Based in Oakland, CA, the Ella Baker Center advances racial and economic justice to ensure dignity and opportunity for low income people and people of color. As we navigate the uncertainty and adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ella Baker Center has been fighting for legislation to ensure the safety of our community. We are grateful for the incredible work put in by folks incarcerated who are impacted by these policies, loved ones, and our allies.

Our Co-Sponsored 2020 Bills

SB 144 Families Over Fees Act (Sen. Mitchell) – This bill eliminates many of the administrative fees imposed by the criminal legal system and reduces the suffering caused by court debt. Fees eliminated would include those for drug testing, bookings, arrest, probation, parole supervision, and electronic monitoring. This bill was amended to eliminate some fees, but we still see it as very robust. This bill is on the Governor’s desk.

SB 555 Jail Fair Access and Connection to Support (Sen. Mitchell) – This bill addresses the impact of high-cost markups on families and support networks of people in jail. The bill requires that the items in a county jail canteen are offered for sale at the cost paid to the supplier. In addition, this bill prohibits commissions in telephone and communication service contracts for juvenile facilities and county jails, and requires such contracts to be negotiated and awarded to the lowest cost provider. This bill is now on the Governor’s desk.

AB 2542 California Racial Justice Act (Asm. Kalra) – The Act asserts civil rights in the courtroom by prohibitting the state from using discriminatory means to seek or obtain a conviction or sentence; and it gives courts guidance to address the discrimination we see happening. Current law does not protect against discrimination in the court room, though we know anti-Black, anti-ethnic, and foreign-based biases exist and are not harmless. The Act will give people the ability to challenge racial discrimination against them at their trial or sentencing. This bill is now on the Governor’s desk.