Food for All: Support AB 828
That group is individuals who have been convicted with a drug felony. Even once they’ve served their time, they cannot receive CalFresh benefits. Yes, they are banned for the rest of their lives. Yes, only drug felons are banned. A person convicted with any other kind of felony is allowed to receive CalFresh once they’re off parole. You can read the history behind this ban here.
As you can imagine, this rule not only makes it hard for people formerly convicted to reintegrate into society, it also disproportionally hurts communities of color because a drug felony is the most common conviction given to people of color. For instance, the Center for Juvenile & Criminal Justice notes that even though African Americans are just 6% of California’s population and an estimated 10% of its marijuana users, they make up a staggering 45% of the 1,600 Californians imprisoned for marijuana, including more than half of those locked up for marijuana felonies. This current ban in CalFresh essentially punishes individuals and their families for the rest of their lives.
The Ella Baker Center is working with the Alameda County Community Food Bank and a larger coalition to get rid of this rule. We have partnered with Assemblyman Swanson to introduce a legislative bill that would end this ban. This bill is called AB 828 and it is currently on suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee. This means the bill is on hold, it's not going anywhere and will "die" if it doesn't get out of suspense. We are ONE step away from this bill becoming a law if we can get it out of the Committee. It will then need to pass with a majority vote in the California Senate and it will become a law as long as Governor Brown doesn’t veto it.
Our coalition has created an online petition to send to the Committee for them to see how many Californians want this bill to pass out to rest of the Senate. The more signatures we can gather, the more we can show this Committee that Californians are watching what they're doing for AB 828.
Please sign the petition right now! It takes a few seconds. Then pass it along to your friends for them to sign, too! We need them before August 5th, which is when we will be hand-delivering these signatures to the Committee, so your signature does matter and it will make a difference.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens.
Feb 22, 2013
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