Image of CA Seal

From legislative milestones to moments of remembrance, this month has been a tapestry of California’s resilience, commitment, and change. 

As we celebrated the 173rd birthday of our great state, we also celebrated Labor Day, joining rallies across the state and highlighting the transformational role the labor movement has played in shaping California’s past and present. Our state’s unwavering commitment to our workforce is exemplified by our dedication to creating the clean energy jobs of the future. We have 6 times more clean jobs than fossil fuel jobs in our state – reaffirming our status as a trailblazer in environmental sustainability.   

September was also a busy legislative season, with several bills headed to the Governor’s desk. Amongst the pile were bills further protecting and expanding reproductive rights, showcasing California’s commitment to women’s healthcare and choice.

While we celebrate our milestones, we recognize the challenges ahead. Students across the state felt the impact of the vote passed by the California State University system earlier this month to increase tuition, putting more strain on the backs of hardworking families. Controversy also ensued as new policies enforced by school boards took center stage, particularly targeting transgender students. However, tuition increases and anti-trans policies do not align with our state’s core values. We will continue to fight to ensure California remains a beacon of progress, acceptance, and opportunity for all students and all Californians.  

As we close out the month of September, we also pay tribute to a stalwart of California and national politics, a woman I was proud to call a friend, Senator Dianne Feinstein. Her legacy and leadership touched every corner of our state and nation. As we continue to mourn Senator Feinstein’s passing, we know that California is well represented in the Senate by Senator Laphonza Butler who will undoubtedly continue the legacy of Senator Feinstein by paving the path for the next generation. 


Image of Lt. Governors signature

Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis at Senator Dianne Feinstein's funeral

Higher Education 

CSU Approves to Increase Tuition  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis was one of 5 Trustees who voted in opposition to a CSU tuition increase proposal this month at the CSU Trustees Meeting. The proposal, which passed by a vote of 15-5, will raise tuition by 6% annually for the next five years. An in-state student will see an increase in their annual tuition from $5,742/year to $7,682/year. Although the 60% of students who currently do not pay tuition will see no change, the remaining 40% (~184,000 students) will experience an increase in their out-of-pocket expenses. The Lt. Governor spoke against the proposal and the potential impacts this will have on hardworking students and families.   

The Lt. Governor also met with students before the vote to hear their concerns about a tuition increase. This meeting was also the last for Interim-Chancellor Jolene Koester as the CSU system prepares for the start of Chancellor-select Dr. Mildred Garcia in October. 

Read the full Press Statement here 

Watch her full remarks here 

UC Regents at UCLA  

The Lt. Governor attended the September UC Regents meeting at UCLA. The board voted to approve preliminary plan funding for ~1400 new beds at UC Berkeley as well as approve the budget and project design for a housing partnership between UC Riverside and Riverside Community College District that will provide ~1,568 new beds. 


California School Districts to Out Transgender Students 

Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis’s Transgender Advisory Council released a statement in response to votes by California school districts to mandate teachers, principals, and counselors notify parents or guardians if their child is transgender.  

“California has a history of enacting policies and laws that are supportive of transgender individuals, particularly when it comes to protecting the rights of transgender children and youth. We urge reconsideration of this policy in the best interest of all students. We advocate for a collective effort to foster an environment where students are protected, schools are safe and affirming, and teachers and staff are able to be trusting adults in their students’ lives.” 

Read the full statement here  

International Affairs  

AAPI Annual Leadership Summit  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, at the Asian American Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus for their Annual Leadership Summit for a fireside chat. They both engaged in a discussion surrounding their experiences serving as U.S. ambassadors and ways to continue to uplift AAPI representation in high-level positions across all industries. 

Link to the fireside chat here.

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai

74th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China 

On September 21, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Ambassador Zhang Jianmin, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco at the Consulate to celebrate their 74th anniversary. California and China share strong people-to-people ties reaching back to the earliest days of our state, when thousands of Chinese began to immigrate to California during the Gold Rush searching, like others, for good fortune and economic opportunity.  The Lt. Governor noted the key role Chinese immigrants played in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, creating a fast and reliable link between the West and East coasts of the United States that enabled the growth of our country into an economic power.   

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis at the 74th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China

Met with Vice Chairman of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 

On September 18th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis welcomed Vice Chairman Dai Qin and his delegation to California. The Lt. Governor shared the importance of international collaboration to address climate change and Vice Chairman Qin expressed his wishes to learn more about sustainable agriculture from California. 


Fallen Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer 

California mourns the loss of the fallen Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, Ryan Clinkunbroomer. While serving as Acting Governor, Lt. Governor Kounalakis issued a joint statement with Governor Newsom in response to his death. In honor of Deputy Clinkunbroomer, flags at the State Capitol and Capitol Annex Swing Space were flown at half-staff. 

Read the full statement here 

Labor Day March  

In honor of Labor Day, Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended a Labor Day rally to show her support for the United Healthcare Workers–West Union (SEIU-UHW) who have been in ongoing negotiations with Kaiser Permanente. There are 85,000 workers involved in this dispute. The main union groups who were part of the rally include Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW), the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU Local 29), and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (Local 20 IFPTE). These workers have been in ongoing negotiations with Kaiser and raising attention over concerns for the health and safety of patients who are not receiving adequate care due to worker shortages. 

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis at Labor Day March

Mexican Independence Day & Hispanic Heritage Month 

On September 15, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Mexico’s Acting Consul General in San Francisco at City Hall to celebrate Mexican Independence Day with an “El Grito” ceremony.  In remarks prior to the ceremony, she highlighted California’s deep and longstanding historical and cultural connections to Mexico, our strong people-to-people ties, and our closely integrated economies, noting that Mexico is the number one importer of products made in California.   

Image of t. Governor Kounalakis with San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Mexico’s Acting Consul General in San Francisco at City Hall to celebrate Mexican Independence Day

22nd Anniversary of 9/11 

In honor of the 22nd anniversary of September 11th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the San Francisco Fire Station in remembrance of the nearly 3000 people who lost their lives during the September 11th attacks. 

California Expands Access and Protections for Reproductive Health Care 

Governor Newsom recently signed 7 Future of Abortion (FAB) bills supported by the Lt. Governor in order to further protect and expand reproductive access, including Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s AB 254 which she sponsored. List of Bills:

AB 254 (Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan)

Protects reproductive health information collected by apps that track periods and pregnancies by subjecting them to California’s medical privacy law. 

AB 352 (Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan)

Prevents automatic sharing of medical records related to abortion, pregnancy loss, and other sensitive services.

AB 571 (Assemblymember Petrie-Norris)

Protects our reproductive health care providers from insurance discrimination. 

AB 1646 (Assemblymember Nguyen)

Ensures medical residents can travel to California for post-grad training they cannot receive in their home state.

AB 1707 (Assemblymember Pacheco)

Protects health care providers in California from actions based on hostile laws in other states banning/restricting health care services. 

SB 487 (Senator Atkins)

Protects providers who provide abortions or gender-affirming care. 

SB 385 (Senator Atkins)

Increases opportunities for Physician Assistants to receive the necessary training to perform first-trimester abortions.


The Aspen Institute – Blue Economy and Healthy Oceans 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Dan Porterfield from the Aspen Institute to help kick off a thought-provoking conversation on the health of the state’s oceans and the role of the “blue economy.” The Lt. Governor highlighted the importance of our oceans to our economy and to our climate goals. 

Image of Lt. Governor at the Aspen Institute

September 2023 Coastal Commission Meeting 

September found the California Coastal Commission meeting up along the North Coast in Eureka, California. Lt. Governor’s Office staff attended and heard presentations on a variety of coastal issues, including public access, property development proposals, and the potential risks of an upcoming El Niño weather pattern to coastal infrastructure.  

Sacramento Groundwater Authority’s 25th Anniversary  

Lt. Governor Office staff participated in a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sacramento Groundwater Authority (SGA). The SGA was founded in 1998 as part of the historic Water Forum process, which brought diverse stakeholders together to create a plan that simultaneously provided safe and reliable water to the Sacramento region while also protecting the unique environmental and recreational opportunities along the lower American River. Lt. Governor Kounalakis is an original signatory to the Water Forum, which has become a model for effective water management for communities throughout the state. Staff moderated a panel of smart, engaged, young activists and discussed their values and priorities in water policy.  

Other Highlights  

  • Met with Unite Here Local 11 Laguna Cliffs Workers in Los Angeles  
  • Attended Grand Theatre Center for the Arts 100th Anniversary in Tracy 
  • Met with Swiss Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud to discuss California’s climate initiatives, economic growth, and the important partnership with Switzerland 
  • Attended the unveiling of the 67th Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official portrait at the State Department