In the News

October 01, 2014

Whatever you think the real reason behind the sudden appearance of crack cocaine in inner-city America in the 1980s may be, the effect has been indisputable: African-Americans are more frequently hauled off to jail for nonviolent felonies and their neighborhoods turned into economically moribund war zones.

Source: http://www.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2014/09/30/california-does-away-with-wack-crack-laws

October 01, 2014

Minority students in some San Mateo and Santa Clara County school districts were asked to repeat Algebra 1 when they entered high school even though the students passed the class in 8th grade, according to a report.

Source: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Minority-Students-Held-Back-in-Math-Report-277700331.html

September 30, 2014

California has just removed a significant barrier to employment for people with criminal records. Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that eliminates a discriminatory policy in the healthcare industry that barred people with certain past convictions — including for non-violent offenses — from getting certified nursing assistant (CNA) licenses. The practice of automatically denying CNA licenses to people with criminal records was particularly harmful to low-income women who had past run-ins with the law — blocking them from accessing stable, living-wage jobs for which they would otherwise be qualified.

Source: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2014/09/30/new-california-law-will-open-up-job-opportunities-to-people-with-criminal-records

September 30, 2014

California has enacted legislation that will eliminate sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine possession convictions, a disparity that critics contended placed a disproportionate burden on minorities and amounted to racial discrimination in the state’s prison system.

Source: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/9/29/california-drug-sentencing.html

September 30, 2014

California lawmakers finally reformed a drug sentencing law that critics throughout the country long denounced as racist.  The California Fair Sentencing Act, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) late on Sunday evening, ensures that people who are convicted of certain offenses involving crack cocaine will no longer receive harsher punishments than people found guilty of the same crimes involving the powder form of the drug.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/29/california-fair-sentencing-act_n_5902772.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

September 30, 2014

California is one of the top spots in the nation for human trafficking, according to the U.S. State Department. By signing a package of bills aimed at improving prosecution and increasing victim protection, Gov. Jerry Brown has made a strong statement: California isn’t going to let matters get even worse.

Source: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/California-s-new-laws-to-fight-human-trafficking-5789115.php

September 29, 2014

Used to be that being successfully prosecuted for holding a decent quantity of crack could put you behind bars for up to five years. No longer. California Gov. Jerry Brown last night signed a bill that will make possession of crack and possession of powder cocaine for sale the same crime, both worth two to four years in state prison.

Source: http://www.laweekly.com/informer/2014/09/29/powder-cocaine-dealers-are-no-longer-special-under-the-law-sorry

September 29, 2014

With California ranked as one of the states with the worst problems of human trafficking, Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a raft of seven bills aimed at improving prosecution of the crime, whose victims are often forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and sweatshop labor.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-gov-browns-signs-laws-to-crack-down-on-human-trafficking-20140928-story.html

September 29, 2014

Brown also signed legislation reducing the penalty for possession for sale of crack cocaine to eliminate sentencing disparities in California law between crack and powder cocaine.  Senate Bill 1010, by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, erases a distinction advocates called racially charged. Existing law calls for three to five years of incarceration for violators caught intending to sell crack cocaine, but two to four years for powder.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/28/6743629/jerry-brown-signs-affirmative.html

September 28, 2014

Health insurance policies in California will have to cover all federally approved contraceptives for women by 2016 without charging co-payments under legislation signed this week by Gov. Jerry Brown, countering trends in other states and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/California-to-expand-contraceptive-coverage-5783383.php