The California Legislative Black Caucus was formed in 1967 when African American members of the California Legislature joined together to address the legislative concerns of African Americans and other citizens of color. The members believed that a caucus representing concerns of the African American community in the California Legislature would provide political influence and visibility far beyond their numbers. Today, there are 11 members of the California Legislative Black Caucus.
Throughout its history, the CLBC has been instrumental in crafting and supporting legislation designed to promote racial and gender equality as well as justice for the poor and other disenfranchised groups. The CLBC:
- Serves as the conscience of legislative and ballot measures that seek to dismantle programs that are beneficial to African Americans and other groups of color.
- Seeks to increase African American participation in all levels of government.
Significant measures include:
Health Care Access
- The establishment of Drew University Medical School. (Dymally)
- Provides smokers with the tools necessary to fight their addiction to tobacco products by mandating Medi-Cal coverage to clinically proven treatments. (Holden)
- Required the California Health and Human Services Agency to coordinate with the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Social Services to facilitate the receipt of medically necessary specialty mental health services for foster youth. (Ridley-Thomas)
- Clarified and strengthened existing state requirements for HIV/AIDS prevention education and comprehensive sexual health education to ensure that students are getting the information and skills-building opportunities they need to live healthy lives and succeed in school. (Weber)
- Required licensed clinics that provide family planning or pregnancy-related services to provide a notice to consumers regarding their reproductive rights. (Burke)
- Created the Direct Access to Reproductive Health Care Act which prohibits health care service plans or health insurance policies from requiring an enrollee or insured to receive a referral before receiving coverage of services for reproductive or sexual health care. (Burke)
- Provided inmates who menstruate with improved access to birth control. (Mitchell)
- Established the Fair Housing Act of 1963. (Rumford)
- Passage of laws prohibiting the practice of “red-lining” home loans. Rumford
- Qualified developers for Multiple Density Bonus if they allotted 10% of housing units for former foster youth, disabled veterans, and/or formerly homeless individuals (Holden)
- Required electrical and gas corporations to develop and implement a program of rate assistance to eligible food banks, subject to discretion and supervision by the California Public Utilities Commission. (Bradford)
- Increased the Coastal Commission membership who are required to work directly with communities in the state that are most burdened by, and vulnerable to, high levels of pollution and issues of environmental justice. (Burke)Required the Strategic Growth Council to award competitive grants for the development and implementation of neighborhood-level transformative climate community plans that include greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects that provide local economic, environmental, and health benefits to disadvantaged communities. (Burke)
- Updated substandard housing conditions to include visible or otherwise demonstrable mold growth. (Mitchell)
- Passage of legislation addressing domestic violence and programs offering support for poor women with children.
- Increased the rate poor defendants receive in credit towards fines when they are unable to pay. (Thurmond)
- Required school districts better define within their school safety plans the role of police on campus. Required school and school districts to prioritize campus safety funding for intervention workers, counselors, and other supportive mental health service providers. (Jones-Sawyer)
- Allowed individuals who were sentenced to local supervision under realignment, to be served in a Work Furlough Program if the person is deemed suitable by the Work Furlough Administrator. (Jones-Sawyer)
- Prohibits the juvenile court from ordering the commitment or placement of a minor adjudged a ward of the court, as specified, in a juvenile home, ranch, camp, or forestry camp outside of the state unless the court makes a determination. (Ridley-Thomas)
- Provided that in discretion of a court can determine that a defendant who has been convicted of a misdemeanor and not granted probation or an infraction should be granted expungement relief after the lapse of one year from the date of pronouncement of the judgment. (Bradford)
- Made the transportation of specified controlled substances a felony only if the individual transporting the controlled substance also has the intent to sell. (Bradford)
- Improved the transparency and efficiency of the CalGang database. (Weber)
- Declared that the purpose of sentencing is public safety achieved through punishment, rehabilitation and restorative justice; encouraged the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide educational, restorative justice, and rehabilitative programs for all eligible inmates. (Weber)
- Eliminated the time period for individuals to petition for resentencing of specified felonies pursuant to Proposition 47 of 2014. (Weber)
- Created a defense for human trafficking victims to use when arrested for non-violent offenses directly related to trafficking that their traffickers coerced them to commit. (Weber)
- Allowed a victim, next of kin, or victim's attorney to obtain a copy of the packet prepared by the parole board for purposes of a parole-suitability hearing. (Gipson)
- Authorized sheriffs to award a prisoner program credit reduction from an inmate's term of confinement for the successful completion of performance objectives for approved rehabilitative programming. (Mitchell)
- Provided that the penalty for possession for sale of cocaine base be the same as that for possession for sale of cocaine powder cocaine. (Mitchell)
- Created uniformity in California’s drug-related asset forfeiture law to ensure a more concrete connection between the forfeited property and criminal activity.
- Established a Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1959
- Eliminated References to race and religion on employment applications
- Discontinued segregation in the National Guard
- Establishment of January 15th as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday in California
- Increased statute of limitations to 10 years allowing victims of human rights abuse to file a claim (Holden)
- Permitted a special district to change the method of electing its governing board members from at-large to a by-district method of election without receiving voter approval. (Ridley-Thomas)
- Prohibited "consumer racial profiling," defined as the targeting of a person that results in differential treatment of a consumer based on race or ethnicity, and gives the Department of Fair Employment and Housing authority to receive consumer complaints and investigate and prosecute violations. (Ridley-Thomas)
- Authorized individuals to seek appropriate equitable and declaratory relief to eliminate a pattern or practice of interference, or attempted interference, with the exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by the laws or Constitution of the United States or of the State of California. (Bradford)
- Eliminated the harmful and unjust practice of racial and identity profiling and improved public safety and police-community relations. Promoted equal protection and prevents unreasonable searches and seizures. (Weber)
- Required the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide voting rights information for parolees informing them of their voting rights. (Weber)
- Required each county probation department to either establish and maintain on the county probation department’s website a hyperlink to the Secretary of State’s voting rights guide for incarcerated persons. (Weber)
- Clarified existing California law on voter eligibility and guarantees a more inclusive and participatory electorate. (Weber)
- Prohibited contract provisions that require a person waive their rights under the state’s civil rights laws as a condition of the contract. (Weber)
- Allowed a court to inform a jury when a prosecutor breaks the law and intentionally conceals evidence that may prove the innocence of a defendant. (Weber)
- Provided for the erection of a bust of the former Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Mervyn Dymally. (Gipson)
- Required employers to inform each employee of his or her rights established under current law protecting employees affected by domestic violence. (Burke)Clarified requirements pertaining to CalFresh applications submitted by unaccompanied homeless children and youth. (Mitchell)
- Divestment of California financial interests in companies doing business in South Africa.
- Minority Business Enterprise/Women’s Business Enterprise Statute, which sets aside a certain percentage of government contracts for businesses owned by women and people of color.
- Encouraged cable television corporations and direct broadcast satellite providers to voluntarily adopt a plan for increasing women, minority, and disabled veteran business enterprise procurement and to voluntarily report activity in this area to the Legislature on an annual basis. (Bradford)
- Ensured low-income communities will have equal access to the technologies and the jobs from California’s solar power investments through SASH and MASH programs. (Bradford)
- Eliminated the overlapping penalty for truancy assessed against CalWORKs recipient families.
- Required state agencies, when hiring for internships and student assistant positions, to give preference to homeless youth and formerly incarcerated youth. (Gipson)
- Required pre-apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades to include a plan for outreach, recruitment, and retention of women. (Burke)
- Creation of Commission on the Status of African American Males.
- Establishment of the Center for African American Educational Excellence and Achievement, California Museum of Afro-American History and Culture, Institute on the Preservation of Jazz as an Art Form, Youth Service Bureaus, and other mentor and Entrepreneur programs for youth.
- Authorization of bond money for school construction.
- Ensured the School Board of Education considers including instruction on the election of Pres. Barack Obama and its significance in history-social science curriculum. (Holden)
- Allotted $28 million dollars in school grants for early intervention truancy prevention and reducing dropout rates for students who are victims of crimes. (Thurmond)
- Increased the rate poor defendants receive in credit towards fines when they are unable to pay. (Thurmond)
- Fully funded for the first time the Chafee grant program and limits out predatory institutions. (Thurmond)
- Required school districts to establish and adopt policies and procedures for governing the identification, placement and intake procedures for pupils who voluntarily enroll in continuation schools. (Jones-Sawyer)
- Prohibited school districts from assigning any pupil to a course period without educational content and create a system for providing technical assistance and support for districts that are relying on such courses. (Jones-Sawyer)
- Required state universities and colleges to participate in their county’s CalFresh Restaurant Meal program; improved access to funds supporting CalFresh outreach on campus. (Weber)
- Required school districts which offer kindergarten to implement a full-day kindergarten program. (Weber)
- Aligned the definition of foster youth in the Foster Youth Services program to match the definition of foster youth in LCFF granting all students in foster care the academic support they need. (Weber)
- Provided an exemption to certain Cal Grant requirements and improves their financial sustainability by ensuring they are able to draw down Cal Grant dollars for students on their campus. (Gipson)
- Enacted the California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015 (Mitchell)