Advocacy Priorities

ARC’s Legislative Priorities (2023-2024)

We’re thrilled AB 505 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom!

AB 505 ensures incarcerated youth can talk to a Youth Ombudsperson within 24 hours, instead of 48 after a complaint is made inside the juvenile hall. AB 505 also strengthens oversight by the Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) and requires judges to inspect all Secure Youth Treatment Facilities.

ARC members were at the forefront of the advocacy victory. Our members met with legislators in the Senate and Assembly to ensure young people can understand their rights and speak to an Ombudsperson sooner. ARC members know how this win support youth in juvenile hall who need a lifeline and someone to watch over them in times of duress and need.

ARC member Angel Hernandez attended legislative visits, sharing his story with elected officials. He shares what passing AB505 means to him and incarcerated youth:

"Working on AB505 gave me a purpose in trying to give back to young kids who are incarcerated all over California because I once was in their shoes, and I know how it feels to not have your voice heard, and it hurts to see how they treat us, we are humans as well, and I want to thank Governor Newsom and the California legislature for passing this bill." 

We are grateful to the Governor, the California Assembly and Senate,  who helped push AB 505 ahead, Assemblymember Phil Ting for championing this bill and our many partners across the state for helping us to pass this important bill.

This year has been a difficult year as many of our other state priorities didn’t make it this far. Our advocacy team has begun to look at possibilities and priorities for next year. We will meet and listen to our members to understand how we can continue to help formerly incarcerated people in California.

Still, we are hopeful about the future as prisons in California have begun to close, and the prison population continues to decrease. Now we are holding SB 731 expungement clinics across California so formerly incarcerated people can begin to clear their records.

Learn about our 2024 priorities below!

State Sponsored Priorities

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SB 1035 (Ashby) - Restitution Fees

SB 1035, authored by Senator Ashby would change the annual interest rate on restitution orders. The interest rate charged by the Franchise Tax Board on certain delinquent payments, including fines, fees, and restitution, to no more than 1%.

Status: This bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee

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SB 94 (Cortese) Judicial Review of Old Sentences

SB 94 , authored by Senator Cortese, will allow a person to petition for judicial review if their offense occurred before June 5, 1990, have served a minimum of 20 years, and were convicted of a special circumstance under Penal Code 190.2.

Status: SB 94 is in the Assembly

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AB 2142 (Haney) - Mental Health Pilot

AB 2142 authored by Asm. Haney would require CDCR  to establish a 3-year pilot program at two or more institutions that would provide access to specified mental health therapy for those not classified by the department to receive mental health treatment from the institution.

Status: This bill will go before the Assembly Public Safety Committee

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AB 1516 (Kalra) - California Living Wage For All

AB 1516, authored by Asm Kalra, will help California study and take steps to raise the state minimum wage to be closer to the actual cost of living in CA and ensure that the minimum wage applies to all workers, including incarcerated workers.

Status: This bill passed the Assembly and is now in the Senate

 

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ACA 4 (Bryan) - Free The Vote

Currently, the California Constitution does not allow people in prison to vote. ACA 4, authored by Assemblymember Bryan, would amend the California Constitution to allow people completing their sentences in state or federal prison to vote.

Status: The bill is inactive in the Assembly

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ACA 8 (Wilson) - The End Slavery in California Act

The Constitution of California prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude “except to punish crime.” ACA 8, the  End Slavery in California Act, would amend the California Constitution to remove such conditional language, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude without exception. ACA 8 is authored by Asm. Lori Wilson.

Over 94,000 Californians are currently incarcerated in state prison. African Americans account for 28% of the prison population and less than 6% of California’s overall population. The psychological effects of modern-day slavery and involuntary servitude are well documented. The lack of personal choice inherent in both conditions can lead to a diminished sense of self, as well as issues with autonomy, self-efficacy and ability to relate to and trust others. Our state constitution has yet to reflect the values of equality and justice that Californians now hold so dear.

End Slavery in California Act would amend Article 1, Section 6 of the California Constitution to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude without exception. As it stands, California prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude “except to punish crime.” Such conditional language exists in the constitutions of nearly 30 states.

Status: ACA 8 is in the Senate.

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