Governor Gray Davis - Digital Library
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First in the Nation
The State of California Under Governor Davis

Education Gray davis shaking hands with kids

  • Largest ever expansion of college financial assistance.
  • Largest need-based college financial aid program.
  • Largest five-year increase in total education funding (increase of $9.6 billion, or 30%).
  • Largest and most rigorous teacher professional development program.
  • Largest and most aggressive teacher recruitment and retention program.
  • First-ever peer-review program for teachers.
  • The two largest school construction and modernization bond measures in history.
  • Four new Institutes of Science and Innovation are the most ambitious scientific research initiative ever undertaken by a state.

First for California

  • First-ever statewide accountability program and Academic Performance Index.
  • First-ever statewide high school exit exam.
  • First-ever statewide standards-based test.
  • First-ever statewide merit-based scholarship program.
  • First-ever Four-Percent Admissions Program to UC schools.
  • Largest ever investment in new reading programs.
  • Largest-ever investment in classroom technology.
  • Largest-ever investment in school libraries and classroom libraries.
  • Largest-ever investment targeting lower-performing schools.
  • Largest-ever General Fund investment for school safety equipment.

Public Safety

  • Toughest and most comprehensive gun safety laws in the nation.
  • Most stringent ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Toughest ban on unsafe handguns, or "Saturday Night Specials."
  • Most comprehensive child-proof safety lock requirement.
  • First state to repeal the immunity from liability granted exclusively to firearm manufacturers.
  • Largest-ever commitment to fighting the War on Methamphetamine.
  • First state to gain FAA approval for "Safe Skies" anti-terrorism initiative.

Health Care

  • Since GGD took office, enrolled more children in federal children's health insurance program (Healthy Families) than any state.
  • Strongest Patient's Bill of Rights and the highest number of patient-protection laws.
  • First state to require clinical trial coverage for all cancers and for all trial phases.
  • First-of-its-kind Department of Managed Health Care.
  • Greatest investment in cancer and HIV/AIDS research and treatment programs.
  • First state to allow workers with HIV/AIDS to return to work without losing medical coverage.
  • First state to authorize stem cell research from any source, including human embryonic stem cells.
  • First state with Doctor's Bill of Rights, strengthening the position of physicians in managed care contracting.
  • First minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios for acute care hospitals.
  • First state to allow patients to receive prescription drug discount simply by showing their Medicare card.
  • First state with paid family leave.


  • Under GGD, California is the most pro-choice state in America, bar none.
  • First state to enact Violence Against Women Act, allowing victims of gender violence to hold their attacker civilly liable.


  • The largest ever General Fund investment in new transportation projects ($6.8 billion).
  • More transportation projects underway than at any time in history (600 projects).
  • Broke ground on the Bay Bridge Eastern Span Project, the largest ongoing bridge project in NorthAmerica.
  • Placed a High Speed Rail bond measure on the November 2004 ballot, which, if passed, would be the nation's largest public works project.


Governor Gray Davis initiated the largest and most comprehensive highway safety outreach program of any state in the nation. Under his leadership, California has received:

  • The nation's only "A" grade by the National Safety Council in 2001 for a tough, well-enforced seat-belt law and a high seat-belt use rate.
  • The nation's only "A" grade by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign in 2001 for having tough child-occupant protection laws and a high child-safety-seat use rate.
  • The nation's only "A" grade from Mothers Against Drunk Driving in their "Rating the States 2000" Report.

Tax Relief

  • $5.1 billion in tax relief over four years - most ever interms of absolute dollars.
  • Largest-ever Natural Heritage Tax Credit for preservation of unique lands.
  • First-of-its-kind tax credit for fully credentialed teachers (currently suspended).


  • The three largest-ever environmental bond measures (Propositions 12, 13, and 40).
  • First law in the nation to substantively address global warming and greenhouse gases.
  • First Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Registry (Climate Action Registry).
  • Greatest-ever investment in urban parks (10,000 acres).
  • First comprehensive program to clean-up coastal pollution (Clean Beaches).
  • First non-point source program to clean up and prevent runoff from inland and urban sources.
  • Finalized the largest water supply and ecosystem restoration program (CALFED).
  • First environmental justice law in the nation.
  • Toughest children's environmental health protection program.
  • Toughest standards for toxic mold, lead, arsenic,Chromium 6 and perchlorate.
  • Toughest water quality enforcement laws.
  • The most ambitious commitment to renewable energy in American history.
  • Largest ever investment in energy conservation programs.
  • Toughest energy efficiency standards in the nation.

Affordable Housing

  • Largest-ever General Fund investment in new housing programs.
  • Largest Housing Bond measure ever placed on a state ballot.
  • First statewide summit on Homelessness.


  • Largest-ever investment in new veterans' homes.


  • First-ever Office of Privacy Protection dedicated to promoting and protecting individual privacy.
  • Strongest protections for consumers required to resolve disputes through mandatory arbitration.
  • First in the nation to require consumer credit reporting agencies to disclose credit scoring criteria used for granting home loans.
  • Under GGD, California ranks first among all states for protecting personal privacy, according to the Privacy Journal, the nation'sleading privacy publication.

Civil Rights

  • First-ever Domestic Partners Registry.
  • One of the nation's broadest Domestic Partners laws.
  • Toughest housing and workplace discrimination laws.
  • First in the nation to allow state-funded personal care services for the disabled to be available in the workplace.


  • First-ever state paid holiday honoring Cesar Chavez.
  • First-ever labor mediation law protecting farmworkers.


  • First-ever law authorizing the use of electronic and digital signatures in brokerage agreements.
  • Appointed the first Small Business Advocate to serve directly in the Governor's Office.
  • Under GGD, trade with Mexico reached its highest level ever; Mexico is California's leading export market for the first time in history.
  • Under GGD, California became the first American state to ever rank as the fifth largest economy in the world.