February 2016 Newsletter
Gung hay fat choy! I enjoyed ringing in the Lunar New Year at this year's parade, and wish all of you a happy and prosperous Year of the Monkey.
The legislative season is in full swing, and I'm excited to introduce over 20 new bills this year. Below you can read more on my bill aiming to provide increased transparency around sexual assault cases (AB 1848). After hosting a hearing on homelessness with my colleagues on the Assembly Housing and Budget Committees last week, I also look forward to announcing our plans to address our state's housing crisis soon. Lastly, keep your eyes out for the winner of our "There Ought to Be a Law" contest later this week!
Please be in touch with my district office if you have state issues that we can help with - look forward to hearing from you!
In this newsletter:
- Tracking the Testing of Rape Kits
- MCO Plan Protects the Most Vulnerable
- Health Fair a Huge Success!
- State Earned Income Tax Credit Available
- Upcoming Events
Assemblymember - 17th Assembly District
Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore
Last week, I introduced a bill with Attorney General Kamala Harris that would provide greater transparency for survivors, policymakers and the criminal justice system around sexual assault cases. Assembly Bill 1848 will require local law enforcement agencies to track the testing of sexual assault evidence kits and report this data to the Department of Justice.
With the widespread mismanagement of sexual assault evidence kits we've seen around the country and significant backlogs in rape kit testing, we need to start taking action now. Some jurisdictions, including San Francisco, have worked to decrease their backlogs to varying degrees. However, in California, there is currently no comprehensive data available about the number of sexual assault evidence kits that local law enforcement agencies collect annually or how many of those kits are analyzed. Additionally, no comprehensive data exists about the reasons some sexual assault evidence kits are not analyzed.
Survivors of sexual assault who are submitting sexual assault evidence kits aren't getting the answers they need and deserve. To get at the crux of the backlog problem, we need to know how many kits are collected each year, and if they're not analyzed, we need to know why. This data will help shed a light on what areas of law enforcement need to change and whether or not they need more resources to get the job done.
I'm proud to have the support of our San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Planned Parenthood California, Natasha's Justice Project and many others as we move this important bill through the process.
California's Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax has been a levy on health care plans that has helped to fund Medi-Cal coverage for millions of Californians. Unfortunately, California's MCO tax currently doesn't comply with federal standards, and if we don't act by July 1, we will lose almost $1 billion in crucial matching federal health care funding.
Thankfully, the Legislature will be voting on a package of bills to fix the MCO tax as soon as today. Our new plan will ensure that Medi-Cal patients can continue to access care, and will also provide more funding for in-home support services, care for the developmentally disabled and skilled nursing facilities. I look forward to supporting this bipartisan plan and working towards ensuring that all Californians have access to reliable and quality health care.
Thanks to our tremendous partners, San Francisco Health Plan, SF Marin Food Bank, California Optometric Association, Californians Allied for Patient Protection, San Francisco Dental Society, and UCSF School of Dentistry, we were able to serve over 200 residents at our health and enrollment fair last month. Attendees were able to enroll in health care coverage, access vision and dental screening, and receive free groceries. We look forward to making this an annual event!
Last year, I worked with my colleagues to create California's first State Earned Income Tax Credit. This valuable resource puts money directly in the hands of eligible low-income workers, allowing them to help make ends meet. If you worked in the last year and have received your W-2, you may qualify for up $2,600 in credits. The United Way of the Bay Area's Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program provides free tax assistance to anyone making under $54,000 and can help you claim this and other tax credits. To find a free tax center near you, call 2-1-1 or visit www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org.
The 36th Annual Black Cuisine Festival, sponsored by Bayview Senior Services, will feature live music, a kid's zone, and an impressive variety of food vendors.
Saturday, March 5
11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
1706 Yosemite Ave at Third Street
For more information, please visit www.bhpmss.org/black-cuisine/.
Sponsored by the United Irish Societies of San Francisco, this year marks the 165th Annual San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival. The parade and festival will showcase Irish culture through live performance and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage concessions, children's rides and inflatables, cultural displays, a petting zoo and pony ride and a number of booths for nonprofits representing the Irish community.
On Saturday, March 12, the parade begins at 11:30 a.m. at 2nd and Market Streets, and the festival runs from 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza. For more information, please visit www.uissf.org.
CAAMFest is the nation's largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films, presenting approximately 130 works annually in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland. Since 1982, the festival has been an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers as well as a vital source for new Asian cinema. One of the films this year covers the issue of toxic products in nail salons, which I've worked on both in San Francisco and Sacramento - and the subject of a bill that I am championing this year. The festival runs March 10-20. For more information and screening locations, please visit www.caamfest.com/2016/.
I look forward to meeting with you at our March district office hours in the Excelsior. Please email Jen Kwart at Jennifer.Kwart@asm.ca.gov if you plan to come by, since office hours occasionally need to be rescheduled.
Saturday, March 5
12 - 1:30 p.m.
Claddagh Coffee, 951 Geneva Ave
San Francisco, CA 94112