Culver City Observer -

Nine Sen. Holly J. Mitchell bills helping youths, reforming criminal justice take effect Jan. 1, 2018

Measures are among five biggest accomplishments of the year

 

December 14, 2017

Senator Holly Mitchell

Protecting foster children and reforming the juvenile and criminal justice systems to put greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion are among the nine new laws by Sen. Holly J. Mitchell. The measures take effect Jan. 1, 2018, and are among Mitchell's five biggest accomplishments of the past year, highlighted in an end-of-session recap HERE:"Fighting to improve the quality of life for California children and young adults with my #EquityAndJustice package is a passion of mine," Mitchell said. "But among my other goals for the past legislative year are passing an historic $183 billion budget, eliminating implicit gender bias against women, helping the children of working class families thrive and standing up for what's right."Mitchell's policy agenda for 2017 included the #EquityAndJustice package jointly sponsored with Sen. Ricardo Lara that focused on needed changes to California's criminal justice system treat youth and young adults. In bill-number order below are the policies the Los Angeles Democrat had signed before the Oct. 15 deadline. Many of the bills in the #EquityAndJustice package won bipartisan support in the California Legislature and were supported by hundreds of groups across the state that promote civil rights and juvenile justice reform. SB 180 – Drug Sentence EnhancementsThis reform measure puts greater emphasis on prevention, rehabilitation and maintaining family cohesion by reducing sentence enhancements for certain low level, nonviolent drug offenses. SB 180 had five cosponsors and was supported by nearly 200 business, community, legal and public-service groups.

SB 190 – Ending Juvenile FeesFinancially burdensome administrative fees for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their struggling families. SB 190 had six cosponsors and nearly 70 supporters.SB 355 - No Court Fees for the Innocent (signed July 10)Provides that only those who are convicted of a crime are required to reimburse the courts for legal counsel fees.SB 355 was sponsored by the Conference of California Bar Associations and six justice-rights groups. SB 393 – Sealing of Arrest RecordsSeals arrest records and remove barriers to employment for those arrested but not convicted of a crime. Sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. SB 394 – Juveniles Life Without the Possibility of ParoleBrings California into compliance with the Montgomery v. Louisianadecision that juveniles cannot be sentenced to Life Without Parole. Co-sponsored by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, #cut50, Human Rights Watch, National Center for Youth Law, Pacific Juvenile Defender Center and Youth Justice Coalition. SB 395 – Miranda Rights for YouthRequires those age 15 or younger to consult with legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights in interrogations with police. Co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Silicon Valley De-Bug, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the National Center for Youth Law.Here is a summary of Mitchell's other bills signed by Gov. Brown: SB 213 – Foster PlacementSB 213 will reduce unnecessary delays in relative placements forchildren in foster care and expand placements by repealing and streamlining redundant criminal history restrictions. SB 213 was cosponsored by the Alliance for Children's Rights; the Children's Law Center of California; the County Welfare Director's Association of California; and the Public Counsel's Children's Rights Project. Supporters include the Chief Probation Officers of California; Los Angeles County; and John Burton Advocates for Youth.

SB 323 – ClinicsThis bill will help community clinics more easily provide substance use- disorder treatment services to California's vulnerable communities. It was cosponsored by California Health+ Advocates and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County. Supporters included the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals; NAMI California; and numerous community clinics. SB 612 – Transitional Housing PlacementWith the goal of improving self-reliance and independence, this measure will help foster youth as they transition into adulthood by providing resources to keep and maintain a support network of their peers and family. The California Alliance of Child and Family Services sponsored SB 612 and supporters included the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color; the Children's Advocacy Institute; and First Place for Youth; and Parents by Choice. For more information, visit Sen. Mitchell's Web site. Sen. Mitchell is chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. A member of the Legislature for more than six years, she represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 30, which includes Culver City and much of Los Angeles.See a map of Mitchell's district that includes a demographic breakdown of its residents and more HERE.Learn more at http://www.senate.ca.gov/Mitchell

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