The California Women’s Law Center has been working diligently in the pursuit of justice for women and girls. We have much to share and many ways for you to get involved!
In this issue…
Passage of SB 813 – Eliminating the Statute of Limitations of Rape and Other Sex Related Crimes
Training Webinar: Join Us November 9th!
Distinguished Speaker Series with David Codell: November 16th
October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month
CWLC and the Los Angeles Sparks #WeAreWomen Campaign
Executive Director’s Message
The California Women’s Law Center has had a very active year pursuing justice for women and girls. We greatly appreciate our supporters for assisting our effort on behalf of veterans, older Americans, the LGBT community, victims of domestic violence and victims of sexual assault. We remain active on Title IX parity work to ensure an equal opportunity in athletics for girls and women and we continue to prioritize the needs of incarcerated women and their families.
We are very excited that Governor Jerry Brown signed the Justice for Victims Act (SB 813) in September. This bill, carried by State Senator Connie Leyva (Chino), will eliminate the statute of limitations for rape and related felony sex crimes in the state. CWLC is a proud co-sponsor of this legislation because we believe victims should have the ability to seek justice and hold their assailants accountable for their violent actions, no matter how long it may take a victim to come forward to talk about the crime committed against them. SB 813 goes into effect on January 1, 2017.
CWLC also co-sponsored AB 1661 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, which codifies local elected officials’ responsibility to complete sexual harassment and education courses. CWLC also strongly supported SB 384, carried by Senator Leyva, which would have set aside a portion of veteran housing funding for underserved veterans, including female veterans. Women veterans and their housing needs remain a priority for CWLC, so although this bill did not make it to the Governor for his consideration, we remain committed to addressing this critically important issue.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, November 16th, as we welcome back David Codell who will be addressing “A Post-Election Update About Gender and LGBT Cases and Controversies.” Since this discussion will be taking place just after the election, we hope you will be able to participate in what will certainly be a lively conversation.
With the year rapidly drawing to a close, please know that the CWLC staff and Members of the Board are grateful for your support and commitment to our mission of working for equality and fairness for women and girls throughout California.
In good health and with abundant thanks,
CWLC Advocacy and Legislative Update
CWLC is proud to report that on September 28, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 813, the Justice for Victims Act. SB 813 eliminates the statute of limitations for rape and other felony sex crimes in California. Introduced by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), CWLC co-sponsored this landmark bipartisan measure with San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos. The passage of SB 813 ensures that victims of sexual violence will no longer be limited in their search for justice by an arbitrary time period. Read CWLC’s press release and other articles about SB 813’s success here. Photo: State Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and Betsy Butler speak in support of SB 813, which eliminates the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape cases at a Sacramento press conference held September 6, 2016. Photo credit: Sophia Bollag, Los Angeles Times.
Governor Brown also signed AB 1661, a bill co-sponsored by CWLC and introduced by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), which requires local elected officials to complete sexual harassment and education courses, thereby helping to ensure our government offices are free from sexual harassment.
CWLC also strongly supported SB 384, to set aside a portion of veteran housing funding for underserved veterans, including female veterans. Unfortunately, SB 384 did not make it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee this legislative term. However, the bill’s author, Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), is committed to continued support of female veterans and their unique housing needs.
Governor Brown signed two other very important bills which close loopholes in California’s sexual assault laws. AB 2888 prohibits judges from sentencing convicted offenders to probation if the sexual assault was perpetrated against a victim who was unconscious or intoxicated. AB 701 expands the legal definition of rape to include non-consensual sexual assault. Previously, California law only defined rape as “an act of sexual intercourse.”
Governor Brown also approved AB 1761, which created an affirmative defense for human trafficking victims who are prosecuted for certain non-violent crimes.
CWLC was disappointed that the Governor did not sign AB 1561 to follow other states like Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in eliminating the “luxury” sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products, even though the legislature unanimously approved the bill. Governor Brown vetoed six other tax-related bills, including AB 717, which would have exempted diapers from California sales tax, stating that these bills would negatively affect the state budget.
In a victory for consistent and effective access to reproductive health care, SB 999, co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, was signed into law by Governor Brown. This bill allows women to obtain a year-long supply of hormonal contraceptives when requested by their healthcare provider. State law previously barred pharmacists from dispensing more than three months’ supply at once.
On the federal level, CWLC strongly supports the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act (HR 2972). The EACH Woman Act extends abortion coverage to women who are enrolled in a government health insurance plan or government-managed health insurance program, or who receive health care from a government provider. This Act would ensure abortion coverage for all women on Medicaid, regardless of their income.
To view all legislation CWLC has supported and opposed in the 2016 session, click here.
Training Webinar November 9th – Breastfeeding Rights in California Schools
Join CWLC and BreastfeedLA for a training webinar titled Breastfeeding Rights in California Schools on Wednesday, November 9th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm PST. Every major health organization recommends breastfeeding and recognizes its overwhelming health benefits for parent and child. Join us to learn about the lactation rights of pregnant and parenting teens and employees in California schools. This webinar qualifies for one hour of MCLE credit. Click here to register for the training.
November 16th – Distinguished Guest Speaker Series with David Codell
Please join CWLC, our sponsor Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and our co-host The Law Offices of Victor L. George for a Distinguished Speaker Series titled “A Post-Election Update about Gender and LBGT Cases and Controversies” with David Codell on November 16, 2016 from 5:30 – 8:00 pm. Mr. Codell has a Los Angeles-based constitutional, business and entertainment litigation practice. He represents clients in state and federal courts, both at the trial-court and appellate level, and has secured victories in numerous cases with historic rulings advancing civil rights. He recently served as the Constitutional Litigation Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and, prior to that, as the Visiting Legal Director and Senior Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute at UCLA. This event qualifies for two hours of MCLE credit. Click here to register.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Handbags of Hope
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On October 8, CWLC was thrilled to participate again in the Handbags of Hope purse collection, a nationwide initiative to collect and distribute handbags to women escaping domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. CWLC collected new and gently used handbags filled with personal care items which were distributed to domestic violence shelters around Los Angeles. Women often flee violent situations with only the clothes on their back. CWLC is proud to assist women in need by participating in Handbags of Hope and Handbags Across America providing necessities, support, and hope to women.
We thank the CWLC Board, staff and supporters for assisting in the nationwide collection of over 5,000 bags for women in need.
Peace Over Violence’s 45th Annual Humanitarian Awards
CWLC joined over 300 guests committed to Peace Over Violence’s mission of building communities free from domestic and sexual violence at POV’s 45th Annual Humanitarian Awards. This event honors partners in the fight for healthy relationships and raises funds to ensure that survivors can continue accessing the multitude of resources POV provides. Photo: CWLC Board Member, Anna Menedjian, and Taylor Ikemiya at the awards dinner.
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Sparks, 2016 WNBA Champions, and the Los Angeles Sparks #WeAreWomen Campaign!
CWLC congratulates our Los Angeles Sparks on their 2016 WNBA Championship win! Champions for women and girls, CWLC was thrilled to support the Sparks #WeAreWomen Campaign for the second year in a row. In 2015, the #WeAreWomen campaign sold out the Staples Center for the first time in Los Angeles Sparks franchise history. On July 10th of this year, CWLC was part of the sell out crowd and excitedly watched the Sparks beat the Washington Mystics. CWLC congratulates the Sparks again on an amazing season!
Women’s Equality Day Celebration
CWLC was a proud sponsor of the Women’s Equality Day Celebration to commemorate the 96th anniversary of the incorporation of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Hosted by the City of West Hollywood, CWLC participated in the event alongside many other organizations, including Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and the California National Organization for Women. The evening included a screening of a short documentary film Inez Milholland – Forward into Light. The film tells the story of American icon Inez Milholland, who advocated for gender equality and suffrage in the early twentieth century. The event also featured an informative and inspirational panel discussion with Maria Montero, Co-President, League of Women Voters Los Angeles; filmmaker Martha Wheelock; author Zoe Nicholson; and actress Amy Walker.
Marina Rinaldi Event Benefiting CWLC
Over the weekend of September 24 and 25, fashion designer Marina Rinaldi invited patrons to discover their 2016 Fall/Winter collection and donated a percentage of their in-store sales to CWLC. We thank Marina Rinaldi and State Senator Holly Mitchell for supporting CWLC as we were delighted to have benefited from their generosity. Thank you, Marina Rinaldi and Senator Mitchell for helping pursue justice for women and girls.
United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action
CWLC, All* Above All, and over 70 other organizations across the country came together to recognize the 40th Anniversary of the Hyde Amendment. This event was created to educate and motivate action on an ongoing commitment to stopping this harmful restriction on abortion, and people throughout the country joined together for the first-ever United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action September 25th – October 1st. For the Week of Action, CWLC and the Los Angeles Coalition for Reproductive Justice (LACRJ) gathered petition signatures asking members of the Los Angeles City Council to affirm their support to lift all restrictions on coverage of abortion care. On September 30th, we attended the Committee hearing at Los Angeles City Hall where the City Council voted, making Los Angeles the 11th and largest city in the nation to pass such a resolution! Photo: LACRJ affiliates at Los Angeles City Hall for the Committee hearing on September 30, 2016.
2016 Summer Interns
CWLC is grateful to have had Callie Wilson (Yale School of Law) and Chelsea Chilman (UCLA School of Law) join us over the summer as CWLC interns. They worked on multiple important projects, including extensive research about abortion rights and access. We thank Callie and Chelsea for all of their hard work and wish them the best of luck in their second year of law school!
We are pleased to Welcome Taylor Ikemiya
Taylor Ikemiya has joined the California Women’s Law Center as our Development Associate. Prior to CWLC, Taylor worked at the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles, where she was responsible for fundraising, event management, and marketing. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Taylor is incredibly passionate about the work CWLC is doing for women and girls, and is excited to use her skills to help the organization grow. Welcome, Taylor!
In order for the California Women’s Law Center to advocate, provide legal services, and conduct educational trainings on behalf of women and girls, we rely on your support. Any donation you can make is greatly appreciated.