OAKLAND – On Wednesday, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (AD-15) unveiled highlights from her 2021 legislative package, policies designed to protect working families, renters, and Californians recovering from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wicks’ 2021 legislative package prioritizes the state’s most systemic, long-standing issues, problems that pervaded Californians’ lives long before the pandemic, but were exacerbated by the events of 2020. These proposed policies include protections for working parents, caregivers, and children; tools to combat California’s housing crisis; EDD reform; and justice for victims of sexual assault by police officers.
“The goal of my legislative package is not to return to ‘normal’ – because ‘normal’ wasn’t working for so many people,” said Asm. Wicks. “My bills this year are aimed at ‘building back better’ – redefining the California Dream, securing the tools to build toward it, and providing Californians with the relief and recovery they need to see it in their future.”
Included below is an overview of key bills from Asm. Wicks’ 2021 legislative package. For additional information and/or fact sheets, please email Erin Ivie, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview of Key Legislation:
Anti-Discrimination for Caregivers Act (AB 1119)
This bill will prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on their family responsibilities by adding "family responsibilities” to a list of protected characteristics (e.g. race, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, etc.), which are already prohibited bases of discrimination under the employment provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Chosen Family Act (AB 1041)
This bill will expand the definition of “family member” for purposes of family and sick leave to allow workers to take time off to care for “an individual related by blood, or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”
Rental Registry (AB 1188)
This bill would respond to California’s lack of open, reliable housing data by requiring local governments to establish rental registries by January 1, 2024. Once established, cities would annually collect information from landlords about rental increases, eviction history, etc. for individual housing units. This coordinated, data-driven system will help define the size, scope, and magnitude of California’s housing crisis, and give lawmakers the information they need to make informed decisions to tackle the crisis head on.
EDD Reform - Office of the Claimant Advocate (AB 402)
This bill will bring a much-needed consumer voice to the EDD by establishing the Office of the Claimant Advocate within the EDD. This office would be responsible for protecting Californians’ rights in seeking benefits administered by the department, including unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and paid family leave. Additionally, the bill would establish and enforce a Claimant’s Bill of Rights that allows claimants to report violations.
Kids Act (AB 1545)
This bill will create strong protections for California’s children by requiring online platforms that target them to block manipulative design features, which lure kids into sharing data or making online purchases. The bill also sets limits on the ads that can appear in front of kids and blocks amplification or promotion of harmful content, including sexual material, physical violence, and other dangerous, abusive, or exploitative content.
Sexual Assault by Law Enforcement (AB 1455)
This bill extends the statute of limitation for victims who were sexually assaulted by law enforcement officers who were on duty, in uniform, or armed when the alleged crime occurred. The bill extends the time frame from the last date the alleged perpetrator was employed as a law enforcement officer, or within 10 years from the date of the conviction –whichever is later – to allow survivors to file a civil claim.
The magnitude of this issue came into focus in 2019 when the California Criminal Cop Project examined how the State manages law enforcement officials who break the law. Over the course of a six-month investigation, reporters discovered that more than 600 California police officers were convicted of a crime over the last decade; and that more than 70 of those cases were related to assault, and more than 50 were related to forcible sex offenses.