This October, the Women’s Policy Institute has a lot to celebrate. Less than a week ago, the Governor signed into law two WPI-sponsored bills—AB 2015 (Mitchell), also known as the Calls for Kids Act, and AB 2530 (Atkins, Mitchell, Skinner), also known as No More Shackles, which aims to stop the shackling of pregnant women in California state prisons and juvenile halls.
You may not have realized, but it took three years to pass No More Shackles. Two of our WPI Criminal Justice Teams introduced and worked on a version of this bill in 2009-10 and 2010-11. However, the Governor vetoed them in the very last minute.
This third-time’s-the-charm victory shows that persistence pays off and that a loss is often a postponed victory.
We wanted to list by name all the fellows who worked on these two bills and recognize their individual contributions as well as the contributions of the organizations that they work for. Most of these organizations are also Women’s Foundation of California’s grant partners, so we’re doubly proud.
WPI team that worked on the Calls for Kids Act in 2011-12:
Catherine Porter, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
Kelly Lewis, Gay-Straight Alliance
Laura Jimenez, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
Megan Burgoyne, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health
Melanie Tom, Forward Together
WPI team that worked on No More Shackles in 2010-11:
Lisa Marie Alattore, Critical Resistance
Tamaya Garcia, Center for Young Women’s Development
Shonda Hutton, Time for Change Foundation
Lisa Leon, Women in Transition Reentry Project
Mailee Wang, Community Works
WPI team that worked on No More Shackles in 2009-10:
Aaliyah Muhammad, All of Us or None
Therese Dodge, The Crossroads Inc.
Alicia Waters, ACLU of Northern California
LeeJay Harper, Center for Young Women’s Development
Marci Fukuroda, Rainbow Services
Our 15 fellows are excited about these bills passing, but they know that they need to press on. Yes, they are celebrating, but they’re also preparing for the next legislative battle.
This is what Kelly Lewis had to say about the Calls for Kids Act passing:
“This is a moment for celebration. And we will celebrate. But then we have to stop and say, We can do better. In signing AB 2015 the Governor has eliminated some of the structural barriers which have kept California families apart, but in vetoing the Trust Act AB 1081 (Ammiano) and the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights AB 889 (Ammiano and Perez), the Governor has done the opposite. AB 2015, now law, is a big step forward, but we need to continue to push for policies that positively impact California’s most vulnerable communities and that treat California’s families with equity, dignity and respect.”
Catherine Porter agrees with Kelly and is hopeful about the possibility of improving the lives of women through the legislative process:
“Though many good bills were not passed or signed this legislative session—such as the bills to lift the media ban in prisons or the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights—with the passage of AB 2015 I am still encouraged that the state legislative process can result in good policy that improves the lives of women and children.”
Laura Jimenez is excited about this important legislative victory, but is already starting to organize with fellow nonprofit leaders to continue to defend the rights of California’s most vulnerable communities:
“The California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) is excited that Governor Brown signed AB 2015—Calls for Kids. Along with the Reuniting Immigrant Families Act (SB 1064), Calls for Kids is an important step towards respecting parental rights during arrest and detention. However, we must continue to struggle to restore trust in the immigrant community and ensure fairness to California’s domestic workers. California can still do better and CLRJ is committed to working with the other leaders of these struggles for the health and safety of all of our communities.”