ACLU of California Hits the Capitol

More than 200 ACLU of California members, activists, students, and supporters used their feet, brains and voices to advocate for three important bills before the California Legislature this session, and for civil liberties and civil rights in general.

The 2012 ACLU Conference and Lobby Day started with a series of interactive workshops to help attendees gain the information needed to become effective advocates in arenas where promising reforms are on the table. The activists learned about critical civil liberties issues, gained insights on the California legislative process, connected with like-minded people from across the state, and got to flex their advocacy muscles speaking directly with elected officials in Sacramento about the issues they care most about.

The three bills the large group lobbied on were:

  • AB 1081, TRUST ACT.  Measure sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to foster trust and transparency between communities and local police. AB 1081 sets a clear, minimum standard for local governments not to submit to ICE’s requests to detain people for deportation unless the individual has a serious or violent felony. It also guards against racial profiling and wrongful detention of citizens and crime victims.
  • SB 1338, Safe and Early Access to Reproductive Health Care.  Measure sponsored by San Diego State Senator Christine Kehoe to ensure that women receive comprehensive reproductive health care from local providers they know and trust by increasing the types of health care professionals who can safely provide the care, including nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants.
  • SB 1506, Drug Possession Misdemeanor.  Measure sponsored by State Senator Mark Leno to treat possession of drugs for personal use as a misdemeanor, providing for up to one year in jail, with a typical addition of participation in a drug treatment program as a condition of probation.  The bill will significantly reduce prison and jail spending and will allow local and state government to dedicate resources to probation, drug treatment and mental health services, which have proven more effective in reducing crime.  The Legislative Analyst’s Offices estimates that SB 1506 will save $1 billion in five years.

ACLU Lobby Day is an annual event. Let us know if you’d like to receive information about participating in next year’s event, or keep watching our Events page for information about Lobby Day 2013.