By Rabbi Joel Simonds
Over the past few months, the JCJ community in California has been working with diverse coalitions to pass legislation that would strengthen our state’s gun violence prevention laws, protect our environment, assist those struggling with poverty, reform our criminal justice system, and protect our immigrant community. Below is a list of just some of the bills that JCJ supported and helped advocate for before Governor Jerry Brown signed them into law.
Gun Violence Prevention
SB1200 – This bill strengthens the Gun Violence Restraining Order law by expanding the definition of a firearm and ammunition, eliminating the filling fee for a restraining order, and improving the reporting mechanisms for these orders.
SB1021 – Maintains a $250 cap on prescription drug co-pays and other consumer protections, allowing for a more affordable prescription drug market.
Criminal Justice Reform
SB10 – A bail reform bill which ensures that individuals in pre-trial are not held away from their families and work because of their inability to afford bail. We know that communities of color are disproportionality affected by the bail system and this is a crucial step toward reform.
SB1391 – States that youth who commit a crime at age 14 and 15 receive the services they need in the juvenile justice system, and prevents them from being tried as adults.
SB439 – Ensures that youth under the age of 11 are excluded from the juvenile court system. Promotes programs to curb premature exposure to incarceration.
SB918 – Establishes grants to expand homeless youth services and requires that these programs be safe spaces for LGBTQ youth, a group that experiences youth homelessness at a higher rate.
AB2119 – Foster care youth are deserving of the same level of care and treatment as non-foster care youth. Youth who are gender-fluid need a physician and health care facility that can respond to their needs. AB 2119 will ensure that children in foster care are connected to physicians and health care workers who can provide gender-affirming treatment and understanding to foster care youth who are gender-fluid.
SB100 – Sets a new standard for California’s electrical grid to be 100% renewable by 2045.
Rabbi Joel Simonds is the Executive Director of the Jewish Center for Justice.