California's AB 503, which aimed to End Endless Probation, vetoed by governor
Bill would have required regular check-ins for courts to establish how a young person is doing and whether remaining on probation is necessary
California Assembly Bill 503, which aimed to End Endless Probation for California's youth, was unfortunately vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom during the 2022 legislative session. Despite this setback from the governor, the National Center for Youth Law remains inspired by the efforts and passion of the many advocates and young people who came together to help create and spread awareness of this critically important bill and the positive impact it would have had on tens of thousands of California youth.
AB 503, co-sponsored by NCYL and supported by a broad coalition of advocates and health experts, would have required regular check-ins for courts to establish how a young person is doing and whether remaining on probation is necessary. Further, it would have ensured that probation conditions were individualized and developmentally appropriate. The fact that AB 503 successfully cleared both the California Assembly and Senate is a recognition of the importance of centering policy on the needs of youth, rather than unsubstantiated claims from those, such as probation officers, who have a vested interest in maintaining the harmful status quo.
Gov. Newsom's veto message was particularly disappointing, as it is in direct contravention of the values he espouses, such as racial equity and supporting health and safety. In his veto message, Newsom parroted law enforcement propaganda instead of leaning on what communities and years of research have identified: that oppressive surveillance with no end in sight is harmful to youth and antithetical to public safety. Keeping a young person on probation doesn't make communities safer, it only makes that child more vulnerable to future system-involvement.
"That the governor continues to place the job security of probation officers, and his political relationship with their association, over the welfare and safety of not only our state's young people but our society as whole is beyond disappointing," said Dafna Gozani, a senior policy attorney with the National Center for Youth Law. "California's children and communities deserve better."
Despite AB 503's veto, the coalition of supporters behind the bill is determined to end endless probation and ensure that young people get the support they need to thrive.