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The Interviews

Interview with Bill Dodd

April 2023

Bill Dodd Head Shot

Meet California Senator Bill Dodd

Every year the California League (LWVC) asks its member Leagues to interview their legislative representatives. On February 14th, members of the Napa League interviewed Senator Bill Dodd, who represents Senate District 3. Present on the Zoom call were the senator; Alex Pader, staff member at the Napa office; and members from four local Leagues: moderator Joyce Kingery, president Bernadette Brooks, and secretary Ingrid Swenson (Napa); Karen Urbana (Woodland); Joanne Supersad (Diablo Valley); and Evan Farmer (Sonoma).    LWVC asked that legislators be asked four questions about the following issues: (1) California’s Voter Participation Gap, (2) Equitable Funding for California’s School Facilities Program, (3) Sustainable and Equitable Water Resource Management, and (4) the Legislator’s Personal Priorities. Please see a summary of the legislator’s answers here. If you would like more information about the interview, please contact us below and the moderator will contact you. 



Question 1: Shrinking CA’s Voter Participation Gap
Senator Dodd said that this was the first he had heard about an issue regarding disproportionate voter turnout. He had not seen recent data on this issue, but if it was an issue, he would support funding to expand participation. He asked where decisions are being made that are causing disproportionate voter turnout. It seems that we are doing all we can to reach out to those in our districts who are underrepresented. He would have no problem supporting the Registrar of Voters and the Secretary of State in further outreach.

Question 2: Equitable Funding for CA’s School Facilities Program
Senator Dodd said he had not seen data from the recent election. It may be something that needs to be addressed but not enough information is being provided to judge. This subject has never been raised with him. He has heard that Woodland has had trouble getting measures passed to build school facilities, but he does not know whether it is lack of income or a result of policy choices. He said some Republican districts do not necessarily support school funding. There are a lot of economic disparities between districts and more education is needed in some communities about why more funding is needed.

Question 3: Sustainable and Equitable Resources Management
Senator Dodd said that he is not making any proposals on water resource management this session. There was a discussion on micro-management but not macro. This is not to say that macro is not important. Presently we are not even monitoring streams and rivers. A bill (SB 852) he authored last session was successful. It dealt with climate resilience districts, formation, and funding mechanisms. We need more water resources. We cannot measure what we do not monitor. We need the best tools available. Technical options are greater for those who invest in them. His SB 852 on community revitalization from last session was the subject of a meeting he attended today trying to develop a formula for cities and counties that have money that the state could match. Cal Firewise does this. Without these incentives it will be harder to get things done on the ground.

Question 4: Personal Priorities of Legislator
In response to the question on his personal priorities, the Senator mentioned SB 478 on consumer protection, which he is co-sponsoring with Senator Nancy Skinner. Attorney General Rob Bonta is also a sponsor. A press conference was held this morning on SB 478, which seeks to prohibit the practice of hiding mandatory fees in small print, vague descriptions, and misleading wording. This would affect misleading advertising by airlines, hotels, and other costs.

Senator Dodd is still doing wildfire prevention planning, including utility protection plans. The legislature’s deadline to submit new bills is at the end of this week. Two years ago, he sponsored a bill on nurse midwives. It passed but numerous changes need to be made. Doctors and nurses and hospitals all agree on the proposed fix. He is proud to be able to work in this area. The bill needed clean-up language to clarify who (the nurse midwife, the doctor, the hospital) has responsibility under certain circumstances. He has introduced the changes in a bill he sponsored this session.

He is sponsoring an artificial intelligence bill (SB 313). AI will bring many benefits but many dangers as well. AI has biases in its programs, so protection against these will be needed. His press release on this bill indicated that there must be transparency in the process and limits on possible implementation. Companies need to take responsibility for AI outcomes.

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