July 26, 2019

Initiate Justice Newsletter

by Matthew Jankowicz (author's profile)


[In the format of a newsletter]
Updates on Initiate Justice's 2019 Legislation

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6 (McCarty - "Free the Vote Act")
would restore voting rights to people on parole in California. This will require passing a
constitutional amendment as well as an Assembly Bill to put voting rights on the ballot in 2020.
Nearly 50,000 people on parole in California are working, paying taxes, and positively contributing to
their communities, yet they are unable to vote and have a say in policies that impact their lives.
Voting rights are key to building our power. Voting rights are key for us to be able to change the
system for everyone.

In addition to ACA 6, we must also pass a regular Assembly Bill to clean up the Elections Code
language. This bill is AB 646 and it is being held in committee until ACA 6 moves forward.

STATUS: ACA 6 will be heard in the Assembly Elections Committee on June 19. Then, it will move to
the Assembly Appropriations Committee, then the Assembly Floor. If it passes the Assembly, it then
has to go through the same committees in the Senate and the Senate Floor. We need a 2/3 vote to
pass this, which is a huge challenge, so PLEASE send your letters of support ASAP!

If it passes the Legislature, a majority of voters will have to vote to pass it in the 2020 election. This is
a long-term fight, so stay involved and help how you can!
Assembly Bill 965 (Stone - Youth Offender Parole Credit-Earning)
would allow people to earn credits from their Youth Offender Parole Hearing Date if it is sooner
than their original parole date. Under Prop 57, credit-earning opportunities were expanded for most
people in prison, but these credits are currently not applied to the earliest possible parole hearing
dates for people eligible for Youth Offender Parole. AB 965 will make it so all of these credits are
applied to the true earliest possible parole date, including YOPD's.

Unfortunately, AB 965 was amended in the Appropriations Committee to no longer include Elderly
Parole. The staff members on that committee felt that the bill would not pass unless that amend-
ment was made. We are very disappointed but committed to keeping up the effort.

STATUS: After a painstaking effort, AB 965 PASSED the Assembly Floor on 5/24/19! It will be heard in
the Senate Public Safety Committee on June 25. Then, it must pass the Senate Appropriations
Committee, Senate Floor, and then must be signed by Governor Newsom.
Assembly Bill 45 (Stone - Medical Co-Pays)
would permanently eliminate medical and dental copayments for people inside of California
prisons and jails. Effective March 1, 2019, CDCR announced they will stop charging the $5 copay,
which is a huge victory and a response to the pressure advocates applied, but we still need to pass
AB 45 to make it law (so CDCR can't start charging again in the future), and end the copays in all of
California's county jails as well.

STATUS: AB 45 PASSED the Assembly Floor on 5/23/19! It will be heard in the Senate Public Safety
Committee on June 25. Then, it must pass the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Floor, and
then must be signed by Governor Newsom.

Please keep the support letters for all three of these bills coming. We have received a few hundred so far,
but our goal is to reach a few thousand and flood the Capitol with your voices!
Assembly Bill 277 (McCarty - Parole Credit-Earning
would create a credit-earning system for people on parole, similar to Proposition 57, for successfully completing educational programs,
vocational programs, participating in non-court order substance use treatment, and performing community service.

STATUS: Failed. Unfortunately, AB 277 failed to pass the Assembly Appropriations Committee. We are working with the author and co-sponsors
to find a way to bring it back up this year, but in the meantime, we no longer need to get letters of support for this bill. We will continue to keep
our members posted on its status.
[In four columns; each block represented a column]

PO Box 5521
South San Francisco, CA 94083



[On right side of page, there are 4 pictures, which are described below]

[15 people in a group photo. Caption says:]
Initiate Justice staff, members, and volunteers in
Sacramento advocating for ACA 6 on 4/29/19.

[Man sitting in chair in front of table. Within people, it says "AB 965 Mark Stone
Youth Offender and Elderly Parole Hearing Credits
California State Assembly"
Caption says:]
Former IJ Inside Organizer, Richard, testifying in favor of
AB 965 int he Assembly Public Safety Committee.

[15 people in a group photo. Caption says:]
Initiate Justice members & staff meeting with
Assemblymember Stone, the author of AB 45 & AB 965.

[2 People in photo. Both looking to the left, as if talking to someone.
Caption says:]
Initiate Justice members Antoinette & Margo
advocating for all of our bills in the Capitol on 5/13/19.

[Icon of pen; Icon of letter] TAKE ACTION: WRITE A LETTER OF SUPPORT TODAY [Icon of letter; Icon of pen]

Help us get these bills passed!

Getting letters of support for our bills is absolutely crucial to getting
them passed. Every time a bill goes to a different committee, the
committee staff report how many letters of support have been received
to the legislators who are about to vote on that bill. The more support
letters we have, the better chance we have that the bills will get passed.

When initiate Justice does our legislative visits in the Capitol, our
members have the chance to share their stories about how the bills can
impact them and their incarcerated loved ones. For the folks who are
currently incarcerated and cannot physically be at the Capitol, letters of
support are the best way to have your voice heard.

Take the time to let the Legislature know how this bill will impact you.
Share about who you are, the positive things you are doing, and what you
hope to accomplish. Legislators need to hear from folks inside so they
can truly understand the impact that their vote can have.

Enclosed are template letters of support for ACA 6, AB 45, and AB 965.
Please use the templates and mail your letters back to our South SF
address ASAP! We will pass the letters on to the Assembly and Senate.

As we talk about the legislation we are working on, you may have questions about how the
process works. Here is a step-by-step guide on how a bill becomes a law in the State of
California, to help frame what this work looks like and why it's important to get involved:
[Title of Diagram: THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE LEGISLATION; From Idea into Law;
Diagram of the legislation process]

1) IDEA - an individual or organization
contacts a state Assemblymember or
Senator and asks them to introduce
their bill idea. Every bill needs an author.
If the author is an Assemblymember, it
will start in the Assembly. If the author
is a Senator, it will start in the Senate.

2) POLICY COMMITTEE - after the bill is
introduced, it gets a bill number and is
referred to a policy committee to be
voted on. Bills that reform the prison
system will always go through the
Public Safety Committee.

3) FISCAL COMMITTEE - if the bill will cost
money to implement (which most do), it
has to go through the Appropriations
Committee to be voted on.

4) FLOOR VOTE - if the bill passes both the
Policy & Fiscal Committee, it will move
to the Floor of its house of origin to be
voted on by all of the members of that
house. There are 80 Assemblymembers
and 40 Senators.

5) POLICY COMMITTEE - if the bill passes
the Floor of the first house, it must
repeat the process in the second house.
For example, if the bill passes the
Assembly Floor, it will then move to the
Senate and usually go through the same
exact committees on the Senate side.

6) FISCAL COMMITTEE - if the bill passes its policy committee, it has to go through the Appropriations Committee in the to be voted on.

7) FLOOR VOTE - if the bill passes both the Policy & Fiscal Committee, it will move to the Floor of the second house to be voted on.

8) CONCURRENCE VOTE - if the bill was amended in the second house, it will have to go back to the Floor of the house of origin for the
amendments to be concurred in (approved).

9) GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE - after the bill passes both houses of the Legislature, the Governor has 30 days to sign or veto the bill. If they
veto it, the bill dies. If they sign it or return it without a signature, it will go into effect Jan. 1 of the upcoming year.
[On the side, rotated] YARD INTEGRATION

We do not have any updates on the yard integration campaign at this time. If you
wish to file a complaint against the yard integration policy, ask your family to:
-Fill out a Citizens Complaint form, on cdcr.ca.gov.
-Contact their Assemblymember and State Senator, and
-Contact the Ombudsman assigned to the prison where you live.

Follow up with the Youth Justice Coalition directly
with questions about the advocacy campaign:

Youth Justice Coalition
7625 S. Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90001
[Near top of page, 4 images, with 2 on the left and 2 on the right.]

[2 Images on the left: first one is of 2 people, both sitting. One is extending their right arm with a
pink piece of paper in their hand. In the second image, there are 3 people, facing right, as if about to
walk into a door. The caption for these images say:]
In April, Initiate Justice launched a 12-week
organizing training program for people
impaacted by incarceration...

[2 Images on the right: first one is of 2 people, both standing. The one on the left is writing on a clipboard.
In the second image, there are 3 people in a hallway, about to walk into a door. One of them is opening the door.
Another one is behind that person. The third has their back facing the picture.
The caption for these images say:]
This program is called "The institute of
impacted Leaders, and our participants have
been working hard to get our bills passed.


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