Progressive Organizations Unite to Make 2016 a Banner Year for “Dream Builder” Bills

October 18, 2016 Media


Sacramento, CA – A broad coalition of progressive organizations announced that their unified effort — the Building the California Dream Alliance – succeeded in advancing a legislative agenda to uplift working families, and deliver justice for underserved communities in 2016.  In May, the coalition outlined a united, ambitious agenda to uplift families and expand economic opportunities for Californians from birth to retirement.  By the time the legislative and bill-signing session had concluded, 16 out of 20 of the top priority bills had been signed into law.

“The Building the California Dream Alliance demonstrated that by standing together, we can deliver a brighter future for California,” said Alma Hernandez, Executive Director of SEIU California.  “Instead of allowing the Chamber of Commerce to define a cynical, anti-worker, anti-environment, community disinvestment agenda, we raised the bar for what California can achieve by investing in our people and protecting our natural resources.”

“This was a banner, first year for the ‘California Dream Builders,’ with victories we can build on to achieve our unified vision of a better California,” said Kathryn Phillips, Director of Sierra Club California “We’ve seen how much we can achieve when we bring community-based movements together to create positive change, and we’ll use this momentum to keep making the California dream attainable for all Californians.”

The Building the California Dream Alliance includes:  ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy, ACCE, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Women for Wellness, CA Budget & Policy Center, California Calls, California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Immigrant Policy Center, CA Labor Federation, California League of Conservation Voters, California Domestic Workers Coalition, California Pan-Ethnic, Health Network, CA NOW, CHIRLA, Consumer Attorneys of California, Courage Campaign, The California Endowment, Equality California, Equal Rights Advocates, Health Access, Lutheran Office of Public Policy, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, Mujeres Unidas, PICO California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA, PolicyLink, Progressive Era Project (PEP), SEIU California, Sierra Club California, Voices for Progress and the Western Center on Law & Poverty.

In May, the Alliance identified 20 legislative priorities in pursuit of a Golden State of unlimited opportunity, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, health status or age.   Sixteen priorities were signed into law before the deadline of September 30, 2016:

  • SB 3 (Leno) increases the state minimum wage
  • SB 23 (Mitchell) Repeals the maximum family grant rule for CalWORKS recipients.
  • SB 380 (Pavley) Improves regulatory oversight of the methane gas system to avoid new damage to public health and the environment.
  • AB 2722 (Burke) Establishes the Transformative Climate Communities Program that ensures communities that have suffered from environmental pollution and neglect are included in funding for greenhouse gas reduction projects.
  • SB 999 (Pavley) improves women’s access to birth control by requiring health insurance plans (including Medi-Cal managed care plans) to cover the dispensing of a year’s supply of self-administered hormonal contraceptives at one time, as prescribed, rather than requiring her to return every 30 or 90 days.
  • SB 1015 (Leyva) affirms the dignity of domestic workers, their families and the families they support by ensuring their important work is recognized with permanent overtime protection.
  • SB 1063 (Hall)prohibits employers from paying employees a wage rate less than the rate paid to employees of a different race or ethnicity for substantially similar work.
  • SB 1143 (Leno) Ends use of solitary confinement for juveniles, bringing California into line with international human rights standards.
  • SB 1107 (Allen) Repeals ban on public financing, prohibits foreign contributions to candidates, requires forfeiture of campaign funds of elected officials convicted of felony crime against the public trust
  • SB 1234 (De León) Implements the Secure Choice retirement program to help solve the problem of millions of seniors retiring into poverty, by providing a low-cost, portable, low risk way for low-income private sector Californians to save for retirement.
  • AB 72 (Bonta, Bonilla, Dahle, Gonzalez, Maienschein, and Wood) Protects consumers from being hit with surprise bills from out of network doctors for care received at in-network health facilities.
  • AB 1676(Campos) prohibit employers from seeking job candidates’ salary histories and require that employers provide a salary range to a job applicant, upon reasonable request, and would thereby give women more bargaining power when negotiating their salaries by removing past salary history from a new salary determination.
  • AB 1726 (Bonta) – the AHEAD Act, requires California Community Colleges, California State University, the University of California, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Healthcare Services collect and release disaggregated demographic data for certain Asian Pacific Islander (API) populations.
  • AB 1887 (Low) – Prohibits state agencies and the Legislature from approving state funded or sponsored travel to a state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted a law that voids or repeals existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or has enacted a law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families on these bases.
  • AB 1978 (Gonzalez) Cracks down on sexual harassment and sexual violence in the low-road janitorial industry, required janitorial contractors in the state to register with the Department of Industrial Relations to facilitate enforcement.
  • AB 2792 (Bonta) The TRUTH Act creates a transparent process, including community engagement, before local law enforcement can participate in controversial ICE deportation programs by requiring local law enforcement to reach an agreement with their city council or county supervisors that sets the terms and conditions of any participation in such programs and ensures compliance with California’s TRUST Act.

The Alliance was successful in passing a number of other laws to promote broadly shared prosperity and economic security, educational and job opportunities, a clean environment and a healthy planet, justice, quality healthcare for all, responsive and democratic government, and a strong safety net.   These included restoring 7% of home care hours that had been cut from seniors and people with disabilities, allowing undocumented immigrants to purchase health care from Covered California with their own money, expanding access to birth control, and greater transparency in campaign funding.