2016 Legislative Priorities
Health & Human Services
SB 23 - Repeal of the Maximum Family Grant (MFG): Repeals the MFG rule for CalWORKS recipients that denies aid to infants born into poverty. This bill is supported by a coalition of over 100 organizations which have identified this bill as one of the leading ways to reduce child poverty in California.
SB 316 - Caseload Caps for Dependency Court Lawyers: Puts a cap on the number of foster child or non-minor clients a dependency lawyer can have at one time. A 2008 Judicial Council report recommended that dependency lawyers should handle not more than 188 foster youth cases per lawyer in order to best safeguard the well-being of the children they represent. In Los Angeles County, lawyers represent up to 300 children per lawyer, which is both unacceptable and unsafe.
SB 1201 – Placement of Foster Children: This bill seeks to better align California’s requirements for foster parents with those of the Federal government to ensure that willing and appropriate homes for foster children are not excluded from the fostering pool due to past and minor brushes with the law.
SB 1380 – “Housing First” model for homeless services: Mandates that California adopt a “housing first” model in order to most effectively treat the causes of homelessness. This model has a proven track record of success in other states as it recognizes that underlying issues such as substance abuse or mental illness can not be effectively treated unless the affected person is adequately housed.
SB 443 – Asset Forfeiture: prohibits law enforcement from transferring seized drug assets to federal authorities for forfeiture unless a court finds that the federal forfeiture is necessary or appropriate. I have been shocked by intensive reporting of cases where assets have been seized with no due process leaving an innocent person or family with essentially no recourse or ability to recover their seized assets. There has been nationwide, bipartisan call for civil asset forfeiture reform and I am proud to heed the call in California.
SB 941 – Ending the Assessment of Administrative Fees against Youth: Will allow judges to protect minor witnesses from traumatic courtroom experiences by allowing the minor witness to testify in a court proceeding via a closed circuit television. There is no reason to re-victimize a child by forcing them to confront a person who has traumatized them in the process of committing a violent crime against another person.
SB 966 – Eliminating retroactive drug sentence enhancements: This bill prohibits the practice of assigning additional sentence enhancements to past drug offenses based on current offenses. These enhancements- especially those on non-violent drug offenses- have resulted in families being torn apart and in a swollen, an unsustainable, prison population.
SB 1322 - Decriminalization of Prostitution for Minors:This legislation addresses “childhood prostitution” as what it is; statutory rape of a child victim. Children are legally not able to consent to sex and, as such, should not be prosecuted as criminals. SB 1322 will ensure children picked up for prostitution are treated by the dependency court system as opposed to the criminal justice system and are offered services for victims of human trafficking.
SB 1001 - Document Abuse for Low Wage Workers: Ensures employers in the California follow federal law in order to protect undocumented and law wage workers from “document abuse” which is when employers refuse to accept federally required documentation to work.
SB 1034 – Autism services: Ensures that health plans adequately cover services for those who suffer from autism and spectrum disorders.
SB 1090 – Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Seeks to better identify geographical “hot spots” where STDs are spreading at alarming rates in order to better direct resources for treatment.