What Happened? NCJW|LA’s Priority Bills in CA’s 2017 Legislative Session

Many of our priority bills were signed by Governor Brown, helping women, new parents, immigrants, and others. All of the lobbying, office visits, calls, and email campaigns paid off. We would like to share some information and the final status of the bills that NCJW|LA prioritized and supported during this past legislative session in our fight for social justice. California is a pioneer in legislation; we hope that the rest of the country can follow suit. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to advocacy!

Human Trafficking

AB 260: Human Trafficking Public Notices-SIGNED BY GOVERNOR BROWN

Similar to SB 225, this bill is also an extension of SB 1193 (see SB 225 above). AB 260 requires hotels and motels to post a notice that contains information related to slavery and human trafficking at a location visible to employees and the public. SB 1193 has been extremely successful and increased reports of human trafficking to the hotline by over 400%. However, it excluded hotels and motels from the list of establishments required to put up the poster. Hotels and motels are prime hubs for human trafficking and hotel/motel staff are often unaware of human trafficking occurring in front of them because of their lack of knowledge about the issue. These posters will now provide potential witnesses with information on how to spot human trafficking and provides victims with necessary information that can lead to rescue and follow-up services.

SB 225: Human Trafficking Hotline Notice/Texting-SIGNED BY GOVERNOR BROWN

In 2012 NCJW|LA sponsored SB 1193, a law that made it mandatory for twelve different types of businesses to put up posters with human trafficking hotline information. We then created the Human trafficking Outreach Project to train volunteers to go out to the businesses, give them posters, and explain the law to them. Since these posters have been put up in different businesses such as hospitals, strip clubs, and bars, the local human trafficking hotline has had an increase in calls due to poster viewings by over 400%. Research has shown that this type of policy is one of the most successful ways for victims, survivors, and witnesses of human trafficking to access help. This year, NCJW-CA sponsored another bill, serving as an extension to the original bill, which adds a texting line to the posters. Often times, victims of human trafficking can’t call the hotline and talk on the phone with their traffickers nearby; with a textline they would be able to silently send a message to the human trafficking hotline.

Protecting Immigrants

SB 54: California Values Act-SIGNED BY GOVERNOR BROWN

SB 54, also known as “The California Values Act,” makes California a “sanctuary state.” Under the President’s Executive Orders, we have seen a mass deportation strategy tearing apart families at an alarming rate. This bill helps reduce collaboration between local and state law enforcement and ICE or deportation officers, and helps limit immigration officials from going into schools, hospitals, and courthouses. ICE arrests outside of schools and courthouses have had a chilling effect on the immigrant community and access to these are essential to carrying out basic state and local functions. Everyone deserves access to schools and hospitals without fear regardless of their immigration status. A report by the University of Illinois found that “44 percent of Latinos are less likely to contact police officers if they have been the victim of a crime because they fear that police officers will use this interaction as an opportunity to inquire about their immigration status .”

Economic Justice


Under old California law, only those who work in a business of 50 or more employees were eligible for job-protected parental leave. This left far too many Californians with the impossible choice between the well-being of their new child and their financial security. A 2011 field poll found that 2 out of 5 employees who were eligible to use paid family leave did not apply for the benefit out of fear of losing their job or other negative consequences at work. SB 63 allows employees who work for a company with 20 or more employees, and who live within a 75-mile radius of their office, to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for a new child. This measure benefits 2.7 million more Californians, and only affects 6% of businesses.

Criminal Justice

AB 3: Stronger Public Defenders Act-BILL DIED IN LEGISLATURE

California is the most immigrant-rich state in the nation; one out of every four state residents is foreign-born. Under current law, even a single conviction for a misdemeanor offense can result in an individual’s deportation. This bill would have provided state funding to create Regional Centers and Statewide Resource Centers for public defenders to gain immigration expertise. These centers would have provided ongoing training, written materials, technical assistance, and mentoring. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of California residents have been deported and separated from their families. This funding would have helped these public defenders effectively represent immigrants and avoid deportation. Additionally, avoiding unnecessary deportations would result in significant state budget savings by avoiding the many economic and social disruptions caused by mass deportation. This bill didn’t make it out of the legislature.

Reproductive Rights and Justice

AB 569: Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act-VETOED BY GOVERNOR BROWN

The Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act would have amended the California Labor Code to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace based on personal reproductive health care decisions. It would have prohibited an employer from firing a woman for using birth control, being pregnant and unmarried, or using in vitro fertilization. Women around the country, as well as within California, have been threatened or fired from their jobs based on their reproductive health choices. An example of this was when financial aid specialist Teri James was fired from San Diego Christian College in 2012 for becoming pregnant while unmarried. This is a matter of reproductive rights and economic security for women and their families. Women’s reproductive choices should not affect or limit their ability to provide for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, AB 569 was vetoed by the Governor on 10/15/17.

Reducing Emissions

AB 262: Buy Clean California Act-SIGNED BY GOVERNOR BROWN

AB 262 requires the state to spend public dollars on infrastructure materials in a way that is consistent with state climate pollution reduction goals and recognizes clean manufacturers. California spends billions of dollars a year on infrastructure projects, which accounts for 24% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. State law generally requires entities such as UC and CSU to award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder which do not currently take into account the greenhouse gas emissions produced during manufacturing. This bill only applies to state, UC, and CSU projects and does not apply to privately funded construction.