Posts Tagged ‘senate bill’

Senator Leland Yee Acts to Prevent Evictions of Domestic Violence Victims

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Senator Leland Yee has just proposed Senate Bill 782, which would prevent landlords from evicting domestic violence victims for causing a “nuisance.” Here’s what today’s press conference at City Hall looked like:

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Senator Leland Yee, Emily Murase, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, San Francisco Supervisor Carmen Chu. Also on hand was Jessica Dayton of the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence:

 

Click to expand

Senator Yee’s bill is modeled after a new San Francisco ordinance promoted by Supervisor Chu and Kamala Harris last year and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors in February. The presence today of Kelenia Olsen from the office of Assemblymember Fiona Ma and Noriko Shinzato from the office of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano indicates this bill should get a lot of support from the bay area delegation in Sacramento.

But the question of the day is whether statewide homeowners groups will oppose this law due to what they might perceive as a diminuation of property rights. 

We’ll see…

Senator Yee Introduces Bill to Prevent Unfair Evictions of Domestic Violence Victims. San Francisco Ordinance Spurs Statewide Legislation to Protect Victims
 
Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today announced legislation to prevent landlords from unfairly evicting domestic violence victims.  Senate Bill 782 is modeled after a San Francisco ordinance authored by Supervisor Carmen Chu and sponsored by District Attorney Kamala Harris, which passed in February.
 
“It is unconscionable to force a domestic violence victim from their home,” said Yee.  “Evicting a survivor of domestic violence not only results in being re-victimized, but unfairly strains a family attempting to recover.  The possibility of eviction discourages women from coming forward to report incidents of domestic violence.  If a victim wants to stay in his or her home, they should be allowed that opportunity and should not face added pressures of moving or possible homelessness.”

More deets after the jump.

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Seantor Leland Yee Reforms Criminal Background Check Policy for Youth Organizations

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Over in Sacramento, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties’ very own Senator Leland Yee, PhD is still busy, busy, busy with new bills.

Senate Bill SB447 is no-brainer about reforming criminal background check policies for California youth organizations. It’s only a matter of time before this one becomes law. Read on below and after the jump. 

Bill would Reform Criminal Background Check Policy for Youth Organizations
Yee’s legislation would help protect children in youth programs from predators, violent criminals

SACRAMENTO – Last week, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) introduced legislation to help protect children involved in youth organizations from sexual predators and other violent criminals.  Senate Bill 447 would reform the criminal background check policy at the approximately 36,000 youth organizations and human resource agencies across the state that work with children and vulnerable populations. 
 
Such organizations, including the Boy Scouts and youth soccer leagues, are currently required to conduct criminal background checks of their staff and members.  Each group appoints a “Custodian of Records” to review the background checks for their organization and assess if a person’s criminal history poses a potential danger to the population the agency or organization serves.
 
However, there is a dangerous loophole in the law.  The Custodian of Records also reviews his or her own criminal record that is sent to the group by the California Department of Justice (DOJ).  This loophole may result in an individual who has been convicted of a violent crime or crimes against children serving as the Custodian of Records without others in the agency being aware of his/her criminal history.
 
“SB 447 will help protect children from predators and other violent criminals by closing an obvious loophole in the law,” said Yee.  “Those determining who can work with children should not be reviewing their own records and determining if they are fit to serve.  Parents deserve assurance that their kids are safe when they are dropped off at a soccer practice or scouts meeting.”
 
Specifically, SB 447 will close this loophole by creating a program in which the DOJ will review the criminal record information for Custodian of Records applicants and confirm if they are suited for the position. The DOJ will ensure that the people appointed to this position do not have a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or fraud. The program will be funded by a $30 fee for all Custodian of Records applicants.
 
In 1997, a student at Rio Linda High School was raped and murdered by a temporary janitor with a previous criminal record, including two strikes for voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery.  At the time, another loophole in state law existed that did not require temporary or substitute employees to go through criminal background checks.  The brutal murder of Michelle Montoya prompted the Legislature to change state law – banning the hiring of felons and requiring complete background checks of all school employees, including temporary and substitute workers.
 
“Unfortunately, it took the loss of an innocent life for the law to change regarding temporary school employees,” said Yee.  “It is vital that we are proactive and close the loophole regarding Custodians of Records before we have another unnecessary tragedy.”

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Engage in Human Trafficking, Lose Your House Under Leland Yee’s New Bill

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Over in Sacramento, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties’ very own Senator Leland Yee, PhD has been busy, busy, busy getting new bills in before deadline. SB 557 is today’s effort, below.

If we can get this into law, will this take some of the fight out of human traffickers in California? Doing a little stretch in the hoosegow is one thing, but losing a house or the rolling stock – well, that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

The California Senate’s Assistant President pro Tempore:

Here’s the new bill:

Yee Introduces Bill to Seize Property of Criminals Convicted of Human Trafficking
Funds would be used to assist law enforcement and victims

 
Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today introduced legislation to assist victims of human trafficking and support law enforcement by allowing courts to seize any personal property, such as house or automobile, of a person convicted of human trafficking.
 
SB 557 will bring much-needed resources to help fight human trafficking, while also ensuring victims receive the services they need to recover from this horrific crime,” said Yee.  Between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year and enslaved for purposes of sexual or labor exploitation, and unfortunately many of the cases occur here in California.  Our state has led the way in combating human trafficking and exploitation, but we should not stop our efforts until all women, men, and children are free and safe from such an appalling offense.”
 
Under Yee’s legislation, funds accumulated from all property seized from those convicted of human trafficking will be split between funds to assist law enforcement in cracking down on the crime and funds dedicated to groups who work with victims.
 
Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide, according to the US Department of State. Victims are generally trafficked into the US from Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. Many human trafficking victims do not understand English and are therefore isolated and often unable to communicate with service providers, law enforcement and others who might be able to help them.
 
Research by the Human Rights Center at the University of California found 57 forced labor operations between 1998 and 2003 throughout California.  These operations – mostly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose – involved more than 500 victims from 18 countries. 
 
The US Department of Justice recently announced that in the first 21 months of operation, the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS) recorded information on more than 1,200 alleged incidents of human trafficking.
 
According to the Justice Department, over 90 percent of victims in both alleged and confirmed human trafficking incidents were female. Nearly 60 percent of victims in labor trafficking cases were female and almost all (99%) victims in sex trafficking cases were female. 
 
Hispanic victims comprised the largest share (37 percent) of alleged sex trafficking victims and more than half (56 percent) of alleged labor trafficking victims.  Asians made up 10 percent of alleged sex trafficking victims, compared to 31 percent of labor trafficking victims.  Approximately two-thirds of victims in alleged human trafficking incidents were age 17 or younger (27 percent) or age 18 to 24 (38 percent).  Sex trafficking victims tended to be younger (71 percent were under age 25) and labor trafficking victims tended to be older (almost 70 percent were age 25 or older).
 
Nearly eight in 10 human trafficking suspects were male. US citizens accounted for 66 percent of suspects in alleged incidents.
 
If you are a victim of trafficking or an organization needing assistance, please contact the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
 
In 2004, Senator Yee also passed legislation to combat human trafficking.  Yee’s AB 3042 increased penalties to those who solicit children through prostitution.