Political roundup

Political roundup

Local women in politics

By Shane Cohn 07/03/2013


Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson
on domestic violence,
car safety

Sometimes domestic violence makes its way into the workplace, and victims have been fired from their jobs as a result.

A bill by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara/Ventura, is fighting to end such a reality.

Senate Bill 400 would prevent employers from firing or discriminating against an employee who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Recently, in a story that made national headlines, Carie Charlesworth, a teacher in San Diego, was fired when her abusive ex-husband visited her school’s campus.

“I strongly believe that an unknown threat to a workplace is much more dangerous than a known threat,” Jackson said in a media release. “With information, employees and employers can work together to make a victim safer, their co-workers safer, and the entire workplace safer.”

The bill, which is now headed to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, would also require employers to work with victims to make a reasonable protection plan.

Jackson has also authored a bill that would prohibit car dealers from selling, renting, leasing or loaning used cars that are under a safety recall until they’ve been fixed. While it seems obvious that cars under a safety recall should not be resold, the current federal law only applies to new cars under a federal safety recall. Senate Bill 686 is before the Assembly Business and Professions Committee .


U.S. Rep. Lois Capps
on offshore drilling

In the U.S. House of Representatives last week, a bill passed that would dramatically expand offshore drilling in U.S. waters, including new drilling off Southern California. It would mandate immediate oil and gas lease sales off the coasts of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. Congresswomen Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara/Ventura, and Julia Brownley, D-Oak Park, voted against the Offshore and Energy Jobs Act, HR 2231, and offered an amendment that would have struck the section of the legislation that mandates the new drilling in local waters. The amendment, however, was voted down by a mostly partisan vote.

Capps offered some scathing remarks to her congressional colleagues.

“I find it ironic that some of the same people in this body who decry ‘an overarching Federal government’ seem to have no qualms about forcing new drilling upon a local population directly against its wishes,” said Capps on the House floor.

She advocated for more sustainable, clean-energy policies instead of continually reverting to the extension of oil drilling.

“Doubling down on oil drilling may be good policy for oil companies,” Capps said, “but it’s terrible policy for the American people.”


U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley
on homeless veterans, biliteracy

Continuing her advocacy for veterans, Brownley most recently introduced the Helping Homeless Veterans Act, HR 2485. The bill would extend through 2014 the otherwise expiring programs that assist homeless veterans. Veterans make up 13 percent of the total homeless population in Ventura County.

She has also filed a bill called the Biliteracy Education Seal and Teaching (BEST) Act, which aims to increase biliteracy in the nation. The bill would create a State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize high school students graduating with proficiency in both English and a second language. Each state would author its own proficiency standards.

“The Seal of Biliteracy not only celebrates the academic achievements of our high school students but also the incredible diversity seen throughout our country and our economy,” Brownley said in a news release. “Learning a second language is a critical part of education that allows American students to compete with the world’s best and brightest. When colleges or employers see the Seal of Biliteracy on a diploma or résumé, they know this is an individual with an important, and unique, 21st century skill.”

Brownley introduced a similar program during her time in the California Assembly two years ago. More than 10,000 students received the California seal last year on their diplomas.

In a separate funding bill, Congress would have to appropriate $10 million a year for five years to fund the BEST Act.                      

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