Legislators, Educators, Youth Rally to Support Expanded Voting Rights
SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, February 11, 2016) – Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) rallied on the steps of the State Capitol today with lawmakers, educators, and young adults to announce the introduction of an amendment to California’s constitution allowing 16- and 17- year olds the right to vote in their local school board and community college district governing board elections.
“These young adults are directly impacted by decisions made by local education boards, and deserve to have a voice – especially in families where the students represent the first generation of voters,” Gonzalez said. “Studies have shown 16-year-olds have the same maturity, intelligence & cold decision making abilities of 18-year-olds. They’re ready to be heard, and their school board representatives should be ready to listen.”
Two bills would eliminate sales tax for diapers and provide diaper vouchers to parents on CalWORKs
SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, January 28, 2016) – A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to provide a monthly $50 dollar diaper voucher to parents in the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program was approved by the Assembly today on a bipartisan 60-5 vote. The Assembly also approved a second bill by Gonzalez to exempt diapers from California’s sales tax on a unanimous 70-0 vote. Both bills now proceed to the Senate.
Assembly Bill 492 would offer a monthly $50 supplement per child age 2 or younger to parents enrolled in CalWORKs who also qualify for the childcare benefit. The monthly supplement would only be used on diaper purchases, helping address a major barrier to parents seeking to enter and remain in the workforce by making childcare more accessible.
AB 67 Would Guarantee Double Pay for Employees Working at Large Retailers on Thanksgiving Holiday
SACRAMENTO – The Double Pay on the Holiday Act authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which would require large retail employers to pay at least 2 times the regular rate of pay to any employee who sacrifices time with their families and friends in order to work on Thanksgiving, was approved by the full Assembly today on a 44-31 vote. The bill will now proceed to the Senate for its consideration.
AB 67 would require retail and grocery stores with 500 or more employees to pay their workers twice their regular wage for hours worked on Thanksgiving.
AB 1708 would decriminalize prostitution for trafficked minors and enhance penalties for purchasers of sex
SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, January 26, 2016) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) announced human trafficking reforms that would for the first time in California, treat the buying and selling of sex separately, increasing penalties for those purchasing sex while decriminalizing prostitution for minors who are by definition being victimized.
AB 492 would include diaper vouchers in family service supports provided to parents by CalWORKs
SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, January 12, 2016) – A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to provide a monthly $50 dollar diaper voucher to parents in the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program was approved by the Assembly Committee on Human Services today.
AB 492 would offer a monthly $50 supplement per child age 2 or younger to parents enrolled in CalWORKs who also qualify for the childcare benefit. The monthly supplement to would only be used on diaper purchases, helping address a major barrier to parents seeking to enter and remain in the workforce by making childcare more accessible.
AB 488 would eliminate state law exemption in order to protect workers in sheltered workshops
SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, January 6, 2016) – A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to protect disabled workers from on the job discrimination was approved on a unanimous, bipartisan vote by the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment today.
AB 488 would eliminate an exemption for employees of sheltered workshops and rehabilitation centers with special minimum wage licenses under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), extending the law’s protections against discrimination and harassment to workers in those environments. Currently those employees do not have the same basic protections as everyone else from discrimination based on characteristics like race, religion, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, marital status, or age. Similarly, these workers lack the protection provided by FEHA against sexual harassment.
Select Committee on Women in the Workplace will gather testimony on how existing policies impede women from entering and remaining in the workforce
WHAT: An informational hearing on the ways in which transportation, child care policy, and diaper access impact the ability of women to successfully participate in the workforce and achieve equal economic opportunity. The information received at this hearing will be used to advance policy solutions that work for all of California’s families.
WHO:A hearing hosted by the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) with Assemblymembers Roger Hernández (D-West Covina), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando), will receive testimony from a range of witnesses to reaffirm the state’s need for improved access to child care and transportation, as lack of access to these services creates barriers to employment for women.
Witnesses will include academic and non-profit experts from around the state and in the LA region such as Mary Ignatius, the Statewide Organizer for Parent Voices; Caroline Kunitz of Los Angeles Baby Buggy and the LA Diaper Drive; and Lisa Schweitzer, Associate Professor from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Women from the Los Angeles area will also participate on the panels to provide their personal stories on barriers to employment. Public comment is welcome.
As of 2013, California is home to approximately 2.5 million children under age five, with a third of children living in single-parent families with more than one in five low income working families with children.
The two programs in California credited with keeping the largest number of children out of poverty are CalFresh (commonly referred to as food stamps) and the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program (CalWORKs) which is the state version of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In CalWORKs, adult parents are required to participate in welfare to work (WTW) activities in order to qualify for child care services. A survey of programs that assist low-income women find employment, 75 percent of such programs reported that child care and transportation access were two of the three barriers that often limited employment opportunities for “non-welfare clients.”
In a 2011 study focused on mothers who receive TANF benefits, transportation was named as the most frequent barrier faced by women. Roughly 62 percent of women “reported having no driver’s license or car, or reported quitting a job or being unable to start a job in the previous year due to a transportation problem.”
One in three families have experienced diaper need. Despite being a necessity to the health and hygiene of young children, diapers are excluded from state and federal assistance programs such as the Women Infant and Children program (WIC) and CalFresh which are funded by the United States Department of Agriculture specifically for nutritional aid. Depending on their age, children can require 5 to 10 diaper changes per day. Generally children need fewer diapers per day as they age. However, as the size of the diaper increases, so does the price. Diapers cost anywhere from $72 to $100 per child every month or more depending on location.
In October of 2015 the Economic Policy Institute released new nation-wide data which found that the cost of annual child as a share of full-time, full-year minimum-wage earnings in California was over 63 percent for an infant and over 44 percent for a four-year-old child. Additionally, the California Budget and Policy Center found that the typical single mother of two would have to spend 70 percent of her income to cover the full expense of child care.
Assemblywoman Gonzalez has introduced several bills in recent years to make diapers more accessible and affordable for parents of young children, including AB 717 to exempt diapers from sales tax (2015).
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City. For more information on Assemblywoman Gonzalez, visithttp://asmdc.org/members/a80/.
Bill will close existing loophole, require all local elected officials to complete sexual harassment prevention training
SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015) – California State Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) announced legislation today to require all local elected officials to take the same sexual harassment prevention training required of city staff and state legislative bodies.
SAN DIEGO – (Monday, Nov. 9, 2015) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) made the following statement today in response to SeaWorld Entertainment’s announcement that they will phase out the San Diego amusement park’s “Shamu” shows.
“Today’s acknowledgement by SeaWorld does not end our push to halt inhumane orca captivity and breeding practices, but it’s a step in the right direction. More importantly, SeaWorld’s announcement contradicts their earlier statements that the company could not be profitable unless orcas were forced to participate in these circus-like shows. In fact, the public pressure on SeaWorld to stop the Shamu shows became the exact reason why the company’s profitability was at risk. Today’s news shows that the public can hold big corporations accountable when they merely defend offensive business practices as being vital to their bottom line. Clearly, SeaWorld can move away from being a giant circus that harms animal life and still have a viable business model.”
For more information, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, which includes portions of the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and is a single mom. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.
Open Letter to Commissioner Silver Requests Full Employment Information for Cheerleaders
SACRAMENTO – (Monday, October 26, 2015) –The day before the official start of basketball season, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and New York state legislators Nil Rozic and Diane Savino released a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver requesting that the organization publicly disclose the employment status of cheerleaders and dancers for all 30 teams.