State Policy Work

The Ella Baker Center Policy Team looks directly at our laws at the State level and works with policymakers, families across the state, and allied groups to pass legislation that promotes dignity and provides opportunity for communities that have historically been left out of policy considerations. That includes disenfranchised Black and Brown communities, and overlooked families with low income.

Each year the Policy Team leads our membership on a trip to the Capitol where we talk directly with policymakers and advocate for our communities. Become a member today to receive legislative updates and information on upcoming lobby trainings, lobby visits, and member congress!

Our Bills

Below you will find the bills we are co-sponsoring this legislative cycle and their status.

Senate Bill 136, Scott Weiner; The RISE Act 2.0

Repealing the 1-year enhancement. This one- year enhancement re-punishes a person for previous jail time served – not the actual crime committed. Repealing this enhancement could save over $130 million in the first 3 years alone according to the Department of Finance and CA Dept of Corrections & Rehabilitation. What could that savings do for your community? We need you to call your assembly member right now at 833-921-0013 Take Action!

Assembly Bill 45, Mark Stone; Eliminating Copays in Prisons and Jails

Eliminating medical copays in prisons and jails. Prisons and jails charge a fee before you can see a doctor, even though people locked up make pennies a day if anything at all. Folks inside are going without other basic needs because jails and prisons put them in medical debt. This bill will help everyone locked-up in California when it is law. Assembly Bill 45 has passed the Senate Floor and is on it's way to the Governor's desk. 

Senate Bill 36, Bob Hertzberg; Equity in Pretrial Risk Assessments

SB 36 requires any county that uses a risk assessment tool in a pretrial setting to collect data regarding the tool’s input and outcomes. The aim is to minimize disparate results and bias based on race, gender, economic circumstances, or disability status. This bill has passed the both Legislative Houses and is on its way to the Governor's desk. 

Other Bills

These are bills sponsored by allies that we actively support. 

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, Kevin McCarty; Free the Vote

Restores the right to vote to people who have finished their sentences and are reintegrating on parole. This puts power back in the hands of Black and Brown folks, especially, who have been incarcerated en masse. Take Action!

Senate Bill 555; Holly J Mitchell, Jail FACTS #SB555

This bill reduces the extraordinary costs of phone calls and commissary supplies in county jails and juvenile halls. Jail contracts allow huge markups on these basic-need items, at the expense of families on the outside trying to support their sons and daughters. Sign the Petition.

Bill Progress

  • ACA 6 has passed both committees of its first house (the Assembly) and is set for a vote from all members of that house.



Earlier this summer we supported the introduction of the “Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act" to restore the FCC's authority to stop prison phone companies from charging incarcerated people and their families predatory rates. Prison phone companies have gotten away with charging exorbitant rates for way too long. Join us in standing up for vulnerable communities and support this bill, which would outlaw predatory rates and would make phone calls to and from prisons, jails and detention centers more affordable for families trying to stay connected. To help win #PhoneJustice sign this petition.

You can learn more about #PhoneJustice in this clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in which he quotes our Who Pays? report