Marc Berman has served in the California Assembly since November 2016 and represents the 23rd District, which includes the communities of Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Pescadero, Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, and unincorporated communities in San Mateo County as well as Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Saratoga, and a portion of San Jose in Santa Clara County.
As Chair of the Assembly's Elections Committee for his first five years in the Assembly, Marc has led the effort to protect and strengthen our democracy in California, most prominently by writing the law to make California a permanent vote-by-mail state (AB 37). In addition, Marc has written laws to protect our elections systems from cyber attacks by creating the first state Office of Elections Cybersecurity (AB 3075), protect voters from deceptive elections practices like deepfakes that use AI generated content (AB 730), make election information more accessible to voters (AB 606), and created criminal penalties for intentionally spreading false information about when, where, and how to vote (AB 1678).
Leading the effort to revise California's policies around public higher education through a student centered perspective, Marc created and chairs the Select Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education in California, which is taking a methodical review of the 1960 Master Plan to ensure that California’s higher education system works for students in the 21st century economy. As a part of this work, Marc has introduced bills and written laws to transform the transfer process from community college to the University of California and California State University systems (AB 928), make it easier for students who are also parents to obtain their degrees (AB 2881), make it easier for students to vote on campus (AB 2815), address student basic needs like homelessness and food insecurity (AB 132), and make it easier for students to keep their financial aid if they have a personal emergency (AB 789) – just to name a few.
Marc wrote landmark legislation to ban the sale of new gas-powered equipment like leaf blowers and lawnmowers, starting in 2024. This historic bill (AB 1346), signed into law in 2021, will dramatically reduce smog-forming pollutants that are some of the leading causes of climate change. In addition, using zero emission landscaping equipment will reduce health risks for landscaping professionals and will dramatically reduce noise pollution in our neighborhoods. This is a win for our communities, our workers, and the planet.
Marc currently chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, which oversees health care professional licensing and regulation, occupational licensing and regulation, vocational education, and regulation of the legal cannabis industry. In addition, Marc was appointed to chair the Select Committee on the Census, leading the Assembly's efforts in preparing California for the 2020 Census, which is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives as well as distribute more than $675 billion of federal funding every year to state and local governments. Marc also serves on the following Assembly Standing Committees: Transportation; Insurance; and Governmental Organization.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Marc was an elected member of the Palo Alto City Council. A lawyer by training, Marc also worked at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, a non-profit focused on STEM education and closing the achievement gap in public schools in Silicon Valley.
During his time on the Palo Alto City Council, Marc led on issues such as infrastructure improvements and financial transparency. A member of Palo Alto’s Infrastructure Committee, Marc served on the campaign committee for Measure B, a ballot measure that passed with over 76% of the vote in 2014 to help fund public safety, street, sidewalk, and park improvements. This was the culmination of five years of work that Marc spent on infrastructure improvements, beginning with his appointment to Palo Alto’s Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission (IBRC) in 2010.
As chair of the Finance Committee, Marc worked with the Office of Management and Budget to create the Budget in Brief. Rather than expect residents to sort through 800+ pages of budget documents, the Budget in Brief provides the public with an easy to understand 7-page overview of Palo Alto’s $470 million budget, increasing transparency and public awareness of how their money is spent.
Marc graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Political Science. While in college, Marc served as a summer analyst in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Marc went on to graduate from law school at the University of Southern California, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association and served for two years on the Southern California Law Review.
Prior to his work in the non-profit sector, Marc was an attorney with Latham & Watkins LLP and Merino Yebri, LLP. Marc has successfully represented pro bono clients seeking protection under the Violence Against Women Act, asylum in the United States due to political persecution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has served as pro bono counsel to Spark, a national youth development non-profit.