Legislative Priorities

About HOPE's Advocacy Efforts

HOPE is a fierce advocate for building Latina economic power and political influence. We have impacted the lives of millions of Latinas in California and our nation by promoting policies that advance economic empowerment, affordability and access to higher education, civic engagement, and affordable healthcare — all of which overlap to affect the prosperity and wellbeing of Latinas everywhere.

2024 Legislative Priorities

HOPE is actively advocating for the passage of the following bills which aim to implement solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing Latinas in California. HOPE’s 2024 policy platform that addresses Representation, Economic and Educational parity, and Health Care access and equity.

SB 782 (Limón) Transparency in Gubernatorial Appointments

HOPE SPONSORED BILL

 

STATUS: Double referred to the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee

 

The Challenge

California has an expressed commitment to ensuring state boards and commissions are diverse and reflective of the state, yet no formal mechanisms exist to evaluate this for Gubernatorial Boards and Commissions Appointees. In response to the latest veto in October of 2023 of Senate Bill 702 authored by Senator Monique Limón, HOPE embarked on an analysis of the demographic data of gubernatorial appointees made publicly available via press release posted on the Governor’s website. Our report of appointments made by the Governor’s office in 2023 showed that only 9.6% of appointees were Latinas, in a state where Latinas make up nearly 20% of the total population.

The Solution

SB 782 addresses this issue by requiring the Governor’s Office to annually report the aggregate demographic information of individuals appointed by the Governor. It also requires the Governor’s office to maintain an updated website with information on all state boards and commissions to increase transparency on the appointment process. By requiring reporting starting in 2027 and only requiring reporting on the data they already collect, SB 782 enshrines principles of good governance and transparency for future Administrations at nearly no cost. An annual report will serve as a tool to show where gaps in representation exist and encourage outreach to communities of interest to ensure everyone gets a seat at the table.

AB 1780 (Ting) Ending the Use of Legacy Admission Practices

HOPE SPONSORED BILL

 

STATUS: Advancing to the Senate for further consideration.

 

The Challenge

Legacy admission policies, which often prioritize applicants with family ties to a school’s alumni, tend to disproportionately benefit white and affluent students. According to the Campaign for College Opportunity, legacy applicants were 45 percentage points more likely to gain admission to a selective institution than equally qualified, non-legacy candidates, after controlling for other factors. This systemic privilege continues to disadvantage first-generation students, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds from an equitable shot at admittance.

The Solution

AB 1780 emerges as a vital solution by ending the practice of legacy admissions in California. This bill would enforce a civil penalty on institutions that give preference to students with relationships to donors or alumni in their admissions processes. By closing this loophole, this bill ensures that institutions offer fair admission opportunities to all Californians. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision barring race-conscious admissions, AB 1780 stands strong as a protection for all students of color.

AB 359 (Holden) College and Career Access Pathways

STATUS: Set for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee

 

The Challenge

Dual Enrollment, like the College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) program, have proven to be effective strategies to increase access to college for students of color and first-generation students. Despite the public benefit of these programs, Latino and Black students are disproportionately underrepresented in dual enrollment classes. According to an EdSource analysis the reason for this includes misconceptions about who should take dual enrollment classes, a lack of available courses, and a lack of awareness by students, families and high school counselors about the programs. Reforms to CCAP are urgently needed to maximize the participation of underrepresented students, increase college completion and close educational equity gaps in the state.

The Solution

AB 359 addresses this challenge by proposing reforms to the CCAP dual enrollment program, streamlining the establishment of new CCAP partnerships and removing key implementation hurdles faced by Local Education Agencies and Community Colleges. These reforms include the elimination of systemic participation barriers like the need for the school principal’s recommendation requirement, expanding partnership opportunities with community colleges, permitting online course options, and ensuring students earn transferable college credits. By allowing all students to participate and prioritizing outreach for underrepresented groups, AB 359 aims to make dual enrollment the norm in California schools by 2030 and ensures Latinas and other underrepresented students can equitably benefit from these programs.

AB 3161 (Bonta) Equity in Health Care Act: Ensuring Safety and Accountability 

STATUS: Read for the first time in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Rules for assignment.

 

The Challenge

Racial bias in healthcare significantly impacts health equity for Latinas. A new report from the Center for Disease Control found that about 29% of women experienced discrimination while receiving maternity care. Reports of discrimination were highest among Black (40%), multiracial (39%), and Hispanic (37%) women and were notably higher for women who were uninsured. Unfortunately, existing reporting requirements for adverse health events in hospitals lack demographic data collection, hindering efforts to grasp the extent of this issue in California.

The Solution

AB 3161 addresses this issue by requiring hospitals to analyze patient safety events by sociodemographic factors and identify disparities in these events. The bill also requires hospital safety plans to include a process for addressing racism and discrimination, including encouraging healthcare staff to report any bias they observe within their facilities. AB 3161 will allow California to assess gaps in care and the impact it has on communities of color, ensuring Latinas have equitable access to safe, quality healthcare.

AB 2319 (Wilson, Weber) California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act

STATUS: On suspense file in Assembly Appropriations Committee

 

The Challenge

Despite medical advancements, racial disparities persist in maternal health, disproportionately affecting communities of color. In 2018-2020, the maternal mortality rate for black women in California was 45.8 per 100,000 births, higher than any other racial subgroup. While lower for Latinas, at 14.8, the maternal mortality rate is still disproportionately higher than it is for their white counterparts and raised concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic when it surged by an alarming 44%. The California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act aimed to tackle these issues, but a recent Department of Justice investigation underscored the need for stronger enforcement, transparency, and specificity of the Act.

The Solution

AB 2319 directly addresses the disproportionately high maternal mortality rates among Black women and pregnant individuals of color by ensuring effective implementation of the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act of 2019 (SB 464). The bill clarifies which facilities must conduct anti-bias training and specifies the staff members requiring training, while granting enforcement authority to the California Department of Public Health and the Attorney General. It also establishes penalties for noncompliance, mandates online disclosure of compliance data, and sets firm training deadlines.

 

2023 Legislative Highlights

In 2023, HOPE was proud to unite with coalition partners and Latina leaders to advocate for critical policies that drive Representation, Economic and Educational parity, and Health Care access and equity.

Assembly Bill 368 (Holden)

#EducationEquity

Governor Newsom signed into law AB 368, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden and co-sponsored by HOPE and The Education Trust–West. AB 368 will improve access to dual enrollment programs for students who may not already be college-bound or are underrepresented in higher education. The new law, taking effect January 1, will require the governing board of a community college district participating in a College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) partnership to enroll high school pupils in any course that is part of a CCAP partnership offered at a community college campus. It also authorizes classes to be provided at the community college campus or the participating high school campus. AB 368 takes an important step in closing opportunity gaps in California’s education system, allowing more students to access resources previously only available to a select few.

Senate Bill 702 (Limón)

#ACaliforniaLikeMe

Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed SB 702, authored by Senator Monique Limón and sponsored by HOPE, designed to foster greater transparency and accountability in gubernatorial appointments. The bill would have required the office of the Governor to create an annual report on the demographic information currently being collected on individuals appointed by the Governor that year. This report would serve as a tool to highlight which voices and communities are missing from decision-making tables and offer concrete policy recommendations to diversify boards and commissions across the state. Despite the negative outcome, we remain motivated and ready to improve equity in the state’s commitment to a California for All. We look forward to further discussions on increasing transparency in the composition of appointments. Join our movement, sign up for our coalition, and get ready to continue these efforts in 2024.

Our Issue Areas

Economic and Educational Parity

Latinas are eager to pursue higher education as the strongest pathway to thriving communities, and our businesses and purchasing power drive the economies where we live. Yet we fight against a systemic education opportunity gap, widening pay gaps, and underinvestment in our work that impact not only our immediate financial well-being and quality of life, but also long-term economic stability, curtailing Latinas’ ability to build wealth and harming the entire economy. HOPE advocates for legislation that addresses these issues by making space for our languages in the classroom, comprehensively supporting Latina students to pursue higher education, bolstering Latina businesses and workers, improving financial literacy, creating transparency in pay, and more.


Civic Engagement and Representation

Latinas make up a fast-growing share of the United States population, and our voices must be heard. We believe that democracy and governance are stronger when everyone has a seat at the table. It takes work to battle generations of discrimination and a lack of transparency that have limited Latinas’ access to voting and leadership. That’s why HOPE supports legislation that improves voting access, promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace and all positions of leadership, and ensures we’re represented accurately in data collection.


Health Care Access and Equity

Health care is a human right. But Latinas face compounding challenges to accessing it, and dire health outcomes as a result. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened longstanding inequities, resulting in higher rates of job and insurance loss; economic disparities are driving high rates of medical debt; mental health crises are at record levels especially among people of color; and the healthcare workforce is stretched thin, with Latinas sorely underrepresented. HOPE supports legislation to expand access to health insurance and care, especially for undocumented and low-paid workers.

Testimonial

Contact

To learn more about HOPE’s legislative priorities and advocacy work, please contact Maria Morales, Policy Director.

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