Two Social Equity Bills Head to the Senate As Well
Sacramento – Recounts in statewide California elections are now a step closer to becoming more fair and accessible for all voters and candidates with AB 44 passing off the Assembly floor today with strong bipartisan support. Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin has been a strong advocate for reforming the recount process after deep flaws were exposed in the state’s current system during the 2014 primary Controller’s race.
“As we continue to look at ways to empower voters and encourage them to participate in the democratic process, ensuring fair and accurate election outcomes must be a priority,” stated Mullin. “I believe AB 44 accomplishes this important goal and hope my Senate colleagues agree.”
The current recount system allows candidates to “cherry-pick” counties they want to recount and if they make up the vote difference in those counties, then the entire election outcome can be overturned. In response, their opponent can do the same in an effort to recover the lost votes. This back and forth can continue until every vote is counted or until a candidate runs out of money. “A truly democratic election process cannot involve a ‘pay-to-play’ recount system,” Mullin said. AB 44 will ensure that the state funds a full hand recount of all ballots cast in very close contests, while also re-examining any rejected ballots.
In addition, two Mullin bills that significantly impact social equity cleared the Assembly floor. AB 50 would expand evidence based programs such as the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) statewide. The NFP program was designed to provide critical care to high need first-time parents in order to help them succeed as a family. A nurse works with a first-time mother during her pregnancy, discussing nutrition, offering support and preparing her for birth, then continues working with the mother during the child’s first two years. Studies show that in California, there could be a total government cost savings of $18,792 per family served by this program.
The second social equity bill, AB 371, is a modest effort to support low-income working families served by CalWORKs, a program that assists the state’s poorest families with children. Current law is outdated and prohibits two-parent families from qualifying for CalWORKs if the primary wage earner works over 100 hours a month, regardless of their income. This bill received bi-partisan support and passed off the floor with bipartisan support.
“Social equity is critical to all of Californians, and our state has a shockingly high poverty rate,” Mullin said. “These two bills can help families that are already struggling to get by and also help children get off to a better start in life.”
Kevin Mullin represents the 22nd Assembly District and is the Speaker pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He chairs the Select Committee on Biotechnology and serves on the following committees: Budget, Budget Subcommittee #4 on State Administration, Business and Professions, Elections and Redistricting, Housing and Community Development and Revenue and Taxation. The 22nd district includes the cities of Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Pacifica, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, portions of South San Francisco and the San Mateo County Coastside communities of Montara and Moss Beach.
CONTACT: Susan Kennedy, 916-319-2022(W) or 925-437-2510(C)