2020 BPWNC LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATION 2019-2020 REGULAR SESSION
Business & Professional Women of Nevada County (BPWNC) promotes equity for women in all aspects of their lives, and especially the right to equal opportunity. One of its primary strategies to accomplish that objective is to advocate on legislative issues of importance to women.
In 2020, BPWNC advocated in support of California bills that address key issues affecting equity for women: sexual harassment and assault, the pay gap, pregnancy and family leave and access to quality maternal care. Those bills, all enacted this year were:
- SB 493 – Ensures that CA colleges and universities have better procedures to prevent and respond to sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault.
- SB 973 – Requires large private employers to report specific pay data each year, by gender, race and ethnicity, to help address persistent pay gaps for women and minorities.
- SB 1383 – Provides Job protections for pregnancy leave or family leave, extending protections to workers for smaller employers and to workers caring for new categories of family members, changes that cover up to 6 million more workers.
- AB 732 – Requires specific medical treatment and services for pregnant and post-partum women who are incarcerated in prison or jails in California.
The COVID-19 epidemic and its restrictions made this session historically unique. The legislature was in recess from mid-March to early May 4, 2020. In light of COVID-19, the session was set in a compressed reality: streamlined bill packages, many pending bills put on hold, limited finances and a focus on addressing the health and economic impacts of the pandemic as the highest priorities. Under these circumstances, we savor our successes in advancing our cause of equity for women all the more.
The legislative session ended on August 31, 2020. The Governor took final action on the bills sent to him by a September 30 deadline. The final results for bills that became law for the 2019-20 legislative session, including those enacted in 2019, are that nine of our bills became law. Each is described below.
AB 732 Reproductive Dignity for Incarcerated People Act – Enacted September 30, 2020.
Requires specific medical treatment and services for pregnant and post-partum women who are incarcerated in prison or jails in California. It mandates the quality and frequency of care and support incarcerated pregnant individuals must receive before, during and after birth, including care of newborns.
ACR 1 Resolution opposing Public Charge regulatory changes for immigrant admissibility – Resolution became law on September 26, 2019. Underlying regulations issued in August, 2019 went into effect February 24, 2020. Litigation is ongoing.
The Assembly Concurrent Resolution would condemn regulations under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as proposed by the Department of Homeland Security, to prescribe how a determination of an alien’s inadmissibility is made, based on the likelihood that the alien will become a public charge. (The current rule is that a person may be or likely become a public charge if they are primarily dependent on public benefits.)
SB 24 College Student Right to Access: providing on-campus medication abortion – Enacted October 11, 2019 (Implementation delayed by COVID-19)
Requires California public university on-campus student health centers (SHCs) to provide medication abortion onsite, by January 1, 2023. It provides funding for grants of up to $200,000 to University of California and California State University SHCs for “medication abortion readiness.” It permits the use of telehealth to provide medication abortions.
SB 312 Cosmetic Fragrance and Favor Ingredients Right to Know Act – Enacted September 30, 2020.
The bill requires companies that sell beauty or personal care products in California to report toxic fragrance or flavor chemicals that are present on any of the 23 hazard lists referenced in the bill to the California Safe Cosmetics Program, which will make that information available through a public database. Includes toxic ingredients that cause cancer, reproductive harm or allergic reactions.
SB 493 Gender Equity in Education Act – Enacted September 29, 2020.
Seeks to ensure that state-funded institutions of higher education have adequate processes in place to prevent and respond to sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault.
SB 973 Employer annual report on pay data – Enacted September 30, 2020.
Requires that private employers of 100 or more employees report pay and job title data annually to California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. Supporters consider it an essential tool to address persistent pay gaps for women and minorities.
SB 1237 Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act – Enacted September 18, 2020.
Aims to increase access to high-quality, high-value maternity care, and reduce race-based disparities in maternal outcomes, by improving access to nurse-midwives in California. It would do this by removing the outdated requirement for physician permission to practice, which prevents nurse-midwives from going where they are needed most.
SB 1383 – Job protections for leave to care for self or family or due to pregnancy – Enacted September 17, 2020.
Protects Californians from losing their jobs when they take leave from work to care for themselves, a new child, or a seriously ill family member, under the CA Family Rights Act (CFRA). Family members now include domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law. And workers of smaller employers (of 5 or fewer employees) now benefit from protected leave.
SJR 4 Resolution Opposing Title X regulations – Resolution opposing the revised regulations became law in 2019, but the regulations went into effect. An appeal is pending in the Supreme Court.
States the California legislature’s opposition to the new Title X regulations. This resolution highlights the importance of the federal Title X family planning program in California and urges the Trump Administration to rescind the Title X regulations that threaten to impede access to essential, time-sensitive health care for low-income women, men and teens across our state and throughout the country.