By Ann G. Daniels and Rebecca Dean
Deadline: April 20 – Sometimes it seems the news is full of horrible state legislation, like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill or the Texas law authorizing child abuse charges and penalties against parents, medical facilities, teachers and even the general public who support trans kids and their families. Almost makes you forget we have a legislature here in California trying to pass laws to make life better for us. What a concept!
California StateStrong, a coalition of Indivisible groups across the state, has issued their annual list of bills working through the California Legislature that they’ve designated priority state legislation. The list includes 15 bills in five categories – “Economic Justice & Education,” “Racial & Criminal Justice, Gun Reform,” “Climate Justice,” “Healthcare,” and “Democracy Reform & Privacy and Civil Rights.” Indivisible East Bay participated in the selection process – thanks to our members who voted for top choices in each category. Several of the bills IEB prioritized made it on to CA StateStrong’s list:
- Economic Justice and Education: AB 2053 – social housing; AB 2289 – wealth tax
- Racial and Criminal Justice, Gun Reform: AB 503 – limit youth probation; AB 2632 – limit solitary confinement
- Climate Justice: SB 833 – community energy resilience plans; SB 1173 – public worker pension oil/gas divestment
- Healthcare and Reproductive Rights: AB 2530 – health benefits for labor strikers; SB 1014 – community health clinics funding
- Democracy Reform, Privacy and Civil Rights: AB 1819 – Foreign-influenced US corporate campaign money
Now it’s our turn – your turn! – again. Read on to find out how we can keep California in the news for passing excellent laws.
What you can do:
1. Read & learn: This list of priority bills explains each bill briefly and includes links to resources for more in-depth info. You’ll hear more about these bills as time goes on – get to know them now and you’ll be ahead of the game!
2. Help pass key bills:
- AB 1819 (Preventing foreign influence in California elections): Anyone living in the Bay Area knows the power tech companies wield in our economy – but elections? The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United gave corporations the ability to influence our elections through large contributions, giving a candidate unfair visibility or resources. AB 1819 would close this loophole by preventing corporations with more than 1% foreign ownership from contributing to political campaigns.
- AB 1819 will likely be heard in the Assembly Elections Committee on Wednesday April 27, but we need to persuade this committee to hear the bill. Call the Committee at 916-319-2094 and say:
My name is ________and I’m a member of Indivisible California StateStrong. I’m calling to ask that AB 1819 be scheduled for a hearing on April 27. This bill authored by Assemblymember Lee is critical to maintain our democracy and ability to self-govern in California.
- Sign this petition to support AB 1819.
- Want more info? Check out this article from Cal Matters.
- AB 2632 (Limits solitary confinement for inmates): The use of solitary confinement is one of the most severe and harmful practices in prisons and detention facilities today and can cause lasting damage to an inmate’s physical and mental health. In California, as elsewhere, solitary confinement disproportionately affects people of color. AB 2632 would begin to reform this form of torture – let’s call it what it is – by banning the use of solitary confinement for vulnerable populations like disabled and elderly, and limiting it to only 20 days in a 60-day period.
- AB 2632 is awaiting a hearing in the public safety committee. Spread the word about this important bill on social media using this toolkit from one of the sponsors, Initiate Justice.
- Want more info? Read more in this article from Immigrant Legal Defense.
3. Join a CA StateStrong work group! Fill out this form and join IEB members and others helping to determine our state legislative priorities and turn them into reality!
Photographs of the California State Capitol by Loco Steve.
Ann G. Daniels has enjoyed a checkered background: attorney, reproductive rights advocate, web content creator, literacy teacher, craftsperson, perpetual nerd, occasional rabble-rouser.
Rebecca Dean is a social worker and community advocate. After canvassing for progressive candidates in 2020, she has become more involved in state and local politics. Rebecca is passionate about immigration justice and civic engagement. She enjoys hiking, patio gardening, and cuddles with her cat.