From Vision to Policy: Women's Policy Institute Legislative Wins - Women's Foundation California

Over the past few weeks, the work of our Women’s Policy Institute fellows has been in the news, in big ways! Julia Liou, a former Institute fellow, helped develop and supported the passage of the California Safe Cosmetics Act (SB 484) and is now working with another former fellow, Lisa Fu, on the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. The collaborative is deep into their Toxic Trio Campaign, a project that builds upon the work of the Institute fellows.

On October 19th, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will consider implementing the San Francisco Salon Recognition Ordinance, a project of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

The ordinance would encourage San Francisco’s 200 nail salons to discontinue use of nail polishes containing “toxic-trio” chemicals in order to protect the industry’s estimated 1,800 workers. Dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene, commonly found in nail polish, are associated with cancer, birth defects, asthma and other chronic diseases. Read this related post about the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

Our fellows were the catalyst behind AB 1179, signed into law in 2005, which prohibits the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The bill, overturned by a federal court on the grounds it violated free speech rights, will be considered by the Supreme Court this term. AB 1179 will be the first video-game related bill to ever be considered by the Supreme Court.

And, just last week, the Governor signed into law the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act, which creates a pathway for students to transfer from community college to California’s state college system. In 2008, Institute fellow Jessie Ryan advocated for the passage of this bill. It failed to pass in 2008, but undeterred,  Jessie reintroduced the bill in 2009, which led to its successful passage!

Community College students who complete 60 units of transferable coursework will receive an associate degree and guaranteed admission with upper division junior standing to the California State University system.

The bill also requests that the University of California (UC) system develop a similar pathway for students wishing to transfer into the UC.

In the 2009-2010 year, Institute fellows advocated for AB 1963, which protects farmworkers from overexposure to dangerous pesticides by improving the structure and oversight of an existing pesticide monitoring program. AB 1963 was passed and signed by the Governor on September 27, 2010! Institute fellows also successfully brought AB 1900 to the Governor’s desk. AB 1900 would protect the health and safety of incarcerated pregnant women by requiring that the Corrections Standards Authority set standards for how pregnant women are restrained during transportation to and from state and local correctional facilities. While ultimately the governor vetoed this bill, AB 1900 made local and national headlines. It brought to the forefront an important issue — the health and safety of pregnant inmates.

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