In the News

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.


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.

April 23, 2015

Calling for students entering elementary school to get comprehensive eye exams by a physician, optometrist or ophthalmologist, Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) successfully made the case to the Senate Education Committee that schools and parents should know before reading instruction begins in first grade if a child has visual challenges: her bill to do that, SB 402, has been approved by the panel and continues forward toward enactment as law.


April 22, 2015

A handful of small Los Angeles County cities seize large amounts of cash and cars using a controversial federal law that allows them to confiscate property even when owners aren’t charged with a crime, according to a report published by an advocacy group that promotes decriminalization of drugs.


April 21, 2015

Between 2006 and 2013, Pomona reaped more than $14 million from confiscated property – more than the cities of Long Beach, Fresno and Oakland combined.

That’s according to the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that promotes decriminalizing drugs. The Alliance has a new report that says a handful of L.A. County cities are abusing a federal law known as civil asset forfeiture.


April 13, 2015

All kids deserve an equal chance to succeed. Unfortunately, many achieving African-American and Latino students in California schools are being unfairly denied advancement to the mathematics courses critical to their educational and career success. Despite earning the grades and assessment test scores that show promise of their ability to benefit from instruction in higher math, too many are not getting into the classes they need and can handle.

March 18, 2015

“The fact that the term ‘lynching’ appears in California Penal Code in a manner contrary to what most citizens would define it is not just an anomaly; it is a racially loaded term that evokes strong reactions,” Mitchell said Tuesday in a statement to The Bee. “The current ‘lynching’ definition in code is an affront to the estimated 3,500 African Americans and 1,300 whites who were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1962 as a means to threaten and intimidate African Americans from exercising their freedoms and their right to vote.”


February 25, 2015

National protests against police brutality following the non-indictments of police officers after fatal encounters with unarmed men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City continue to reverberate in many different ways. In California, the Legislature will soon consider SB227, a bill that would eliminate the use of criminal grand juries in cases of officer-involved shootings or excessive force by police officers that lead to the death of suspects.

SB227 is authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. Mitchell says she’s concerned about how the secrecy of the grand jury process can fuel community distrust of law enforcement.


February 22, 2015

The law passed two decades ago, with Democrats in charge of the Legislature: In California, a family that conceives and births an additional child while on welfare is barred from getting an increase in its grant.

Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles, in her third attempt at abolishing the law, says it was based on the pejorative concept of the “welfare queen,” a woman who has babies while on welfare to collect more cash assistance. Instead of discouraging welfare recipients from having children, she said, it helped the state achieve the “dubious honor” of having the nation’s highest child poverty rate.