Back to Member Archives

Lois Wolk (D) - District 3

Senator Lois Wolk

During her many years of public service, Lois Wolk has earned a reputation as a problem solver by successfully tackling difficult issue areas such as water, end-of-life care, firearm violence prevention, flood management, elder abuse, political reform, transportation, and health.  Wolk has authored over 100 new laws over her 12 years serving in the State Legislature.

Elected to the State Senate in 2008, Senator Wolk represents the Third Senate District, which includes all of Napa and Solano Counties, most of Yolo County, several cities in Sonoma and Contra Costa Counties, and a portion of Sacramento County.

Senator Wolk serves as the Majority Whip and chairs Senate Budget Subcommittee #2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation. She serves on numerous policy committees, the California Wildlife Conservation Board’s Legislative Advisory Committee and is a liaison advisor to the Delta Conservancy Board.


Senator Wolk was one of the authors of the landmark End of Life Option Act, a 2015 measure that provides mentally competent, terminally ill adults the option of requesting a doctor’s prescription for aid-in-dying drugs to painlessly and peacefully shorten their dying process.

Wolk was also one of two lead authors of Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. In 2007, Wolk led efforts to craft a package of laws to strengthen flood protection in California’s Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region, authoring two bills in the package.

Other laws authored by Wolk include:

A law providing seriously ill patients with a new mechanism – Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) – to ensure that their wishes are honored regarding their end-of-life care.

A law establishing a statewide immunization registry to ensure that more children are immunized;

A law increasing consumer access to clean and affordable renewable energy;

A law mandating bank employees to report elder financial abuse to law enforcement;

A law ensuring the long-term stability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; and

A law improving safety on a treacherous stretch of State Highway Route 12.


Numerous organizations have honored Wolk for her public service. The California Journal awarded Wolk the "Golden Pedigree" for her integrity, trustworthiness, and personal ethics.  Wolk has also been honored for her leadership in water policy and flood management, and for her work to improve safety conditions on State Highway Route 12; prevent elder abuse; and support preservation of parks, recreation, open space, and conservation.


Prior to her election to the State Senate, Wolk served three terms—from 2002 to 2008—as the representative for the Eighth Assembly District.  She was the first woman to chair the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and used her four-year chairmanship to bring heightened attention to important topics including flood protection, the crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, water management and climate change, land use, state parks, fisheries, and invasive species.

Before serving in the State Legislature Wolk built a long record of community and public service. A resident of Davis since 1978, she won a seat on the Davis City Council in 1990, and served two terms as Mayor from 1992-94 and 1996-98. While on the City Council, Wolk led the effort to build the Sutter Davis Hospital and the University Retirement Community. She spearheaded the formation of the Economics and Finance Commission and the Open Space Commission. She also led the efforts to preserve and restore Putah Creek.

From 1998 to 2002, Wolk served as Yolo County Supervisor. As a supervisor, she led the effort to create a Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center for abused children, a Crisis Nursery, the Yolo County Children’s Alliance, and the first Tree Plan for Yolo County. During her tenure, the Board successfully funded a new Juvenile Hall and revised the County's Agricultural Zoning Ordinance to preserve Yolo's prime agricultural land.

Wolk earned her B.A. from Antioch College in 1968, and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1971. She has taught History, Social Studies, and French in grades 7 through 12 in both public and private schools. She is married to Bruce Wolk, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at UC Davis Law School. They have two grown sons, four granddaughters, and a grandson.