Business & Professional Women of Nevada County (BPW-NC) promotes equity for women in all aspects of their lives. One of its primary objectives is to advocate on legislative issues of importance to working women.
BPW-NC’s bedrock principle guiding its advocacy efforts is: “Every woman has the right to equal opportunity.”
In 2016, BPWNC has advocated in support of California bills that exemplify our priorities, including:
- Ending gender-based pay inequity by addressing equal pay barriers (AB 1676)
- Supporting a safety net of health and social services for working women, including CalWORKS incentives for success in the workforce (SB 23 and budget)
- Ending discriminatory taxes on feminine hygiene products (AB 1561)
As of early August, 2016, six of the seven California bills discussed below successfully passed in the Assembly and are either awaiting a final vote by the full Senate (AB 1676) or action by the Senate Appropriations Committee (AB 1671 and AB 1823); or the Appropriations Committee referred them to the suspense file and they may or may not advance to a final floor vote. The seventh bill (SB 23) would have repealed the Maximum Family Grant Rule, but the repeal was achieved through the budget process, after a multi-year battle to end the practice of denying additional CalWORKS benefits for children born into families participating in the program.
The legislature recessed for the summer and reconvenes August 8. We will soon know how all of our priority California legislation fares for this session.
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL WOMEN OF NEVADA COUNTY
POSITIONS ON LAWS AND LEGISLATION – 2016
As of October 18, 2016
AB 492 (Gonzalez, Gomez) Diaper Supplement for CalWORKS – Vetod on September 25, 2016.
Offers a monthly $50 diaper benefit per child age 2 or younger to parents enrolled in CalWORKs who use the childcare benefit as a supportive service. The supplement would help pay for diapers, estimated to cost $70-100 monthly per child, and could be used only for that purpose, for children enrolled in childcare. The cost is not covered by Medi-Cal or nutrition assistance programs, despite being a critical need. Diapers are not only important to the hygiene and health of children, but also a necessity for low-income families to access childcare, lack of which is a major barrier to employment. Thus, the bill would enable more parents to participate successfully in CalWORKS and stay in the workforce. It is estimated to affect 26,000 CalWORKS children under age 3.
STATUS: Introduced on February 23, 2015. In the Assembly, amended March, 2015. Passed in the Human Services Committee on January 13, 2016, 5-1. Amended and passed in the Appropriations Committee on January 21, 2016, 12-5. Passed in the Assembly on January 28, 2016, 64-9.
In the Senate, passed in the Health & Human Services Committee, 4-0, on May 10, 2016. Author’s amendments made in the Appropriations Committee on June 20; placed on suspense file August 1; passed, as amended, on August 11, 7-0. Passed in the Senate on August 18, 37-0 (Gaines voted “Yes”). Ordered to the Assembly.
In the Assembly, Senate amendments concurred in on August 30, 65-15 (Dahle voted “No”). Sent to the Governor on September 8. Vetoed.
AB 1561 (Garcia and Chang) No Tax on Tampons: Vetoed on September 13, 2016
Exempts feminine hygiene products – tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups and sponges – from sales and use taxes, at the state and local level in California, until January 1, 2022. Such necessary health products cost women in the state $20 million annually in unfair and regressive taxes.
STATUS: Introduced January 4, 2015. In the Assembly, referred to the Revenue and Taxation Committee. Amended in that committee on March 28 and April 28; passed on May 9, 9-0. Passed, as amended, in the Appropriations Committee, 18-1, on May 27. Passed on the floor, 78-2, on June 2.
In the Senate, passed with June 15 amendments by the author in the Government and Finance Committee, 5-0, on June 22. Passed, as amended, in the Appropriations Committee on August 11, 7-0. Passed on the floor August 18, 38-0 (Gaines voted “Yes”). Ordered to the Assembly.
In the Assembly, the Senate Amendments (making the bill effective on January 1, 2017) were concurred in on August 23, 77-0 (Dahle voted “Yes”). Sent to the Governor on August 30. Vetoed.
AB 1671 (Gomez, Jackson) Disclosure of confidential communications – enacted into law
Sponsor: Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
Prohibits intentional disclosure or distribution of illegally obtained communications with a health care provider, making it a crime under California’s Invasion of Privacy Law. It also makes it illegal for those who illegally record a conversation, or aid or abet the illegal recording, to aid or abet in its disclosure or distribution. The law currently only prohibits eavesdropping or recording confidential communications without both parties’ consent. Further, the bill increases existing penalties by making them applicable on a per-violation basis.
STATUS: Introduced on January 15, 2016. In Assembly, amended by the author on March 17 and April 12. Passed as further amended in the Public Safety Committee on April 19th, 5-2. Amended on April 25. Passed in the Appropriations Committee, 14-6 on May 25. Passed on the floor, 52-26, on May 31.
In the Senate, amended and passed in the Public Safety Committee on June 28, 5-2. Passed, as amended, in the Appropriations Committee on August 11, 5-2. Amended by the author on August 30. Passed on the floor on August 31, 26-113 (Gaines voted “No”). Ordered to the Assembly.
In the Assembly, Senate amendments concurred in on August 31, 52-26 (Dahle voted “No”). Sent to the Governor on September 9.
Approved by the Governor on September 30, 2016.
AB 1676 (Campos, Jackson) Employers: Use of Salary History – enacted into law
Co-sponsors: AAUW-CA, CA Employment Lawyers Assn, Equal Rights Advocates and CA-NOW
Bans employers from using prior salary history alone to justify a pay disparity. (Before amendments, the bill required employers in the private sector, on request, to inform job applicants of the pay scale for positions being sought, and prohibited prospective employers from asking about prior salary history.) The justification for the change to California equal pay laws is that prior salaries are often used to justify and perpetuate lower pay for women.
STATUS: Introduced on January 19, 2016. In the Assembly, passed in the Labor and Employment Committee on April 20, 4-2. Passed in the Appropriations Committee, 13-6, on May 27. Passed on the floor, 47-29, on June 2.
In the Senate, Passed in the Labor & Industrial Relations Committee, as amended by the author, 5-0, on June 22. Passed in the Judiciary Committee, 7-0, on June 28. Passed out of the Appropriations Committee on August 1. Amended on August 19. Passed on the floor on August 23, 38-0 (Gaines voted “Yes”). Ordered to the Assembly.
In the Assembly, the Senate amendments were concurred in on August 29, 71-4 (Dahle voted “Yes”). Enrolled and presented to the Governor on September 2. Approved by the Governor on September 30, 2016.
AB 1823 (Bonilla) California Clinical Trials Program – enacted into law
Aims to increase the participation of women and other underserved and underrepresented groups in cancer clinical trials. Calls for a California Clinical Trials Grant Program to be set up and administered by a nonprofit to be designated by the University of California. The nonprofit would raise funds for the program and establish it, once a minimum of $500,000 is raised. The program would fund private grants aimed at reducing barriers to participation. The privately funded grants would be used to connect patients with appropriate clinical trials and facilitate patient access to them, by covering expenses stemming from clinical trial participation, patient navigation, education and community outreach, and by implementing patient-friendly IT tools to assist patients in identifying available clinical trials.
STATUS: Introduced on February 8, 2016. In the Assembly, passed in the Health Committee on March 15, 2016, 17-0. Amended in the Committee on Higher Education on April 12; passed on April 19, 13-0. Passed in the Appropriations Committee as amended, 20-0, on May 27. Passed on the floor, 80-0, on June 1.
In the Senate, Amended and passed in the Health Committee, 9-0, on June 23. Amended and passed in the Education Committee on June 29, 9-0. Amended in Appropriations Committee on August 2; passed on August 11, 7-0. Amended on August 19. Passed on the floor on August 23, 39-0.
Assembly concurred in Senate Amendments on August 29, 80-0. Sent to the Governor on September 6. Approved by the Governor on September 26, 2016.
AB 2125 (Chiu) Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program – enacted into law
Requires the State Department of Toxic Substances Control to publish guidelines for cities and counties to voluntarily implement local healthy nail salon recognition (HNSR) programs, with such criteria as using less toxic nail polishes and polish removers, adopting best practices for reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals, and improving health and safety training. Also requires the department to set criteria for localities adopting HNSR programs and to take specific steps to promote use of the guidelines. (Similar recognition programs exist in several Bay Area cities and in Santa Monica, and have been shown to result in healthier nail salons, workers and consumers.) Nail salons in California represent a significant small business industry, dominated by Vietnamese workers.
STATUS: Introduced on February 17, 2016. In the Assembly, passed as amended in the Health Committee, 18-0, on March 29, 2016. Amended by the author on April 5. Passed as amended in the Committee on Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials, 7-0, on April 12. Passed as amended in the Appropriations Committee, 19-1, on May 27. Passed on the floor, 76-4, on June 2.
In the Senate, passed in the Committee on Environmental Quality, 7-0, on June 15. Passed in the Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, 9-0, on June 27. Amended in the Appropriations Committee on August 1; passed, as amended on August 11, 7-0. Passed on the floor on August 19, 37-0.
Assembly concurred in Senate amendments on August 24, 77-3 (Dahle voted “Yes”). Sent to the Governor on August 31. Approved by the Governor on September 24, 2016.
SB 23 (Mitchell), Repeal of Maximum Family Grant rule for CalWORKS – enacted into law in the 2016 budget
Sponsors: Access Women’s Health Justice, CLRJ, ACLU, Western Center on Law and Poverty, East Bay Community Law Center, County Welfare Directors Assn.
Description: Protects health and safety of children born into poverty, ending California’s intrusion into private reproductive and medical decisions of poor families. Current law bars California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) assistance for any child born into a household when any member is receiving aid. Otherwise, new parents would receive about $122/month in additional benefits. Exemptions to the MFG rule include when a child is conceived from incest, rape or the failure of an approved contraceptive. Mothers who must thus prove that such an exception exists are denied reproductive autonomy and privacy.
POSITION: Support, position adopted by BPWNC board on February 3, 2015. Letter of support by President Karin Kleinhans sent to Sen. Committee on Human Services on 02/03/2015. In Assembly, letter of support by co-President Lynn Wenzel sent to Assembly Human Services Committee chair Kansen Chu, on 6/23/2015. In 2016, BPWNC agreed to support including budget resources to effectively repeal the MFG rule, sending an appeal to members in May to call Governor Brown on the budget issue.
STATUS: Introduced on December 1, 2014. In the Senate, passed in Human Resources Committee, 4-0, on March 25, 2014. Passed in Appropriations Committee 5-1 on May 25. Passed in Senate 27-6 on June 1. (No vote was recorded for Nevada County’s Senator Ted Gaines.)
In Assembly, passed in the Human Services Committee, 5-2, on 07/14. Passed in Appropriations Committee 8/28, 14-0. Floor vote set for 09/03/15, but delayed by author until 2016. Placed on inactive file 9/04/15.
Separately, on March 30, 2016, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health & Human Services passed a budget item that would repeal the Maximum Family Grant Rule (MFG). The repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule, effective January 1, 2017, was included in the 2015-16 Public Social Services Omnibus budget trailer bill, AB 1603. This bill, with the MFG repeal, passed in both the Assembly and Senate on June 16. It was signed by the Governor on June 27, 2016.
S 862/HR 1619 (Mikulski, Rep. DeLauro) Paycheck Fairness Act – no action since 2015 introduction and referral to committees
Description: Amends and strengthens the primary federal law on gender pay inequality, the Equal Pay Act of 1963. It would limit when employers can pay differently to “bona fide factors, such as education, training, or experience.” It would require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to collect data on compensation, hiring, termination, and promotion sorted by sex. And, it would prevent employers from retaliating against employees for inquiring about or disclosing wage information at a company — perhaps the main method employees have of discovering such a gap in the first place. In addition, it would “make employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for damages.” And, it facilitates class actions.
STATUS: Introduced in March, 2015. Neither the House nor Senate version has been considered since being introduced and referred to their respective committees: Education and the Workforce Committee in the House; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. In the House, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training on November 16, 2015. The bill (or a close variation of it) has been introduced in every Congress since 1997. The closest it came to enactment was in 2009, when it passed in the then-Democratic House, and 58 Senators voted in favor – not enough to overcome the 60-vote barrier to stop a filibuster.
CALIFORNIA LAWS – IMPLEMENTATION
AB 329 (Weber), California Healthy Youth Act (sex education)
Sponsors: ACLU of California, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Equality California, Forward Together, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA
Promotes the health of California youth by mandating sexual health education in public schools, integrated into the current HIV/AIDS prevention education mandate. The bill will strengthen existing law to ensure that students receive both HIV prevention education and comprehensive sex education that is medically accurate, objective and unbiased, in grades 7 – 12 (at least once in junior high or middle school and once in high school). It authorizes optional age appropriate instruction in lower grades, as well. It will update outdated information and bolster existing requirements.
POSITION: Support. Faxed letter of support to author, with cc to Assembly Education Committee chair and members on April 10, 2015. Joined in floor alert letter before floor vote in Assembly on 06/01. Sent support letter to Senate Education Committee on 06/23. Sent support letter to Governor on 9/11/2015.
STATUS: Enacted in 2015, effective January 1, 2016. In order to implement the new requirements, the California Health Framework sections on sex education need to be updated, to address how to teach to the standards. Funds were included in the budget for 2016, and that process is getting started – with a revised framework projected to be drafted and ready for public comment by March, 2018. Meanwhile, school districts may be reimbursed for some implementation costs. A model policy has been prepared by the School Boards Association. Also needed is an updated textbook on sex education, which may not be accomplished by textbook publishers until 2020. A toolkit and other implementation resources are available from the ACLU.
AB 775 (Chiu, Burke), Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency) Act (CPC required disclosures)
Co-Authors: Atkins, Rendon, Wood
Sponsors: NARAL Prochoice CA, Black Women for Wellness, CA AG Kamala Harris
Description: Requires certain licensed facilities that provide family planning or pregnancy-related services, to provide written notice to those served that, “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women” and the phone number of the county office for determining eligibility. It further requires certain unlicensed facilities providers of pregnancy-related services to notify those served on site, and to state on any advertising materials, that they are not medical facilities licensed by the state of California and do not have a licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services. The law does not apply to licensed primary care clinics that are Medi-Cal or Family PACT providers, since they are able to immediately enroll patients into those programs.
The bill aims to ensure that California women receive the information they need to make well-informed decisions regarding their pregnancy options and obtain the care they need. One reason the bill is needed is to make prospective and current clients of crisis pregnancy centers aware that the centers are not medical facilities, are not licensed, and do not provide prenatal care or comprehensive reproductive healthcare or referrals. Noncompliance by either type of facility is subject to fines, $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for subsequent offenses. An action to impose a penalty may be brought by the Attorney General, city attorney or county counsel after providing the affected facility with notice of noncompliance and the potential penalty if the violation is not corrected within 30 days, and after verifying that the violation was not corrected within the 30-day period.
POSITION: Support. Board approved on May 5, 2015. Co-President Lynn Wenzel and Advocacy Chair Elaine Sierra attended the June 24 hearing in the Senate Health Committee, with Lynn standing in support. 9/02, co-Presidents Judith McCarrick and Lynn Wenzel signed a support letter sent to Governor Brown.
On March 15, 2016, Business & Professional Women of Nevada County and Citizens for Choice representatives delivered petitions to the Grass Valley City Council and Nevada County Board of Supervisors, urging enforcement. It was reported by KNCO that same day that the City Council had settled the case, agreeing not to enforce AB 775 until its pending law suit in California — one of four cases filed in federal district courts in the state, along with one in a superior court in Riverside County — has been resolved.
STATUS: Enacted in 2015, effective January 1, 2016. Challenged in Federal and state courts soon after: four in federal district courts in California and one in the Superior Court of Riverside. All courts denied preliminary injunction relief. In mid-March, the Grass Valley City Council settled its suit with plaintiff crisis pregnancy center Living Well, agreeing not to enforce the law until the pending lawsuit involving those parties is finally resolved. As of mid-June, 2016, three local enforcement authorities had settled their cases. In the LivingWell case (Livingwell Medical Clinic v. Harris, Northern District of California), its appeal of the court’s denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction on First Amendment grounds was rejected by the 9th Circuit on October 14, 2016. Trial is not yet scheduled.