Recovery for All
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated and laid bare existing structural inequalities and misplaced legislative priorities that have left millions of Californians and their families unable to withstand any level of economic downturn. Furthermore, unacceptable structural racism in our health care system and in the determinants of health – reinforced by economic and environmental injustice – has resulted in COVID-19’s staggering death toll for people of color.
California has an opportunity now to re-shape a crooked economic system and to make a sizable investment in safety net programs needed to ensure a Recovery for All that is equitable and green.
AB 503 (Stone) would end endless probation for youth by limiting time on probation to six months and limiting probation conditions by requiring they be individually tailored, developmentally appropriate, and not excessive. This bill would also advance racial justice and equity by ensuring Black, Brown, and poor youth are protected from long-term contact with the criminal-legal system.
SB 300 (Cortese) would reform California’s cruel and racist “felony murder special circumstance” law to ensure that the death penalty and life without the possibility of parole cannot be imposed on those that did not kill, nor intend that a person die during a crime.
CIVIL RIGHTS (DISABILITY RIGHTS)
SB 2 (Bradford) would rein in police misconduct by providing for independent investigation and decertification of police officers committing serious misconduct, and provide remedies to victims and their families by eliminating inappropriate immunities that are often used to evade accountability.
SB 447 (Laird) would allow a victim’s human suffering damages to survive even if the victim passes away before trial or resolution of their case. California law incentivizes defendants to prolong court proceedings in hopes that delays will outlive the victims of their own negligence. COVID-19 has made this problem worse, with no end in sight especially for victims who suffer from terminal illnesses.
EDUCATION (EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION THROUGH HIGHER ED)
AB 92 (Reyes) would alleviate financial burdens for families who are low income by creating an equitable sliding scale for child care family fees. California can fund child care for everyone, but instead our state relies on fees paid by families of color (mostly mothers) who earn low wages and can least afford it.
AB 610 (Kalra) would reduce law enforcement involvement in schools by providing them with the flexibility they need to respond appropriately to student behavior. More specifically, AB 610 would eliminate state mandates for school notification of law enforcement, increasing educator discretion in determining when to notify law enforcement about a student’s school related behaviors and eliminating prosecution of school staff who fail to report incidents of alleged assaults or physical threats against school employees.
ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND JUSTICE
SB 222/SB223 (Dodd) together establishes a long-needed framework for a statewide water affordability assistance program and strengthens and extends inadequate existing water shutoff and bill repayment protocols and procedures to better protect all low-income California households that may face or have already experienced water service disconnections due to the water customer’s inability to pay their water bill.
SB 467 (Wiener) would tackle oil and gas extraction – which pollutes the air we breathe, contaminates the water we drink, and accelerates climate change – which is significantly more likely to take place in communities of color, and is compounding the health consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic head on. SB 467 would specifically: 1) phase out fracking and other dangerous oil and gas extraction and production methods by 2027; 2) prohibit any new extraction permits within 2,500 feet of communities by July 1, 2022; and, 3) provide a meaningful just transition pathway for oil workers.
AB 1119 (Wicks) would prohibit discrimination against employees based on their family responsibilities and ensures working families have access to reasonable accommodations to deal with school and care closures.
SB 379 (Wiener) would ensure that UC healthcare providers practicing in non-UC facilities are able to provide comprehensive reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare. SB 379 prohibits the University of California from entering into any contract with a health facility that limits the services UC medical providers and students are able to provide patients due to harmful, non-clinical restrictions on care.
HEALTHCARE AND LONG-TERM CARE ACCESS FOR ALL
AB 1130 (Wood) would create the Office of Health Care Affordability to collect and analyze information and identify trends in health care prices in order to address costs across the entire health care system. The Office will set enforceable cost targets for health care affordability while also aiming to improve quality and equity.
SB 650 (Stern) would require nursing homes to file annual consolidated financial statements, giving the State and the public more information on how nursing homes are spending taxpayer dollars.
HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS AND TENANT RIGHTS
AB 71 (L. Rivas) would restore corporate tax rates on corporations with $5 million or more in profits. The funding would be used to fund solutions to combat homelessness.
AB 1487 (Gabriel) would establish the Homelessness Prevention Fund to fund education, outreach, and legal services targeted towards preventing homelessness among particularly vulnerable renter populations
IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE JUSTICE AND INTEGRATION
AB 937 (Carillo), the VISION Act, would protect refugee and immigrant community members who have already been deemed eligible for release from being funneled by local jails and our state prison system to immigration detention. Prohibiting transfers to ICE would protect Californians from being subjected to inhumane and unsanitary conditions in immigration detention, close the main pipeline filling immigration detention beds, and reunite refugee and immigrant families and communities.
SB 334 (Durazo) would require for-profit detention facilities and prisons operating in California to meet and maintain insurance requirements including workers’ compensation and liability, adhere to all appropriate state and local health, safety, fire and jail standards, and mandate that they obtain coverage from an admitted insurance carrier authorized to operate in California by the state’s Department of Insurance.
INCOME AND FOOD SECURITY
AB 221 (Santiago, R. Rivas) would require the Department of Social Services to provide a food assistance benefit statewide to low-income California residents, regardless of their immigration status.
SB 731 (Durazo) would create a comprehensive process to automatically seal conviction and arrest records in the state of California once a person has fully completed their sentence and successfully gone two years without further contact with the justice system.
LGBTQ EQUALITY AND RIGHTS
AB 1041 (Wicks) would update current law to allow an employee to use their leave time to care for any individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
SB 225 (Wiener) would reduce the preventable harm done to people born with variations in their physical sex characteristics, who are often subjected to unnecessary surgeries when they are infants or young children based on generalized assumptions and stereotypes about the way bodies should look.
SB 17 (Pan) would establish the Office of Racial Equity (ORE) and the Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council, which would oversee the new office. The Office of Racial Equity will coordinate and lead the state’s strategies for advancing racial equity across state agencies and departments.
AB 256 (Kalra) would make the California Racial Justice Act of 2020 retroactive, ensuring that people now in prison and jail can challenge racial bias in their convictions and trials.
ACA 8/AB 310 (Lee/Santiago) would apply a 1% wealth tax on individuals with a net worth of $50 million or more, and an additional 0.5% tax on individuals worth $1 billion or more. The tax generates over $22 billion annually and is applied to all tangible or intangible assets within the state of California, except real property.
AB 1177 (Santiago) would create the BankCal Program to provide essential financial services and allow individuals to open a no-fee, no-penalty transaction account with an associated debit card. In addition, this bill creates the Public Banking Option Board to oversee and administer the BankCal Program.
AB 339 (Lee, C. Garcia, R. Rivas) would provide greater public access to meetings of local agencies as well as the state legislature by promoting the use of teleconference technology to allow remote participation and to increase language access for limited English proficient residents.
SB 286 (Min) would create greater participation and voter representation for local elections by requiring candidates for county nonpartisan offices to have a top-two runoff in a November General Election. Current law allows for county officials to be elected by a majority vote in Primary Elections, which have much lower voter turnout compared to General Elections and are not representative of historically disenfranchised groups of people who continue to be underrepresented in the electorate, including youth, Black, Latinx, and Asian American people.
SB 606 (Gonzalez) would ensure California’s workers are safe from egregious and flagrant violations by giving Cal/OSHA the tools and resources it needs to ensure employers are in compliance with the state’s laws. Would also ensure workers are protected from retaliation so they feel safe to come forward and report unsafe working conditions.
AB 257 (Gonzalez) would enact the FAST Recovery Act to improve standards for workers in the Fast Food Industry. This act would bring together workers, industry and government to help solve systematic problems like low wages, sexual harassment, and violence on the job.
What our members are saying:
“The disproportionate loss of life in California’s communities of color is devastating and unacceptable — and it was preventable. Systemic racism has persisted in health care access and delivery because we have failed to prioritize eliminating it. We will not allow inequities to be forgotten when the immediate threat of COVID-19 is behind us, and we will not relent from our fight for health care equity until every Californian has the opportunity to be healthy.”Nourbese Flint, Executive Director of the Black Women for Wellness Action Project
“This pandemic is a clarion call for transformation across our economic and social systems. Within the first few weeks of California’s effort to slow the virus’ spread, millions of Californians were unable to pay for rent or food – illustrating just how many Californians were living on razor thin margins even in a ‘growing’ economy. While we give attention to their most immediate needs, California must commit to support their recovery over the long haul and implement the sweeping reforms needed to deliver justice in economic opportunity, education, health care, and the environment.”Regina Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California
Looking Forward, Looking Back.
Learn about our 2019 justice victories.