SACRAMENTO — The 34-member, bipartisan Legislative Women’s Caucus today announced its list of priority bills for the legislative year.
In years past, the Women’s Caucus has taken positions on budget issues and has advocated on policy matters. But this marks the first time the caucus has created a legislative platform.
“It’s a natural step to begin endorsing bills and framing our issues,” said Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka, who chairs the Women’s Caucus.
The entire bi-partisan caucus is endorsing two bills – one dealing with foster youth, and one dealing with human trafficking. At the same time, Democratic members of the caucus are endorsing a third bill – dealing with paid family leave.
The bipartisan-backed measures are Senate Bill 197 (Ducheny) and Assembly Bill 1278 (Ma, Lieber, Smyth).
SB 197 makes sure that foster children don’t lose their place in day care when they are transferred from one home to another. It is designed to add stability to the lives of some of California’s most vulnerable children.
AB 1278 would combat the growing problem of human trafficking by giving law enforcement new tools in the battle against crime networks that force women into the sex trade or sweatshops.
“Protecting women and children should be at the very top of the government’s list,” said Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Chino, vice-chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
The Democrat-backed SB 727 would expand California’s paid family leave program to include extended family relationships such as siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law. Current law is defined more narrowly and doesn’t reflect the reality of family relationships in California.
“Workers have a right to take care of their families,” said Berg. “That’s why they work in the first place.”