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Saturday, May 30, 2015
Western Center

 Western Center Video Overview

WCLP News and Noteworthy
Not Just a Ferguson Problem - How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California
In the News

 Low-income Californians are being disproportionately impacted by state laws and procedures related to driver’s license suspensions. Due to increased fines and fees and reduced access to courts, more than four million Californians have suspended drivers licenses. These suspensions make it harder for people to get and keep jobs, harm credit ratings and raise public safety concerns. Ultimately they keep people in long cycles of poverty that are difficult if not impossible for many to overcome. This report highlights the impacts on families, how the problem happens and what can and should be done to rectify it. View the report

California’s lifetime ban on food assistance and public benefits for people convicted of a drug felony lifted on April 1, 2015
Success Stories

 On April 1st, California’s repeal of a 17 year old law, banning food and basic needs assistance to people who had a prior drug-felony conviction, went into effect.  As a result, thousands of needy families and individuals are now eligible for CalWORKs, CalFresh or General Assistance.

28 Day Shuffle Enjoined in Orange County
In the News

A Costa Mesa ordinance prohibits tenants from staying longer than 30 days in a motel, thus forcing them each month to move from the only affordable housing in the city. Read more...


Legislative Blog and Notes
Western Center's State Budget Bulletin - May 14, 2015
Legislative Blog

State Budget Bulletin:

Governor's Budget Takes Some Steps to Reduce Poverty
But Falls Short of a Comprehensive Strategy

California Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed May Revision of the 2015-16 state budget, a $115.3 billion spending plan that includes some $6.7 billion increase in General Fund revenue compared to the January Budget almost all of which would go to Proposition 98 funding for schools and Proposition 2 “rainy day” funds.

The Western Center on Law & Poverty appreciates the Governor's recognition in the May Revision to the state budget that California has the highest rate of poverty in the country. Under the supplemental poverty measure almost one quarter of our state's residents are living in poverty (23.4%). The Governor proposes some important steps to address this devastating level of poverty including adopting a State Earned Income Tax Credit, proposing an amnesty program for persons with suspended driver's licenses, and increasing some allocations for programs to assist low-income Californians in housing, weatherization and drought responses. Given the significant revenue increases in the current budget and the upcoming budget, much more could be done to address deep poverty. While public education is an important investment, the Legislature and the Governor should strive to balance the various needs of all Californians in the coming weeks.

California Must Repeal Child Exclusion Law
Notes on the Legislature
California has the highest rate of child poverty in the nation and more children in poverty than any other state. Senate Bill 23 introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell would end the CalWORKs child exclusion law, known as the Maximum Family Grant, and reduce child poverty. Western Center on Law and Poverty is asking for support.
New Law That Gives Second Chance
Notes on the Legislature
Just two more months until California ends the optional ban for people with prior drug-related convictions from receiving CalFresh benefits and CalWORKs benefits. Western Center is working with allies to help get out the word.
Governor's Budget Offers Little Relief to Poor Californians
Notes on the Legislature
Governor Brown today released his January 2015-16 budget proposal. The $113.3 billion budget is not only balanced but has both a budget surplus and $2.4 billion placed into the budget reserve. Meanwhile, this budget continues the pattern established by the Brown Administration of providing little or no funding increases for the safety net which was cut severely in the recession. It makes no proposal to reduce California's astronomical poverty rate of nearly 24 percent or reduce the impact on children from living in deep poverty.
Human Service Bills: Some Signed - Some Vetoed
Notes on the Legislature
Western Center summarizes Governor Jerry Brown's actions taken on Human Services and Access to Jobs & Justice bills that we were tracking during the 2014 legislative session.


Did You Know?
What it takes to live in California

Did You Know??

  • A minimum wage worker in California earns only $1,340/month.
  • In order to afford the fair market rent of a 2-bedroom apartment ($1,249/mo), a minimum wage worker would have to work 120 hours/week, 52 weeks per year.
  • In Los Angeles, a tenant needs to earn $25/hour to afford the average 2-bedroom apartment.
  • 6.6 million Californians lack health insurance – the highest in the nation.
  • 70% of uninsured children are in families where the head of household has a year-round, full-time job.


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