Biography

State Senator Jerry Hill

Throughout his service in the state Legislature, Jerry Hill has been a tenacious lawmaker with a deep commitment to improving the safety, well-being and quality of life for Californians. His legislative priorities have included consumer safety and protection across the spectrum of business professions from building contractors to physicians. He also has been a champion for education funding; coastal access; greater accountability in government, public utilities, and in other entities that serve the public; transparency in law enforcement use of surveillance technology; stemming youth tobacco consumption; preventing drunk driving; and curtailing overuse of antibiotics.

The senator’s efforts to reform safety practices and the state’s oversight of PG&E are well known, as is his work to improve the safety of gas and electrical lines operated by investor-owned utilities throughout the state. This year, Governor Newsom signed Senator Hill’s Senate Bill 350, which provides California with a failsafe in the event that PG&E does not transform itself into a safe, reliable utility as is now required by law. For Senator Hill, passage of SB 350 capped almost a decade of his legislative efforts in the Assembly and the Senate to bring accountability to PG&E.

The Governor’s signing of Senator Hill’s SB 793 on flavored tobacco products in September was another milestone. The legislation imposes the strongest state restrictions in the country to date on the retail sales of flavored tobacco products. The legislation prohibits retail sales of flavored e-cigarettes and other e-devices, menthol cigarettes, non-premium flavored cigars and cigarillos, and other flavored smokable, vapable and smokeless tobacco products.

Senator Hill’s legislative achievements include the landmark legislation called “Patient’s Right to Know Act,” which took effect in 2019 and made California the first state to require doctors to notify patients if placed on probation for serious professional misconduct involving patient harm.

In response to the deadly balcony collapse in Berkeley that killed six young people and injured seven of their friends in 2015, Senator Hill passed four bills that improve the state’s oversight of construction contractors and require periodic inspections of balconies, outside stairs and other elevated walkways at multi-family residential apartment buildings and multi-family residential common interest developments, better known as HOAs.

Jerry Hill’s work to safeguard public wellness, especially for children and young people, has spanned his long career in public service. As a member of the San Mateo City Council from 1991 to 1998, a tenure that included serving as mayor, he authored an ordinance to regulate tobacco sales and restrict smoking in public places. The measure was among the first of its kind in California. As a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors from 1998 to 2008, he led efforts that expanded health care coverage for more than 17,000 children in the county. He also helped create a new homeless shelter in the county.

Elected to the Assembly in fall 2008, he quickly established himself as a thoughtful and dynamic state lawmaker. As an assemblymember, Jerry Hill authored the first of his many bills to increase safety and accountability at PG&E following a rupture of a natural gas pipeline that triggered a deadly explosion and fire. The disaster killed eight people and leveled a neighborhood in San Bruno in September 2010. His legislation in the aftermath included a bill exempting survivors of the tragedy from paying state taxes on their relief payments. His other key Assembly accomplishments included legislation that qualified the state for the National Popular Vote; cracked down on repeat DUI offenders, underage drinking on party buses and on retailers who sell tobacco to minors; and brought solar jobs to the region.

In November 2012, he was elected to the state Senate, where his legislation over the past eight years included bills to ensure access to Martins Beach, increase safety at investor-owned utilities throughout the state, reform the California Public Utilities Commission, increase oversight of auto shredders, increase availability of AEDs in public buildings, and allow individuals who vote by mail to verify that their vote was counted.

Senator Hill represents California’s 13th Senate District, which stretches from the Peninsula’s biotech hub to Silicon Valley. It starts at the northern San Mateo County cities of South San Francisco and Brisbane beside the Bay and Pacifica on the coast and extends to Sunnyvale in Santa Clara County and Año Nuevo at the southern tip of San Mateo County’s coast. Most recently, he chaired the Senate's Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee and the Subcommittee on Gas, Electric and Transportation Safety. He also was a member of the Senate Appropriations, Environmental Quality, Governmental Organization, and Energy, Utilities and Communications committees.

Jerry Hill grew up in the Bay Area and helped his father run his small business. It’s still a family business providing jobs to local residents. He attended public schools, graduated from UC Berkeley and has a teaching credential from San Francisco State University. He and his spouse, Sky, live in San Mateo.

Updated October 2020

To view the list of bills authored and passed by Jerry Hill, visit his Legislative Accomplishments page by clicking here.