SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, October 12, 2017) – Gov. Jerry Brown today signed two bills by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) that will help women in need – one that will provide assistance to hardworking mothers who have trouble affording diapers, a second that creates a Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights. Gov. Brown joined Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher and other members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus for a ceremony today in which he signed several bills to support women, children and families.
“Whether it’s single mothers trying to hold down a job or one of the thousands of women who are sexually assaulted every year, the work of the Women’s Caucus and Gov. Brown’s signature today show California is again leading the way when it comes to protecting women who need it the most,” said Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher, who chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and has been a member of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus since 2013.
With the signing of Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher’s Assembly Bill 480 today, California becomes the first state in the country to subsidize diapers for young parents in need.
One in three U.S. families has problems affording diapers, which can cost up to $100 per child every month. Most daycare facilities won’t accept children who don’t have a day’s worth of diapers, meaning parents who can’t afford diapers face a big hurdle while seeking a job or trying to remain employed. AB 480 would make diaper assistance available to single mothers and other young parents who participate in the CalWORKS Welfare-to-Work and Cal-Learn programs and who have children under age three.
AB 480 was approved by the Assembly 72-2 on Sept. 14 after passing the Senate 38-0 on Sept. 13. Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher has been authoring legislation to create a state diaper program for low-income families since 2014.
“This is about helping hardworking families take care of the basics,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said. “This is about much more than diapers. It’s about helping a parent keep or find a job, a task that is much more difficult if you don’t have child care. And it’s very, very hard to find child care if you can’t provide a day-care facility with diapers for your child.”
The Assemblywoman’s Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights, AB 1312, addresses a well-known weak link in the investigation of sexual assaults by preventing the premature destruction of rape kits.
Sexual assault is both widespread and underreported. California is home to an estimated 7.6 million sexual assault survivors, the majority of whom are women. According to data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 2010, one in five women are victims of rape, and one in two women are victims of sexual violence other than rape at some point in their lives.
The Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights eases the burden on sexual assault survivors in a number of important ways. The proposed law requires survivors be given a standardized card outlining their rights and the resources available to them. The bill requires women be provided birth control after their assault. Crucially, the bill also requires law enforcement agencies to preserve all rape test kits for unsolved cases for 20 years minimum or until a victims who is a minor turns age 40.
“No sexual-assault survivor should ever feel mistreated by the criminal-justice system,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said. “They need to know their rights. They need to know every resource available to them. I’m amazed at how often the victims of such horrific crimes are not extended such basic courtesies.”
AB 1312 passed the Assembly on a 77-0 vote on Sept. 11 after passing the Senate by 40-0 vote on Sept. 7.
For more information on this issue or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher, contact Alex Roth at 619-228-3253.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, and Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. For more information on Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher visit https://a80.asmdc.org/