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Home | Newsroom | Miscellaneous | Western Center Roundup –September 2022

Western Center Roundup –September 2022

Ending Poverty and Advancing Healing and Justice 

2021-2022 Legislative Session Wins 

With just 2 days left for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign hundreds of bills on his desk, we are buoyed by the recent signing of several of our co-sponsored bills and the budget and administrative advocacy wins secured for Californians with low incomes. These latest advances move Californians closer to new, viable pathways to higher education and entrepreneurship, increased safety in their homes and places of work, and more economic security through an expanded safety net and reduction of oppressive fines and fees. Below are a few highlights –

SB972 (Gonzalez) – this bill modernizes California’s Retail Food code to be more inclusive of small scale sidewalk vending operations, making the permitting process more accessible for food-specific street vendors.This bill was shaped by street vendors, community leaders, and policy advocates, aligning the work of economic, racial, and food justice movements. Come celebrate this win with those who made it possible, this Friday from 5-9PM at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.

AB 2004 (Garcia) – this bill strengthens the California Dream Loan program ensuring undocumented students receive the same financial education and loan assistance options that federal loan programs offer every other student to help achieve their higher education goals.

SB1017 (Eggman) – this bill closes a housing loophole that allowed survivors of domestic violence to be evicted due to incidents of violence in their homes. Two years in the making, this bill ensures survivors can stay in their homes while healing from trauma.

AB 2300 (Kalra) – this bill that allows CalWORKs recipients to leave their workplace and not lose their benefits if their employer violates state labor laws including the Crown Act, sexual harassment, and many other labor provisions.

Health4All Medi-Cal coverage for people ages 26 to 49: As a result of a groundbreaking advocacy campaign, Medi-Cal will begin covering undocumented adults ages 26 to 49 starting January 1, 2024. This is the final immigrant group that Medi-Cal will cover, as children, young adults (19-25), and adults older than 50 were included in prior Medi-Cal expansions.

Implementing AB 199: In our work to address Civil Assessments: The Hidden Court Fee that Penalizes Poverty, this year, our budget advocacy resulted in several important victories: (1) discharging all unpaid civil assessment debt from prior to July 1, 2022 (which is hundreds of millions of dollars); (2) reducing the maximum civil assessment that can be imposed from $300 to $100; and (3) restructuring the use of civil assessment funds so that they go directly into the general fund.

Inspired by what we are working on? With the upcoming retirement of Mike Herald, our legendary Director of Policy Advocacy, we’ve opened the search for his successor. View the Director of Policy job description and please share widely with your networks. More Western Center employment opportunities can be viewed HERE.

Housing Justice and Trauma Informed Lawyering

As the housing crisis continues, eviction protections sunset, and the pool of available rental assistance winds down, housing attorneys and advocates are facing a historic demand for eviction defense and related services. In order to address the vicarious trauma the field experiences in representing tenants faced with the prospect of losing their homes, we developed a new partnership with Trauma Informed LA to provide a series of trainings focused on trauma informed lawyering, vicarious trauma and the impact of frontline housing work, and the tools available to promote regulation and self-care. The first session offered this month set the foundation for understanding trauma informed approaches to our work, how we hold trauma in our bodies, and the ways we can care for ourselves so we can care for others through our legal and advocacy practice. Future sessions will focus on vicarious trauma, integrating tools for regulation into daily work, and working with clients with trauma responses.

Garden Party 2022 is Just Two Weeks Away – Ticket Sales Close Next Week!

Join us on October 11th at the Wilshire Ebell for an indoor/outdoor event format as we celebrate our 55th Anniversary and our work to build a more just California. We are honored to recognize this year’s honorees: Maya Wiley, Tatyana Ali, Mayra Jimenez, Sarah Steinheimer, Richard Rothschild, and Robert Newman and toast Mike Herald’s upcoming retirement at a pre-event reception. It’s not too late to purchase a tribute ad or ticket! Ad sales close on September 30th and ticket sales close on October 6th.