Image of CA Seal

Amidst October’s changing leaves and colder breezes, California has been a hive of action and innovation. As we prepare for the upcoming holiday season, we must reflect on the transformative events that have unfolded in the Golden State for October.   

One of the defining moments of the month was the sweeping number of bills signed into law by the Governor. This year, our state has taken action on issues ranging from expanding reproductive access to addressing the housing crisis. These bold actions reflect the values of California, where policies are passed to address the needs of our communities.  

California remains committed to the fight for a cleaner and more sustainable future. Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, California was awarded $1.2 billion to build a national hydrogen hub, which will help cut pollution and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs. California will also receive $40 million from the federal government to bolster our electric vehicle charging infrastructure. We are making green transportation a reality by expanding our green charging infrastructure while surpassing our ZEV truck and passenger goals ahead of schedule.  

As California continues to lead in climate action, we will continue to address the pressing environmental sewage crisis at the Tijuana River. President Biden’s recent appeal to Congress to fund the much-needed updates to our wastewater infrastructure underscores our collective determination to tackle and resolve this decades-long issue, ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for Californians.  

October unraveled the narrative of a California that is unrelenting in its pursuit of progress, promising a brighter, cleaner, and more inclusive future for all who call it home. Amid all these groundbreaking accomplishments, it is vital to remember that although we face complex international issues beyond our borders, California remains steadfast in standing up against hate and acts of terrorism in our state and around the world.  

Image of Lt. Governors signature

Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California

Image of Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis with community members at SEIU healthcare workers strike


APEC Conference Update 

In preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) regional economic forum in November, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined San Francisco Mayor London Breed to provide a status update and reveal Graton Resort & Casino as the premier sponsor for the conference. This diplomatic gathering is a milestone for California in decades, and their support will ensure a successful summit, showcasing the best of what San Francisco and California have to offer.  

Standing Against Terrorism  

In the wake of the deadly Oct. 7th attack by Hamas that took the lives of 1,400 people in Israel, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined leaders and supporters of the Los Angeles Jewish community to march in solidarity with victims of terrorism in Israel. They demanded the release of all those kidnapped, which included American hostages.  

Victory Through Collective Action  

Over 75,000 Kaiser healthcare workers united in October in the largest healthcare strike in the nation’s history, demanding safe staffing and fair wages. Lt. Governor Kounalakis proudly joined the healthcare workers on the picket lines in Los Angeles. On Oct. 13th, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions announced a national tentative agreement had been reached, potentially securing significant wins for over 85,000 healthcare workers across the country. 

Image of Lt. Governor at the Kaiser strike

Fleet Week  

The stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region is critical to California. In honor of Fleet Week, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Vice Admiral Michael Boyle and other navy leaders at the annual event to discuss the vital shift of U.S. resources to the Indo-Pacific, its global significance, and its impact on our security and economy. 

Image of Lt. Governor and Vice Admiral Michael Boyle at Fleet Week in San Francisco

Larry Itliong Day  

As Acting Governor, Lt. Governor Kounalakis issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 25th, 2023, as Larry Itliong Day. Larry Itliong was a Filipino-American labor advocate and trailblazer in the battle for farmworkers’ rights and social justice.  

Link to Proclamation.  

NAACP’s 36th Annual Conference 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis spoke at the NAACP’s 36th Annual Conference. During her remarks, the Lt. Governor commended the attendees for their work in criminal justice reform, combatting poverty, and fighting for equal access to education and economic opportunity.  

Higher Education 

 Repatriation for California Tribes  

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day, Lt. Governor Kounalakis sent a letter to the Chair of the California State University System Board of Trustees requesting a formal presentation of the State Auditor’s report findings regarding the CSU’s repatriation efforts. In 1990, the federal government passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and California passed its version, CalNAGPRA, in 2001. These laws govern the return of remains, cultural items, and funerary items with ancestral, cultural, or geographic links to Native American tribes that government agencies and museums, such as the ones in many higher education campuses, hold. The State Auditor estimated CSU campuses have nearly 700,000 items subject to NAGPRA and CalNAGPRA, and since the enactment of those laws, only 6% of the CSU’s collection has been returned.  

Link to the full letter here 

 “Undoubtedly, the CSU has fallen short, failing to comply with NAGPRA and CalNAGPRA and its system-level oversight of this process. The CSU Board of Trustees must be engaged as the body overseeing the CSU system. I respectfully ask that the findings of this audit and the CSU’s response be added to the agenda as an informational discussion item at the November CSU Board of Trustees meeting. The Board of Trustees must partner in ensuring that all remains and cultural items are returned as expeditiously as possible under NAGPRA and CalNAGPRA. With a change in leadership in the Chancellor’s office, it is more imperative than ever that the board is engaged and able to guide and support the Chancellor’s office efforts in implementing the report’s recommendations.” 

Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis

UC CLAA Summit 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis provided a welcome message for the UC Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association (UC CLAA) Summit, held in Mexico City. Campus CLAA Chapters are instrumental in providing services like mentorship, scholarship, and life-skills workshops for current students. At the same time, initiatives like the UC Chicano/Latino Advisory Council promote the creation of a UC that reflects the diversity of California. This is a significant accomplishment in higher education as Latinx students represent nearly a quarter of all UC enrollment.  


Update on the Tijuana River Sewage Crisis 

On Oct. 11th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the California Coastal Commission to tour the Tijuana River Valley for a status update on the ongoing sewage crisis. In recent years, Tijuana River pollution has worsened as the aging wastewater treatment infrastructure on both sides of the border has deteriorated and failed to keep up with population growth, causing a severe public health and environmental crisis. During the California Coastal Commission meeting, Commissioners called on the federal government for more support and to expedite repairs and construction of wastewater treatment infrastructure along the border. On Oct. 26th, President Biden announced his request for $310 million in emergency supplemental funding from Congress to address the Tijuana River sewage crisis. 

Link to the Lt. Governor’s comments on the issue here 

Image of Lt. Governor at Tijuana River Valley

California Energy Commission’s EPIC Symposium 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) EPIC Symposium for a deep dive with CEC Chair David Hochschild, DOE Director Jigar Shah, Steven Powell from Southern California Edison, and Senator Josh Becker into the exciting opportunities coming California’s way with the passage of historic funding from the federal government to support the transition to a clean energy economy. 

State Lands Commission Meeting 

The Lt. Governor chaired the Oct. 19th meeting of the State Lands Commission.  During the meeting, the Commission discussed a range of issues facing tidelands and other public trust lands, including the next phase of decommissioning the former oil rig, Platform Holly, and the role the Port of San Diego plays in managing the San Diego Bay. 

International Affairs 

Meeting with Baja California Governor  

The Lt. Governor toured California’s border with Mexico just south of Imperial Beach to refocus attention on the serious environmental issues the region is facing.  She also met with Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda to discuss a number of issues that impact the area, including combatting pollution, addressing the Tijuana River crisis, cross-border health, Otay Mesa East, and opportunities to enhance our shared border.  

Welcoming Claudia Sheinbaum to the Golden State  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis welcomed the former Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, to the Golden State. Former Mayor Sheinbaum was visiting Los Angeles, where she met with business leaders and elected officials to discuss ways to strengthen California’s essential partnership with Mexico.  


Legislative Updates  

For October, there were a sweeping number of bills the Lt. Governor co-sponsored and supported, signed into law by Governor Newsom. Here is the list of bills supported by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor ranging from reproductive rights to housing: 

  • AB 230 (Reyes) - The Girl Scouts Period Equity Act. Expands the requirement that schools serving students in grades 6 through 12 stock specified restrooms with menstrual products to include schools serving students in grades 3 to 5.
  • AB 1540 (M. Fong) - Streamlines the process for undocumented students to access state financial aid by incorporating the nonresident tuition exemption affidavit (the “AB 540 affidavit”) into the CA Dream Act Application.
  • AB 1373 (Garcia) – Authorizes the Department of Water Resources as a central procurement entity to procure energy resources to help the state meet its renewable and zero-carbon energy resources and reliability goals. 
  • AB 1194 (W. Carrillo) - Requires businesses that collect personal information on people seeking contraception, pregnancy care, perinatal care, or abortion services to comply with the California Privacy Rights Act requirements. 
  • AB 1481 (Boerner) - Ensures a pregnant person with a low-income immediate, temporary coverage continues to have access to services while applying for full-scope Medi-Cal.  
  • AB 663 (Haney) – Allows for mobile pharmacy units to dispense medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid use disorder to unhoused and low-income individuals. 
  • SB 808 (Dodd) - Requires the CSU to annually report the outcome of any sexual harassment settlements to the leg and post the reports on its websites. 
  • AB 933 (Aguiar-Curry) – Protects survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination from defamation lawsuits. 
  • SB 326 (Eggman) – Reforms the Mental Health Services Act. Allows those with substance use disorders to receive treatment. 
  • AB 531 (Irwin) – Authorizes issuing $6.38 billion in bonds to build over 10,000 new clinic beds and homes. 
  • SB 684 (Caballero) - Makes it easier/affordable for Californians to own their own homes by expediting the subdivision mapping process to accelerate the construction of homes by as much as 6-12 months and streamlines approvals for homeownership projects of 10 units or less in urban infill areas. 
  • AB 1163 (L. Rivas) - Updates California State Department and Agency forms to be inclusive of individuals who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, or intersex by January 1, 2025. 
  • AB 1745 (Soria) - Modifies the annual income metric used to determine eligibility for the tuition waiver program for children of service-injured veterans attending a CCC, CSU, or UC. 
  • AB 1291 (McCarty) – Establishes the University of California (UC) Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) Pilot Program commencing with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 
  • SB 331 (Rubio) – Ensures that judicial officers receive training on domestic violence and child abuse. 


Manufacturing Week with CMTA  

To celebrate Manufacturing Week, the Lt. Governor attended the Making California Conference hosted by the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), to present the Coolest Thing Made in California Award. The event recognized the innovation and craftsmanship propelling our Golden State, where over 30,000 manufacturing companies provide over 1.3 million jobs and bring in $300 billion annually. The winner of the Coolest Thing Made in California Award was Tesla for their Model Y.  

Moving California Forward  

At this year’s California Forward Summit, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Stephen Cheung, President & CEO of the World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). During their conversation, they discussed California’s trade leadership, ways we’ve maximized opportunities in the global marketplace, and opportunities to move the state forward for all Californians. 

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis and Stephen Cheung at the Move California Forward 2023 Summit

CalChamber Public Affairs Conference 

On Oct. 25th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis served as a panelist alongside Assemblymember Greg Wallis, James Ramos, and Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh at the CalChamber Public Affairs Conference. The panelist engaged in an insightful discussion on the profound contributions of Tribal communities in California. 

Oktane Conference 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis participated in a fireside chat for Okta’s annual Oktane conference in San Francisco. Okta is a global cybersecurity and digital identity firm, providing identity and access management solutions. During the event, the Lt. Governor discussed tech innovation and strengthening public trust in government. 

California Retailers Association 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the President of the California Retailers Association (CRA), Rachel Michelin, for a fireside chat at their annual meeting. They met with representatives of top retail companies to discuss the most pressing issues for California’s retail industry, particularly organized crime and retail theft. 

2023 Legacy Award 

The Oakland Job and Housing Coalition (JHC) recently recognized Lt. Governor Kounalakis as this year’s Legacy Award recipient for her contributions to housing development and advocacy for diversity and inclusion. Established in 2006, JHC is a respected and influential business advocacy group promoting economic growth, which works to create a better quality of life for those who live and work in Oakland.  

Other Highlights  

  • Joined John’s Grill to celebrate its 115th anniversary, serving decades of delicious food to the San Francisco community 
  • Attended a Humanitarian event for Ukraine with Ambassador Mike McFaul and musician/social activist, Sviatoslav Vakarchuk 
  • Attended Roz Wyman’s Celebration of Life with friends and family to celebrate her life and legacy 
  • Attended the California Latino Legislative Caucus’s 50th Anniversary to honor the incredible achievements and contributions of the California Latino Legislative Caucus over the past five decades.  
  • Joined the Junior League of San Francisco at the 2023 Women’s Leadership Gala and honor Jane Inch and Florence Fang on their awards