California is a common destination for both labor and sex trafficking due to its large economy, immigrant communities and the location on the border. There were a number of bills this year that made it to the Governor’s desk that continues to create awareness around this intolerable crime.
AB 900 (Gonzalez-Fletcher, D-San Diego) would expand human trafficking victims’ eligibility to receive compensation for economic losses incurred as a direct result of being trafficked. AB 2992 (Daly, D-Anaheim) would require peace officers to develop and implement a training course on commercially exploited children and victims of human trafficking. AB 2034 (Kalra, D-San Jose) would require specified businesses that operate an intercity passenger rail, light rail or bus station, to provide training to new and existing employees who may interact with a victim of human trafficking.
SB 970 (Atkins, D-San Diego) would amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to require specified employers to provide at least 20 minutes of training and education regarding human trafficking awareness.
Regarding restorative justice legislation, California voters have made a clear and evident cultural shift away from prioritizing incarceration over community investment. The passage of Prop. 47, Prop. 57 and AB 109 demonstrates this shift. The legislature continues to lay out steps to divest from expensive and ineffective policies of mass incarceration and instead invest in our communities. The following bills are on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature:
SB 1050 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens) would provide critical services to exonerated people upon their release, including access to Medi-Cal, CalFresh, work training programs and gate money. This bill would also require the Department of Justice to update their database immediately to reflect a wrongful conviction. SB 1393 (Mitchell, D-Los Angeles) would remove the five-year automatic sentence enhancement for people with prior serious felony conviction, restoring the court’s decision in the interest of justice. SB 1437 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) seeks to restore proportional responsibility in the application of California’s murder rule and reserving the harshest punishments for those who intentionally plan or actually commit murder.
SB 1391 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens) would prevent juveniles ages 14 and 15 years-old from entering the adult criminal system and keep them in the juvenile system. The CCC has strongly supported this bill and will encourage the Governor to take this important step and sign the bill. Keep watch for an alert to help assist in making this important proposal a reality.
As for building a just economy that works for all and encompasses a wide range of issues including food security, work, homelessness and affordable housing, as well as programs that serve the poor and vulnerable people, some CCC supported bills made it to the Governor while others failed.
Unfortunately, both AB 2269 (Lackey, R-Lakeside) and AB 2701 (Rubio, D-Baldwin Park) died in committees. AB 2269 would have expanded the CalWorks age eligibility to 20 for persons working toward a degree, while AB 2701 would have required the Victims Compensation Board to administer a program to evaluate applications and award grants to school-based trauma recovery centers. AB 2269 was one of the CCC priority Advocacy Day bills and the author has vowed to bring it back next year.
Conversely, AB 1892 (Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles) would extend CalFresh Employment and Training programs to a broader group of CalFresh recipients. AB 1921 (Maienschein, R-San Diego) would remove the consecutive day requirement for temporary housing assistance and allow CalWORKs recipients to use permanent housing assistance payment towards shared housing. These are both awaiting action by the Governor.
SB 982 (Mitchell, D-Los Angeles) would have increased the CalWORKs grant to prevent childhood deep poverty and add an inflation adjustor to ensure grants are responsive to the increases in the cost-of-living. This bill was partially funded through the 2018-19 Budget Act.