Sen. Steven Bradford 2-for-2 in bill signage by governor
Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, celebrated the passage of two new bills he authored — SB 1232 and SB 1412, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sunday, Sept. 30. The latter bill ensures that only certain background
Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, celebrated the passage of two new bills he authored — SB 1232 and SB 1412, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sunday, Sept. 30. The latter bill ensures that only certain background information is admissible for ex-convicts searching for employment. WGNO screen grab.
Gov. Brown signs two bills into law by Sen. Steven Bradford on same day
SACRAMENTO – Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, celebrated Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval of two new laws he penned in a rare display, Sunday, Sept. 30.
Brown signed Senate Bill 1232 into law, authored by Bradford, and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice. The legislation increases the age of eligibility for a young victim of a crime to apply for compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board.
“Barriers such as stigma, depression, self-blaming, and lack of support make it especially hard for youth, low-income, minority, and immigrant communities to address trauma,” said Bradford. “One in five Californians is a crime survivor. This bill gives victims the time they deserve and require to apply for help.”
Youth under the age of 18 and 19-24 are particularly vulnerable following victimization. Unless certain exceptions apply, current law requires the application be submitted no later than three years after the date of the crime; three years after the victim attains 18 years of age; or three years after the victim or derivative victim knew or should have known that an injury had been sustained as a direct result of the crime.
“Many young victims who miss work or school to recover deserve ample opportunity to receive financial support for counseling, therapy, and education or medical bills,” said Bradford. “Many people don’t realize that the Victim Compensation Board exists and that reimbursement from it can even be used to help pay for other essential expenses such as food, rent, and transportation.”
It is crucial that survivors of crime receive the treatment and services they desperately need, said Anna Cho Fenley, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
“And this bill is a significant step in that direction,” Fenley added. “The fact is, young people are very often not ready immediately to seek compensation and deal with their trauma and in a significant number of cases that means they’re too late to receive the assistance they’re entitled to under current law. Doing whatever we can to make sure kids who have been a victim of crime have access to the services they need to address their trauma and get on a pathway toward healing and success is a key component of a safety strategy rooted in prevention, and Gov. Brown deserves enormous credit for continuing to restore balance to our state’s criminal justice system.”
Information approved for screening job applicants
Gov. Brown also signed into law Bradford’s SB 1412 — legislation that clarifies what information employers may use when screening job applicants. SB 1412 continues the progress that the Legislature and the governor began in 2017 to provide formerly-incarcerated Californians with genuine opportunities to rebuild their lives.
“Formerly incarcerated individuals bear an unfair burden: they must obtain legal employment but their applications are often immediately disqualified for noting a conviction, including those that have been expunged and are irrelevant to the job,” said Sen. Bradford. “This barrier is counterproductive because it harms communities by pushing individuals back into a life of crime.”
Under state and federal law, certain employers are required to conduct background checks, which can include records that have been judicially expunged. In some instances, employers go too far when screening job applicants, leading to individuals being denied employment for convictions unrelated to a job for which they are otherwise qualified. SB 1412 clarifies that this is unlawful.
According to Susan Burton, founder and executive director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, the bill’s sponsor, “We seek real, lawful remedies when rebuilding our lives after a conviction, and SB 1412 will help us move forward from the past into the future.
“We thank Senator Bradford for his leadership and the numerous supporters of this bill for their support,” Burton added.
“No one is saying that criminal records or expungements should be ignored,” Bradford noted, “[But] the rehabilitation of those who have atoned for their mistakes is being ignored, and this bill will help end that failure of justice.”