Press Release

Statement by Senator Aisha Wahab on SB 403

The question of whether our laws are sufficient to account for incidents of caste discrimination is what prompted this legislation in the first place; through this process, we shined a light on a long-hidden form of discrimination that persists across multiple communities in California.

I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly who walked this road with me, listened to testimony of people who came to their District and Capitol offices, and saw there was a problem this legislation could remedy.

SB 403 has been a labor of love for every single person involved, but especially for those across the state who raised their voice publicly for the first time to say they’ve experienced caste discrimination and want it to stop. I thank them most of all for trusting me with their lived experience in advancing this legislation.

In his veto letter, Governor Newsom writes that “state law specifies that these civil rights protections shall be liberally construed. Because discrimination based on caste is already prohibited under these existing categories, this bill is unnecessary.” I believe our laws need to be more explicit especially in times when we see civil rights being eroded across the country. We cannot take anything for granted.

I'll continue to fight to balance power and support vulnerable Californians.


Senator Aisha Wahab represents the 10th Senate District, which includes the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Newark, Union City, Milpitas, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale; as well as unincorporated communities of Alameda and Santa Clara counties including Fairview, Alum Rock, East Foothills. Website of Senator Aisha Wahab: