Californians have been busy. Indivisible CA: StateStrong, our statewide coalition of Indivisibles, in its partnership with the Courage Campaign and ACCE, released their fourth annual Courage Score (if you want to see your legislator’s, check here), a one-of-a-kind legislative scorecard that tells the people of California how well their state legislators are representing their interests.
We hoped you would use this to pin down legislators on key issues. And you ran with it. Indivisibles held more than 30 events (check out this Twitter thread!) targeting 30 different state legislators, using the report cards to hold legislators accountable for their 2018 votes and convey their upcoming 2019 legislative priorities. The message was loud and clear: Californians are paying attention.
Now, the work really heats up.
Let’s talk about police reform in California
In March of 2018, Sacramento Police chased and killed Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man holding only his cell phone, in his grandmother’s backyard. This horrendous event led to a wave of inspiring #BlackLivesMatter protests in the state’s capital that shed light onto the issue of police violence and the terrible state of our policing laws in California.
Now a year later, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has announced that the police officers who killed Stephon Clark will not be charged. It’s time for this injustice to stop.
Assembly Bill (AB) 392 (The California Act to Save Lives) is a good first step. This bill would change the standard for the use of deadly force so that it can only be legally deployed when absolutely necessary to prevent an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury.
In other words, police officers can only use deadly force when there was no reasonable alternative, including warnings, verbal persuasion, or other non-lethal methods to resolve or de-escalate a situation.
This isn’t going to be an easy fight. Law enforcement agencies do not want change or accountability. In fact, they are actively trying to undermine AB 392 by introducing and lobbying for their own weak counter bill, SB 230.
SB 230 is a toothless distraction, introduced to give legislators political cover to pretend like they are addressing an issue, while actually doing nothing. It’s been introduced by a handful of moderate Democrats who are friendly with law enforcement. Our best hope in creating real change in California is to stop SB 230 and pass AB 392.
Ready to take action? Use this call script to call your CA state Assemblymember and demand that they support AB 392. Then, get ready to go to Sacramento and join the Let Us Live Coalition and RSVP to attend the hearings on AB 392 and SB 230 on April 2 and April 9. There will be buses leaving from all over the state to ensure constituents are able to pack the room for these two important hearings.
Let’s expand democracy in California
Because of the over-policing of communities of color and racial inequalities in our criminal legal system, current law disproportionately and systematically locks Black and Brown people out of the voting booth.
Our democracy is stronger when it is fair and inclusive. Currently, over 40,000 Californians who are on parole are unable to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Stripping the right to vote from formerly incarcerated people is a form of voter suppression that is deeply out of step with our values.
Progressive legislators in the Assembly have introduced bills, ACA 6 and AB 646, to amend the California Constitution and the Elections Code to ensure that Californians on parole can fully participate in our democracy. It’s critical that we get loud on these two bills now.
Check out our latest explainer on expanding access to our democracy in California and all the top-priority bills we’ll be working on this session. Then, use our call script to demand your assemblymember Free the Vote and support ACA 6 and AB 646 to amend the California Constitution and the Elections Code to ensure that Californians on parole can fully participate in our democracy.
We are so humbled by the work Indivisibles are doing in California to take action on their home turf and demand real change from the state legislature. There’s a lot of work to do, but we know that together, we will win.