favor68.9%80.3%11.4%
Don’t Know or No Opinion11.5%6.8%-4.7%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should guarantee that every state government board and commission have at least one appointee who is an adult under the age of 35.”

Mean response5.8755.836-0.039 (0.730)
Oppose22.5%25.2%2.8%
In the middle11.0%10.7%-0.3%
Favor43.9%51.8%7.9%
Don’t Know or No Opinion22.5%12.3%-10.3%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
03
Create an advisory California commission on artificial intelligence (CCAI) and an associated research center in the university of California system, with funding and authority to provide timely recommendations for public and private adoption.

I. Introduction/Background

Investments and advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) present both significant opportunities and potential risks to society. To address these challenges and ensure responsible AI development and deployment, the State of California should establish the Advisory California Commission on Artificial Intelligence (CCAI) and an associated research center within the University of California system. This public-private partnership will provide a platform for timely recommendations on AI-related policies and practices. Without proactive measures, California risks lagging in the responsible adoption of AI, which could lead to negative societal impacts, economic disparities, and violations of individual rights. The establishment of the CCAI and research center aims to address these issues, ensuring that AI development aligns with the state’s values and protects the well-being of its residents.

II. Objectives

  1. Promote the responsible and ethical use of AI technologies in California, with a broad and diverse group of advisors from industry, academic research, and community organizations
  2. Address the potential risks associated with AI, such as deepfake technology and generative AI, while fostering innovation, economic growth, and societal benefits
  3. Ensure that recommendations on the responsible and ethical use of AI are based on rigorous, independent, and timely research that harnesses the collective power of the University of California system

III. Key Features of the Solution

  1. Advisory California Commission on Artificial Intelligence (CCAI): The CCAI will comprise a diverse group of experts representing academia, industry, government, and civil society. The commission will have the authority to study AI-related issues, assess their impact on society, and make recommendations for public and private adoption. It will hold public hearings, conduct research, and engage in stakeholder consultations to inform its work.
  2. University of California Multicampus Research Center: The associated research center, located within the University of California system, will serve as a hub for AI research and collaboration. It will facilitate interdisciplinary studies, support the development of best practices, and promote innovation in AI technologies. The research center will work closely with the CCAI, providing expert analysis and insights to inform policy recommendations.

IV. The Problems being Addressed:

  1. Uncertainties about risk based on rapidly evolving technology: The rapid development and deployment of AI technologies raise concerns about privacy, ethics, and algorithmic bias.
  2. Potential for large-scale societal harms: Deepfakes and other AI applications could lead to large-scale consumer fraud, electoral fraud, threats to infrastructure and services, and threats to health and wellbeing. 

V. Strategies for Successful Implementation:

  1. Secure Funding: Allocate adequate resources to support the operations of the CCAI and the associated research center. Funding can be obtained through public-private partnerships, government grants, and philanthropic contributions.
  2. Expert Recruitment: Identify and appoint highly qualified experts in AI, ethics, law, social sciences, and related fields to serve on the CCAI. Ensure diverse representation to capture a broad range of perspectives.
  3. Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement: Foster collaboration among government agencies, industry leaders, academic institutions, and civil society organizations. Engage stakeholders in the development of AI policies and practices to ensure inclusivity and transparency.
  4. Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the CCAI and research center in achieving their goals. Adapt and update strategies based on emerging trends, technological advancements, and societal changes.

VI. Benefits & Risks

Benefits

  • Ethical and responsible AI development and deployment in California
  • Enhanced public trust and confidence in AI technologies
  • Economic growth and innovation through a thriving AI industry
  • Evidence-based policy recommendations to guide AI-related regulations
  • Collaboration and knowledge-sharing among diverse stakeholders
  • Increased awareness and understanding of AI’s impact on society

Risks

  • Insufficient funding and resources for the CCAI and research center
  • Potential challenges in recruiting diverse and highly skilled experts
  • Balancing the promotion of innovation with the protection of privacy and societal well-being
  • Navigating the complex ethical and legal implications of AI technologies

VII. Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Current efforts
    1. Under proposed legislation (SB 721), California would create an Interagency AI Working Group composed of appointees from the Office of the Governor, the state legislature, Attorney General, the California Privacy Protection Agency, and the Department of Technology. The interagency working group would study the implications of AI applications in various contexts and “determine the relevant agencies to develop and oversee artificial intelligence policy and implementation of that policy.” https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240SB721 
    2. The California Energy Commission, in partnership with stakeholders, is helping to develop roadmaps to advance the commercialization of three new technologies – energy storage, microgrids, and vehicle-grid integration. https://www.energy.ca.gov/programs-and-topics/topics/research-and-development/roadmaps-new-technologies 
    3. The Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC), composed of the California Energy Commission and major investor-owned and public utility companies, aims to facilitate collaborations on emerging technologies projects including advanced lighting, water heating, space heating, and air-conditioning systems, for residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial customers. https://www.etcc-ca.com/about/about-etcc 
  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“Employees whose work is replaced by robots or artificial intelligence should share in the economic benefits.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.5085.902-0.607 (0.000)
Oppose18.9%25.1%6.2%
In the middle6.1%12.1%6.0%
Favor58.7%54.1%-4.6%
Don’t Know or No Opinion16.4%8.8%-7.6%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should shift some state funding for law enforcement towards better technology for surveillance, enforcement, and fines instead of additional officers.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.5035.050-0.454 (0.000)
Oppose28.0%38.2%10.2%
In the middle13.0%9.2%-3.8%
Favor46.7%46.1%-0.5%
Don’t Know or No Opinion12.4%6.5%-5.8%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
04
Enviroshield: Create a California environmental certification authority (CECA) with citizen oversight that allows housing and infrastructure projects to get immunity from CEQA litigation as long as they remain compliant with the terms of the certification process, including all applicable state and federal environmental laws.

I. Introduction/Background

The State of California faces challenges in balancing the need for housing and infrastructure development with the requirements of environmental regulations, particularly the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA has been effective in protecting the environment but has also become a source of litigation, causing delays and escalating costs for development projects. To address these challenges, this policy proposal recommends the creation of a statewide California Environmental Certification Authority (CECA) that grants developers immunity from CEQA litigation in exchange for compliance with a rigorous certification process.

II. Objectives 

  1. Streamline Development Process: Simplify and expedite the approval process for housing and public infrastructure projects while ensuring environmental protection.
  2. Encourage Sustainable Development: Promote environmentally responsible and sustainable development practices by incorporating state and federal environmental laws into the certification process.
  3. Provide Legal Certainty: Provide developers with immunity from CEQA litigation when they adhere to the terms of the certification process, reducing legal uncertainties and potential delays.

III. Key Features of the Solution

  1. Environmental Certification Authority: Establish a statewide certification authority, similar in structure to the California Contractors State License Board, with a citizens oversight commission with representation from local government associations, environmental justice organizations, industry, and scientific communities.
  2. Certification Process: Establish a comprehensive certification process that assesses the environmental impact of development projects. This process would require compliance with state and federal environmental laws and regulations, including mitigation measures to address potential environmental concerns.
  3. Environmental Impact Analysis: Conduct thorough environmental impact analyses for each project, considering factors such as air quality, water resources, biodiversity, and climate change. The analysis would ensure compliance with relevant environmental standards and identify potential mitigation measures.
  4. Public Engagement: Incorporate public participation through public hearings, comment periods, and community engagement to ensure transparency and input from affected stakeholders.
  5. Monitoring and Compliance: Implement a robust monitoring and compliance framework to ensure ongoing adherence to environmental standards throughout the lifespan of the certified projects. This may include periodic audits, reporting requirements, and environmental performance evaluations.
  6. Enforcement Mechanisms: Establish mechanisms to enforce compliance with certification requirements, including penalties for non-compliance and the ability to revoke certification in cases of significant environmental violations.
  7. Review and Improvement: Regularly review and update the certification process to reflect evolving environmental standards, scientific advancements, and best practices in sustainable development.

VI. Problems being addressed

  1. Using CEQA litigation as a cover for other vested interests. CEQA litigation often leads to delays in housing and infrastructure projects, impeding timely development and exacerbating the housing shortage and infrastructure gaps in the state.
  2. Uncertainty and Costs: The uncertainty and costs associated with CEQA litigation deter developers and investors, hindering private and public sector investment in housing and infrastructure.
  3. Balancing Environmental Protection and Development: The proposal aims to strike a balance between environmental protection and the need for sustainable development, ensuring that projects meet stringent environmental standards while expediting the development process.

V. Strategies for Successful Implementation

  1. Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement: Engage a diverse range of stakeholders, including environmental advocacy groups, developers, local communities, and government agencies, in the formulation and ongoing development of the certification process. This collaborative approach will help address concerns, incorporate different perspectives, and build consensus.
  2. Comprehensive Legislative Framework: Develop a comprehensive legislative framework that outlines the authority, powers, and responsibilities of the California Environmental Certification Authority. This framework should provide clear guidance on the certification process, compliance requirements, and enforcement mechanisms, while allowing flexibility for adjustments based on changing environmental regulations.
  3. Transparent and Accountable Governance Structure: Establish a governance structure for the California Environmental Certification Authority that ensures transparency, accountability, and public oversight. This may involve the creation of an independent board or commission responsible for overseeing the certification process and monitoring compliance.
  4. Capacity Building and Training: Invest in capacity building programs and training for government officials, environmental experts, and project developers to ensure a thorough understanding of the certification process, environmental standards, and best practices for sustainable development. This will enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the authority.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation: Develop a robust monitoring and evaluation system to assess the effectiveness and impact of the certification process. Regular assessments will help identify areas for improvement, address any unintended consequences, and ensure ongoing compliance with environmental regulations.
  6. Continuous Review and Adaptation: Establish mechanisms for regular review and adaptation of the certification process to align with evolving environmental regulations, scientific advancements, and best practices in sustainable development. This adaptive approach will ensure that the authority remains effective, responsive, and aligned with changing environmental priorities.
  7. Public Awareness and Education: Launch public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives to inform the public about the purpose, benefits, and processes of the State Environmental Certification Authority. Promote understanding of the importance of balancing environmental protection and development to garner support and address any misconceptions.
  8. Pilot Programs and Gradual Implementation: Consider implementing pilot programs to test the efficacy of the certification process, identify potential challenges, and refine the framework before full-scale implementation. Gradual implementation across different sectors and regions will allow for learning and adjustments to optimize outcomes.

Collaboration with Federal Agencies: Collaborate with federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and relevant regulatory bodies, to ensure alignment and compatibility of the certification process with federal environmental laws and regulations. This collaboration will enhance efficiency and minimize duplication of efforts.

VI. Benefits & Risks

Benefits

  1. Creates a statewide standard that provides predictability, efficiency, and effectiveness in the attainment of California’s aspirational and ambitious environmental goals and compliance with state and federal laws
  2. Opportunity to expedite development of housing and critical public infrastructure that also furthers California’s environmental goals.
  3. Opportunity to strengthen, expand, and build on successful bills (SB 9, AB 68, and AB 2011 for instance) that have had positive preliminary impacts.

Risks

  1. Risk that some negative environmental impacts could be facilitated by expediting projects i.e. risks of undoing some of the positive impacts of CEQA.
  2. Risk that the new process and certification authority that is created could fall prey to the same issues plaguing the status quo, with court challenges and vested interests questioning the specific rulings of the authority.
  3. Risk that comprehensive, or even incremental, reform on this front may prove politically intractable given the long history of failed state and assembly bills on this front.

VII. Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), almost anyone in California can bring a lawsuit to stop a construction project on environmental grounds. New legislation should limit who can sue to those who can show they are seriously and directly affected.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.9526.2480.296 (0.051)
Oppose23.7%21.8%-1.9%
In the middle11.2%11.7%0.4%
Favor52.1%57.4%5.3%
Don’t Know or No Opinion13.0%9.1%-3.8%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023. 

“California should require plaintiffs and defendants in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits to identify every person or entity who contributes $1,000 or more to either the plaintiff or the defendant in the lawsuit.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response7.3667.6640.297 (0.016)
Oppose10.1%11.0%0.9%
In the middle8.8%6.8%-2.0%
Favor61.4%67.2%5.8%
Don’t Know or No Opinion19.7%15.0%-4.7%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should allow cities to authorize the construction of public housing without requiring a vote of the public in that city. ”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.4715.394-0.077 (0.492)
Oppose31.4%33.3%1.9%
In the middle10.9%10.5%-0.4%
Favor46.7%49.8%3.1%
Don’t Know or No Opinion11.1%6.5%-4.6%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
05
Create a grand bargain on stabilizing taxes and improving government service delivery.

I. Introduction/Background

California faces the challenge of finding new tax revenues that are more predictable than the income tax, which can fluctuate significantly with the boom and bust cycles of California’s economy. The volatility of tax revenues often leads to cuts in important social services during periods of low revenue. To address this issue and to ensure a fair and sustainable revenue stream, we propose a bipartisan grand bargain on taxes and government spending in California. The key objective of this proposal is to contain government spending, raise taxes through a more reliable and less volatile revenue source, prioritize pension reform, and enhance government effectiveness and service delivery.

II. Objectives

  1. Establish a more reliable and less volatile stream of revenues that reduces the state’s dependence on income taxes.
  2. Ensure intergenerational fairness by addressing the issue of unfunded liabilities and implementing pension reforms.
  3. Enhance government effectiveness and efficiency in delivering services to the people of California.
  4. Implement tax reforms in a manner that prevents a disproportionate burden on marginalized communities and maintains a progressive tax structure.

III. Key Features of the Solution 

  1. Shift California’s mix of income, service, sales, and property taxes to ensure that it is more reliable, and continues to provide relief to low-income and middle-class Californians.
    • Prioritize a comprehensive analysis to determine which services should be subject to taxation, considering factors such as economic impact, equity, and administrative feasibility.
    • Safeguard against the regressive impact of the tax by implementing progressive measures, such as exempting essential services, providing targeted tax credits for low-income individuals and families, and tax breaks for small businesses.
  1. Proposal would be revenue neutral unless at least 50 percent of increased revenues pay down unfunded liabilities and make it conditional on enacting reforms such as increasing employee contributions, adjusting retirement age and benefit calculations, and exploring hybrid pension systems that combine defined benefit and defined contribution elements.
    • Implement comprehensive pension reforms to address the issue of unfunded liabilities, ensuring the long-term sustainability of pension funds.
    • Explore options such as increasing employee contributions, adjusting retirement age and benefit calculations, and exploring hybrid pension systems that combine defined benefit and defined contribution elements.
    • Establish a clear plan for paying down existing unfunded liabilities, ensuring responsible fiscal management and long-term stability
  1. Proposal would be revenue neutral unless at least 10 percent of increased revenues are invested in proven technologies and processes that increase efficiency, improve customer service, and reduce costs of providing services.
    • Use additional revenue to focus on capital investments in proven technologies and processes that increase efficiency and reduce costs of providing services
    • Conduct a thorough review of government programs and services to identify inefficiencies, redundancies, and areas for improvement.
    • Implement evidence-based practices, performance metrics, and outcome evaluations to enhance service delivery and ensure taxpayer dollars are allocated effectively.
    • Promote collaboration and coordination among government agencies to streamline operations, eliminate duplication, and maximize resources.
  2. Progressive Tax Structure:
    • Evaluate and adjust the existing tax structure to maintain progressivity while incorporating new revenue sources.
    • Ensure that tax burdens are distributed fairly, with the wealthiest individuals and corporations bearing an appropriate share of the tax burden.
    • Explore options for reducing or eliminating tax loopholes and implementing measures to prevent tax avoidance or evasion.

IV. Strategies for Successful Implementation

  1. Bipartisan Cooperation:
    • Engage stakeholders from across the political spectrum, including legislators, community leaders, advocacy groups, and experts, to develop a comprehensive and inclusive plan.
    • Foster an environment of collaboration, mutual understanding, and compromise to achieve consensus on necessary reforms.
    • Highlight the long-term benefits of the grand bargain in terms of fiscal stability, improved service delivery, and intergenerational fairness.
  1. Public Engagement and Education:
    • Conduct extensive public outreach campaigns to inform and engage the citizens of California regarding the need for tax and spending reforms.
    • Promote transparency and accountability in the process by sharing information about the impacts, benefits, and trade-offs associated with the proposed changes.
    • Seek public input through town hall meetings, surveys, and other mechanisms to ensure that diverse perspectives are considered.
  1. Legislative Action:
    • Introduce comprehensive legislation that incorporates the proposed tax reforms, pension reforms, and measures to enhance government effectiveness.
    • Foster bipartisan support for the proposed legislation by emphasizing the shared goals of fiscal responsibility, fairness, and effective governance.
    • Engage key legislators from both parties in the development and sponsorship of the legislation, promoting the idea that this grand bargain is in the best interest of all Californians.
    • Address concerns and objections raised by various stakeholders through negotiations and amendments to ensure a balanced and viable legislative package.
  1. Ballot Measures and Referendums:
    • Consider the possibility of ballot measures or referendums to seek public approval for certain aspects of the grand bargain, particularly those that involve significant changes to taxation or pension policies.
    • Craft clear and concise messaging to educate voters about the rationale behind the proposed reforms and the potential benefits they offer to the state and its residents.
    • Engage community leaders, advocates, and grassroots organizations to build support for the ballot measures and mobilize voter participation.
  1. Long-Term Planning and Accountability:
    • Establish mechanisms for ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the implemented reforms to ensure their effectiveness and address any unintended consequences.
    • Implement regular reporting and transparency measures to keep the public informed about the progress and outcomes of the grand bargain.
    • Consider the establishment of an independent oversight body or commission to assess the implementation of the reforms and make recommendations for further improvements.

V. Benefits and Risks

Benefits

  1. Revenue Stability: Implementing a tax on services can provide a more reliable and less volatile stream of revenues compared to income taxes, which are subject to economic fluctuations. This can help in better planning and allocation of resources for social services and public programs.
  2. Fiscal Sustainability: Addressing pension reform and unfunded liabilities can contribute to long-term fiscal sustainability by ensuring that pension obligations are manageable and sustainable. This can help mitigate the risk of future budget shortfalls and protect the state’s financial health.
  3. Enhanced Government Effectiveness: The proposed grand bargain presents an opportunity to improve government effectiveness and efficient service delivery. By streamlining processes, eliminating redundancies, and optimizing resource allocation, the government can enhance its capacity to meet the needs of the people more effectively.
  4. Addressing Entrenched Interests: By tackling sensitive issues such as tax reforms and pension reform, the grand bargain provides an opportunity to challenge entrenched interests and overcome resistance to change. It allows for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to address long-standing fiscal challenges in the state.
  5. Equity and Social Justice: Through careful design and consideration, the proposed solution can ensure that the burden of taxation is distributed fairly and does not disproportionately impact marginalized communities. It provides an opportunity to incorporate equity-focused measures and protect vulnerable populations.

Risks

  1. Political Opposition: Tax and pension reforms often face strong political opposition from various interest groups, making it challenging to implement comprehensive and impactful changes. Resistance from stakeholders, such as labor unions or business associations, could hinder progress and compromise the effectiveness of the proposed solution.
  2. Regressive Impact: There is a risk that a tax on services could disproportionately affect low-income individuals and marginalized communities, leading to regressive outcomes. It is crucial to carefully design the tax structure and consider mitigating measures to ensure it remains progressive and equitable.
  3. Legal and Constitutional Challenges: Any proposed tax reform should adhere to legal and constitutional requirements. There is a risk of legal challenges or constitutional limitations that could hinder or delay the implementation of the proposed solution. It is important to consult legal experts and ensure compliance with applicable laws.
  4. Implementation Complexity: Implementing comprehensive tax and pension reforms can be complex and require significant coordination across various government agencies and stakeholders. Managing the transition, ensuring effective implementation, and addressing unintended consequences may pose challenges and require careful planning and execution.
  5. Public Perception and Acceptance: Gaining public support for tax and pension reforms can be challenging. Communicating the benefits and necessity of the proposed solution to the public and addressing concerns about potential impacts are critical for its success. Public perception and acceptance can significantly influence the feasibility and effectiveness of the grand bargain.
  6. Risk of any service tax regime being regressive, particularly if the tax credits do not make it to low-income residents (a real risk, as evidenced by imperfect take-up of a host of benefits, from the EITC through federal aid like SNAP).
  7. Risk that this will only exacerbate high cost of living in California; property taxes aside, CA has some of the highest tax rates in the country. In the absence of Prop 13 reform and comprehensive housing supply overhaul, cost of housing will continue to rise while state taxes will continue to be buffeted by the business cycle and its attendant volatility.

VI. Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“California should apply sales tax to services and use the money to lower personal income tax rates.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response4.9564.554-0.403 (0.011)
Oppose31.8%40.1%8.3%
In the middle11.7%12.5%0.8%
Favor40.3%38.3%-2.0%
Don’t Know or No Opinion16.2%9.2%-7.1%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should amend Proposition 13 to decrease the vote requirement needed to raise taxes used to fund specific programs for local governments (special taxes) from 67% to 55% of the vote.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response4.6644.509-0.154 (0.182)
Oppose33.4%41.6%8.3%
In the middle7.7%9.1%1.4%
Favor36.0%36.0%0.0%
Don’t Know or No Opinion22.9%13.2%-9.7%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023. 

“For non-residential property, the state of California should lift the Proposition 13 restrictions to allow for greater assessments than the current ceiling of 2% per year.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.2765.4450.168 (0.231)
Oppose23.0%27.8%4.8%
In the middle9.4%9.0%-0.4%
Favor37.2%44.1%7.0%
Don’t Know or No Opinion30.5%19.1%-11.4%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
  1. Additional readings
    1. Cal Matters article on whether a wealth tax would lead to an exodus of wealthy taxpayers from the state, with evidence suggesting that the scale of departures is likely to be small. https://calmatters.org/economy/2023/01/wealth-tax-migration/ 
    2. Pension reform resources from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators: https://www.nasra.org/pensionreform. Includes cross-state comparisons of changes to state and local public pension programs.
    3. “Fixing California – The Need For Tax Reform.” Article by Gerald Parsky on key recommendations of prior tax reform efforts in California, including The Commission on the 21st Century Economy. https://www.hoover.org/research/fixing-california-need-tax-reform 
06
Issue work authorization visas to meet critical workforce needs, and simultaneously grow California-born talent by improving system inefficiencies and inequities.

Introduction/Background

California faces significant shortages in its workforce and innovation talent, due both to a slowdown in immigration and to a shortage of college degrees needed for the state to maintain its global leadership in many industries. This policy proposal focuses on two key areas: creating a unique immigration policy to attract and retain talent, and ensuring access to quality education for young people born in the state. By addressing these issues, California can nurture a diverse and skilled workforce, bolster economic growth, and promote economic mobility.

II. Objectives

  1. Create an inclusive immigration policy: Develop a state-level immigration policy, including work visa programs, that attracts talented individuals to California and provides them with legal protection and support, fostering an environment of inclusivity and diversity.
  2. Enhance educational opportunities: Ensure access to education for all young people in California by implementing policies that allow for credits to be transferable across educational institutions, promoting seamless educational pathways and removing barriers to lifelong learning.

III. Key Features of the Solution

  1.  Establish a state-specific immigrant work authorization: Create work visa programs that allow individuals to live and work in California without fear of deportation or detention, attracting skilled talent from across the globe. California could work with other states to create interstate compacts that recognize work authorization across signatory states. 
  2.  Seamless credit transferability: Develop policies and systems that allow for the transfer of academic credits across educational institutions, including K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities, enabling students to pursue education without disruption and maximize their learning opportunities.

IV. Problems being addressed

  1. Limitations in federal immigration policies: While California has made significant policy moves to be more welcoming to immigrants, the state is still subject to federal immigration dynamics, including significant slowdowns in visa processing during the Trump administration. In addition, federal work visa preference categories are “one size fit all,” and are not sensitive to the workforce needs of particular states.
  2. Limited access to education: Existing barriers and constraints in the education system hinder students’ ability to pursue their educational aspirations seamlessly. This limits their potential and hampers the development of a highly skilled and educated workforce.

V. Strategies for Successful Implementation

  1. Legislative action: Team up with other states (through California’s Office of Diplomatic Engagement, see Breakthrough Solution #1) to pass legislation at the federal level enabling state-level work visas, followed by state legislation to establish a state visa program and state-level educational reforms necessary to enable credit transferability.
  2. Collaboration with educational institutions: Partner with K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities to streamline credit transfer processes and strengthen lifelong learning initiatives.
  3. Resource allocation: Allocate necessary funds to support the implementation of the proposed policies on work visa authorization and credit transferability, including staffing, program development and implementation, and capital costs.
  4. Public awareness and outreach: Conduct extensive public awareness campaigns to inform residents, educational institutions, and potential immigrants about the new policies, their benefits, and the resources available to support talent development and inclusion.
  5. Stakeholder engagement: Collaborate with community organizations, advocacy groups, and business associations to ensure that the policy implementation aligns with the needs and interests of various stakeholders.
  6. Data collection and evaluation: Establish mechanisms to monitor the impact of the policy, collect data on talent attraction and retention, educational outcomes, and economic indicators. Regular evaluations will help identify areas for improvement and inform future policy decisions.

VI. Benefits & Risks

Benefits

  1. Enhanced talent pool: By creating an immigration policy that attracts skilled individuals, California can cultivate a diverse talent pool, driving innovation, economic growth, and cultural enrichment.
  2. Educational excellence: Improving access to education and promoting lifelong learning will empower individuals to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing job market, positioning California as a hub for educational excellence.
  3. Social inclusion: Establishing an inclusive immigration policy and ensuring educational access for all promotes social cohesion, celebrates diversity, and fosters a sense of belonging among residents.

Risks

  1. Limited mobility for immigrant workers: Workers may not be able to move or work outside of California, although interstate compacts could enable other states to recognize work visas issued in California.
  2. Federalism conflict: Even if changes to federal law enable the creation of state-based work visas, future presidential administrations may seek to deport individuals who don’t have federal work authorization.

VII. Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“Congress should pass a law allowing states like California to create state work visas.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.8345.622-0.212 (0.088)
Oppose22.1%28.6%6.5%
In the middle9.1%10.9%1.8%
Favor46.7%51.7%5.0%
Don’t Know or No Opinion22.1%8.8%-13.3%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should provide every adult in the state the right to work, get a driver’s license, receive government benefits, and vote in local and state elections.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.6275.033-0.594 (0.000)
Oppose29.9%39.8%9.8%
In the middle9.6%7.8%-1.8%
Favor49.7%46.8%-2.8%
Don’t Know or No Opinion10.8%5.6%-5.2%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023. 

“California should increase support for K-12 education by enough to be in the top third of student achievement among the states.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response7.4867.343-0.143 (0.125)
Oppose10.4%12.7%2.3%
In the middle6.1%9.0%2.9%
Favor73.4%73.2%-0.3%
Don’t Know or No Opinion10.1%5.1%-4.9%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
  1. Additional readings
    1.  “Why we need State-based Immigration Visas.” 2019 Cato Institute article that discusses a Utah bill that would give states greater leeway. “Under this bill, states could create visas that don’t exist under the federal system. California might create a state visa for high‐​tech entrepreneurs, Wisconsin would create one for dairy workers, and Utah could attract tourism entrepreneurs… No federal visa currently exists for those types of workers, entrepreneurs and investors; the state‐​based visa bill would allow states to create them or others we haven’t even considered. There could be hundreds of different economic visas adapted to local economies rather than just a handful of temporary federal visas for some occupations.” https://www.cato.org/commentary/why-we-need-state-based-immigration-visas# 

“From Managing Decline to Building the Future: Could a Heartland Visa help struggling regions?” 2019 report from the Economic Innovation Group, arguing for “opt-in” visa programs for places experiencing population loss and declining economies. https://eig.org/heartland-visa/

07
Provide free universal mental healthcare to all Californians, with comprehensive and cost-effective solutions that include humane and equitable innovations in artificial intelligent counseling.

I. Introduction/Background

Mental health is a critical aspect of overall well-being, yet access to mental health services remains a significant challenge for many individuals in California. The limited availability of mental health professionals, high costs, and stigma associated with seeking help often deter individuals from receiving the care they need. To address this issue and improve mental health outcomes, we propose a policy that provides free universal mental healthcare in California. This policy will be funded through a limited tax on services and leverage AI counselors to enhance accessibility and cost-containment. By integrating mental health support into various aspects of society, this policy aims to be a multisolver, addressing not only mental health concerns but also related issues such as homelessness, learning loss, escalation in law enforcement, and mass shootings.

II. Objectives

  1. Ensure universal access: Provide free mental healthcare services to all residents of California, regardless of income, ensuring that everyone has access to essential mental health support.
  2. Improve mental health outcomes: Enhance mental health outcomes by facilitating early intervention, prevention, and comprehensive treatment through a range of services and interventions.
  3. Reduce stigma: Challenge the stigma associated with mental health and promote a culture of acceptance and support, encouraging individuals to seek help without fear of judgment or discrimination.
  4. Address related societal challenges: Address the underlying mental health factors contributing to issues such as homelessness, learning loss, escalation in law enforcement, and mass shootings, thereby promoting overall societal well-being.

III. Key Features of the Solution

  1. Free universal mental healthcare: Establish a comprehensive system that provides free mental healthcare services to all residents of California, encompassing prevention, assessment, counseling, therapy, medication, crisis support, and rehabilitation.
  2. Financing through tax reform: Implement a limited tax on specific goods and services to fund the provision of mental healthcare services, ensuring a progressive tax structure and sustainable financing for the program.
  3. Additional financing through Medi-Cal reform: Strengthen provider capacity and flexibility to bill Medi-Cal for mental health services—including in novel settings and with non-traditional providers—and target training funds toward building the workforce and skills needed to achieve the state’s growing MH policy objectives.
  4. AI counselors: Leverage advancements in artificial intelligence to develop AI counselors that can provide mental health support, assessments, and therapy. These AI counselors can augment the existing mental health workforce, increasing accessibility, addressing staffing shortages, and reducing costs.
  5. Integration and collaboration: Integrate mental health support into various sectors such as healthcare, education, workplace environments, and community settings. Foster collaboration between mental health professionals, AI counselors, and other stakeholders to ensure a coordinated and holistic approach to mental healthcare delivery.
  6. Community engagement and education: Conduct outreach and education programs to raise awareness about mental health, promote de-stigmatization of mental health challenges, and empower individuals to seek help. Engage community organizations, schools, employers, and social services to actively participate in promoting mental health and supporting individuals in need.
  7. Data-driven approach: Utilize data analytics and technology to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of mental health interventions, identify areas for improvement, and ensure evidence-based practices.

IV. Problems Being Addressed

  1. Limited access to mental health services: The proposal aims to address the significant barriers to accessing mental health services, such as affordability, availability of providers, and long wait times.
  2. Stigma and reluctance to seek help: By promoting a culture of acceptance and providing free mental healthcare, the policy seeks to reduce stigma and encourage individuals to seek timely support without fear or shame.
  3. Related societal challenges: The breakthrough solution recognizes the interconnectedness between mental health and issues like homelessness, learning loss, escalation in law enforcement, and mass shootings. By addressing mental health concerns, it aims to mitigate the underlying factors contributing to these challenges.

V. Strategies for Successful Implementation

  1. Inclusion of safeguards: Mental health services would be optional, not mandatory, nor would they be provided in a coercive manner; would need to ensure that any mental health solution is fundamentally grounded in human dignity, that services recognize and support traditional healing practices, and that racial disparities in AI service provision are monitored, regulated, and corrected.
  2. Stakeholder engagement: Engage mental health professionals, AI experts, community organizations, educators, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and policymakers to gather diverse perspectives, foster collaboration, and ensure effective implementation.
  3. Legislative support: Garner support from legislators to advocate for the policy, raise awareness about its benefits, and navigate potential legal and regulatory challenges.
  4. Funding and resource allocation: Secure adequate funding and allocate resources to support the implementation, maintenance, and evaluation of the mental healthcare system, including the development and integration of AI counselors.
  5. Public awareness campaigns: Launch targeted public awareness campaigns to reduce mental health stigma, promote the availability of free mental healthcare services, and educate the public about the benefits and potential of AI counselors.
  6. Training and education: Develop comprehensive training programs for mental health professionals and AI counselors to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver effective and ethical care.
  7. Monitoring and evaluation: Establish robust monitoring and evaluation systems to assess the impact of the policy on mental health outcomes, service utilization, cost-effectiveness, human agency, human dignity, and overall community well-being. Use data-driven insights to refine and improve the system over time.

VI. Benefits & Risks

Benefits

  1. Universal access to mental healthcare: The policy ensures that all individuals, regardless of their financial status, can access vital mental health services.
  2. Improved mental health outcomes: Early intervention, prevention, and comprehensive treatment can lead to better mental health outcomes, reducing the long-term impact on individuals
  3. Cost-containment: By leveraging AI counselors, the policy can help contain costs associated with mental healthcare delivery, making services more sustainable and accessible.
  4. Multisolver approach: By addressing mental health concerns and their interconnectedness with other societal challenges, the policy has the potential to positively impact various aspects of community well-being.

Risks

  1. Integration and acceptance of AI counselors: The acceptance and recognition of AI counselors as a valid form of mental health treatment may vary among stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, insurance companies, and the general public.
  2. Privacy and data security: The use of AI counselors and data analytics raises concerns about privacy and the secure handling of sensitive mental health information.
  3. Adequate training and oversight: Ensuring that AI counselors are properly trained, monitored, and regulated to provide safe and effective mental health support is essential to maintain quality care.

VIII. Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Current efforts
    1. California’s legislature and Governor are working on a comprehensive revision to the state’s Mental Health Services Act that would allow spending on substance abuse programs and redirect up to $1 billion in annual funding to provide community housing for those at risk of homelessness. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2023/06/20/governor-newsom-legislative-partners-unveil-transformation-of-californias-mental-health-services-act/ 
    2. In 2021, a new California law went into effect requiring health plans to provide the same coverage for treatment of mental health and substance use disorders as they do for physical problems. The law requires health plans to use criteria developed by four nonprofit associations to make coverage decisions rather than rely on their own internal guidelines. Before the mandate went into effect in 2021, insurers could come up with their own criteria on medical necessity. As of November 2022, California health insurers were struggling to comply with this law, which was intended to protect people from paying high out-of-pocket expenses for psychological or addiction care. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/california-providers-cant-keep-up-with-mental-health-parity-law 
  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“California should provide universal, free mental health care.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response7.5767.7370.161 (0.068)
Oppose13.2%11.4%-1.7%
In the middle6.4%7.3%1.0%
Favor73.3%76.9%3.6%
Don’t Know or No Opinion7.1%4.3%-2.8%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should apply sales tax to services and use the money to lower personal income tax rates.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response4.9564.554-0.403 (0.011)
Oppose31.8%40.1%8.3%
In the middle11.7%12.5%0.8%
Favor40.3%38.3%-2.0%
Don’t Know or No Opinion16.2%9.2%-7.1%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should provide single-payer healthcare to all residents.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.7696.497-0.271 (0.002)
Oppose18.9%20.6%1.7%
In the middle8.5%8.8%0.3%
Favor58.5%61.3%2.8%
Don’t Know or No Opinion14.1%9.3%-4.8%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
  1. Additional readings
    1. Review of 74 studies of consumer-facing health apps found that “Safety of apps is an emerging public health issue. The available evidence shows that apps pose clinical risks to consumers. Involvement of consumers, regulators, and healthcare professionals in development and testing can improve quality. Additionally, mandatory reporting of safety concerns is needed to improve outcomes.” Akbar, S., Coiera, E., & Magrabi, F. (2020). Safety concerns with consumer-facing mobile health applications and their consequences: a scoping review. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 27(2), 330-340. https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocz175 
    2. The US Department of Labor announced in 2022 that it would ramp up efforts to ensure better insurer compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for parity between mental health and physical health coverage. https://blog.dol.gov/2022/01/25/mental-health-parity-is-the-law-and-were-enforcing-it 
    3. The Food and Drug Administration also noted in 2022 that it “intends to exercise enforcement discretion” over a range of mental health apps, which it will vet as medical devices. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/device-software-functions-including-mobile-medical-applications/examples-software-functions-which-fda-will-exercise-enforcement-discretion As of May 2022, the FDA had approved five mental health apps. https://www.verywellmind.com/fda-approval-and-mental-health-apps-5193123 
08
Provide funding and legal backing for innovations in social housing, including a mix of public, private, and hybrid solutions.

I. Introduction/Background

The State of California is facing a severe housing crisis, with a shortage of affordable housing units at all income levels. Current reliance on private developers to address the housing needs has proven insufficient, particularly for low- and middle-income renters. To address this challenge, we propose a policy that provides funding and legal backing for innovations in social housing across the state, including a mix of public, private, and public-private solutions.

II. Objectives

  1. Increase the supply of affordable housing in California to meet the diverse needs of residents across income levels.
  2. Promote inclusive and mixed-income neighborhoods that avoid the concentration of poverty and perpetuation of segregation.
  3. Support innovative models of real estate ownership, such as cooperatives and community land trusts, to empower residents and create sustainable housing solutions.
  4. Align housing development with California’s climate goals by prioritizing projects that locate mixed-income neighborhoods close to jobs, public amenities, and transit.
  5. Enhance architectural and livability standards to ensure that social housing is attractive and accessible to residents across income levels.

III. Key Features of the Solution

  1. Financing and support for publicly developed, mixed-income housing on public lands, prioritizing the use of surplus public lands for affordable housing projects.
  2. Financing and institutional support for scaling up private social models of real estate ownership, including cooperatives and community land trusts.
  3. Implementation of a mix of household income levels within social housing developments to promote diversity and avoid the concentration of poverty.
  4. Prioritization of funding for projects that align with California’s climate goals and facilitate sustainable and transit-oriented development.
  5. Establishment of rigorous architectural and livability standards to ensure high-quality housing that appeals to residents across the income spectrum, with rents from higher-income residents subsidizing lower-income residents.

IV. Strategies for Successful Implementation:

  1. Build on existing state policy (including Exec Order N-06-19; AB 1486 2019; AB 1255 2019) prioritizing affordable housing development on surplus public lands.
  2. Advocate for more comprehensive policies that support new forms of social capitalism, including worker-owned and resident-owned cooperatives.
  3. Explore the possibility of a state constitutional amendment to streamline the decision-making process for affordable housing projects and reduce the need for public votes on every project.
  4. Collaborate with local governments, community organizations, and developers to identify suitable sites and develop innovative social housing projects.
  5. Develop partnerships with financial institutions, foundations, and philanthropic organizations to secure funding and resources for social housing initiatives.

V. Benefits/Risks:

Benefits

  1. Increased supply of affordable housing across income levels, addressing the housing crisis and promoting social equity.
  2. Creation of inclusive and mixed-income neighborhoods that foster community integration and reduce segregation.
  3. Empowerment of residents through innovative models of real estate ownership, such as cooperatives and community land trusts.
  4. Alignment with California’s climate goals by locating housing developments near job centers, public amenities, and transit.
  5. Improved architectural and livability standards, ensuring high-quality housing for all residents.

Risks:

  1. Potential challenges in securing sufficient funding and resources to support large-scale social housing initiatives.
  2. Resistance from certain stakeholders or communities to the development of social housing projects.
  3. Potential need for policy and regulatory changes to overcome barriers to implementing social housing models.
  4. Ensuring the long-term sustainability and maintenance of social housing projects.
  5. Balancing the needs of different income groups within mixed-income developments to avoid conflicts or inequities.

VII. Relevant Research and Data Points

  1. Current efforts
  1. Findings from California Considers, our deliberative democracy exercise with Stanford University

“California should support affordable housing by giving grants to non-profit organizations that would build rental units in which the tenants can share any increase in value.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.9626.813-0.149 (0.147)
Oppose10.9%13.7%2.8%
In the middle11.2%11.5%0.3%
Favor65.3%67.7%2.3%
Don’t Know or No Opinion12.5%7.1%-5.4%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should establish a fund for affordable housing construction that is financed by penalties for local governments who deny housing projects in violation of state law.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.7756.489-0.286 (0.005)
Oppose16.4%18.5%2.1%
In the middle8.3%10.4%2.1%
Favor60.0%62.1%2.2%
Don’t Know or No Opinion15.3%8.9%-6.4%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should allow cities to authorize the construction of public housing without requiring a vote of the public in that city. ”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response5.4715.394-0.077 (0.492)
Oppose31.4%33.3%1.9%
In the middle10.9%10.5%-0.4%
Favor46.7%49.8%3.1%
Don’t Know or No Opinion11.1%6.5%-4.6%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.

“California should require every city and county to provide housing for those experiencing homelessness and require the homeless to accept the shelter when offered.”

T1 responsesT2 responsesChange (significance)
Mean response6.0695.413-0.656 (0.000)
Oppose21.3%33.6%12.4%
In the middle14.6%11.6%-3.1%
Favor54.6%49.6%-5.1%
Don’t Know or No Opinion9.5%5.2%-4.2%
Source: California Considers Deliberative Poll Results, April 2023.
  1. Additional readings