Decision Maker

Darrell Steinberg

  • CA006
  • State Senator

CA Senator and President pro Tempore, representing Sacramento. Steinberg has delivered results such as revamping zoning rules to combat urban sprawl and global warming, tackling school dropout rates, and cutting red tape.


Does Darrell Steinberg have the power to decide or influence something you want to change? Start a petition to this decision maker.Start a petition
Petitioning Richard Pan

2nd Chance Initiative

  WHAT IS THE SECOND CHANCE INITIATIVE?      The Second Chance Initiative for First Term Offenders was inspired by and derived from California Senate Bill 260.  This initiative would give a second chance to offenders who were tried and sentenced to more than 10 years to adult prisons for their first time.  Also, it holds offenders responsible for the crime they committed.  This initiative recognizes that they are capable of redemption and provides them a chance to demonstrate maturity, accountability, and rehabilitation.  In addition, it provides the possibility of a reduced sentence.  The required minimum prison sentence varies from 8th, 15th, or 20th year.  The amount of the time they are required to complete depends on the length of their sentence.  The longer their sentences the more time they have to complete (i.e. an offender with a total sentence more than 25 years is required to complete a minimum of 20 years.  For more information please see proposal.). HOW DOES THE SECOND CHANCE INITIATIVE WORK?      The Second Chance Initiative will establish a judicial review process for First Term Offenders with lengthy sentences. They can petition the sentencing court to review their case after serving the required minimum prison time.  In making a determination about whether to re-sentence an offender, the judge will consider the input of prosecutors, victims, and the offender’s pre and post-conviction history.  Also, the judge will consider whether the offender is rehabilitated or on a path to rehabilitation, and any other relevant evidence.  If the judge finds that a different sentence is merit, the judge may reduce, suspend, or stay all portions of the existing sentence. WHY SUPPORT A SECOND CHANCE INITIATIVE?      California needs a Second Chance Initiative, because it provides a viable solution to: (1) Alleviating prison overcrowding without jeopardizing public safety. (2) Promoting optimal rehabilitation. (3) Reducing prisons cost. (4) Securing public safety interests.  In addition, it works as an incentive for offenders to make positive change and work toward rehabilitation. WHO ARE THE FIRST TERM OFFENDERS?      First Term Offenders are individuals who are incarcerated in a state prison for the first time.  For the most part, they have no prior criminal record and have no habitual criminal behavior. WHAT DIFFERENTIATES FIRST TERM OFFENDERS FROM REPEAT OFFENDERS?      Most First Term Offenders are different from Repeat Offenders in the following ways: many do not live a criminal lifestyle; many have readily turned their lives around; many do not have criminal tendencies.  Overall, other than the seriousness of their criminal offense, many First Term Offenders are people who made the worst choice at the worst time of their lives. WHAT DOES THE PROPOSAL FOR A SECOND CHANCE INITIATIVE PROPOSE?      On the Scale of Justice, should punishment be balanced with empathy, compassion, and mercy?  Aristotle said, "The virtue of justice consist in moderation, as regulated by wisdom."  However, today's mandatory sentencing law practice denies many First Term Offenders the meaningful chances to re-enter the community.  Therefore, we advocate an initiative providing First Term Offenders with lengthy sentences an opportunity to demonstrate maturity and rehabilitation to the court for re-sentencing under specified guidelines.  This proposed initiative is two-fold: First, it’s a viable measure that works to offset costly unproductive lengthy prison sentences.  Second, it raises four important questions of: Justice, Punishment, Rehabilitation, Humanity and five major effects. FIRST IMPORTANT QUESTION: JUSTICE      Is it justice to impose upon First Term Offenders a punishment that does not reflect the circumstances and degree of their culpability? For example: two people are convicted of the same crime, murder.  However, their circumstances are not similar.  One of the individuals convicted of murder, engaged in criminal behavior (incited fights on others) ended up killing another human being.  Conversely, the second individual was provoked (drawn into a fight) and ended up killing another human being.        In light of the law, both individuals are given equal sentences within the mandatory sentencing guidelines.  In situations such as these, should the punishment be proportionate to the degree of the offender's culpability? And, is it a miscarriage of justice to impose a punishment that is disproportionate to the circumstances and degree of the offenders' culpability? SECOND IMPORTANT QUESTION: PUNISHMENT      Is it excessive punishment to impose First Term Offenders with a lengthy sentence that exceeds their natural life expectancy? With today's mandatory sentencing laws, many First Term Offenders are given a lengthy sentence that they can not complete.  This is equivalent to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Moreover, should they be given an opportunity to show accountability, maturity, and rehabilitation in an effort to earn a second chance? THIRD IMPORTANT QUESTION: REHABILITATION      Should First Term Offenders with a lengthy sentence be considered for parole based on their rehabilitation?  There are First Term Offenders who have served numerous years in prison.  Those offenders indicate that they are making serious efforts to redeem themselves.  Their records indicate that they do not pose a threat to public safety.However, they are not eligible for parole consideration because of the lengthy sentences they have to complete.  The Initiative proposes a meaningful period in their sentence where they can earn a second chance.  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation helps to rehabilitate offenders, but how can an offender with a lengthy sentence re-enter the community? And if First Term Offenders do not have a meaningful opportunity to re-enter the community, then what are they being rehabilitated for? FOURTH IMPORTANT QUESTION: HUMANITY      How will a Second Chance Initiative further humanity?  It will further humanity by allowing rehabilitated First Term Offenders to demonstrate that further incarceration is no longer warranted.  This Initiative will provide them the opportunity to earn a second chance through judicial review.  There are many offenders who go on to demonstrate true personal reform, remorse, and the ability to contribute positively to the community if given the chance.  Do we want to better social justice by working toward equality and restoration for everyone? WHAT ARE THE 5 MAJOR EFFECTS OF THIS PROPOSED INITIATIVE?       1st major effect:     This initiative will enable justice by imposing proportionality in punishment to an offender's criminal culpability.      2nd major effect:     It will reduce government costs in prison spending and redirect funds for community building by filtering qualified First Term Offenders to parole.  Furthermore, it will help to improve prison stability by easing overcrowding. (According to the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation April 2014 Report, California has 34 prisons and it is operating over 100% of its design capacity.  It costs billions of dollars per year to incarcerate over a hundred thousand inmates.  In part, the annual cost to incarcerate one inmate is about $44,000.  As of 2014, about 135,000 inmates are incarcerated in California. That means it costs over 5 billion dollars to incarcerate CDCR inmates per year.  See proposal for more specifics.)      3rd major effect:     It will establish provisions to protect the public from heinous offenders from become eligible for re-sentencing.  Provisions that consider the severity of the offender's crime and whether it demonstrates extremely callous disregard for human suffering. (See proposal non-eligibility provision for more specifics.)      4th major effect:     It will establish a maximum amount of prison time for First Term Offenders to complete before becoming eligible for re-sentencing consideration. (For example:  A First Term Offender with a total sentence equal or less than 25 years to life will be eligible for re-sentencing consideration on his/her 15th year of incarceration; and First Term Offender with a total sentence more than 25 years to life will become eligible for re-sentencing consideration on his/her 20th year of incarceration.  See proposal eligibility provision for more specifics.)      5th major effect:     It will establish guidelines for public safety by establishing specific criteria to reduce recidivism.  These guidelines will consider a range of factors, including criminal history, offense severity, prison disciplinary record, education, vocational trade, active participation, contribution in education and self-help programs during incarceration. (See proposal guidelines for re-sentencing consideration for more specifics.) CONCLUSION:      The proposal for a Second Chance Initiative for First Term Offenders addresses the disparities in justice, punishment, rehabilitation, and humanity.  The proposal suggests a viable plan to alleviate these disparities.        Moreover, the Second Chance Initiative will prevent qualified First Term Offenders from further unwarranted incarceration.  This Initiative will allow qualified First Term Offenders an opportunity to demonstrate accountability, maturity, and rehabilitation to the courts for re-sentencing.  It is designed to help people who made the worst choice at the worst time in their lives.  It will give them an opportunity to earn their way into their communities.  In addition, it will cut a portion of the billions of dollars in prison costs which potentially can be used to build healthier communities.  This Initiative allows offenders who have demonstrated true personal reform and the ability to contribute positively, the chance to give back to the community.      Raise your voice with ours.  Call upon those individuals and organizations that have the resources and capability to help enact a Second Chance Initiative.  The goal is to have our elected officials and organizations, who work to reform the laws, act on this proposed ballot initiative.  This is a viable Initiative that supports purposeful rehabilitation, meaningful punishment, and human dignity.  It is an Initiative that helps to offset costly unproductive lengthy sentences.  Ultimately, is it not the means for justice to be within proportion, punishment within reason, rehabilitation with purpose, and humanity with dignity? For more details about the Second Chance Initiative proposal please visit: www.facebook.com/secondchance.network

13,151 supporters
Pass Audrie's Law, (Audrie Pott), Senate Bill 838

Thank you for your recent communication in support of SB 838 (Beall). This bill would alter the incarceration time for juveniles convicted for sex crimes, and would make the identity of the convicted public knowledge. I appreciate hearing from you on this matter. Audrie’s situation is particularly tragic, and all branches of government play a role in insuring that victimization like Audrie’s is met with fair and reasonable discipline. After carefully considering all of the arguments before me, I supported SB 838 when it came before me for a vote on May 28th. Currently, the bill is under review in the Assembly Appropriations committee. You can read more about the status, history, and analysis of this and other bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html . While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:mf

2 years ago
For them to change the IQ test so that it is equal for everyone to take and not exclude African Americans.

Thank you for bringing to my attention your experience within your school district. As I understand it, you are urging lawmakers allow students of all races to take an IQ test. I understand your frustration, and agree that America should always be “a nation where our children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content if their character.” I am a strong supporter and fighter for equality in our schools regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Our state’s history and the continued challenges we face to improve relations between people are far too important to see a wedge driven between our diverse communities. The IQ test is in no way an exact science. The test does its best to adequately place a value on a person’s intelligence based on certain skills, however, there is much debate about its accuracy, because there is no universally accepted definition of intelligence. For disputed reasons, people of African American descent on average score lower than other races. This shows not a difference in intelligence, but a racial and cultural bias in the test. Until 1979, IQ tests determined whether struggling students should be placed in special education programs. Concerned parents brought this to the attention of the California courts when they felt their students were wrongfully placed in special education programs due to their low scores. Judge Peckham, informed of the racial and cultural bias of the IQ test, barred California schools from determining class placement for African Americans using IQ test results in 1979. In 1992, this ban was lifted. Unfortunately, my term in the Senate will end in November, and I will not be able to introduce any legislation during the coming year. I suggest that you contact the school board of your school district about this serious concern, as they set policy for the district they have been elected to oversee. You can find out more about this issue here: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Race_and_intelligence.html http://articles.latimes.com/1992-09-03/news/mn-7278_1_iq-test http://schubert.case.edu/files/2013/12/fagan_brieffinal.pdf I agree that all students should be treated fairly, and whether or not a student should take an IQ test is an informed decision that should be made by the parent. While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:mf

2 years ago
Require GMO labeling on all food products in California.

Thank you for contacting my office regarding a GMO labeling law in California. I appreciate legislative suggestions – some of the best bills come from engaged citizens who see a problem, and think of a good solution. As I understand it, you are suggesting legislation that would require foods that contain GMO components to be labeled as such. This year, SB 1040 (Evans) was amended to make GMO labelling a mandatory practice. This bill will come back to the Senate for concurrence on the amendments made by the Assembly. It has not come before me for a vote as amended yet. Because I am only allowed to introduce a certain number of bills per session, and the deadline for the current session has already passed, I cannot introduce this legislation this session. I do, however, keep suggestions such as these for future consideration. If you would like to send me a specific legislative proposal, including which code sections you think should be added, changed, or removed, please do so. If in the future I can assist you with another matter, please do not hesitate to write to me or call our district office at (916) 651-1529, or email me at senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. You can also visit my website at www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg . Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:mf

2 years ago
Stop Veterans from having to be drug tested

Thank you for contacting my office regarding your concern over the regulation on the use of drug-testing on veterans. I appreciate legislative suggestions – some of the best bills come from engaged citizens who see a problem and think of a good solution. As I understand it, you are suggesting legislation that would ban the use of drug-testing on veterans. In the past years, I have been in favor of similar legislation relating to veterans’ rights including AB 639 (Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014: Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act of 2014) and AB 2371 (Veterans: criminal defendants: mental health issues and restorative relief). Currently, there are no bills being proposed in the Senate regarding this particular issue. I do, however, take suggestions such as yours into consideration along with the many other suggestions I receive throughout the legislative year. I will carefully consider any bill like this that comes before me for a vote. If you would like to send me a specific legislative proposal, including which code sections you think should be added, changed, or removed, please do so. You may wish to read more about the history and analysis of all bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html. While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. I appreciate the time you took to share your views with me and hope you will continue to keep me informed of your opinions. If in the future I can assist you with another matter, please do not hesitate to write to me or call our district office at (916) 651-1529. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:sv

2 years ago
End the ban on suction dredging for gold in California.

Thank you for contacting my office regarding your concern over the regulation on the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment. I appreciate legislative suggestions – some of the best bills come from engaged citizens who see a problem, and think of a good solution. As I understand it, you are suggesting legislation that would lift the ban on suction dredging for gold in California. In August of 2009, California Legislature declared a moratorium on suction dredging permits and equipment because of its environmental and cultural impacts. In 2011, Senator Gaines introduced SB 657 which would repeal the moratorium, but the Senate did not pass this bill. Despite the moratorium, Californians may still collect gold with other methods such as gold panning. Currently, there are no bills being proposed in the Senate regarding suction dredging. I do, however, take suggestions such as yours into consideration along with the many other suggestions I receive throughout the legislative year. I will carefully consider any bill like this that comes before me for a vote. If you would like to send me a specific legislative proposal, including which code sections you think should be added, changed, or removed, please do so. You may wish to read more about the history and analysis of all bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html . While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. I appreciate the time you took to share your views with me and hope you will continue to keep me informed of your opinions. If in the future I can assist you with another matter, please do not hesitate to write to me or call our district office at (916) 651-1529. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:ck

2 years ago
Make Cat Declawing Illegal in California

Thank you for contacting my office regarding your proposal to outlaw cat declawing. I appreciate legislative suggestions – some of the best bills come from engaged citizens who see a problem, and think of a good solution. As I understand it, you are suggesting legislation that would expand the measures implemented in Los Angeles County by making cat declawing illegal state-wide. I agree that this is an important issue, and have voted for legislation that protects animals from abuse. Currently, there are no bills being proposed in the Senate regarding this matter. I do, however, take suggestions such as yours into consideration along with the many other suggestions I receive throughout the legislative year. I am a strong supporter of legislation against animal cruelty, and I will carefully consider any bill like this that comes before me for a vote. If you would like to send me a specific legislative proposal, including which code sections you think should be added, changed, or removed, please do so. If in the future I can assist you with another matter, please do not hesitate to write to me or call our district office at (916) 651-1529, or email me at senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. You can also visit my website at www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg . Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:ck

2 years ago
Address Flood Irrigation and End the Drought

Thank you for communicating your concerns regarding the practice of flood irrigation during California’s current drought. I understand that you are suggesting creating incentives for farmers to switch to sustainable irrigation methods in order to conserve a projected 4.5 million acre-feet of water. I strongly agree that California must make an effort to conserve water, and I will carefully consider any bill like this that came before me for a vote. If you would like to send me a specific legislative proposal, including which code sections you think should be added, changed, or removed, please do so. I appreciate legislative suggestions – some of the best bills come from engaged citizens who see a problem, and think of a good solution. You can read more about the status, history, and analysis of all bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html . While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:ck

2 years ago
Reduce Overdoses in California, Pass AB1535

Thank you for communicating your support for AB 1535 (Bloom). This bill would add Section 4052.01 to the Business and Professions Code to authorize pharmacists to furnish naloxone hydrochloride, an opioid antagonist, to patients after pharmacists complete a training program on the use of opioid antagonists. I understand that you support this bill because it would improve access to the life-saving drug in California. This bill has not yet come before me for a vote. I prefer not to take a position on bills before they come to me because they can change significantly in the committee process. I will, however, carefully consider your arguments when making my decision. You can read more about the status, history, and analysis of this and other bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html . While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:ck

2 years ago
Ban the plastic bag in California

Thank you for your recent communication in support of banning the use of plastic bags in California’s stores.SB 405 was introduced by Senator Padilla last year. This bill would have instituted a provision to phase out plastic bags for use in California convenience stores, grocery stores, and other markets by 2016. I understand that you support instituting a ban due to the harm plastic bags can cause on the environment. I share your views in support of this issue and voted in favor of SB 405 on the Senate Floor on May 30th, 2013. The bill was not passed by the Senate; therefore it will not go to the Assembly for review because the legislative deadline for bills to be moved out of the house of origin was June 1st, 2013. You may wish to use the link below to see how the Senate voted on this measure. You can read more about the status, history, and analysis of this and other bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html. While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved. Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:af

2 years ago
Make Cat Declawing Illegal in California

Dear Constituent: Thank you for communicating your opposition to the process of cat declawing. I understand this practice is already illegal in Los Angeles County, and you would rather have a statewide ban. I have taken note of your comments and appreciate hearing from you on this matter. Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email senator.steinberg@sen.ca.gov. Sincerely, DARRELL STEINBERG President pro Tempore 6th Senate District DS:mu

2 years ago