(Sacramento) – California State Assemblymember Marco Antonio Firebaugh passed away at the age of 39 ten years ago. Marking that occasion, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) both spoke on the Assembly Floor of the enduring impression Firebaugh made on the Assembly as a body, on various legislators personally, and on the millions of Californians he advocated for. During his tenure in the Assembly from 1998 to 2004, Firebaugh served as Majority Floor Leader and as chair of the California Legislative Latino Caucus. Watch this Assembly Access Video to hear Speaker Rendon and Assemblywoman Gonzalez speak fondly of their friend.
(Los Angeles) – Women have always faced gender-based barriers in the workplace. However, sometimes women face obstacles outside of work that impede their access to employment. That's why Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace convened an informational hearing in Los Angeles at the Junipero Serra State Office Building to examine the ways in which transportation, child care policy and diaper access affect women's opportunities in the workforce. Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) as well as other lawmakers also participated in the hearing. Watch this Assembly Access Video to hear some of Assemblywoman Gonzalez's comments from the hearing.
(San Diego) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) held a press conference in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego to announce that as of July 1, 2015, private sector workers in the Golden State will start accruing at least 24 hours or three paid sick days a year. The change was made possible when Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1522, authored by Assemblywoman Gonzalez. It is an historic event considering California is the first state in the nation to pass similar sick leave legislation. The new law will affect 6.5 million employees statewide. Workers and employers can learn about their rights and responsibilities by logging on to: www.CApaidsickdays.com .Watch this Assembly Access Video to view portions of the AB 1522 press conference, Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s remarks and hear from working moms affected by this new law.
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, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.
(Sacramento) – State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) observed National Voter Registration Day by calling on Governor Jerry Brown to sign into law the California New Motor Voter Act. The Act, known as Assembly Bill (AB) 1461, would expand voter registration opportunities by registering every eligible citizen who goes to a Department of Motor Vehicles to get a license or renew one, with the ability to opt out, potentially adding millions of new registered voters to California’s voter rolls. “Nothing is more fundamental to a strong democracy than ensuring people have access to voting free from unnecessary barriers,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve seen voter participation plummet in recent years as our voting system has fallen behind the times, but the New Motor Voter Act allows us the opportunity to streamline and modernize the registration process for millions of eligible voters who haven’t been a part of our voting system.” Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
(Sacramento) – A new law, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which guarantees at least three paid sick days to every California private sector employee took effect July 1, 2015. “For years, hardworking men and women fighting for decent working conditions told me paid sick days was what they were most excited about at work. So, when I had the opportunity to join the Assembly, passing a paid sick days law for Californians was at the top of my priority list,” Gonzalez said. California is the first state in the nation to pass such expansive paid sick days legislation. Under the new law all full-time, part-time, per diem, and temporary employees in California’s private sector will accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked. Employers can limit the time off to 24 hours or three days. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
(Sacramento) - Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) wrote Assembly Bill 202 to protect pro sports cheerleaders from workplace abuses and bring equity to the multibillion-dollar professional sports landscape by treating them as employees under California law. "AB 202 simply demands that any professional sports team - or their chosen contractor - treat the women on the field with the same dignity and respect that we treat the guy selling beer," said Assemblywoman Gonzalez, a former high school and collegiate cheerleader. Caitlin Yates says during her time as a Raiderette the team did not regularly pay its cheerleaders, withheld their overtime pay and did not pay even a minimum wage. Here's more from Assemblywoman Gonzalez and Yates in this Assembly Web Report. http://www.asmdc.org/gonzalez
(Sacramento) – Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) wrote Assembly Concurrent Resolution 50 (ACR 50 - Equal Pay Day) to bring attention to, and declare the legislature’s concern about, the gender wage gap in California. Assemblywoman Gonzalez says Equal Pay Day was established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to create public awareness about the gap between men's and women's wages. The date selected each year (April 14th this year) reflects how far into the current year, on average, a woman must work in order to earn as much as their white male counter parts earned in the previous calendar year. Watch Assemblywoman Gonzalez present ACR 50 to the State Assembly in this Assembly Access video.
(Sacramento) – A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to better protect cheerleaders of professional sports from workplace abuses and bring equity to the multibillion-dollar professional sports landscape by treating them as employees under California law has passed by the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment. Assembly Bill 202 would explicitly require that professional sports teams provide cheerleaders with the same rights and benefits as other employees, protecting against the sort of financial and personal abuses that have been reported throughout the country. “AB 202 simply demands that any professional sports team – or their chosen contractor – treat the women on the field with the same dignity and respect that we treat the guy selling beer,” said Gonzalez, a former high school and collegiate cheerleader. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
(Sacramento) - At a state capitol news conference Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) stood with Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) and Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), Chair and Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, to announce the Caucus’ 2015 priority legislation. Assembly Bill 1461, written by Assemblywoman Gonzalez, is one of Caucus’ top bills. She says AB 1461 will allow eligible residents to register to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Here’s more from Assemblywoman Gonzalez in this Assembly Access video.