Fighting for Women's Equality

Another Great Win for ERA-Sponsored ‘Let Her Work’ Bill

June 9, 2014 | by
One step closer to fairness. (1)

Equal Rights Advocates-sponsored bills in the California Legislature this session will go far in protecting and  expanding the rights of women and girls. One such bill, which levels the playing field for individuals with criminal records who want to work, crossed another major hurdle last week.

SB 1384 opens up a pipeline to certified nursing assistant (CNA) jobs and passed the State Senate handedly last week, with strong support from the Democratic caucus.

Authored by Senator Holly Mitchell, and co-authored by Senators de León and Beall, SB 1384 will give all prospective CNAs the opportunity to prove that they are capable and worthy of joining the expanding ranks of state-certified CNAs. Under current law, thousands of people have been barred from being a CNA solely because of their past. Unlike most licensed professions in California, would-be CNAs with certain convictions on their record are automatically denied certification. It doesn’t matter that they have transformed and are qualified and ready to work. They simply don’t have a shot at being considered for who they are today.

Women are entering our jails and prisons at alarming rates, often for low-level crimes like petty theft. Without SB 1384, a conviction for petty theft triggers the automatic denial of a CNA application. With the passage of this important bill, the many women who would be barred from CNA jobs will have a real chance to access this growing industry of living wage jobs.
With ERA’s Let Her Work project, in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, we are aiming to increase opportunities for women who have truly reformed and are ready to work. These women aren’t asking for a handout. What they want is a chance to work—to earn their way toward a better future for themselves and their families. SB 1384 is a real step in the direction of opportunity for these women.

Thanks to our broad range of supporters and Senator Mitchell, we have ushered SB 1384 through the Senate, but the fight is not over. As this bill enters the State Assembly, we need your support in ensuring it passes. Join our mailing list for updates on this bill; you’ll be hearing from us this summer as we ask for your help in telling the State Assembly, “Let her work!” You can join the mailing list by entering your email address in the “Stay informed” box on the left.

 

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