Governor Brown Signs Legislation Supporting Black Californians
Sacramento – The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), led by Chairman, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), celebrated their successes in priority and endorsed legislation over the 2017-18 legislative session.
“Overall, it was a very successful year on the legislative front moving the Caucus’ educational, economic, and social justice agenda forward,” Assemblymember Chris Holden. “Although, there were some bills that will need to be reintroduced next year, my commitment is unwavering in leading our efforts to improve the quality of life for African-Americans in the great state of California,” said Chair Holden.
The CLBC is committed to advancing the economy, social justice and education for Black Californians in the next legislative session beginning January 1, 2019, when all bills signed this year will go into effect.
CLBC endorsed legislation signed into law include:
- Senate Bill 439 by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D – Los Angeles) which excludes children under 12 years old from prosecution in juvenile court. This new law will protect young children from the negative impacts of formal justice system involvement, promote their rights, health, and well-being through alternative child-serving systems. “The stats tell us that those who go through the system … often were not referred to the child-centered supports that they needed to heal and be well,” said Sen. Mitchell.
- Assembly Bill 1892 by Asm. Jones-Sawyer (D – Los Angeles) requires that DSS provides counties with guidance on how to cover a portion of the cost of home internet and phone service. This measure does not impose any new mandates on counties, but it does require that counties are provided the tools to help individuals afford internet or home phone services. “AB 1892 would provide guidance to counties to cover the cost of home internet and phone service, and increase the number of people counties can serve through employment social enterprises, including serving the formerly incarcerated. As more jobs and state services begin to require, or encourage online applications, it’s important we help people afford home internet and give them the tools they need to succeed” said Asm. Jones - Sawyer.
- Assembly Bill 2289 championed by Dr. Shirley N. Weber (D–San Diego), Vice Chair of the CLBC, establishes accommodations for pregnant or parenting students, including the right to take eight weeks of parental leave. The measure also provides accommodations to ensure pregnant and parenting pupils remain on track with academic requirements. “It’s time to uphold young parents’ rights to education and their right to parent their children. When young parents thrive, so do their families and our communities,” Weber said.
- Assembly Bill 2550, another CLBC supported bill authored by Weber and signed by the Governor, prohibits male correctional officers from pat-down searches of female inmates or entering into areas where these women are undressed. “AB 2550 seeks to improve the treatment of women who are incarcerated and reduce potential trauma by creating policies that enforce gender-specific practices and ensure the privacy and dignity of female inmates,” Weber said.
- Assembly Bill 2918 by Assemblymember Holden requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to include, within the handbook, information regarding a person’s civil rights during a traffic stop, including the right to file a complaint against a peace officer. “The Driver’s Handbook includes suggestions on how to conduct one’s self during a stop, but stops short of stating the rights of the driver. Being informed of these rights are critical in situations that can quickly go from calm to worse,” said Asm. Holden.
Despite relentless efforts to reform police enforcement policies, the CLBC did not see the victory it hoped for with the California's Police Accountability and Protection Act (AB-931 Weber). The CLBC will pursue policy reforms on this issue in the upcoming year. “It is imperative that we remain resilient,” continued Holden. “The Caucus will carry on its legacy of advocacy until all of our objectives have been met and will continue to promote the needs, desires, and priorities of Black Californians. We will ensure that is reflected in the legislation coming out of the statehouse.”