Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
Equality California to Prioritize Racial Justice Legislation in Sacramento
Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur: “The fight for racial justice is not someone else’s battle to wage — it’s ours. We cannot have full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people until we dismantle systemic racism.”
June 19, 2020 at 10:21 am

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2020

CONTACT: Joshua Stickney, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801/MOBILE: (405) 315-4151/EMAIL: press@eqca.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, will prioritize support of 14 bills and 2 proposed constitutional amendments focused on advancing racial justice that are currently pending in the California Legislature, the organization announced on Juneteenth, a day commemorating the official end to slavery in the United States. The legislative package includes bills focused on police and criminal justice reform, voting rights and Legislative Black Caucus Chair Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s ACA 5 to repeal Proposition 209 and AB 3121 to establish a task force to issue recommendations regarding reparations.

Throughout Equality California’s history, the civil rights organization has strongly supported key racial justice legislation, including Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s (D-San Diego) police use of force bill AB 392 in 2019, Senator Bob Hertzberg’s bail reform bill SB 10 in 2018, Assemblymember Weber’s AB 953 in 2015 on racial profiling, then-Assemblymember Roger Dickinson’s AB 420 in 2014 on willful defiance suspensions and expulsions in schools and then-Senator Ed Hernandez’s effort to repeal Proposition 209 in 2014, among others.

Equality California released the following statement from Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur regarding the decision to prioritize the package of racial justice legislation:

“We are proud to stand with the Legislative Black Caucus and the incredible legislators who have authored these bills, and we are fully committed to seeing each one passed and signed into law. The fight for racial justice is not someone else’s battle to wage — it’s ours. We cannot have full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people until we dismantle systemic racism. We cannot achieve our mission of creating a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people until we end police brutality and anti-Black violence; end the crisis of violence against transgender women of color; stop ICE from separating immigrant families and putting children in cages; prevent hate crimes against the API, Muslim and Jewish communities; and finally put a stop to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Our struggles are not all the same, but they are inextricably intertwined. Today on Juneteenth — and every day — we’ll fight until the work is done.”

The 2020 racial justice legislation supported by Equality California includes the following bills and proposed constitutional amendments (Note: additional legislation may be added as new proposals are introduced):

  • ACA 5 (Weber) Opportunity for All – This bill would allow Californians to vote on the repeal of Proposition 209 (which eliminated affirmative action in 1996) on the November 2020 ballot. Approval of this measure would permit the use of race, gender, and ethnic diversity as factors (but not decisive factors) in college admissions, government hiring, and government contracting.
  • ACA 6 (McCarty) Free the Vote – This bill will ask California voters to restore the right to vote to people on parole on the November 2020 ballot.
  • AB 66 (Gonzalez) Rubber bullets – This bill will regulate police use of rubber bullets.
  • AB 901 (Gipson) Youth probation – This bill limits the authority of a probation department to supervise and provide services to minors and eliminates truancy as an offense subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. This bill will make sure youth are instead referred to community programs to provide them with the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed, and keep them out of the juvenile justice system.
  • AB 1185 (McCarty) Sheriff oversight board – This bill would increase oversight and transparency of sheriffs by allowing the oversight commission to issue a subpoena to investigate a sheriff’s department and establish an office for an inspector general.
  • AB 1196 (Gipson) Chokeholds – This bill will make it illegal for all officers to use the carotid hold (chokehold) to detain a suspect.
  • AB 1506 (McCarty) Independent investigation of police killings – This bill will allow local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys to more regularly request the attorney general to launch a formal review of situations where an officer used force that resulted in death or harm, and create a new police practices division in the Department of Justice that would specifically handle requests by local agencies to review policies and practices related to use-of-force.
  • AB 1950 (Kamlager) Probation reform – This bill shortens probation terms and reforms the system into one that is restorative and rehabilitative. If passed it would limit adult probation lengths to a maximum of one year for misdemeanor offense, and two years for a felony offense.
  • AB 2054 (Kamlager) Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems (C.R.I.S.E.S.) Act – This bill will create a pilot grant program for community-based response, rather than armed police, to local emergencies, including: public health crises, unhoused people in crisis, people experiencing mental health crises, people exposed to intimate partner or community violence, people with a substance use disorder, and people impacted by natural or climate disasters.
  • AB 2147 (Reyes) Firefighter expungement – This bill will provide an expedited expungement process for inmates that have successfully participated in actively assisting with fire suppression activities. It will allow eligible people who participate in the California Conservation Camp Program or a county inmate hand crew to petition to withdraw their guilty pleas, have the court dismiss the accusations against them and order an early end to probation, parole or supervised release.
  • AB 2342 (McCarty) Parole reform – This bill will establish a program under which the length of a person’s period of parole could be reduced by earning credits related to the completion of specified reintegration activities.
  • AB 3070 (Weber) Anti-discrimination in jury selection – This bill will help end discrimination in jury selection by prohibiting a party from using a peremptory challenge to remove a prospective juror on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and other specified characteristics, and outlines a court procedure for objecting to, evaluating, and resolving improper bias in peremptory challenges.
  • AB 3121 (Weber) Reparations Task Force – This bill will set up a Task Force to compile documentation on the institution of slavery in the United States and then issue recommendations on reparations.
  • SB 144 (Mitchell) Families Over Fees – This bill will eliminate administrative fees to people who come in contact with the criminal justice system, including fees for public defenders, booking, mandatory drug testing and costs related to a person’s incarceration and probation supervision, like electronic monitoring.
  • SB 555 (Mitchell) The Jail Fair Access for Connections to Support (FACTS) Act – This bill will help eliminate the exorbitant costs of communications (including phone calls, video visitation, and electronic communications), regulate the prices for goods sold inside county jails (hygiene products and food), and require that profits made from these services are reinvested to support people incarcerated in California county jails, as well as their transition back into their communities.
  • SB 1290 (Durazo, Mitchell) Juvenile fees – This bill vacates pre-2018 county-assessed and court-ordered costs imposed on the parents and families of specified juvenile wards, vacates any outstanding balance charged to a minor before 2018 for the cost of their mandated drug and substance abuse testing, and vacates mandated costs imposed on adults before 2018 who were 21 years of age and younger and were under the jurisdiction of the criminal court. SB 1290 is a follow-up to SB 190 (Mitchell, 2017) — together these two bills relieve youth and their families from the unjust hardships of juvenile administrative fees.

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Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org


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