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Insights: Legislative Session Ends; Vital Bills Await Fate

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September 7, 2018

End-of-Session Legislative Report

The two-year legislative session officially ended at midnight on August 31. More than 200 bills were considered on that last day and hundreds more during that week. Those bills that made it past both houses now sit on the Governor’s desk until he either signs or vetoes each measure.

The CCC is closely monitoring the Governor’s actions, and you can expect to see a variety of alerts from the Catholic Legislative Network to urge either a signature or veto. The Governor has 30 days to act on any bill that is sent to him.

 

Reverence for Life, Family Bills

Sadly, SB 320 (Leyva, D-Chino) now sits on Gov. Brown’s desk. SB 320 mandates that all public universities in the state provide chemical abortion drugs in their on-campus student health centers. The CCC has challenged this bill for nearly two years now, and it will be of vital importance that the Governor hears from Catholics far and wide to urge a veto.

AB 2289 (Weber, D-San Diego) would establish a state-wide family and sick leave policy for young parents that: 1) grants parental leave of at least eight weeks to a student who is a parent or is soon to be a parent, 2) grants a parenting student four excused absences per school year to care for a sick child, and 3) notifies a pregnant or parenting student of their educational rights and options.

In an unexpected, but welcomed move, the author of AB 2943 (Low, D-Campbell) pulled his bill that would have prohibited mental health providers from performing sexual-orientation change efforts.  The bill went beyond the original intent and purpose of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and impermissibly abridged expressions that are protected by the California and U.S. Constitutions.  Assemblyman Low vowed to work with more groups to refine his bill in the future.

Watch for upcoming Action Alerts, where appropriate, on these bills.  View a list of all the Life and Family bills on our website.

 

Important Education and Environmental Bills Await Signature

This legislative session saw an abundance of important education bills. The number of underprepared teachers working in California’s classrooms has more than doubled in just three years.  As a top education priority, the CCC advocated several measures to strengthen our statewide K-12 teaching force for all students – especially those most in need.

AB 2285 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) will recruit more out-of-state teachers in high-demand subjects. This was passed and signed into law earlier this year.

SB 577 (Dodd, D-Napa) will allow community colleges to offer teacher credentialing programs for those areas with low college-going rates or limited access to teacher credentialing.  AB 2547 (McCarty, D-Sacramento) will train and mentor beginning educators through creative teacher residency programs that equip them to stay in the profession.  Both of these bills are awaiting signature by the Governor.

Another bill, SB 1214 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge), would have provided teachers with a $2,500 deduction for required fees they pay out of their own pockets to complete their credential.  Such creative tax policy was aimed to empower all new teachers who are now actively educating our state’s public and private school students – as well as those who may not be teaching right now, but will join or return to the classroom in the future.  This bill was co-sponsored by the CCC and the California Federation of Teachers.  SB 1214 passed the full Senate and Assembly policy committee on unanimous, bipartisan votes but was held because it was not included in the final budget.  Senator Portantino will make a budget ask of this measure in the next Legislative Session.

It is essential to educate children both at home as well as at school to respect the life and dignity of all persons.  The CCC supports SB 972 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge), which would require that all student identification cards are imprinted with a suicide hotline.  This will give students contemplating suicide, and other students who know classmates that may be doing so, an immediate access to vital supports necessary to cherish their life.  AB 1868 (Cunningham, R-Templeton) will enable students to be educated in the curriculum under the Healthy Youth Act on the dangers of messaging sexually explicit materials through cell phones, social networking sites, computer networks, or other digital media.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery.  The CCC supports two measures that will unite entire school communities with a common awareness of how to identify indicators that children are being groomed for such enslavement and how to prevent it.  AB 1861 (Rodriquez, D-Pomona) and SB 1104 (Roth, D-Riverside) will provide students and parents together with vital information, training and education on ways to combat the horror of labor and sexual exploitation. The CCC is hopeful the Governor will sign both of these bills.

Pope Francis reminds us that we are an interdependent world, one people, living in a common home. Climate change represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity, with its worst impact felt by our poorest communities and developing countries worldwide in the coming decades.  The CCC continues to support SB 100 (de León, D-Los Angeles) that can drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  This establishes a new state policy that all electricity must come from renewable and zero-carbon resources by 2045.  SB 100 would quantifiably reduce the emissions harmful to our planet and the health of our communities, especially for our most vulnerable Californians. The CCC is supporting this bill and looking to urge the Governor to sign it.

To see all other education and environmental bills that the CCC tracked, visit the Education or Care for our Common Home pages of the CCC website.

 

Funding for Immigration but Challenges Remain

AB 1862 (Santiago, D-Los Angeles and Carrillo, D-Los Angeles) would have appropriated $10 million to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide immigration services to current or former recipients of the federal Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program that President Trump ended earlier this year. The funding was rolled into the budget earlier this year so the bill became unnecessary.

The CCC is disappointed to report that SB 638 (Caballero – D, Salinas) did not reach the Governor’s desk. This bill will would have made it unlawful for a person to represent others in immigration matters unless that person is authorized to practice law in this state or authorized to represent others in federal immigration matters.

There have been numerous complaints of individuals taking advantage of immigrants facing legal matters. These “consultants” are making errors on federal applications, causing deportation without any recourse to correct them. In some cases, they ask for payment and do not deliver services.

This bill failed on the Senate floor, accruing only 13 aye votes and 17 no votes, with 10 senators abstaining. Votes in this case varied and did not follow party lines. It is unknown at this time if the bill will be reintroduced during the next session.

For all immigration-related bills, visit the Immigration section of the CCC’s website.

 

Economic and Restorative Justice Bills on the Table

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.

Find out more about these bills by visiting the CCC Restorative Justice and Human Dignity pages to learn more about these and other related bills. 

                                                                                                          

September 7, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 28

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