Fighting for Women's Equality

3 for 3 In the California State Legislature This Year

October 3, 2014 | by
California State Capitol

California State Capitol

Equal Rights Advocates is proud to announce that three bills it co-sponsored in the California State Legislature this year have all been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The latest signature came on Senate Bill 1384, which will open up a pipeline to living wage healthcare jobs for people with certain past criminal convictions. Currently, people with those convictions are automatically barred from the certification process, and therefore, the opportunity to become a certified nurse assistant (CNA). Until now, this industry of paraprofessional healthcare jobs, which is female-dominated and offers a living wage, was among a very small minority of healthcare occupations with a blanket ban against people with certain convictions. 

With the passage of SB 1384, all would-be CNAs will have a real shot at proving that they are qualified and ready to work.

“SB 1384 paves a path to economic security for the women and men who need living-wage work but repeatedly face employment barriers solely on the basis of past mistakes,” said Natalie Lyons, Equal Rights Advocates Project Attorney. “We applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 1384 and continuing his legacy of supporting policies that give people a second chance.” SB 1384 was carried by Senator Holly Mitchell.

Last month, Gov. Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1443, which will protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment at work. Neither state nor federal law currently protect unpaid interns from sex discrimination at work, but the new law amends the California Fair Employment Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to remedy this oversight, giving interns the same protections against harassment and retaliation as their paid colleagues. AB 1443 was carried by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner.

“Interns deserve the same right to work in a discrimination-free environment as others,” said Ariana Flores, ERA Ruth Chance Law Fellow. “I am proud that Equal Rights Advocates and California are helping lead the way on this important issue.”

And earlier in the summer, Gov. Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1349. This new law requires California K-12 schools to publish data on their websites informing parents, students, and community members about the state of gender equity in the schools’ athletic programs.

“Data is an essential component to determining compliance with Title IX and other laws that prohibit gender discrimination at schools,” said Keasara “Kiki” Williams, ERA attorney. “Without a reporting requirement,, we won’t know how girls are faring in their efforts to play sports at school on equal terms.” SB 1349 was carried by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.

ERA, through membership in the California Work & Family Coalition, was also a strong supporter of Assembly Bill 1522, which requires almost all public and private sector employees to provide workers with at least three paid sick days per year. Gov. Brown signed AB 1522 into law in September. ERA will continue to fight for new law that advance and protect the interests of women and girls. 

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