Public Policy Update

Thank you to everyone who voted! There was certainly a lot of information shared about the candidates in all races and the propositions. If you attended the program on October 13, you heard a very helpful overview of the propositions and the LOWV and AAUW positions. Thank you to the OML branch for hosting and including us. I heard the OML president say there were 250 participants in the webinar!

The following article was written by Kathy Harper, AAUW CA Public Policy Co-Chair. AAUW CA has a very active lobbyist who supports AAUW CA’s position on legislation that aligns with our mission. I think it is important that we stay informed of their efforts.

SB 973 Signed by the Governor!

In 2018, AAUW co-sponsored a bill requiring companies with more than 100 employees to collect and report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing data on:

  1. The number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex for 10 job categories;
  2. The number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex, whose annual earnings fall within certain pay bands;
  3. The total number of hours worked by each employee counted in each pay band during the reporting year.

The purpose of the bill is “to allow for designated state agencies to collect wage data to more efficiently identify wage patterns and allow for targeted enforcement of equal pay or discrimination laws.” The bill failed in 2019, was re-introduced last year by the same author, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), and was signed by Governor Newsom on September 30—the last day in the last hour!

Fifteen other AAUW California-supported bills were also signed by the Governor, including: improved medical care for incarcerated pregnant women (AB732); protection for women testifying in sexual assault cases from having their testimony of alcohol or drug use at the time of the assault used against them in a separate prosecution (AB1927); addition of “sexual harassment” as a form of prohibited sex discrimination in higher education (SB493); and expansion of the California Family Rights Act to require any employer with 5 or more employees to grant a request by an employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period to bond with a new child or to care for themselves or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner (SB1383).

Finally, as part of our “white allyship” posture, we are proud to have supported six bills that were enacted to address racial injustice and/or to enhance opportunities for Black women: AB979, requiring corporations to include a specified number of members from underrepresented communities on their boards of directors; AB1196 and AB1506, regulating police use of force; AB1460, requiring ethnic studies as a graduation requirement in CSU schools; AB3070, addressing discriminatory use of peremptory challenges in jury selection; and AB3121, establishing a task force to study and develop reparation proposals.

You can find additional information on the AAUW California website

Let me know if you have questions!

Thank you for your support.

Cindy Alpert, San Ramon AAUW Public Policy Chair