In the News

California Lawmakers Move to Limit Seizures by Police

August 15, 2016

By Marisa Lagos August 15, 2016

California lawmakers took a major step toward reining in a controversial practice that has allowed law enforcement agencies to keep cash and other property seized during traffic stops — even if the owner was never convicted of a crime.

Knabe: Don’t Prosecute Children for Prostitution

August 11, 2016

Press Release | Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called on the members of the California Assembly to vote in support of Senate Bill 1322, which comes before them Thursday. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Holly Mitchell and approved by the State Senate, would decriminalize prostitution for minors. In urging his support, Knabe said:

Don't miss chance to reform asset forfeiture laws – again

August 11, 2016


At least one barrier to asset forfeiture reform has been cleared, as a compromise has been reached between law enforcement groups and state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles.

Last year, California seemed set to join a growing number of states in reforming civil asset forfeiture, a means by which law enforcement agencies can seize a person’s assets without first obtaining a criminal conviction.

Bills would help end criminalization of youths

August 10, 2016

Photo Caption: Patrice Hill, a program coordinator with Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, leads a slam poetry workshop in March sponsored by the mayor’s gang prevention task force. Rosa Aqeel and Kim McGill argue that more must be done to give the state’s minority youth a better future. LEZLIE STERLING Sacramento Bee file

By Rosa Aqeel and Kim McGill - Special to The Bee

California Deposes Its ‘Welfare Queen’

July 24, 2016


Forty years ago, voters first heard the allegation that there were “welfare queens” — throngs of impoverished mothers supposedly dedicated to bilking programs for the needy by having children. The idea gained enough political traction that California and 21 other states passed “crackdown” laws during the welfare reform era of the 1990s, denying mothers on public assistance additional aid if they had more children.

Growing number of states repeal family welfare caps

July 13, 2016

Vivian Thorp was a single mother of a 4-year-old daughter when she enrolled in California’s welfare-to-work program in 1999. Shortly after, Thorp met her fiance, who was also on public assistance. He struggled with mental illness. Sometimes they were homeless. Then Thorp got pregnant — and pregnant again.

Seize opportunity to reform civil asset forfeiture

July 03, 2016

It’s a widely abused practice that was imposed on America by past state legislatures and the federal government. Civil asset forfeiture has been used to take innocent people’s property for decades, and is perhaps better known as “legal plunder.”

As such, there’s nothing particularly “civil” about civil asset forfeiture, and a California state senator wants to do something about that in the Golden State.

Despite swell of support, SB 966 drug reform bill failed the Assembly Public Safety committee on a 3-2 vote

June 29, 2016

SACRAMENTO — A drug reform bill lauded by many as a prudent step towards reducing the mass incarceration of low-level, non-violent drug offenders failed passage today in the California Legislature.

SB 966, which would have repealed the ability of district attorneys to tack additional sentence enhancements on prior low-level drug crimes, failed the Assembly Public Safety committee on a 3-2 vote, with 2 members abstaining. Four aye votes are needed for passage.

Sen. Holly Mitchell.

No Conviction, No Confiscation

June 23, 2016


By Senator Holly. J. Mitchell Exclusive to the Los Angeles Sentinel