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Press Release

Progressive Organizations Outline Sweeping Agenda for California’s Equitable Recovery from COVID-19 Pandemic

For Immediate Release, March 23, 2021

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, jenna@paschalroth.com

SACRAMENTO, CA– The Building the California Dream Alliance, a broad coalition of more than 55 progressive organizations, today unveiled a sweeping set of policy proposals aimed at ensuring an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for Californians. The agenda aims to eliminate deep-seeded inequities laid bare over the past year in areas such as education, health care, housing, criminal justice, and the environment.

“Decades of systemic inequality and racism culminated this year in a devastating death toll, relentless suffering and trauma in communities of color,” said Victoria Dominquez, on behalf of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California. “Californians who were already struggling to pay rent or buy food a year ago have now endured months without paychecks, and have grappled with fear of eviction, hunger, despair and incalculable loss. Enough is enough – it’s clear we must reshape our economic system and eradicate race and gender-based violence in policies and social structures. We demand better than a state that lets children fall into poverty and widens learning gaps while billionaires and corporations accumulate greater and greater wealth and power.”

Each year the coalition outlines an ambitious agenda to uplift families, empower workers and communities, and expand opportunities for all Californians to take part in the California Dream. This year’s coalition agenda is especially important as California looks to rebuild after a year that laid bare how unacceptable structural racism, reinforced by economic and environmental injustice, have resulted in COVID-19’s staggering death toll for people of color. The agenda laid out by the Building the California Dream Alliance contains:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE
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.

GENDER EQUITY
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 1132 (Wood) would strengthen and extend the oversight of the California Attorney General and Department of Managed Health Care on health care mergers, acquisitions and other transactions, and also prohibits certain anti-competitive contracting clauses, which will help tamp down on this harmful trend that has only gained steam during the pandemic.

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 1199 (Gipson) would establish a registry of corporate landlords in the state to allow for transparency and accountability. In addition, this bill would impose an excise tax on larger landlords with the revenue funding rental relief, housing counseling, and legal services that keep people in their home.

AB 15 (Chiu) would strengthen the existing eviction moratorium by closing some of the loopholes that still leave many tenants vulnerable to eviction. In addition, this bill would increase funding and access to relief funds to ensure all tenants affected by the COVID-19 crisis do not face a permanent debt burden.

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.

RACIAL JUSTICE
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.

FINANCIAL SECURITY
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.

DEMOCRACY
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.

WORKER RIGHTS
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.

ABOUT THE BUILDING THE CALIFORNIA DREAM ALLIANCE:

We are united in our commitment to the equal worth and dignity of every Californian, inclusive of race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, health status, or age.

Together, we will fight for our communities – for broadly shared prosperity and economic security, educational and job opportunities, a clean environment and a healthy planet, quality and comprehensive healthcare for all, reproductive rights, responsive and democratic government, a strong safety net and justice for all.

California must do a better job of putting our communities and people first – ahead of profit or political gain, and we are working together in order to realize that goal.

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The Building the California Dream Alliance includes: ACCE, Advancement Project, American Civil Liberties Union of CA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Women for Wellness, Breast The Building the California Dream Alliance includes: ACCE, Advancement Project, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, American Civil Liberties Union of CA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-CA, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Women for Wellness, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, California Attorneys For Criminal Justice (CACJ), California Calls, California Donor Table, California Low Income Consumers Coalition, California Domestic Workers Coalition, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Food & Farming Network , California Labor Federation, California Immigrant Policy Center, California League of Conservation Voters, California NOW, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Responsible Lending, Child Care Law Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Consumer Attorneys of California, Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA), Courage California, Disability Rights California, Drug Policy Alliance, Earth Justice, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Environment California, Equality California, Equal Rights Advocates, Friends Committee on Legislation of California, Health Access, Latino Coalition For A Healthy California, Lutheran Office of Public Policy, MALDEF, Mujeres Unidas, NARAL Pro-Choice California, NextGen California, Patriotic Millionaires, PICO California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA, PolicyLink, Power California, Public Advocates, SEIU California, Sierra Club California, Smart Justice, UFCW, Voices for Progress, Young Invincibles, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Worker-Owned Recovery California CoalitionCancer Prevention Partners, California Attorneys For Criminal Justice (CACJ, California Calls, California Donor Table,  California Low Income Consumers Coalition, California Domestic Workers Coalition, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Food & Farming Network , California Labor Federation, California Immigrant Policy Center, California League of Conservation Voters, California NOW, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Responsible Lending, Child Care Law Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Consumer Attorneys of California, Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA), Courage California, Disability Rights California, Drug Policy Alliance, Earth Justice , Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Environment California, Equality California, Equal Rights Advocates, Friends Committee on Legislation of California , Health Access, Latino Coalition For A Healthy California , Lutheran office of Public Policy, MALDEF, Mujeres Unidas, NARAL Pro-Choice California, NextGen California , PICO California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA, PolicyLink, Power California, Public Advocates, SEIU California, Sierra Club California, Smart Justice, UFCW, Voices for Progress, Young Invincibles, Western Center on Law & Poverty