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Bills sponsored and/or supported by our Partners

Californians for Safety and Justice SB749

I am reaching out because our TimeDone Bill, SB 749 (Smallwood-Cuevas), was just referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee, and we could use your support. This bill will restore the streamlined process for allowing a person with a qualifying felony under prop 47 to petition the courts to have their felony reclassified as a misdemeanor (fact sheet attached).

 

We humbly ask your organization to submit a letter of support for the bill as soon as possible. Please edit the attached template support letters for your organization and upload them through the Advocacy Portal as quickly as possible. All Letters of Support should be uploaded through the Advocates Support Letter Portal link

Policy Updates

November I, 2023 LARRP has had a busy legislative season in 2023, and as we begin to close out the year you can see which of our priority bills were held in Committee, signed or vetoed by Governor Newsom here. As we have previously reported to you, several of our priority bills did not advance due to the state’s fiscal concerns, and we shifted our focus to a number of bills of concern from our network that address contracting with the state government.

Of our priority bills which were signed into law, we highlight here AB 268 (Weber), AB 600 (Ting), and AB 1226 (Haney).

  • AB 268 (Weber) will require the appointment of a licensed health care provider and a licensed mental or behavioral health care provider to the Bureau of State and Community Corrections, ensuring that the group which provides oversight to carceral facilities is partially led by clinical professionals with experience in healthcare and mental health.
  • AB 600 (Ting) allows any judge with jurisdiction over a sentencing to minimize said sentence in accordance with new laws, and eliminate the requirement that the district attorney or Attorney General concur with the resentencing. As new laws help to decriminalize behavior like marijuana possession, providing the justice system with the tools to help those whose previous charges are now legal will ensure folks do not serve time for behavior that is now no longer illegal.
  • AB 1226 (Haney)  takes steps to ensure any incarcerated person who is a parent or guardian to a minor will serve their time in the carceral facility closest to their home in order to facilitate parental relations and ensure folks are able to see their children and wards.

For a full list of the bills that we supported and their ultimate fate, click here

We expect the 2024 legislative year to pick up a number of our priority bills which were held in various states and committees this year due to fiscal or political concerns. We will continue growing the list of bills we support and uplift those championed by our partners across the state. We will have a new list of bills early next year to bring your attention to, and please reach out to us with any legislative priorities you or your organization might have. We continue to be amazed by the outpouring of support for the work we are engaged in at the state level. Keep up with our newsletter and continue checking the LARRP website for updates on all the legislative priorities!

July 1, 2023

State Legislative Update

California is facing a budget deficit of more than 30 billion dollars, leading to many new bills being pulled from consideration, including more than half of the LARRP priority bills for this year, including both of our co-sponsored bills, AB 745 (Bryan), The Reentry Housing and Workforce Development Program, and AB 974 (McKinnor), the Incarcerated Birth Certificate Waiver Bill.

With most of our original work sidelined this year, we are focusing on a number of new bills which aim to improve the contracting, grant-awarding, and payment process for nonprofits and other organizations which engage in business with the state of California. One such bill we are advocating for is AB 696 (Lowenthal) which would provide and accept electronic signatures transmission, and offer the option of payment by electronic funds. The bill would also prohibit a state agency that administers a grant or contract after 2025 from requiring an original print signature on a contract or grant document. By moving toward quicker and more reliable e-signatures, e-verification, and e-payments, CBO’s can spend time on what truly matters, delivering high quality services to the folks they serve. A full list of LARRP’s priority bills can be found here, and this document is regularly updated as bills move through the process.

 

County Budget Update

We also have many important updates from LA County, as budgetary conversations have been ongoing for the upcoming fiscal year. The LA County Board of Supervisors approved the 2023-24 recommended county budget last week, cementing county expenditures through June 2024. This budget includes a variety of positive reforms, along with shortcomings, for the justice-involved community and criminal legal system. Some highlights of the proposed budget include:

$692 million for the emergency response to the homelessness crisis in LA. This money would fund a 26-person staffing expansion within the CEO’s Homelessness Initiative, service expansions including mental health outreach, and encampment resolution efforts including housing programs (2023-2024 Recommended Budget Press Release, Board of Supervisors Budget Deliberations Meeting 6/26).

$288 million for Care First and Community Investment (CFCI) to rectify racism in the criminal legal system. The Board of Supervisors voted to dedicate 10% of the county’s locally generated unrestricted revenues every year to community investments and alternatives to incarceration by June of 2024, which became the CFCI fund (also known as Measure J) (Budget Fact Sheet).

$80 million for mental health treatment county jails. The majority of this money will support health services for incarcerated individuals through increased funding for Integrated Correctional Health Services (ICHS) (Budget Fact Sheet, Ellis Sheriff). The rest of this funding will go towards moving incarcerated individuals with serious mental health conditions into inpatient mental health facilities as opposed to traditional carceral facilities (Board of Supervisors Budget Deliberations Meeting 6/26, Ellis Sheriff).

Establishing the Office of Constitutional Policing (OCP) for increased accountability and investigations into gang presences within the sheriff’s department.

On the flip side of a few of these promising budget elements, some organizations argue that money could be better spent. For example, $187 million of the CFCI funds accumulated in the past few years have gone unspent, frustrating many justice advocates (Board of Supervisors Budget Deliberations Meeting 6/26). Additionally, although the creation of the OCP would create more law enforcement accountability, the proposed budget also allocates several billion dollars to the sheriff's department and expands the number of sheriff positions (Ellis Sheriff, Budget Fact Sheet). Many organizations advocating for criminal legal and policing reform oppose this decision, as these organizations believe this money could be better spent on violence prevention and public support efforts (Budget Fact Sheet).

An issue LARRP has been pushing for for many years, this year’s budget also did not include allocations to fund the additional beds needed to close Men’s Central Jail, which was supposed to close in March of this year, while devoting over $100 million to renovate and re-open the Los Padrinos juvenile facility (LA Times Editorial Board, Ellis Sheriff).

Major overhaul in the county Probation Department also influences the Board’s agenda. The Board just fired the 9th probation department head in 20 years and passed three motions to improve juvenile justice (Ellis Probation). These three motions are:

  1. Reduce the number of teenagers in the Probation Department (Ellis Probation).
  2. Find suitable housing for juveniles released from Division of Juvenile Justice facilities (Ellis Probation).
  3. Further develop the Department of Youth Development, which could replace the Parole Department in the future (Ellis Probation).

The county will likely incur costs with these changes to juvenile justice, particularly in light of the state recently closing all youth prisons, transferring more responsibility for juvenile justice to counties (Rinker).

LA county is also reckoning with videos smuggled out of Men’s Central Jail showing violence unaddressed by guards and appalling conditions inside county jails. In the Board budgetary review meeting, moments of silence were had for individuals recently killed within LA county carceral facilities (Ellis Sheriff). Board members recognized unacceptable conditions within county facilities, and justice advocates can find both hope for progress and concern for inadequate action within the adopted budget.

March 1, 2023
As we enter March, we are excited to bring some important bills in the reentry sector to your attention as we embark on this year’s policy journey! We have been working hard behind the scenes, meeting with stakeholders, CBO’s, justice-involved folks, and government representatives to understand the political landscape and bring attention to some of the most pertinent issues and concerns facing the reentry community.
We will start out with our local efforts. We have been in conversations for some time about a Fair chance Housing ordinance for LA County. A Fair Chance Employment Ordinance was on the BOS agenda yesterday, which can be found here, language which Alex Alexander and Amber Roth, co-chairs of the LARRP Employment Committee worked on, alongside other reentry employment experts, and we are happy to announce it passed with a unanimous vote.
We also saw a unanimous vote on Item 2 from the Board of Supervisors’ Agenda. This motion, put forward by Supervisors Hahn and Barger, outlines specific language to employ folks from disenfranchised backgrounds, including specifically formerly-incarcerated individuals. The countywide workforce agreement lays out specific steps and protections for construction projects to follow, providing better-paying and safer employment opportunities for construction workers throughout the county.
Meanwhile we are also working on securing progress toward a City of LA Ordinance seeking to also establish Fair Chance Housing protections for all residents within the city limits. Over the next few weeks, we will be coalition building around advocacy efforts directed at the LA City Council, so keep your eyes open on our social media channels and email accounts to see where you can plug in and make sure folks in LA have equitable access to housing applications regardless of their background.
Turning our attention to our statewide efforts, we are proud to announce a number of bills we are signed on to co-sponsor for the year.
AB 974 by Assemblymember McKinnor. This straightforward bill seeks to allow the currently and formerly incarcerated population access to a fee-waiver in order to secure a birth certificate without having to pay the $29 fee that is currently required. Many folks who are justice-involved need access to identifying documents, and the price can be a prohibitive barrier to accessing such documents. If you represent an organization who is interested in signing on to support this bill, you can use this link to sign on. We anticipate this bill to be heard in the Assembly Health Committee in the next few weeks, and will keep you updated on its progress!

Useful Information:

Here is each office’s Supervisor’s district, the appropriate staff, and their email: