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PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Inform~Inspire~Connect

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence believes that by sharing expertise,

advocates and legislators can end domestic violence. Every day we inspire, inform and

connect all of those working on this issue, because together we're stronger.

CALIFORNIA UPDATE

 Here in Sacramento, the Legislature is busy with hearings on the majority of its pending bills before they adjourn for their summer recess during July. Congress, on the other hand, will have a busy July, wrestling with big items-including immigration reform-before their summer recess in August.  

Legislature Passes State Budget, Includes Funding for Domestic Violence SheltersLegislaturePasses  

The Legislature once again passed the state budget on time, and this year's budget again included the full $20.6 million in funding for domestic violence shelters! This year has seen an increase in revenue for the state, and some modest funding restorations were included for programs hard hit by cuts over the past few years, including a restoration of dental benefits for Medi-Cal recipients and more funding for mental health services. Additional funds also went to education and reducing the state's debt. 

Housing Bill Passes Assembly Judiciary Committee  HousingBill

SB 612 (Leno),which the Partnership is co-sponsoring with the National Housing Law Project, will expand the list of permitted documentation for survivors seeking to terminate their leases to relocate for their safety. SB 612 also adds human trafficking survivors to those included under this provision.  This bill was heard in Assembly Judiciary and passed with strong bipartisan support. It will next be voted on by the full Assembly.   

Domestic Violence Fee Bill to Be Voted On By Senate  DomesticViolenceFee

AB 139 (Holden), which will improve the collection and distribution of Domestic Violence Probationer Fees, will be taken up for a vote by the full Senate later this week before heading back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote and then going on to the Governor. It continues to move forward with bipartisan support. 

Upcoming Hearings for Partnership Priority BillsUpcomingHearings  

  • AB 16 (Perez) closes a loophole in existing domestic violence law by adding to the list of offenders that can be charged with felony domestic violence an offender that is the victim's fiancé or fiancée, or person with whom the defendant currently has, or previously had, a dating or engagement relationship. The bill is scheduled to be heard next in Senate Public Safety on June 25.
  • SB 400 (Jackson), will protect survivors from termination or discrimination in the workplace due to their known status as survivors, and ensure that employers provide survivors with reasonable safety accommodations. The Partnership is co-sponsoring SB 400, along with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and CALCASA. The bill passed through the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee last Wednesday, and will be heard in Assembly Judiciary on June 25.
  • AB 4 (Ammiano), the TRUST Act, sets a clear statewide standard for local governments' participation in the federal government's controversial "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) deportation program. The Partnership has once again been supporting this bill and is working with the immigration advocacy coalition.  It will be heard in Senate Public Safety on June 25th.  
FEDERAL UPDATE
Partnership's Presence in DCPartnershipsPresence

The Partnership was in Washington, DC earlier this month for NNEDV's annual Advocacy Conference. The Partnership met with 29 California Congressional offices over 3 days, providing state-specific information about the importance of federal funding for domestic violence programs; comprehensive immigration reform that includes protections for immigrant survivors; and firearm background check legislation to ensure that abusers are unable to purchase firearms. 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) - Senate Votes this WeekCompImmigration

The full Senate will vote this week on numerous amendments to CIR, and will ultimately vote on the complete bill. The bill currently includes several positive provisions for immigrant survivors, including an increase in the number of U visas available each year, and protecting legal immigration status and providing work authorization for abused spouses and children of temporary visa-holders (those with work or education visas). A fact sheet detailing the included provisions is available here.

  • Positive Amendments. Senator Boxer will be offering several supportive amendments addressing the needs of immigrant survivors, including amendments requiring the Coast Guard and National Guard to have training on immigration law including that relating to victim protections and persecution, and an amendment related to safety net benefits for immigrants. A fact sheet on this amendment is available here. Senators Murray and Leahy will also be offering important positive amendments.
    • Harmful Amendments. Unfortunately, there are several harmful amendments that are expected to be offered this week and we are urging our Senators to oppose. These include amendments to:
      • Make "registered provisional immigrants (RPI)" ineligible for EITC or other tax credits, welfare benefits including housing, cutting refugees and asylees off from welfare after 1 year, and creating a bar to citizenship if the individual applies for or receives benefits or tax credits.
      • Prohibit state waivers of TANF requirements, make RPIs ineligible for benefits, and prohibit HHS from allowing states to grant in situations federal law doesn't allow.  This particular amendment seems to prohibit state Medicaid pilot projects and have implications much broader than immigrant access to benefits, including a potential impact on the Family Violence Option.
      • Apply TANF waiting periods for tax credit eligibility, make all nonimmigrants (including trafficking and U visa holders) ineligible for premium tax credits, and define them as not lawfully present for purposes of national health care.  
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California Update
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For questions or concerns about policy-related matters, please contact Krista Niemczyk, Partnership Public Policy Specialist, at krista@cpedv.org.