Q2 Report: More Great Women Stepping Up To Run

MEMORANDUM

July 29, 2015

THANKS TO YOU, more accomplished, progressive women are declaring their candidacies.  The number of prospective candidates is up and so is our number of target districts.  We’ve researched, interviewed and met with over 400 extraordinary women leaders: elected women, non-profit and private sector women, women activists and advocates.

To benefit our prospects, we expanded our collaboration beyond the progressive women’s community and joined forces with organizations supporting candidates of color, labor and environmental organizations; social justice, education and legal groups.  We continue to consult with the Women’s, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander and Black Caucuses of the Legislature.

WE’VE ADDED TARGET DISTRICTS AND CANDIDATES

We increased the number of target districts from 16 to 20. Among these 20 seats, 15 progressive women are now running in 11 districts.  Twelve are women of color. See where progressive women are running here.

We expect prospects completing explorations with us to make decisions in 3 additional districts before Labor Day.  Here’s where we’re still recruiting:

District Geography District Geography
AD 16 Livermore, San Ramon, Walnut Creek AD 31 Fresno
AD 35 San Luis Obispo AD 45* San Fernando Valley
SD 27 SFV/Ventura SD 35 South Central LA

*Not yet open, but we’ll be ready!

 

We have identified excellent women in these districts, but the ratio of prospect to actual candidate is about 35 to 1, so we need your help.  Know a strong prospect?

Send your nominees to alice@closethegapca.org.

GETTING AHEAD OF THE CURVE TO FIND THE BEST

This spring we held “search parties” in Benicia/Martinez, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and the San Fernando Valley.  Thanks to the hundreds of local activists who have participated in these valuable exchanges.

Our “Ready for Her Too” campaign launched on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s announcement for President drew attention to the need for women to run for local, state and federal offices.   Our thanks to Run Women Run, EMERGE CA, BWOPA, NWPC and all those who sent us photos of women who should run. Your presence in social media produced a new round of candidate nominations.  Nice work.

MAKING CONNECTIONS TO ENSURE VIABILITY

We hosted a private reception for over a dozen prospective candidates and progressive organizations at the California Democratic Party’s annual convention and later joined EMERGE CA, CDC and WIP PAC for a celebration of progressive women leaders.

Special thanks to Speaker Toni Atkins and Assembly members Garcia, Eggman, Campos, Chiu, Gonzalez, Stone, Lopez for joining us.  Our prospective candidates appreciate your support and encouragement.

Likewise, a big thank you to Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara who joined close the gap CA at the annual Equal Rights Advocates lunch in San Francisco where her equal pay bill and the entire A Stronger California campaign were celebrated.  Electing more progressive women is the most direct way to ensure that equal pay, flexible and predictable work schedules, affordable child care and universal pre-school become central tenants of a progressive agenda and the law in California. 

Close the gap CA heads to Burlingame for the California Democratic Party’s August 15th Executive Board meeting.  We’ll be connecting prospects to activists and issue advocates to help them in their assessments.   Let us know if you’ll be there too. 

Finally, our thanks to allied organizations that have made the election of women a priority for 2016 and who support our work with their time, talent or treasure: 

Black Women Organized for Political Action

California Labor Federation

California League of Conservation Voters

California Nurses Association

California Professional Firefighters

California School Employees Association

Consumer Attorneys of CA

Educate Our State

EMERGE CA

Leadership for a Clean Economy

NARAL Pro-Choice CA

National Women’s Political Caucus

Planned Parenthood of CA

Progressive Era Project

SEIU

United Food and Commercial Workers

 

Close the gap CA’s weekly Alerts are now delivered to over 5,000 recipients who support recruiting progressive women for state legislature.  If you know someone who should receive an ALERT, let Alice know: alice@closethegapca.org.

 Visit our website to contribute, volunteer or learn more:  www.closethegapCA.org. 

NOTE:  We are often asked, “Who are your candidates?”  As a 527 non-profit, progressive political organization, CTGCA cannot endorse or support candidates and that includes singling them out in our communications.  We exclusively recruit and prepare prospective candidates to make smart decisions about running including developing the policy and networks that will enable them to be successful.  Our allies fund, train, support and promote these women once they declare their candidacies.

 

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Ally Spotlight: California League of Conservation Voters and Leadership for a Clean Economy

Ca League of Conservation Voters leadership for a clean economy

By Antonia Madian

The drive for effective environmental legislators is strong in California, and no two organizations are more representative of that fact than Leadership for a Clean Economy (LCE) and the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV). They share a common goal: getting candidates with proven environmental policy track records into office so that California can continue to set an example as one of the greenest economies in the world.

 

LCE and CLCV work closely together in, as Rachel Van Wert, of LCE, describes it, “a thriving ecosystem of environmental and clean economy groups.” LCE recruits candidates to run for office and helps elect those candidates, while CLCV endorses candidates. Together these two organizations cover a great deal of ground in advancing environmental policy candidates in the legislature.

 

Both Mike Young, of CLCV, and Van Wert stress the importance of a long-standing commitment to the environment in potential office holders. Young says that it’s not just about a candidate’s position on current issues that CLCV takes into account when considering an endorsement, but what they have done to demonstrate this commitment through actions both as a public official and as an individual. He says, “public and private lives tend to be good indicators of how they will perform in the legislature,” along with their voting record, and how they have worked with the environmental community in the past. Van Wert explains that LCE looks to recruit people who both understand environmental policy issues and have “made them a priority in their careers” as a whole. She says we need to make sure we are “electing champions,” because most democratic candidates can say the right things on climate issues, but may not follow through.

 

Here at close the gap CA, we emphasize how important 2016 is as our last year to put more women in the legislature due to the new term limits, and CLCV and LCE share our concerns with regards to their environmentally-policy-minded candidates. “2016 is our last opportunity to meaningfully shape the legislature before open seats dwindle,” notes Van Wert.

 

Both LCE and CLCV also recognize the importance of bringing environmentally-minded women into office. Young notes, “women legislators make very effective environmental legislators,” and that “it helps to have many different ways of thinking on complex issues like the environment, especially because public health and the environment tend to be more on the minds of women.” Van Wert says, “California’s premiere climate legislation, which has been exported to other states and the federal government, was written and passed by female legislators and has left a very important footprint.” Both Young and Van Wert provided several examples of female legislators who have had a huge impact on environmental policy while in office. Van Wert highlighted the work of State Senator Fran Pavley and former Assembly Women Nancy Skinner. Young agreed and also cited the critical environmental work of Speaker Toni Atkins.

 

Both Young and Van Wert are optimistic about the state of climate policy in California, but stress that there is a lot of work to be done. Young emphasizes that, despite having poor showings in recent electoral years, we still have “strong, progressive, and forward thinking leaders on climate change” in office now, like Atkins and Attorney General Kamala Harris, and that we have to continue to back these candidates. Van Wert says that we are fortunate in California to “not be a state of climate skeptics;” however, “if we aren’t systematically cultivating, recruiting, and supporting candidates who will be our best leaders on climate change, we won’t see progress.” Both Young and Van Wert highlight California’s place as a leader for climate policy both nationally and internationally, and note that we are setting a standard for how environmental legislation can be implemented worldwide.

 

Finally, the people at LCE and CLCV both want to encourage potential progressive female candidates. Young says, “There is always a need for great legislators,” and notes that there are “a lot of structural disadvantages for women,” in politics and that we should all push for “strong, intelligent, liberal women.” Van Wert adds, “We will work really hard to raise money and provide hands-on resources” for strong female candidates who fit the LCE recruiting criteria. “If you are a leader on climate and clean energy issues, we want to get to know you.”

 

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Ally Spotlight: California Public Leadership Pipeline Project

wellstone progressive majority new american leaders project emerge ca

By Lauren Hirsch

The California Public Leadership Pipeline Project is a collaboration between Emerge CA, The New American Leaders Project (NALP), Progressive Majority, and Wellstone Action to develop and support progressive public leadership in Orange County. The Project works closely with local community organizations and partners to recruit and train potential candidates from diverse backgrounds including women, people of color, immigrants, and the differently abled community.

 

The Project has several goals, said Project Manager Asma Men. “We want to identify future public leaders from communities of color, from minority groups including women, who need support resources and assistance to help them get cultivated and groomed to enter public office. [We want to] create a base of politically progressive individuals within Orange County…In the course of speaking with people, we also encountered people who wanted campaign experience, so our founder organizations try to help get them grassroots organizing experience in case later they are interested in becoming either future elected leaders or campaign managers.”

 

The going has been tough, but the Project has seen real progress. “The biggest challenge,” Asma noted, is that “people who speak with me ask, ‘how can someone like me get elected?’ The leadership in Orange County all comes from one demographic, and the people we speak with aren’t used to seeing a leadership whose backgrounds reflect their own communities. It’s a real cultural shift to believe that someone like yourself can get elected.” (Latinos, for example, constitute 34.2% of the population in Orange County, but there are no Latinos on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.)

 

Asma, who grew up in Orange County, turned both to local community organizations and her own network to find people who might be interested in public leadership roles. “The initial phase of searching for people was really difficult because the same few names came up as referrals from everyone I talked to. It just showcases that there are prospective leaders who are being overlooked…I really had to reach out by asking every single person I met with to refer me to several more people.”

 

Once Asma has identified people who are interested, each of the Project’s four collaborating organizations can bring its unique resources and knowledge to bear. NALP hosts weekend-long trainings for potential candidates, while Wellstone Action has trained campaign operatives. Progressive Majority offers campaign advising and technical services, and Emerge CA runs a 7-month leadership training program for progressive women candidates.

 

Currently, Orange County is widely seen as a conservative stronghold, with 41.8% of voters registered as Republican, compared to 31.7% Democrat, as of 2012. (22% decline to state.) Yet the interest in new leadership is there. “Turnout is one of our biggest successes,” said Asma. “The first training session I organized, I set a goal of getting 30 people to come and worried whether we would meet it. We ended up with about double that. Turnout has always exceeded our expectations.”

 

Interested parties who wish to support the Pipeline Project can reach out to Gloria Totten at gtotten@progressivemajority.org.

 

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Filing & Money: When Should I File and How Much Do I Need to Raise?

by Alex Gillis and Betsy Cotton

Two common questions prospective candidates ask are, “When should I announce my candidacy and how much money do I need to raise to be viable?”  For most candidates it is a surprise that these two topics -announcing your candidacy and fundraising – should be considered together.

A candidate’s ability to raise money is an important measure of their ability to win.  When you announce, you should be ready to show your fundraising strength.

Filing Strategy

filingIf you are considering a run in 2016 and want to get an early start on your campaign, filing in April 2015 makes sense if you’ve got a fundraising plan in place.  If you need more time to lay the groundwork for your campaign, plan to file in July.  Choosing to wait to file until after the mid-year fundraising period closes at the end of June gives you six months to fill your coffers before the end-of-year contribution period closes on December 31st. Check the Fair Political Practices (FPPC) website for their 2016-filing schedule so you can plan accordingly.

Fundraising Strategy
To be a credible candidate for the California legislature, it is advisable to raise at least $100,000 by the first FPPC reporting deadline following your announcement.  Whether you can raise this amount in the first 3 to 6 months of your candidacy should be a serious consideration in determining whether you are ready to run.

With this in mind, plan ahead so you know where your first $100,000 – $150,000 will come from, how you will raise it and when you will have it in hand.  Even though you cannot accept checks prior to filing as a candidate, you can develop a fundraising plan before filing an intention to run with the Secretary of State’s office.  Be aware that contributions to state candidates and to committees that make contributions to state candidates are subject to contribution limits which are available on the FPPC website.

Pundits and stakeholders pay particular attention to a candidate’s first filing of the election cycle.  Raising significant funds out of the gate signals that you are a serious candidate and will enable you to attract more attention and support.  Aim to give yourself the maximum time to raise campaign funds by filing your intention to run as close to the beginning of a fundraising period as possible.  Remember that the most difficult time to raise funds for political campaigns falls between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

The amount you will need to raise depends on the district, the level of competition, your allies, and your political party backing.  For example in 2014, incumbent Democrat Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (AD 52) raised just under $400,000 for a safe democratic Inland Empire seat, while San Francisco’s Assemblymember David Chiu (AD 17) raised $1.5 million in this hotly contested “Dem-on-Dem” open-seat race.  Similarly, Democrat Senator Connie Leyva (SD 20) raised just $750,000 in her successful bid to fill an open seat in a heavily democratic district vacated by Norma Torres compared to more than $3.5 million Republican Senator Janet Nguyen (SD 34) raised in her very competitive Orange County open-seat race.  For district specific breakdowns of how much each candidate raised in 2014, visit Maplight, a Berkeley based nonpartisan research organization.

Fundraising Details

During the months prior to filing, organize a database of potential donors and catalogue donors according to their capacity to give.  Determine who can help raise money, host events and identify prospective donors.  Start by reaching out to your most faithful friends, family, classmates, co-workers and social circle to see what they might be willing to do for you.  Be sure to set up meetings with current and former legislators and local elected officials to test the waters.

Additionally, since local constituency organizations, statewide organizations, and PACs are important fundraising channels, use your existing relationships to help you identify possible campaign funds within these groups.  If you don’t know who to call, ask a friend for an introduction.

moneyBe sure you can answer these questions before filing your candidacy:

  1. How much have I raised before? From whom? Will they give again?  How much can I count on from my donor base?  Who is my fundraising base?
  2. Do I know where my first $100 K – $150 K will come from? Can I assign a contribution amount to every prospective donor? Catalogue it.  Confirm it.
  3. Do I have relationships with local constituency organizations like labor unions or environmental groups that would support my candidacy with a donation?
  4. Do I have relationships with statewide organizations and Political Action Committees (PACs) based in Sacramento?
  5. Can I count on endorsements and fundraising help from other elected officials in my district? How can I use these to support my candidacy?
  6. Do I need to engage a local consultant who has proven fundraising experience and knowledge in my district or can a member of my campaign team head up the fundraising effort?

Additional Resources:

National Institute on Money in State Politics: Look up a district and research which groups have contributed.
Around The Capitol: Subscribers of Around The Capitol can learn the amount of campaign funds raised in each district this election cycle.
close the gap CA List of PACs: Political Action Committees provided on the close the gap CA website.
What Makes a Winning Candidate: For more discussion on how to be strategic in releasing fundraising news and key endorsements, listen to close the gap CA’s webinar.
Blog Post: “How to Raise $100,000” by Angela Lyonsjustus.
Emily’s List, Emerge, NWPC, Run Women Run: Training programs that provide fundraising advice.

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How to Raise $100,000

By Angela Lyonsjustus

money bagLet’s face it, raising money is often the biggest hurdle for first time candidates.  At first, the goal of raising so much money can seem daunting.  However, many first time candidates reach and exceed this fundraising goal.

The California state contribution limit in Assembly and Senate races is $4,200 per election for individuals.  An individual donor can give this amount in both the primary and general election since each is considered a separate election under California law.

So how do you start?  Begin by breaking up the $100,000 into several different strategies so the goal becomes more manageable.

  1. MAJOR DONORS Start with your most committed supporters and those most likely to give you the maximum donation. These are people you personally visit or call to ask for a contribution and be sure to ask their spouse for a contribution as well!
  1. EVENTS Do you have supporters who would be willing to host an event for you? Identify people in your network who would invite 20-30 guests to their home to hear you speak and who would ask these friends to contribute. Several events like this can really add to your fundraising numbers.
  1. ONLINE GIVING It is easy to overlook the importance of small donations. They truly do add up. It is worth an investment of staff time to develop a substantial online presence and create a targeted fundraising “ask” through social media and emails.  Online contributions can account for a reliable, if modest, portion of your goal.
  1. ISSUE INTEREST PACS Identify your strongest base of support: environment, education, labor, social justice. All important issues and causes have advocates and organizations who promote their cause and most can aid you by donating early in the campaign.
  1. NEW FRIENDS Finally, political handshaking can lead to more than just endorsements. Take note of the groups you meet with and whether they can aid in your fundraising efforts. Some will donate to your campaign, while others can solicit their members.  Be sure to ask them all for a donation to your campaign.

Depending on the size of your campaign, I recommend having one campaign staffer dedicated to fundraising.  Between creating call sheets, communicating with event hosts and donors, monitoring donations and submitting records to state agencies, the hours add up to a full time position.

A campaign cannot run without a robust fundraising operation, however, the most important piece of a successful political fundraising plan is you, the candidate.  We at close the gap CA believe each woman running for office can be a successful fundraiser if she will devote the time to learn the ropes, the focus to become a skilled solicitor and the discipline necessary to “ask” regularly.

Resources:

Follow the money is a great resource to see how much money was raised in your district in past elections.

PACs that will support women legislative candidates.

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A POLICY AGENDA FOR ALL: Progressive Women Legislators Lead the Way

By Lauren Hirsch

jackson-infographicLast Monday, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Stronger California Advocates Network launched a bold, progressive state policy agenda called A Stronger Calif♀rnia: Ensuring Economic Security for All Women.  The effort is designed to “combat discrimination causing the gender wage gap, increase access to affordable and quality child care, and ensure that workers have more predictable work schedules,” according to Noreen Farrell, Chairwoman of the Network and Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA).  Progressive women legislators and leading women’s advocacy organizations including ERA and the Women’s Foundation of California, teamed up to produce the proposals.

“Women continue to increase our role and our impact on our economy,” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins said at a Capitol news conference.  “It’s vital we pursue the policies that help ensure opportunity and equality.  These actions will help more California woman not only participate in the economic recovery but also in building our economic future.”

Women make up nearly half of the California workforce and comprise the majority of workers in top industries like health care and food and accommodation services that have driven California’s economic recovery.  Women now surpass men in attaining college and advanced degrees.  Yet the average woman in California still makes only 84 cents to every dollar a man earns, with Latina women earning only 44 cents to the dollar.  California ranks 27th in the nation for access to early childhood education.  California parents still lack adequate protection against losing their jobs if a child-care emergency arises, often forcing them to choose between caring for their children and putting food on the table.

The proposed legislative agenda addresses key areas of need for California’s women and their families.  Here is a sample:

  • California Fair Pay Act (SB 358 Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson) closes loopholes that let employers justify paying women less and protects employees from retaliation for inquiring about wage differences.
  • Minimum Wage Increase and Indexing (SB 3 Senator Connie Leyva & Senator Mark Leno) raises the California minimum wage to $11 in 2016 and $13 in 2017, and indexes minimum wage to inflation so that wages keep pace with the economy.
  • Raising Child Care Quality and Accessibility Act (SB 548 Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins & Senator Pro Tem Kevin de Léon) creates new child care slots to help close the gap between children who need child care and those who have it, supports additional training for child care providers, and establishes the right of child care workers to collectively bargain.
  • Fair Scheduling Act (AB 357 Assemblywoman Shirley Weber & Assemblyman David Chiu) grants workers the right to have a predictable work schedule to protect food and retail industry workers from fluctuating work schedules that hinder them from planning for child-care, making or attending doctor’s appointments, and pursuing further education and training.

While women make up just 26% of the California Legislature and progressive women account for just 16%, our progressive women legislators continue to lead the way in providing crucial leadership on issues of poverty, worker’s rights, women’s rights, and support for families.  Imagine the policy outcomes in a legislature that actually reflects the residents of California!

“We are at an important juncture for California and California women, a place where we both can make a difference and recognize that a difference needs to be made,” Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, said in a statement.  “This isn’t just about the pocketbooks of California’s families, although that’s important.  This is also about building a strong future for all of California.”

Learn more about A Stronger Calif♀rnia: Ensuring Economic Security for All Women here.

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10 women who could be senator — or governor

By Betsy Cotton

After reading list after list suggesting who’s lining up to serve as our next Governor or Senator, one thing is clear: it’s time to expand the talent pool.

Before we head into the 2016 election cycle, let’s look at 10 who’ve done the work, taken on the tough issues, seized the reins in tumultuous times, succeeded unconventionally and pioneered new territory.

  1. Hilda Solis. This former U.S . Secretary of Labor, Member of Congress and state legislator has the experience to ensure that all Californians benefit from an improved economy. She is the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Cabinet and would be the first to represent California in the U.S. Senate.
  2. Jackie Speier.Congresswoman Speier is a perfect example of a strong, motivated woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Whether speaking out against sexual harassment and rape in the military, or on behalf of consumer privacy rights online, she’s proven her effectiveness as a legislator and a leader.
  3. Kamala Harris. California’s current attorney general and former San Francisco district attorney is one of our most entrepreneurial leaders. She’s taken on local and national challenges from truancy to Wall Street. She’s a bold, big picture thinker who could join the growing list of Democratic women Governors who first served as AGs including Janet Napolitano (AZ), Jennifer Granholm (MI) and Christine Gregoire (WA).
  4. Loretta Sanchez.This Democrat has represented a congressional district in the heart of Orange County for nearly 20 years. A purple district expert, she knows swing voters. And with expertise in Homeland Security, veterans affairs and finance, she can speak their language.
  5. Toni Atkins. The Speaker of the State Assembly is known for being a stabilizing force in tumultuous times, which included a period serving as acting Mayor of San Diego. Her “take charge” moves in the Assembly suggest she is comfortable exercising power to get things done. Always a winner with voters.
  6. Delaine Eastin. A former two-term State Superintendent of Public Instruction, she gives a stemwinder of a speech.   As Superintendent, she reduced class size and championed early childhood education. A favorite of grassroots activists, Eastin touches the populist nerve like few political leaders.
  7. Karen Bass. A former Speaker of the Assembly and current Member of Congress, Bass starts with an LA base, a powerful progressive network and a stadium full of foundation and non-profit fans.Her personal brand of respectful, inclusive leadership wins points with other elected officials.
  8. Maria Contreras Sweet. Currently head of the US Small Business Administration, Sweet founded and served as chair of LA’s ProAmerica Bank. She broke new ground as Governor Davis’ Cabinet Secretary for Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. She combines private sector connections and public sector accomplishment.
  9. Geena Davis.Geena Davis is a Renaissance woman; she’s an Oscar-winning actor, chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women, MENSA member and activist head of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.  Hollywood has sent more than one leading man to Sacramento.  It’s about time a woman walked off the red carpet and into the Governor’s office.
  10. Betty Yee: After surviving a bruising primary and a prolonged vote count, CA’s new Controller may be its most resilient political leader.  Combine that with in-depth knowledge of state finances, warm people skills and a fervent grassroots base, and she has to be a contender.  Anyone want to bet against her?

Betsy Cotton is director of close the gap CA, a campaign to increase the number of progressive women in the CA Legislature.

UPDATE: Mid-terms 2014: How Many Women Won?

By Sanjana Parikh

Races

During the general election, women ran in 40 of 100 races for the CA Legislature. However, women comprised only 23% of candidates (45 of 196). More highlights:

  • 8 of 20 State Senate races included female candidates
  • 32 of 80 State Assembly races included female candidates

CandidatesWhere did women win in 2014

  • 23 of 45 women on the ballot won their races*
  • 12 Democrat
  • 11 Republican

Contenders

  • 7 of 14 women running for open seats won
  • 3 Democrats
  • 4 Republicans
  • 1 of 13 challengers won*
  • 1 Republican
  • 15 of 16 women running as incumbents won their races
  • 9 Democrats
  • 6 Republican

Comparing the Win Rate

Women won at the same rate as men. Of 151 male candidates, 76 won, demonstrating a 50.3% success rate. Even in an election with poor turnout, women slightly edged men, with 23 women winning of 45, giving them a 51.1% rate of victory.

* awaiting results from State Assembly District 39

2014 CA Legislative Victories

victoryBy Elizabeth Borges

To see the power of progressive women in action, look no further than the California State Senate and Assembly. In the most recent legislative session, progressive women sponsored and passed significant bills addressing issues, such as sexual assault, Title IX, workplace practices, access to sports and the environment.

These new laws will improve the lives of women and families in the state of California — and they underscore the need for electing progressive women. Indeed, several of these legislators term out this year and in 2016. close the gap CA is recruiting to fill those and other open seats.

Here are the key pieces of legislation authored, sponsored and championed by progressive women in the 2014 legislative session that were passed and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown:

Assembly Bill 1522 (Paid Sick Leave) – Sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)
With this bill, California becomes the first state in the country to mandate paid sick leave for all private-sector employees in every industry. Before the bill was passed, approximately 44% of the private-sector workforce did not have access to paid sick leave. Now, an additional 6.5 million workers will earn at least an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work, and will be able to take up to three paid days off work if they are sick or need to care for a sick child, parent, or relative. Employees are eligible to use their sick time once they have been employed for 90 days. Sen. Gonzales’s personal experience as a single working mother inspired her to sponsor this bill, demonstrating the unique and invaluable perspective that women bring to public office.

Sources:
1. Koray J. Bolut, National Law Review
2. Press Release, CA State Assembly Democratic Caucus

Senate Bill 967 (Affirmative Consent) – Co-Sponsored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)
To address the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses, this bill requires colleges and universities that accept state financial aid money to adopt an unambiguous affirmative consent standard for disciplinary hearings. The bill defines consent in sexual activity as “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement.” Notably, the bill specifies that intoxicated consent cannot be considered consent. In addition to establishing an affirmative consent standard, the bill outlines a comprehensive approach for reducing sexual assault that universities must follow. The bill requires schools to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard in disciplinary hearings, educate students about the meaning of affirmative consent, develop sexual assault prevention programs, and create policies and procedures centered around the experience of the victim.

Sources:
1) Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
2) Jean Lee, The Californian
3) Patrick McGreevey, Melanie Mason, LA Times

Assembly Bill 1014 (Gun Violence Restraining Orders) – Co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
AB 1014 provides for the temporary seizure of guns from people determined by the courts to be a threat to themselves or others. It allows law enforcement officers or family members to ask a court for a restraining order against a person believed to be a threat, barring that person’s possession of firearms for 21 days.

Sources:
1) Patrick McGreevy, LA Times
2) Stephanie O’Neill, KPCC

Assembly Bill 1443 (Workplace Sexual Harassment) – Sponsored by Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
The bill explicitly protects unpaid interns from workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. Assemblywoman Skinner introduced the bill in response to a 2013 federal district court ruling in New York, which declared that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not apply to unpaid interns because they are technically not employees. According to Assemblywoman Skinner, “No one should give up their basic civil rights just because they are willing to forgo pay for experience.”

Sources:
1) Autumn Johnson, The Patch
2) Press Release, CA State Assembly Democratic Caucus

Assembly Bill 1517 (Rape Kit Backlog) – Co-Sponsored by Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
Alarmed by the high number of rape kits that go untested across the state, Assemblywoman Skinner sponsored this bill to “ensure that criminal evidence contained in rape kits is tested promptly and that more rapists are caught and convicted.” An audit conducted by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in 2011 found scores of untested rape kits all over the state, including more than 1,900 in Alameda County. To reduce the backlog, the bill establishes deadlines for law enforcement agencies to send rape kits to crime labs and for crime labs to test them. Law enforcement agencies must send rape kits to a crime lab within five days of booking them into evidence; then, the crime lab has 30 days to process the evidence and upload the DNA profiles in law enforcement’s online system. Now that the bill has been signed into law, Assemblywoman Skinner says that rape survivors can have confidence that “prosecuting sexual assault criminals is a California priority.”

Sources:
1) KTVU
2) Alameda County District Attorney’s Office

Senate Bill 1168 (Groundwater Regulations) – Sponsored by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)
For the first time, this bill establishes rules for pumping groundwater in California. Given the state’s ongoing drought, farmers and local agencies are scrambling to replenish their water supplies — and many are turning to the same underground water basins, leading to over-pumping. To prevent damage such as sinking land and compressed soil and rocks, the bill compels local agencies in areas most at risk of over-pumping to create sustainability plans. The bill also empowers these agencies to monitor and enforce their sustainability plan using water meters and fines. With this oversight, the state’s underground water basins should be on the path to sustainability by 2040.

Sources:
1) David Pierce, KQED
2) Melanie Mason, LA Times

Senate Bill 844 (Ballot Measure Contributions) – Sponsored by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills)
The bill requires CA’s Secretary of State to list the amount of total contributions and the names of the top 10 donors for and against each ballot proposition. It was developed in collaboration with the California Voter Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, and supported by Common Cause, the League of Women Voters of California and the California Clean Money Campaign, and it received near unanimous support of the Legislature.

Source:
1) Press release, CA State Senate Democratic Caucus

Senate Bill 1135 (Inmate Anti-Sterilization) – Sponsored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara
This bill prohibits the sterilization of inmates without their informed consent, except when medically necessary. California has a long history of sterilizing inmates without their consent, including nearly 150 tubal ligations performed without state authorization between 2006 and 2010. Sen. Jackson explained her advocacy of the bill by noting that “pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent violates our most basic human rights.”

Sources:
1) Julianne Hing, Colorlines
2) Oscar Contreras, ABC 23 Bakersfield

Senate Bill 1053 (Contraceptive Coverage Equity) – Sponsored by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles)
This bill requires health insurance carriers to provide all FDA-approved contraceptive methods without co-pays or restrictions such as step therapy or prior authorization. The bill augments the Affordable Care Act, which required health insurers to offer contraception but still allowed them to apply “reasonable management techniques,” which prevented some women from accessing their preferred method of contraception.

Sources:
1) Laurel Chesky, Monterey County Weekly
2) National Health Law Program

Senate Bill 1349 (Title IX Transparency) – Sponsored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)
Although Title IX requires that girls have equal opportunity to play sports, current data suggests that girls receive only 3/5 of the athletic opportunities as boys. This bill helps ensure Title IX compliance by requiring high schools to post the number of girls’ and boys’ sport teams on their website, along with the total number of girls and boys playing sports. With easy access to this information, girls (and their families) will be able to ask for the resources and opportunities in the case of inequity.

Sources:
1) Women’s Sports Foundation
2) Equal Rights Advocates

Assembly Bill 2350 (Pregnancy Discrimination) – Sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord)
In order to keep female graduate students enrolled in STEM programs, this bill prohibits schools from demanding that pregnant graduate students take a leave of absence. Further, the bill requires schools to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant graduate students who do want to take a leave of absence; the school must hold their place, provide extensions for preliminary and qualifying exams, and allow them an extra year to complete their degree if they so choose.

Sources:
1) East County Today

General Source:
Press Release, CA Women’s Law Center

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