As the 2011/12 Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) class teams wrapped up their policy projects we had a reminder that the work doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s not just about whether or not a bill becomes a law.
The Economic Justice team’s bill was AB 828. Their goal was to end California’s ban on issuing CalFresh benefits and temporary financial assistance to people who have been convicted of a drug felony. These people have already served their time, and CalFresh benefits are key to helping them re-enter society and gain economic stability. Read more about the bill.
The team of five incredibly hard working women fought tirelessly for this bill and gained tremendous support, yet on August, 25 2011 the bill was held under submission, which meant that it would not come to full committee vote. Despite their disappointment and frustration, the team refuses to see it as a permanent loss. “Policy work is tough but I don’t regret a second of it,” said Gwendy Donaker Brown, one of the fellows who worked on the bill. “This was a truly collaborative process – probably the strongest I have ever seen, so despite the outcome, I believe in my heart that we picked the right bill. It is never the wrong decision to stand up for those who are most marginalized and dehumanized in our society, and that is where the overall lesson and win was.”
We agree Gwendy!
Gwendy, who is pregnant with a baby girl, wants to make sure her daughter is as passionate about policy as she is! Check out the bib.