Among the numerous bills state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, authored this year, the following are taking effect on Jan. 1:
SB 400: Protecting Domestic Violence Victims from Employment Discrimination
Jackson’s Senate Bill 400 will prevent employers from being able to fire or discriminate against an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. SB 400 also will require employers to make reasonable efforts to protect these victims from their abuser or stalker, such as changing their work telephone number, relocating their desk or implementing a workplace safety plan.
As the bill made its way through the Legislature, Carie Charlesworth, a former San Diego area teacher who made national news headlines when she was let go from her teaching job after her abusive ex-husband visited her school campus, became a proponent of the bill, traveling to Sacramento and testifying in support of it.
A recent study by the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, a sponsor of the bill, found that nearly 40 percent of victims in California reported either being fired or fearing termination due to domestic violence.
As the bill worked its way through the Legislature, Jackson worked to address concerns raised by business groups. By the time the bill reached the Assembly floor, all business group opposition had been removed. (Takes effect Jan. 1.)
SB 510: Giving Mobile Homes Residents a Voice
Senate Bill 510 will prevent lawsuits and give mobile home residents a voice when their mobile home park is being subdivided and sold. Existing law allows mobile home park owners to subdivide and sell the individual lots on which homes are placed. This is commonly referred to as a “condo conversion.” But without clarity in current law, condo conversions have commonly left mobile home park residents without a say in the process and cities confused about how to proceed.
If a majority of mobile home park residents do not support a sale, Senate Bill 510 allows — but does not require — a local government to disapprove of the conversion.
Current law on the issue has been unclear, and the uncertainty has led to dozens of lawsuits. The City of Goleta has spent more than $500,000 just on litigation expenses related to the conversion of the Rancho Mobilehome Park.
California has nearly 5,000 mobile home parks. Typically, residents own their mobile homes but rent the spaces in which their homes are placed.
The bill had the support of a number of groups, including the City of Ventura, the County of Santa Barbara, the County of Ventura, the Goleta Manufactured-Home Owners Coalition and the Ventura Manufactured-Home Resident’s Council. (Takes effect Jan. 1.)
SB 340: Preventing Harassment and Intimidation at Reproductive Health-Care Facilities
SB 340 will protect women from harassment and intimidation as they are seeking services at reproductive health-care facilities.
Senate Bill 340 removes a sunset and thus makes permanent the Reproductive Rights Law Enforcement Act. Because of this act, the attorney general is required to gather information related to anti-reproductive rights crimes and analyze the effectiveness of current laws. This is often the only information policymakers and others have in addressing anti-reproductive rights crimes. (Takes effect Jan. 1.)
— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.