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/.
(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.
(Sacramento) – California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez adjourned in memory of former Assemblymember Pete Chacon. Assemblymember Chacon passed away in December of 2014 at the age of 89. Chacon was a decorated Air Force veteran of World War II, he was an educator and he was the second Latino in over one hundred years to be elected to the California Legislature. Watch this Assembly Access Video to hear more of Assemblymember Gonzalez’s tribute to Pete Chacon.
(Sacramento) – Legislation authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to guarantee all private sector employees in California have the right to earn and use at least 3 sick days per year has been signed by Governor Jerry Brown. California is the first state in the nation with such an inclusive law. Assembly Bill 1522 aims to reduce the impact that illnesses have on the state’s working families as well as the health and safety of employees in the workplace. “Workers and their employers lose out when employees have to choose between reporting for work while sick or losing pay because they don’t,” Gonzalez said. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
(Sacramento) - Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), landscaping and water use experts and their supporters gathered on the steps of the State Capitol to cheer the passage of Assembly Bill 2104, authored by Assemblywoman Gonzalez. AB 2104 would allow homeowners in HOAs to reduce water usage through responsible landscaping without fear of fines. Assemblywoman Gonzalez says residential water conservation is one of the many steps Californians should take in the face of the current drought conditions throughout California. And, Assemblywoman Gonzalez says, “Drought-tolerant plants that homeowners can plant will save them water and money.” Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.