Oct. 16, 2017: Gov. Brown signs nine Sen. Holly J. Mitchell bills to help youth and reform criminal justice

October 16, 2017

Measures take effect Jan. 1, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Protecting foster children and reforming the juvenile and criminal justice systems to put greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion are among the nine new laws by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell.

“Thank you, Gov. Brown for joining our righteous fight to improve the quality of life for California children and young adults,” Mitchell said. “California minors will have more equitable and humane treatment and more opportunities to thrive.”

Mitchell’s policy agenda for 2017 included the #EquityAndJustice package jointly sponsored with Sen. Ricardo Lara that focused on needed changes to how California’s criminal justice system treats youths and young adults.

In bill-number order below are the policies the Los Angeles Democrat had signed before Sunday, the statutory deadline for the governor to act on measures from this year’s legislative session.

Many of the bills in the #EquityAndJustice package won bipartisan support in the California Legislature and were supported by hundreds of groups across the state that promote civil rights and juvenile justice reform.

  • SB 180 – Drug Sentence Enhancements
    This reform measure puts greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion by reducing sentence enhancements for certain low level, nonviolent drug offenses. SB 180 had five cosponsors and was supported by nearly 200 business, community, legal and public-service groups.
  • SB 190 – Ending Juvenile Fees
    This law will ease financially burdensome administrative fees for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their struggling families.  SB 190 had six cosponsors and nearly 70 supporters.
  • SB 355 - No Court Fees for the Innocent (signed July 10)
    This provides that only those who are convicted of a crime are required to reimburse the courts for legal counsel fees. SB 355 was sponsored by the Conference of California Bar Associations and six justice-rights groups.
  • SB 393 – Sealing of Arrest Records
    Seals arrest records and remove barriers to employment for those arrested but not convicted of a crime. Sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.
  • SB 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of Parole
    Brings California into compliance with the Montgomery v. Louisiana decision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole. Co-sponsored by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, #cut50, Human Rights Watch, National Center for Youth Law, Pacific Juvenile Defender Center and Youth Justice Coalition.
  • SB 395 – Miranda Rights for Youth
    Requires those age 15 or younger to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police. Co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Silicon Valley De-Bug, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the National Center for Youth Law.

Here is a summary of Mitchell’s other bills signed by Gov. Brown:

SB 213 will reduce unnecessary delays in relative placements for children in foster care and expand placements by repealing and streamlining redundant criminal history restrictions. SB 213 was cosponsored by the Alliance for Children's Rights; the Children's Law Center of California; the County Welfare Director’s Association of California; and the Public Counsel's Children's Rights Project. Supporters include the Chief Probation Officers of California; Los Angeles County; and John Burton Advocates for Youth.

This bill will help community clinics more easily provide substance use- disorder treatment services to California’s vulnerable communities. It was cosponsored by California Health+ Advocates and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County. Supporters included the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals; NAMI California; and numerous community clinics.

With the goal of improving self-reliance and independence, this measure will help foster youth as they transition into adulthood by providing resources to keep and maintain a support network of their peers and family. The California Alliance of Child and Family Services sponsored SB 612 and supporters included the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color; the Children's Advocacy Institute; and First Place for Youth; and Parents by Choice.   

Brown also signed Assembly Bill 23, coauthored by Mitchell, that will allow the Los Angeles Unified School District to move forward with a pair of single-gender schools to promote leadership and interest in technology-related fields among its diverse students.

All the measures take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Photo caption: Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Holly J. Mitchell as he signs her #EquityAndJustice bills. (Photo by Ray Sotero.)

For more information, visit Sen. Mitchell’s Web site HERE or at the address below.

Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. A member of the Legislature for more than six years,  she represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles. See a map of Mitchell’s district that includes a demographic breakdown of its residents and more HERE. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/Mitchell


Communications Director

Sen. Holly Mitchell, Senate District 30

Capitol Building, Room 5080

Sacramento, Calif. 95814

(916) 651-4030 office; 916 717-0513 cell