Written by LSPC Summer Intern Natalia Marques!
Help Get Our “Ban The Box” Bill Out Of The Final Committee!
AB 1008 (McCarty) passed out of the California State Assembly and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We need your help to pass AB 1008 out of this final committee by calling the seven members on the Sentate Judiciary Committee listed below and have them tally your support for the bill.
AB 1008 will extend Ban the Box / Fair Chance Hiring policy to private employers, removing the “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” question from employment applications and prohibiting employers from performing a background check until after they extend a conditional job offer. Removing this barrier to employment allows formerly incarcerated and convicted people a chance to interview in person and be evaluated according to skills and experience relative to the job.
Please call the Judiciary Committee Members by end of day Monday, July 10:
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Chair) – (916) 651-4019
(If you make only one call, make it to Senator Jackson!)
Senator John M. W. Moorlach (Vice Chair) – (916) 651-4037
Senator Joel Anderson – (916) 651-4038
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg – (916) 651-4018
Senator Bill Monning – (916) 651-4017
Senator Henry I. Stern – (916) 651-4027
Senator Bob Wieckowski – (916) 651-4010
Feel free to use this sample script:
Hello, my name is __________ from [town in CA].
I am calling in support of AB 1008, the Fair Chance Hiring bill.
Formerly incarcerated people already face many barriers to re-entry, and they/we need access to meaningful employment to take care of families and contribute positively to the community.
Please extend California’s “Ban the Box” policy to private employers and give formerly incarcerated and convicted people a chance to show employers their skills and potential.
[Share personal experience here, if applicable or possible—keep it short!]
True public safety is created through employment, housing, and community.
Please pass AB 1008 and add me to the support tally you keep for your Member.
[Bonus: if one of the members represents your district, let them know!]
WAIT! WHILE YOU HAVE YOUR PHONE IN YOUR HAND!
Help Pass the RISE Act!
SB 180 (Mitchell) is on the Floor of the Assembly and headed for a vote! The Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancements (RISE) Act will end the three-year sentencing enhancements for certain prior drug convictions, a practice that, as LSPC Policy Fellow Sandra Johnson (at right) told the Public Safety Committee earlier, does nothing to help people with drug issues and just wastes human lives and taxpayer money.
We need your help to pass SB 180 by calling your Assemblymember and have them tally your support for the bill.
Can’t stop, won’t stop? Call these key Assemblymembers:
Feel free to use this sample script:
Hello, my name is __________ from [town in CA].
I am calling to ask you to vote yes on SB 180, the RISE act which ends the three-year sentence enhancements for drug related prior convictions.
These unnecessarily long enhancements do not increase public safety because they do not address the real proble which is often substance use and addiction. Sentence enhancements do not stop people from selling drugs; they do not stop people from using drugs; they do not stop people from committing felonies; they do not improve public safety.
The current system spends tax money on prison sentences instead of what we need to spend money on such as mental health counselling, drug addiction treatment programs, education, and vocational training.
I am asking you to prioritize funding these services that actually help people and improve public safety in our communities. Please pass SB 180 and add me to the support tally you keep for your Member.
And thank YOU for taking the time to support AB 1008 (McCarty), SB 180 (Mitchell), and all the current and formerly incarcerated people and our family members.
We’ll need your help again when AB 1008 heads to the floor for a final vote, so keep up the fight!
For more information about our Ban the Box Campaign, check out our Toolkit here!
June 27, 2017
California will no longer suspend low-income motorists’ licenses because they can’t afford to pay minor traffic tickets
SACRAMENTO–Today, Governor Brown approved the state’s $183.2 billion budget, which included funding to end the harmful and ineffective practice of suspending someone’s driver’s license because they can’t afford to pay a minor traffic ticket. Advocates applauded the move, citing the disparate impact license suspensions have on low-income people of color.
“License suspensions and arrests for failure to pay traffic citations have created modern day debtor’s prisons in California,” said Brittany Stonesifer, Staff Attorney with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. “Unable to pay their citations, people already struggling to make ends meet are saddled with debt through an unjust process that fuels unemployment and feeds into mass incarceration.”
California has the highest traffic fines and fees in the country–often costing nearly $500 for just one violation. That is an insurmountable burden for many Californians. The resulting driver’s license suspensions have forced people into a vicious cycle of debt and poverty that can be difficult to break. A 2015 report, Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California, details how California has suspended over 4.2 million drivers’ licenses simply because people could not afford to pay an infraction ticket or failed to appear in court. Currently, a ticket in California for an infraction – such as a broken tail light, expired tags, or bus fare evasion – can ultimately lead to a suspended driver’s license if someone does not pay or make their court appearance.
“No one should lose their freedom, job, or be torn from their families and communities because they live in poverty,” said Mike Herald, Director of Policy Advocacy with the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “With 78 percent of Californians driving to work, a license suspension makes it nearly impossible for some to earn the wages needed to pay the ticket, which can result in arrest and job loss.”
According to a survey by the U.S. Federal Reserve, 46 percent of Americans do not have the financial resources to pay $400 for an emergency expense without having to sell something or borrow money. Moreover, advocates point to a recent report, Stopped, Fined, Arrested – Racial Bias in Policing and Traffic Courts in California, highlighting that driver’s license suspensions for failures to appear or pay a ticket disproportionately harm indigent individuals and people of color.
“Relying on excessive ticketing of black and brown people to fund government functions is an immoral practice that must be abolished,” said Elisa Della-Piana, Legal Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. “Our justice system was intended to do just that: deliver on its promise of justice – not use law enforcement as debt collection agents.”
By ending the harmful practice of using license suspension to force low-income people to pay for expensive tickets, the state’s new budget will help many Californians keep their jobs and stay out of jail. Advocates praise this important move, but continue to urge lawmakers to adopt meaningful and long-term solutions to address the other serious problems that still exist in California’s traffic court debt system, like making fines fairer. Currently, lawmakers are considering SB 185 (Hertzberg), a bill that would require courts to evaluate someone’s ability to pay a fine, to reduce a fine by 80 percent and dismiss any remaining debt after four years if a defendant is very low-income, and to more clearly notify people of their rights in traffic court.
ACLU of Northern California
Community Housing Partnership
East Bay Community Law Center
Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Western Center on Law & Poverty
Dear friends and allies,
Thank you for your interest in advancing AB 1008 (“Fair Chance Act”) (McCarty). We made it through the Assembly in a close vote earlier this month thanks in large part to your support letters, tweets, calls, visits, and emails. But we’re not finished yet!
The bill was just double-referred to two Senate committees, which means additional letters of support are needed to show the broad popularity of ban the box. Here is a sample support letter.
We ask that you please fill in the missing information, place it on your letterhead, and submit it via email as soon as possible – by June 21st if you can!
1. The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee has scheduled AB 1008 for a hearing on Wednesday, June 28th at 9:30 am. That means letters of support are due to the Senate Labor Committee by this Wednesday, June 21st.
2. The bill will also go to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and we expect the hearing to be held on Tuesday, July 11th at 1:30 pm.
By June 21st, please email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org (Senate Labor Committee) and email@example.com (Senate Judiciary Committee) and CC firstname.lastname@example.org (NELP) and email@example.com (Asm. McCarty’s Office).
Please feel free to share this request with other California organizations that might be interested in supporting AB 1008. And thank you again for your support!
Co-sponsors of AB 1008 (NELP, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, All of Us or None, and Time for Change Foundation)
Debating the expansion of ‘ban the box’ to California’s private sector
Friday, March 17, 2017
LSPC Executive Director Dorsey Nunn was interviewed by Larry Mantle for his AirTalk program on NPR / KPCC-Los Angeles Radio. They discussed Ban the Box’s necessity & effectiveness in removing barriers to meaningful employment, as well as the new LSPC co-sponsored bill AB 1008 (McCarty), which will extend BTB / Fair Chance Hiring policies to the private sector in California.
Ben Straight, lawyer & instructor of legal studies at Kaplan University, devoted one of his “Tampa Professor” podcast episodes to our Ban the Box Campaign.
LSPC Policy Director Endria Richardson discusses Prop 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act) and how it will affect formerly incarcerated people and communities of color in Oakland, especially in terms of policing as well as access to business permits to open dispensaries.
KPFA Report begins: 33:10.
Endria’s segment begins: 37:40
An hour-long news magazine with a strong focus on state and local issues. Hosted by Cat Brooks, Mitch Jeserich and Salima Hamirani.
On September 9, 2016, hundreds of formerly incarcerated people, their families and their supporters came together in Oakland, California, for the first ever Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families National Conference ” a weekend of networking, organizing and activism. Today, we ll bring you sound from one of the many powerful panels at that historic conference, on the “Ban the Box” movement.
Prison rights and family advocates are urging Governor Jerry Brown to sign a bill protecting the rights of jail inmates to have in-person visits with their families. The measure bucks a trend of jails moving toward video visits, especially in counties that have built new jails, often without visiting rooms. Christopher Martinez reports from Sacramento.