Sacramento (CA) – Fifteen measures endorsed by the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) are making their way to the next house. These bills represent the commitment from the Caucus to advance Black Californians through social, economic, and educational justice. Two top priority bills include AB 1488, Sickle Cell Treatment Act, by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (AD-15) and AB 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act of 2017 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (AD-62) passed to the Senate with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans without a single “No” vote.
“The CLBC is proud to have a transformative legislative package that solidifies our commitment to the Black communities we represent,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden (AD-41), Chair of the CLBC.
Passage of the remainder of the Caucus’s Assembly bills was no small feat. Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber (AD-79) fought hard for the Fair and Accurate Gang Database Act of 2017 (AB 90) in a 42-36 victory. Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s (AD-7) “Ban the Box” legislation, which eliminates employment discrimination based on prior criminal history (AB 1008), also passed to the Senate in a 41-33 vote. Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (AD-59) pulled a victory (41-28) with AB 1115, which would make convictions for realigned felony offenses eligible for expungement.
Hard won victories are no stranger to the Senate either. In a 22-13 vote, Senator Holly J. Mitchell (SD-30) championed Senate Bill 180 which would repeal the current enhancement for specified drug offenses resulting in decreased jail time for offenders.
According to Sen. Mitchell, “Sentencing enhancements do not prevent or reduce drug sales, but do have destabilizing effects on families and communities.”
The remainder of the CLBC bills can be found on the Caucus website.
AB 90 shifts responsibilities for shared gang databases from the CalGang Executive Board to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and sets policies, procedures, and oversight for the future use of the CalGang database.
AB 1008 places conditions on when an employer can inquire about a job applicant's criminal history or use that applicant's criminal history as a factor in denying employment.
AB 1115 allows defendants sentenced to prison for a felony that, if committed after enactment of Criminal Justice Realignment legislation in 2011, would have been eligible for county-jail sentencing to obtain an expungement.
SB 180 repeals the three-year sentence enhancement for each of a defendant’s prior convictions for the above listed drug offenses where the defendant is convicted in the current case of one of a number of specified drug offenses, except in cases where the person was convicted of using a minor to commit the prior offense.