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State

ACA 25 – Oppose Unless Amended

Update: ACA 25 was pulled from the legislative process by the author’s office on June 18, 2020.

None of our work matters if we cannot participate in the legislative process.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 25 (ACA 25) is a provision to allow for remote and proxy voting in case of an emergency. But ACA 25 was drafted quickly and lacks key specifications and protections to ensure that the democratic process is not compromised. Along with a coalition of organizations in the Green California and Building the California Dream Alliance, we oppose this bill unless amended.

Read the Bill Text Here.

Background and Requests of Advocates
Remote proceedings present significant obstacles to transparency and public engagement, two cornerstones for accountable democracy enshrined in our State Constitution. As such, remote participation should only be authorized in exceptional cases, when absolutely needed, and for only as long as needed. Unfortunately, ACA​ ​25 falls below that standard and incorporates related provisions, like unconstrained proxy voting and pro tempore appointments, which could be abused in a manner that undermines representative democracy.

The decision to amend the constitution is a momentous one that it is crucial to get right, so we respectfully request the following amendments:

Remove or Limit Proxy Voting: ​ACA 25 authorizes either House to use proxy voting, which is left undefined. Proxy voting is harmful to representative democracy because it diminishes the deliberative process and weakens the electorate’s ability to hold their officials accountable for votes they did not personally take.

1.

ACA 25’s authorization for legislators to vote remotely should render proxy voting largely unnecessary. If it is absolutely crucial to provide a proxy voting option, ACA 25 should ensure that it is only done as a last resort and in a way that makes clear legislators’ intent regarding specific votes or actions, using similar safeguards to those recently enacted by the House of Representatives and other states like Arkansas.

As currently drafted, nothing in ACA 25 would stop rules allowing a single person, who is not even required to be a legislator, to act as proxy for as many legislators as desired while being given carte blanche to vote however the proxy wants on any item. Moreover, neither the proxies nor the legislators would be

accountable to voters, because the proxy wouldn’t share an electorate with the legislator for whom they placed votes, and the legislator would be able to tell their electorate they did not instruct their proxy as to how to vote.

If ACA 25 is not amended to remove proxy voting, we believe it needs to be amended so that it is (1) allowed only when a legislator is unable to vote remotely because of the emergency, (2) allows only other legislators to be designated as proxies, (3) allows proxies to vote as instructed only on specifically-designated bills or actions, and (4) requires the proxy authorization and vote instructions to be recorded. The record of roll-call votes should also clearly indicate when and how a member has voted by proxy.

2.

Specify Rules for Pro Tempore Appointments in Emergencies​: In the catastrophic scenario where one-fifth of the members of a House are “deceased, disabled, or missing,” during a state of emergency, ACA 25 allows appointment of pro tempore members by a process to be determined by a majority-vote statute.

As unlikely as this situation will hopefully be, the openness of this provision invites abuse, which may be particularly tempting in an emergency situation. For example, in a future Legislature the majority party could pass a statute over the minority party’s objection allowing appointments of individuals that neither live in the district nor are even of the same party as the legislator they are replacing.

The simplest solution would be to incorporate provisions similar to Government Code Section 9004, which applies to pro tempore appointments during or following a war or enemy-caused disaster and states in relevant part:

“The appointments shall be so made that each assembly or senatorial district in which a vacancy exists shall be represented, if possible, by a pro tempore member who is a resident of that district and a registered elector of the same political party as of the date of the disaster as the last duly elected member from such district.”

The terms “disabled” and “missing” should also be more precisely defined or replaced with clearer terms, such as “incapacitated” and “presumed deceased.” Legislators with disabilities can and do cast votes on a regular basis. ACA 25 should not theoretically allow them to be replaced due to their being “disabled,” as may be implied to voters by the current language. And “missing” should be defined in a way that does not theoretically allow legislators to be replaced in circumstances where they are, for example, purposefully boycotting votes in protest as legislators have done in other states.

3.

Eliminate Quorum Reduction​: ACA 25 automatically lowers the quorum requirement, and presumably the vote threshold to pass bills, to a majority of members “able to attend” when more than one-fifth of a House’s members have been incapacitated. However, a small minority of the state should not be able to make laws of permanent duration affecting the whole state. For example, if an earthquake hits Southern California and Los Angeles County’s 24 Assembly member delegation was missing, this provision would allow the Assembly to pass any majority vote bill with just 29 votes – none of them representing Los Angeles County.

Representational concerns aside, this provision is also unnecessary if the pro tempore appointment power is enacted, which would at least give representation to residents of those areas. This provision is not justified and we believe should be removed, or at a minimum narrowed to only apply to votes regarding the state of emergency.

4.

Ensure Remote Voting and Proxy Voting Transparency​: ACA 25 does not require any approval of a member’s request to appear remotely or vote by proxy, any public findings of fact that the state of emergency prevents a particular member or members from safely attending the proceeding in person, or any notice to the public that such a request has been granted. Adding these basic requirements would provide a measure of public accountability to ensure that remote or proxy voting is truly necessary and not being abused as a matter of convenience or simply to avoid appearing in the Capitol. It should also be necessary that remote participation by a legislator occur in a public place or their district office, if possible, so that the public can both see and have access to their legislators, and to ensure that legislators are not influenced by the presence of lobbyists or others while they are conducting public business. This is consistent with current rules prohibiting lobbyists from being present on the floor of the chamber, as well as the Senate rule saying that to the extent practicable, a Senator participating remotely shall participate from the Senator’s district office. Finally, any remote technology employed should, so far as is possible, ensure that the public can not only view but participate in proceedings conducted by remote participation.

5.

Time-Limit Remote Voting and Proxy Voting​: ACA 25 appropriately revokes the authority to vote remotely or by proxy once an emergency declaration has ended. However, some emergency declarations may last for years, and may extend well past the point when the Legislature, for reasons of health or safety, is no longer able to meet. We believe ACA 25 should be amended to end any authorization to vote remotely once a legislator is able to safely appear in person or automatically after 30 days, whichever is sooner, unless the authorization is extended for up to another 30 days by majority vote of the affected House. Periodic re-examination of the need for remote proceedings will help ensure they are used no longer than necessary.

And lastly, ACA 25 specifies that the Legislature (or each house) adopt rules by resolution. Because these rules are critical to ensuring accountability and access to the public, we also request an amendment to guarantee that the rules only be adopted after being heard in committee with opportunity for public comment.

Although ACA 25 is important to ensure that the Legislature can function during future pandemics or other emergencies, without these amendments there is a serious risk of these procedures being abused or used without transparency by future Legislatures at the worst possible times. Although we understand there is now a narrow window for placing measures on the ballot, we believe the Senate should have the opportunity to review and address issues with ACA 25 before agreeing to propose such an enduring and permanent change to California’s constitution without the necessary safeguards.

 

Categories
AiQ State

AiQ: Oppose ACA 25

June 17 Action Items

  1. Call your Senator to tell them why you oppose Assembly Constitutional Amendment 25 unless amended to protect public participation and retain legislative transparency. The amendments we support are:
    1) Remove or Limit Proxy Voting;
    2) Specify Rules for Pro Tempore Appointments in Emergencies;
    3) Eliminate Quorum Reduction​;
    4) Ensure Remote Voting and Proxy Voting Transparency;
    5) Time-Limit Remote Voting and Proxy Voting​.
    Learn More Here.
  2. ACA 5 – Support by calling the Senate Labor Committee at (916) 651-1556 or email.
June 17, 2020 Events
  1. Emanuel Nine Commemoration and Pledge
  2. Learn about World Refugee Day 
RACIAL EQUITY BILLS
  1. ACA 5 (Weber) Opportunity for All: repeals the ban on affirmative action in higher education, employment and contracting
  2. ACA 6 (McCarty) Free the Vote: restores voting rights for people on parole
  3. AB 901 (Gipson) Juveniles: ends the practice of putting youth on probation when they have not committed a crime (yes, that’s a thing we do)
  4. AB 1950 (Kamlager) Probation Reform: limits probation terms
  5. AB 2054 (Kamlager) CRISES Act: creates an alternative emergency response to the police
  6. AB 2147 (Reyes) Conservation Camps – Expungement: creates a process for people who served as firefighters while in prison to expunge their convictions and obtain jobs
  7. AB 2342 (McCarty) Parole Reform: limits terms paroles
  8. AB 3070 (Weber) Anti-Discrimination in Jury Selection: addresses racial discrimination in jury selection
  9. AB 3121 (Weber) Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans: creates a task force to study awarding reparations
  10. SB 144 (Mitchell) Debt Free Justice: eliminates the most burdensome fees in the criminal justice system
  11. SB 555 (Mitchell) Phone Justice: limits the cost of phone calls and commissary in jail
Categories
AiQ State

AiQ: Budget

June 10 Action Items

  1. Check out CA’s budget: Assembly Version; Senate Version.
  2. Keep this bill moving forward with us! SB 882 is sitting on the suspense file – which is just what it sounds like. This is the only thing stopping it from being voted on on the Senate floor.  Let’s move it to the floor!
  3. Watch Webinar: Detention, Family Separation, and Asylum in the Era of COVID-19 for Communities of Faith
Categories
AiQ State

AiQ: Black Lives Matter

June 3 Action Items

  1. How can you support Black liberation in your community? Use this list of bail funds to find ways to support the movement with your dollar and find resources to learn, support, and give.
  2. Voice your support for racial equity in urging an Aye vote on AB 3070 (Weber) – Anti-discrimination in Jury Selection.
  3. Urge your Assemblymember to vote yes on AB 3073 (Wicks) to make CalFresh preenrollment possible for people exiting the criminal justice system.
Categories
Uncategorized

ELCA reaffirms commitment to combat racism and white supremacy

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice,
and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) reaffirms its commitment to combating racism and white supremacy following the recent murders of Black Americans. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, and George Floyd were our neighbors. Ahmaud Arbery was chased down, shot, and killed by a retired police officer and his son while jogging in Brunswick, Ga. (Feb. 23, 2020). Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot eight times by Louisville Metro Police Department officers who entered her apartment while serving a “no-knock warrant” (March 13, 2020). Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, a 21-year-old from Indianapolis died after being shot at least eight times by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer (May 6, 2020). George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis while begging for his life, a block away from Calvary Lutheran, an ELCA congregation (May 25, 2020). As the Conference of Bishops, we condemn the white supremacy that has led to the deaths of so many unarmed Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color in our country. We grieve with, pray for and stand in solidarity with the families and friends of all whose loved ones have been and continue to be victims of injustices run amok, racist violence and the insidious venom of white supremacy.

The ELCA’s social policy resolution, “Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric,” adopted by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, states: “As persons called to love one another as God has loved us, we therefore proclaim our commitment to speak with one voice against racism and white supremacy. We stand with those who are targets of racist ideologies and actions.” As church, together we must work to condemn white supremacy in all forms and recommit ourselves to confront and exorcize the sins of injustice, racism and white supremacy in church and society and within ourselves as individuals and households.

On May 21, the ELCA Southeastern Synod hosted a webinar: “Becoming the Body of Christ – Condemning White Supremacy” in response to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. This is one of many strategic opportunities happening across this church to address white supremacy and racist rhetoric. On June 17, we will gather again as church to commemorate the Mother Emanuel 9 and to repent of racism and white supremacy. An online ELCA prayer service, including leaders from across the church and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton as preacher, is being planned for June 17, 2020, marking the fifth anniversary of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9. We encourage congregations to reaffirm their commitment to repenting of the sins of racism and dismantling white supremacy that continue to plague this church by marking this day of penitence with study and prayer leading to action.

Signed by ELCA Bishops, including:

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop

The Rev. R. Guy Erwin
Bishop, Southwest California Synod

The Rev. Mark W. Holmerud
Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod

The Rev. Andrew A. Taylor
Bishop, Pacifica Synod

Categories
State Updates

Bishop Eaton Addresses LOPPCA Followers

A message from Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, Elizabeth A. Eaton, to California advocates on what would have been our second annual Lobby Day today. We are grateful for her unwavering support of our work. This year’s Lobby Day has been postponed to September given the special circumstances of the legislative session during COVID-19.

In other news, we received approval for our permit to gather at the Capitol for Lutheran Lobby Day 2021. We are looking forward to gathering in person next year on May 19, 2020. You can mark your calendars!

Categories
AiQ State

AiQ: CalFresh Access for Seniors

May 20 Action Items

  1. Mark your calendars for May 19, 2021 for next year’s Lutheran Lobby Day. We just got our permits approved and pray we will once again gather in person to advocate together.
  2.  God’s Work, Our Hands, Our Voices: Let us know what your church is doing for Sunday, Sept. 13 2020. What sort of advocacy component would you imagine? Email us at Regina.Banks@elca.org and Nicole.Newell@elca.org or just reply to this email.
  3. Call the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee to support Calfresh Access for Seniors.

Why?
Calfresh applications have gone up 243% compared to last year. Eligible California seniors have very low participation rates due to barriers in access and retention. SB 882 removes these barriers for seniors and adults with disabilities.

Prioritize your outreach to Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena), the Chair of the Committee on Appropriations. This should take you just a few minutes.

Please also spend a few minutes contacting your Senator if they are listed below as members of the committee:

Sample script:

Hi, my name is _____ and I live in ______. I’m calling to urge Senator ______ to support SB 882, a bill that will make it easier for people to access CalFresh, our most powerful anti-hunger program. It is urgent that we simplify the CalFresh application process as more and more people are out of work and need help putting food on the table. SB 882 will make permanent improvements to the program, especially for older adults and people with disabilities. Please vote yes on SB 882. Thank you. [Or choose one or more of the following reasons or tell them your own]

  • Californians struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis need quick access to CalFresh, but the process is often overly complicated. We need SB 882 to simplify access to food assistance.
  • Only 19% of eligible adults age 60+ receive CalFresh. SB 882 make it easier for people, especially seniors, to enroll and stay connected to our most powerful anti-hunger program.
  • CalFresh applications are up more than 200% due to spiking unemployment. We need SB 882 to simplify access and keep people connected to food assistance during and after this crisis.

Sample tweets:

  • Californians struggling to make ends meet during the #COVID19 crisis need quick access to CalFresh, but the process is often overly complicated. We need #SB882 to simplify access now! @Portantino @SenatorPatBates
  • Only 19% of eligible adults 60+ receive #CalFresh. Let’s make it easier for people, especially seniors, to stay connected to our most powerful anti-hunger program. Plz support #SB882! @Portantino @SenatorPatBates
  • #CalFresh is a proven positive public health intervention and powerful economic stimulus. #SB882 will help maximize its dual role in California’s immediate and long-term COVID-19 response. Plz support SB 882! @Portantino @SenatorPatBates
  • #CalFresh applications are up more than 200% due to spiking unemployment. We need #SB882 to simplify access and keep people connected to food assistance. Let’s cut the red tape to put food on their plates! @Portantino @SenatorPatBates

Thank you to the California Food Policy Advocates for this action alert text and information.

Categories
Uncategorized

ELCA presiding bishop issues pastoral message on COVID-19 racism and white supremacy

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. —I Corinthians 12:12

May 13, 2020

Dear church,

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

During the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am encouraged by your resilience and creativity in our witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am also inspired by your generosity. Through the ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund and our Daily Bread grants, we are providing critical support to struggling yet vital ministries across this church. Through Lutheran Disaster Response International we have intensified our accompaniment of global partners. We are church together.

This is a trying time for us all. At the same time, we know that a disproportionate burden of illness, death, discrimination and harassment falls on communities of color. This pandemic has exacerbated racism and racial inequities deeply entrenched in society and across the church. We see this in the growing anti-Asian racism and the disproportionate number of deaths in black, American Indian and Latinx communities. I have been learning from the leaders of the ELCA’s ethnic associations how the data we see on the news is experienced in real life. I have listened to leaders of color share the impact of this pandemic on their communities — on their lives and on their ministries. These stories are difficult but important, so we are launching a special series on LivingLutheran.org to lift up these voices for us all to hear. We also seek to ensure that our COVID-19 response more effectively tends to the realities of racism and racial inequality. We are church together. 

Recently, in cities across this country, we have seen horrifying anti-Semitic and white supremacist messages displayed during public protests against government orders that are intended to protect lives. No matter our politics or opinions about our elected leaders and their policies, all of us must come together on the basis of our church’s commitments to condemn racism against indigenous people and people of color, white supremacy, sexism, and anti-Semitism whenever they occur. Whether our churches and communities are racially diverse or predominantly white,our work for racial and economic justice for all people is work for all of us. We are church together.

Just as God has joined us to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in baptism, we are joined to each other. Paul helps us to understand this by speaking of the one body of Christ, with many members. While this is always true, perhaps we feel it more acutely in this time of physical distancing. In our longing to be church together, let us be even more intentional in sharing with each other, easing each other’s burdens, consoling each other in our fear and grief, condemning what is contrary to the gospel and living out our baptismal covenant “to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”

In partnership,


The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, ELCA

To learn more, visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups” 

ELCA social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” 

Explanation of the Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent

ELCA social policy resolution “Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric” 

ELCA social statement “Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action”  

Declaration of the ELCA to Jewish Community

– –
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of “God’s work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA’s roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

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Uncategorized

House Democrats Introduce The Heroes Act

Bold, Transformative Legislation Meets the Challenge of the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Statement from the Building the California Dream Alliance

WASHINGTON — House Democrats today introduced The Heroes Act, a bold and comprehensive coronavirus response bill that will meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our nation.

The more than $3 trillion legislation protects the lives and livelihoods of the American people. Among its many provisions, the bill:

Honors our heroes, by providing nearly $1 trillion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments who desperately need funds to pay vital workers like first responders, health workers, and teachers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs

Establishes a Heroes’ Fund for essential workers, with $200 billion to ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay

Supports testing, tracing and treatment, by providing another $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures, ensuring every American can access free coronavirus treatment, and supporting hospitals and providers

Provides additional direct payments, cushioning the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis with a second round of more substantial economic impact payments of $1,200 per family member, up to $6,000 per household

Protects payrolls, by enhancing the new employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep employees on payroll, allowing 60 million Americans to remain connected to their paychecks and benefits

Ensures worker safety, by requiring OSHA to issue a strong, enforceable standard within seven days to require all workplaces to develop and implement infection control plans based on CDC expertise, and prevents employers from retaliating against workers who report infection control problems

Supports small businesses and nonprofits, by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for Covid-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program

Preserves health coverage, by protecting Americans losing their employer-provided health insurance with COBRA subsidies to maintain their coverage and creating a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for uninsured Americans

Extends unemployment benefits, ensuring weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January, providing a vital safety net for the record number of Americans who are unemployed

Bolsters housing assistance, helping struggling families afford a safe place to live with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs

Strengthens food security, addressing rising hunger with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table

Safeguards our democracy, with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service

The Heroes Act was introduced by Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA).

The legislation follows the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act enacted on April 24; the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted on March 18; and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted on March 6.

The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here.

###

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Uncategorized

Recovery for All

Progressive Organizations Outline Sweeping Agenda to
Achieve a “Recovery for All” in California that is Equitable and Green

Press Release
May 6, 2020
Contact: Nikki Paschal, 916.444.7170

Sacramento, CA –  The Building the California Dream Alliance, a broad coalition of more than 55 progressive organizations, today unveiled a sweeping set of policy proposals aimed at eliminating injustices in health care, economic opportunity, education and environmental quality that have been exposed and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Governor Newsom, the organizations’ leaders emphasized the opportunity before California now to re-shape a broken economic system that left millions of Californians and their families unable to withstand any level of economic downturn, and to make a sizeable investment in safety net programs needed to ensure a Recovery for All. They also underscored the unacceptable structural racism in our health care system and in the determinants of health – reinforced by economic and environmental injustice – that have resulted in COVID-19’s staggering death toll for people of color.

“This pandemic is a clarion call for transformation across our economic and social systems,” said Regina Banks, Director, Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California.  “Within the first few weeks of California’s effort to slow the virus’ spread, millions of Californians were unable to pay for rent or food – illustrating just how many Californians were living on razor thin margins even in a ‘growing’ economy.  While we give attention to their most immediate needs, California must commit to support their recovery over the long haul and implement the sweeping reforms needed to deliver justice in economic opportunity, education, health care, and the environment.”

Each year the coalition outlines an ambitious agenda to uplift families, empower workers and communities, and expand opportunities for all Californians to take part in the California Dream.  This year’s coalition agenda was released today as state legislators have begun to hold policy hearings on bills and the week before Governor Newsom is set to release a May budget revision transformed significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The disproportionate loss of life in California’s communities of color is devastating and unacceptable — and it was preventable,” said Nourbese Flint, Executive Director of the Black Women for Wellness Action Project. “Systemic racism has persisted in health care access and delivery because we have failed to prioritize eliminating it.  We will not allow inequities to be forgotten when the immediate threat of COVID-19 is behind us, and we will not relent from our fight for health care equity until every Californian has the opportunity to be healthy.”

“Too many workers whom we recognize now as essential have always been treated as if they are expendable,” said Amber Baur, Executive Director UFCW Western States Council. “Now is the time for us to start treating every single Californian as essential, valuable, and worthy of dignity and a voice both at work and in their communities.”

Healthcare and Housing for all people, with no exceptions.

Health Care: Expand Medi-Cal for all eligible seniors, regardless of immigration status.

Health Care:  Increase state subsidies for Covered California.

Health Care: Enact AB 1611(Chiu) which would ban surprise emergency room billing by preventing surprise bills for out-of-network hospital ER visits so consumers are only billed for their in-network co-pay or deductible, and setting a fair provider payment standard.

Healthcare: Clarify that reproductive and sexual health services including abortion, gender-affirming care, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and family planning are essential healthcare that cannot be delayed. In addition, remove cost-sharing for these essential services.

Healthcare: Remove physician supervision for certified nurse midwives to increase access to high-quality, high-value maternity care, reduce race-based disparities in maternal outcomes, and bring California in line with the 46 other states that all do not require physician supervision for certified nurse midwives.

Housing: Forgive unpaid rent accrued by low income households during the crisis. Establish a relief fund for nonprofit housing developers and needy landlords who’s lost rental incomes would otherwise put their business at risk. Eligible landlords shall meet a set of tenant protection criteria. State government should recoup these funds with a temporary or permanent fee on the largest landlords.

Unhoused: Set aside 20% of the total 2020-21 homelessness budget to combat youth homelessness.

Housing: Dedicate significant funding and deploy a set of strategies to reign in speculation in the housing market.

Housing: End predatory displacement financing by requiring state chartered banks and state licensed lenders to develop an anti-displacement financing policy.

A government focused on care and inclusion that lifts all people out of poverty allowing us to live full and happy lives.

 Immigration: Direct local jails and prisons to suspend the transfer of individuals from California’s custody to ICE in order to protect Californians from being subjected to inhumane and unsanitary conditions in immigration detention where the COVID-19 virus has been rapidly spreading.

Immigration: Expand EITC for ITIN workers and allow it to go into effect retroactively.

Expand Aid Programs: Implement a public education program to get people to file federal tax returns so that they can receive the $1,200 federal stimulus checks.

Nonprofits: Direct departments to continue paying contractors who are underperforming due to temporary closures and suspension or reduction of services associated with COVID-19 and provide expedited or automatic approval process for budget modifications that do not increase the contract.

Small business: Invest in a $100 million grant program for small businesses with 1-25 employees and under $1 million in revenue disseminated by CDFIs and economic development community based organizations to ensure that hard to reach and historically marginalized small businesses and sole proprietors benefit from the program.

SEED Initiative: Maintain the $10 million SEED Initiative currently in the proposed budget.

 Policies and Programs that prioritize workers and communities over corporate executives.

Worker Protections:  Ensure that  workers receive the benefits they deserve by mandating a presumption that contracting COVID-19 or exposure to and physician ordered quarantine due to COVID-19 is conclusively determined to arise out of and in the course of employment for all essential workers.

Worker protections: Require California and its healthcare system to have a long term plan for ensuring we have an adequate supply of PPE.

Worker Protections: Expand California leave laws to ensure coverage for all workers not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act including amending the California Family Rights Act to ensure that workers can take time off to care for themselves or their loved ones without losing their jobs.

Worker Protections:  Create an “Emergency Fund” for workers that cannot access unemployment insurance and other safety because they are excluded by law such as garment workers, childcare workers and undocumented workers

Worker Protections:  Enact, SB 1257 (Durazo) which would eliminate the “household domestic service” exclusion in Cal/OSHA, which sets standards for employers to provide a safe working environment for workers.

Worker Protections: Enact SB 1399 (Durazo) which would put a stop to the most egregious exploitation of garment workers by ensuring that they are fairly compensated for their work and keep the wages they earn.

Payday Lenders: Issue comprehensive guidance to keep payday lenders and Merchant Cash Advance shops from increasing interest rates.

Childcare: Invest $200 million from the CARES Act into the creation of a child care fund to support essential workers child care needs. This investment would fund approximately 80,000 childcare slots.

Safety Net for All: Create a temporary, partial income replacement program for excluded workers who are not eligible for the state or federal benefits administered by EDD and who are unemployed or underemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A just transition to a green, regenerative economy that ensures all Californians have a clean and safe environment where they live, work, play and pray.

Utilities & Water Service: Prohibit utility shutoffs and restore service for any essential service, including but not limited to: broadband, mobile phones, electricity, natural gas, water for those with combined water/sewer utility. In addition, waive all liens, late fees, and penalties on such utilities. This includes implementation of EO N-42-20, immediately ending all disconnections of water service for nonpayment, and restoring service to all those who had water service disconnected since March 4, 2020.

Environment: Implement health-protective regulations that impact clean air, clean water, and environmental health must not be delayed or rolled back, especially not during a health crisis.

Environment: Retain the use of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds for incentives that reduce greenhouse gases and localized air pollution from vehicles.

Environment: Develop an economic stimulus package that aligns spending with good job creation with benefits to public health, the environment, and climate resiliency. Any such plan must be informed by impacted communities.

Environment: Enact AB 345 (Muratsuchi) to ensure that CalGEM finishes the public health and safety rulemaking currently underway, provides resources for impacted communities to participate, and establishes a health and safety buffer zone between oil extraction and communities. As the link between exposure to air pollution and susceptibility to COVID-19 has emerged, CalGEM has the responsibility to establish a setback and any other measures that will help improve public health coming out of this crisis.

Expand and Protect our democratic process, ensuring robust, accessible opportunities for all Californians to determine the future of our government and economy.

Voting: Mail every voter a ballot, require robust in-person voting options and early voting, ensure additional resources for a massive public education and outreach campaign so every voter understands their options to vote safely, and provide poll workers with protective gear and “hazard pay”.

 Public Access: Continue to ensure that the public, and especially those most impacted by decisions, both locally and state-wide, can participate remotely in decision making.

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The Building the California Dream Alliance includes: ACCE, Advancement Project, American Civil Liberties Union of CA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Women for Wellness, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, California Attorneys For Criminal Justice (CACJ), California Calls, California Donor Table, California Low Income Consumers Coalition, California Domestic Workers Coalition, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Food & Farming Network, California Labor Federation, California Immigrant Policy Center, California League of Conservation Voters, California NOW, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Responsible Lending, Child Care Law Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Consumer Attorneys of California, Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA), Courage California, Disability Rights California, Drug Policy Alliance, Earthjustice, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Environment California, Equality California, Equal Rights Advocates, Friends Committee on Legislation of California, Health Access, Latino Coalition For A Healthy California, Lutheran office of Public Policy, MALDEF, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, Mujeres Unidas, NARAL Pro-Choice California, NextGen California, PICO California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA, PolicyLink, Public Advocates, SEIU California, Sierra Club California, Smart Justice California, UFCW, Voices for Progress, Young Invincibles, Western Center on Law & Poverty