In the News

May 19, 2015

Advocates for the state's poor and disabled said Governor Jerry Brown's revised budget doesn't do enough to help the state's most vulnerable.

During the recession, welfare programs in California lost about $15 billion according to Peter Woiwode of the California Partnership, a group that advocates for the state's poor.

May 19, 2015

California will have to invest millions of dollars to better protect its 63,000 foster children from the excessive use of powerful psychiatric medications in a state where prescribing physicians, caregivers and the courts have long supported the drugging of as many as 1 in 4 foster teens.

May 11, 2015

Here's a law we should not need, especially here in the Bay Area. But we do. Now. Yesterday, really, but we'll settle for now.

SB359 will require a set of objective measures like test scores and grades to determine whether students need to repeat eighth-grade math.

That's about it. Obvious, right? But thanks to groundbreaking work by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Noyce Foundation and others, we know it's not happening.

May 08, 2015

The California state Senate is advancing legislation to end the use of grand juries to investigate police shootings or cases of alleged excessive force by police.

The move comes after high-profile cases nationwide in which grand juries decided against bringing criminal charges against law enforcement officers who killed unarmed black men.

May 08, 2015

Ending poverty must be a “sustained and broad-based effort,” according to testimony this week at a state Senate hearing examining child poverty in California.

The goal of the Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality is to develop a “tangible, measurable plan to reduce if not end poverty for California’s children,” said state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), select committee chair.

May 07, 2015

Grand juries would be prohibited from investigating police shootings and cases where an individual dies from excessive force during an arrest under a bill passed Thursday by the California State Senate.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article20444133.html#storylink=cpy

May 07, 2015

The state Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would prohibit grand juries from weighing in on cases of deadly shootings or excessive force by police.

Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said her bill aims to "increase confidence of Californians in the judicial process," adding the current process is "a non-transparent process that is really antiquated and it calls into question whether the grand jury system is relevant anymore."

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-senate-grand-juries-20150507-story.html

May 03, 2015

As last week's protests in Baltimore renewed the national debate on the use of force by police, California lawmakers have been grappling with how to address the fractured relationship between law enforcement and minority communities.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-pol-police-force-legislature-20150504-story.html?track=rss

May 01, 2015

This week, a bill requiring eye exams for school-age children with the goal of identifying serious eye conditions that can affect learning sailed through the state Senate Health Committee with a unanimous 8-0 vote.

SB 402, by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would require students entering elementary school in California to have a thorough eye exam by a physician, optometrist or ophthalmologist. Repeat vision testing would be required every second year.

April 28, 2015

Law enforcement agencies have become increasingly reliant on the seizure of assets and property to finance their operations, regardless of the justification.

The Drug Policy Alliance released a report last week on asset forfeiture abuse in California. The report highlighted a handful of cities in Los Angeles County that lead the state in asset seizures per capita: Vernon, Irwindale, Beverly Hills, La Verne, South Gate, Pomona, Baldwin Park, Gardena and West Covina. Combined, the nine police departments made $43 million from asset forfeitures during fiscal years 2006-13.