In the News

October 07, 2015

Creating sweeping new protections for tens of thousands of California's most traumatized children, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the nation's most comprehensive set of laws to curb the overprescribing of psychiatric drugs in foster care.  "The 'Drugging Our Kids' documentary put the state on notice," Mitchell said, "and Gov. Brown has now put the tools in our hands to ensure that foster kids in our care are not over-drugged for profit or convenience by those we pay to nurture and protect them."  Child welfare advocates cheered the long-awaited reforms inspired by this newspaper's ongoing investigation "Drugging Our Kids," which found almost 1 in 4 California foster teens receive psych medications.

October 05, 2015

A measure to protect students from being placed in less challenging mathematics classes – even though they meet the academic requirements for more challenging courses – was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 359 authored by Senator Holly J. Mitchell will take effect Jan. 1, 2016, and requires public school districts to develop and adhere to performance and assessment-based standards for assigning youths to math courses by the start of the 2016-17 school year.

September 16, 2015

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met recently with tech company leaders in the Silicon Valley to discuss workforce diversity. The caucus is seeking solutions to increase African American representation and employment in the tech sector by 2020.

With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown can take a major step forward and set the stage to increase diversity in the workforce. By signing Senate Bill 359 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, the governor can stop math misplacement – a disturbing practice that holds back many African American and other minority students from advancing in math.


September 14, 2015

Last Thursday, the Sisyphean boulder of property rights and due process rolled downhill. SB 443, California’s attempt to summarily end civil-asset forfeiture and “equitable sharing” abuse, roundly failed passage in the State Assembly, 24 to 44.

Oddly enough, this was after a 31-to-1 vote in the Senate three months earlier. The only change to come about during the interim was the emergence of organized resistance on behalf of law enforcement and district attorneys.


August 24, 2015

One of the markers of the nation's anti-drug frenzy in the 1980s was a sharp increase in civil asset forfeitures, in which law enforcement agencies seize the cash, cars and other property that they claim are used in the commission of crimes. They are able to target and penalize a suspected drug dealer, for example, even when they can't win a criminal conviction.

They would be curbed by SB 443, a bill sponsored in the Legislature by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). It would require the return of property seized even in partnership with a federal agency, unless there is a criminal conviction. And even if there is a conviction, the money would have to be distributed more widely and not be simply divvied up among the cops and prosecutors, the locals and the feds.


August 22, 2015

Civil asset forfeiture has become particularly lucrative for some jurisdictions, with the Southern California cities of Pomona, Baldwin Park, Beverly Hills and South Gate acquiring more property than California's largest cities.

To address this growing problem, Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, introduced Senate Bill 443 with Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, and Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, as co-authors. The bipartisan bill reforms California's asset forfeiture law by prohibiting transfer of a state forfeiture matter to federal authorities.


August 22, 2015

It's time to do away with those caps, known as “maximum family grants.” Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) is trying to do that with SB 23, which is stuck in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The sticking point isn't philosophical. It's that repealing the cap comes at a cost of about $200 million a year — money the Legislature specifically decided not to include in the recently passed budget.

We approve of the fiscal prudence exercised by the governor and Legislature this year. But everyone expects revenues to be higher than projected. If so, $200 million would be just a small drop in the state's funding bucket yet would do so much good for the state's neediest families. There's also the potential that providing higher monthly welfare checks would reduce other state expenses, such as Medi-Cal costs to pay for illness in children caused or exacerbated by poverty.


August 17, 2015

This year, State Senator Holly Mitchell, (D-Los Angeles), introduced Senate Bill 23, a repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule, on the grounds that it has only driven poor women deeper into poverty, and done nothing to reduce the birth rate of women on welfare.


August 13, 2015

This week, the state of California passed two laws that address the use of deadly force by law enforcement, the Los Angeles Times reported.


August 12, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law a bill barring grand juries from deciding on charges in cases involving police use of lethal force.