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Posts Tagged: california

Condoms Are Great. Prop 60 Is Not.

One of the measures on California’s massive ballot this election cycle is Proposition 60, an initiative that would mandate the use of condoms by performers in adult films. At first glance, the measure sounds great; condoms are an important harm reduction intervention within and outside of sex work and have been proven to reduce STI and HIV transmission. Prop. 60, however, would allow any California resident to sue producers of films that don’t visibly use condoms, something that a variety of prevalent players within sexual and reproductive healthcare systems don’t support including (and perhaps most especially) adult film actors themselves. The controversial president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Michael Weinstein proposed Prop. 60 as a measure to reduce transmission of STIs by putting into law the Safer Sex in… Read more »

California Thinks Prisoners Are Expendable Labor

On Friday February 26th, Shawna Lynn Jones, 22, became the third inmate to die while working alongside firefighters as a part of the California Conservation Corps. Shawna was struck by a falling boulder while putting her life on the line to battle a brush fire in Malibu, California. The Conservation Corps, instituted in 1976 by then Governor Brown, is a government-funded program that pays prisoners like Shawna $1 an hour to endanger her own life while working to keep residents and natural habitats safe from the State’s increasing risk of fire. Shawna’s death spurred media responses that applauded her service to the state of California and framed her death as a tragedy because she died while working to protect one of the most affluent cities in California. Let’s all be… Read more »

Beyond Equal Pay

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown made two decisions about women in the workplace that, at first glance, seem contradictory at best and incomprehensible at worst. The Governor signed  an equal pay for equal work bill which helps ensure that women who do substantially similar work as their male counterparts be paid comparable wages. But, amid the positive press, Brown quietly vetoed a bill that sought to revise workers compensation laws. The  bill sought to close loopholes which categorized pregnancy and menopause as legitimate pre-existing conditions in determining employer’s liability. Put simply, the veto was a victory for insurance companies and employers, who can continue to legally reduce the amount of workers compensation Californians are entitled to by law, simply because they live in bodies that experience these natural… Read more »

California’s Cruel Policy that Keeps Families in Poverty

At the end of last month SB 23 passed its first committee in the California Legislature.  For those of you who don’t know, SB 23 is a bill that seeks to repeal the CalWORKs Maximum Family Grant Rule (MFG) which bars families from receiving additional aid for any child born during the time that family is already receiving CalWORKs aid. A family receiving CalWORKs is a family who is struggling. How can a state say that they are not willing to provide assistance to any additional children knowing that children who grow up in poverty end up with poorer health, have behavioral and emotional problems, and are at higher risk of unintended pregnancy in their teen years? This is inhumane. What’s worse is that the rule applies to every member of… Read more »

The Flaws of Parental Notification Measures

California has a reputation for being an incredibly liberal state filled with hippies and surfer dudes, but as a California native, I can tell you that such stereotypes are far from the truth. A good deal of the state is actually very conservative. How else do you make sense of a same-sex marriage ban successfully passing when left to the voters back in 2008, in this, one of the most liberal states in the nation? It’s because of this knowledge that I wasn’t all too shocked when I found out that there’s an abortion initiative gathering signatures to mandate parental notification for teenagers. It’s important to realize that California already has a law on parental notification, but it’s not really enforced. What this measure would do is force a pregnant… Read more »

The Battle for Consent Culture is Not Over

This article was also published in the Claremont Port Side I have had the honor to write quite a bit about sexual assault and consent during my year as a Choice USA blogger.  I am, unfortunately, quite invested in the issue.  Not only have I had experiences with assault and harassment, I have watched many of my friends and classmates suffer from the effects of assault as well. Chances are, since one in four college-aged women are assaulted, you probably have too.  At the very least, we all, knowingly or unknowingly, know at least one person who has been assaulted.  The implication of this is somewhat frightening. The prevalence of sexual assault implies that we all, knowingly or unknowingly, know at least one person who has assaulted someone else. Think about it.  Assault is… Read more »

18 And Clueless: How California’s Proposed Affirmative Consent Law Could Have Helped Me

I remember my very first week of college, my first real night at a college party. Newly independent and recently single, I was determined to have a night I’d never forget. I pulled myself together in an outfit I’m sure I was very proud of at the time (though, in retrospect, #fashionmistakecentral), downed some shots, and set off to dance and try to meet boys. I had a nice time but didn’t meet anyone, so around 1am I decided to head back to my dorm room by myself. When I was almost there, I heard a voice calling at me from a car driving next to me. It was a boy, a cute boy, and he asked where I was headed.  He told me that he was an RA at… Read more »

Five Colleges, One Definition, and Whole Lot of Complications: How My College Consortium Addresses Sexual Assault on Campus

Once or twice a month, my inbox has the misfortune of receiving a “Notification of Sexual Assault/Misconduct” from my college’s administration, detailing a recent assault that occurred on my campus.  Or an assault that didn’t occur on my campus.  While I am a student at Scripps College, these messages often don’t relay information about Scripps students.  Instead, they are forwarded to our student body from the Dean of Students at Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, or Harvey Mudd Colleges, the other four schools making up our Claremont College (or “5C”) community.  As part of a close-knit five-college (and two graduate schools) consortium, where students from all of the institutions are integrated academically and socially, when sexual assault occurs between students at the 5C’s the appropriate response is often complicated.  For victims,… Read more »

Five Ways the California Bill to Provide Condoms in Prison Falls Short

The California State Senate recently approved a bill to provide condoms to currently incarcerated adult prisoners. The controversial piece of legislation would require five adult prisons to have condoms available by 2015 and the other 33 by 2020. If passed, California would become the second state in the union to provide condoms in prison, next to Vermont. The legislation would provide an important resource to incarcerated people and help to protect those in incarceration from the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections Nonetheless, the initiative to provide condoms to prisoners is merely a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. Here are five additional things California needs to do in order to fully protect vulnerable prison populations.

Assembly Bill 154 and Young Californians: Increasing Access to Safe Abortion Care

California is nationally recognized as one of the most progressive states in the Union and a national trendsetter for progressive issues, including reproductive justice.  In fact, I am proud to report that the Golden State has none of the major types of abortion restrictions, such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions, in place. However, our lack of legal roadblocks to safe, affordable, and accessible abortion care do not mean that every Californian has the same kind of access or that access is uninhibited.  In fact, my home state is the perfect example of why the fight for reproductive justice is always important and never finished.  Assembly Bill 154, or the Early Access to Abortion Bill, is the next piece of vital legislation for Californians,… Read more »