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Women's Caucus Prioritizes Work, Child Care Bills

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Members of the California Legislative Women's Caucus.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

The caucus is focusing on bills that they say support equal pay, access to childcare, creating family-friendly workplaces and addressing poverty. Democratic Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson chairs the caucus. She says she’s been fighting for some of these issues for decades and that it’s time to act.

"Women are absolutely critical to a strong and vibrant economy and we are at an important juncture for California and California women," she says, "a place where we can both make a difference and recognize that a difference needs to be made."

The bills include a measure that creates more state subsidized child care slots. The caucus is also asking for an additional $600 million in this year’s budget for the child care system.

One of the bills the caucus supports would overturn the Maximum Family Grant Rule, which limits aid for some children born into California’s welfare system. Senator Holly Mitchell authored the legislation.

"It’s been 15 years since the rule was implemented and we still have no evidence that it worked towards the goal of lowering birthrates," she says. "Yet over the same time we’ve seen California’s families slip deeper into poverty and California earning the distinction of becoming the nation’s leader in child poverty." 

Mitchell’s bill made it past the Senate Human Services committee. It now moves to Senate Appropriations.

Repealing the rule would cost California about $200 million a year.