Reducing Gun Violence, Advancing Opportunities For Former Offenders, And Protecting Community Health: Our Legislative Successes
Prisoner Education from Community Colleges (Principal Co Author with Senator Hancock)
AB 1391 will provide additional educational opportunities and career technical education programs for inmates to increase their job skills and employability upon release from prison. SB 1391 will allow community colleges to collect funds for inmate programs within prisons and provides a grant program for community college Innovative Career Education programs with sequences of courses leading to industry and state certification. Investing in programs leading to employment for formerly incarcerated men and women (in jobs with wages to sustain living expenses) is essential to the long term goals of improving the lives of the formerly incarcerated, lowering recidivism rates and saving money.
Job Opportunities for the Formerly Incarcerated
AB 2396 expands opportunities for rehabilitated individuals to pursue meaningful employment and work towards entering the middle class instead of struggling in low-wage jobs or returning to crime. Under current law any licensing entity within the Department of Consumer Affairs may deny a professional license solely on the basis of a dismissed criminal conviction. AB 2396 prohibits those entities from denying a license on that basis, thereby creating new job opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.
Prisoner Protections for Family and Community Health Act
AB 966 ensures that our most vulnerable populations are provided with a basic and critical tool to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STDs. AB 966 requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to develop a five-year plan to distribute condoms in all California prisons, based on the guidelines from a successful Solano Prison pilot project that was conducted in 2009. AB 966 is a simple and sound preventive public health policy that is evidence-based, cost effective, informed by a highly successful pilot project and will save lives inside and outside of prison.
School Safety Plans: Post-Violence Mental Health Care
All forms of violence, such as gun violence and bullying have become a tragic fact of life for children everywhere. AB 1271 requires school safety plans to include protocols to address the mental health care needs of students who have witnessed violent acts at school. AB 1271 will help our schools become better prepared to help their students back onto the pathway of recovery in the event they do fall victim to or witness a traumatic incident.
Peer Counseling Services for Victims of Violent Crime
AB 1629 will support the physical and emotional recovery of Californians injured by gun or other violence by extending peer counseling services and reimbursement to persons providing peer counseling assistance to those victims. By providing culturally competent health services, we will not only help victims with their basic health needs following a traumatic episode, but we will reduce overall gun violence by supporting intervention and de-escalation efforts.
Gun Violence Temporary Restraining Order (Coauthor with Assemblymember Skinner)
Oftentimes, family members are the first to notice when a relative is in crisis. AB 1014 establishes the Gun Violence Temporary Restraining Order which will allow concerned family members to petition law enforcement and the court to temporarily prevent an individual from possessing a firearm and ammunition. AB 1014 allows law enforcement to act quickly in the face of an impending threat in order to prevent future tragedies.
Eliminating Illegal Sweepstakes Operations (Joint Author with Assemblymember Salas)
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of illegal sweepstakes operations throughout the state. Local business owners have voiced concern about the negative consequences of these businesses, including crowds, increased crime, and economic harm to neighboring businesses. AB 1439 closes a loophole in the law to ensure that law enforcement may effectively deal with the problem.
Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights: Rape Kits (Coauthor with Assemblymember Skinner)
In Alameda County alone, the estimated backlog on rape kit testing is close to 2,000. Counties throughout the state have the evidence to link criminals to violent rapes and other sexual offenses, but because of this backlog, violent offenders are never brought to justice. Every day a kit remains in storage is another day that a rapist is out on the street - potentially attacking another victim. AB 1517 amends the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights to specify guidelines for timely testing rape kits and entering DNA profile information into the FBI’s national DNA database.
Preserving Witness Testimony in Human Trafficking Cases
AB 1610 protects victims of human trafficking by preserving their testimony in human trafficking-related prosecutions. Preservation of such testimony at an early stage, in many cases, is critical to ensure a just adjudication. Victims of human trafficking are often vulnerable to being coerced or dissuaded or physically moved away from the court’s jurisdiction by the defendant. Once a victim is threatened or moved outside of the county or state, it is too late to capture his or her testimony, resulting in cases being dismissed and offenders getting away with abuse simply because the testimony of the witness was not obtained in time. AB 1610 fixes that problem by providing a mechanism for preserving that testimony early in the proceedings.
Preserves Intent of California's Sex Offender Law, Chelsea's Law
AB 2411 would preserve the intent of California's landmark sex offender law, Chelsea's Law, in light of recent court challenges. By specifying that a registered sex offender on probation or parole must complete a sex offender management program, regardless of when the person's crime or crimes were committed, AB 2411 will help reduce recidivism, preserve state resources, and better protect our communities.