Making a Change

Our staff is available, upon our consumers’ requests, to help empower persons with disabilities to obtain their personal, administrative and civil rights. 

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State Legislation: Straight from the Capitol on Advocacy Day

SB 1190 has passed the State Senate with virtually no opposition and is onto the Assembly, according to Sen. Ted Gaines’ office, who represents the Redding area. The senator was a co-sponsor of the bill, which was supported by disability rights legal advocate group Dredf.

The bill would establish a fund to financially reward state residents, or their survivors, who were involuntarily sterilized upon admittance to a facility for the developmentally disabled.

State-sponsored sterilization linked to Eugenics laws was a common practice in California facilities from 1909-1979.

Gov. Davis publicly apologized for the practice in 2003.

AB 2156, which was opposed by Dredf and other advocacy groups, did not make it out of an Assembly committee. The bill would have expanded legal conservatorships for residents with mental disabilities. Advocates for the disabled felt it would have taken away citizens’ civil liberties and independent living opportunities.

SB 1376 calls for regulations to install disability access requirements in Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft autos in the state by 2020, and is supported by Dredf and Disability Rights California.

The bill passed 39-0 in the senate in May and moved onto the Assembly. It was heard on June 20 in the assembly’s Committee on Communications and Conveyance, who voted 9-1 to pass it on to the Transportation Committee.

H.R. 620 –115th Congress (2017-2018)



There are many disconcerting layers to this legislation—H.R. 620 would seriously delay corrections when a person with a disability encounters an access barrier by allowing business owners up to 60 days to acknowledge that there is a problem. An additional 120 days is then granted before they are required to begin resolving the issue. No other civil rights group is forced to wait 180 days before obtaining corrections to enforce civil rights. There is no consequence written within the legislation for violating this law.

The following letter thanks our Executive Director for writing a letter of opposition.  We urge you to do the same.  Instructions follow.  Whether you represent an organization, a consumer or just yourself, please modify the model letter here to make the maximum impact in order to tell your story.

Dear Evan,

Thanks again for signing on to the May 24, 2017 letters to California members of Congress and H.R. 620 cosponsors! You joined 110 disability and civil rights organizations from across California to oppose the so-called “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.” Our letter reached our entire Congressional delegation and has been a model for similar letters in other states.

We’re reaching out today to a few of the organizations that signed the previous letter to ask that you contact Senator Feinstein’s office in writing to oppose the Senate version of H.R. 620, which is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon.

The D.C. team has been working with Senator Feinstein’s staff to oppose these legislative efforts and has learned that Senator Feinstein wants to hear from more California organizations. Letters are needed from California disability and civil rights organizations about why you oppose ADA notification legislation.

We’re writing to ask you to please write to Senator Dianne Feinstein, c/o her D.C. staff person Phillip Brest at State your opposition to these bills, and why. Please do this in the next few days.

The Solution

To assist in these efforts, you can, use the resources below, including a letter/email outline with key points for Senator Feinstein to hear from California organizations. You may choose as an alternative to the letter outlined, to write a note stating your reason(s) for opposing H.R. 620.

Letter/email outline and key points:
1.    Organization intro – a brief description of your organization and the work it does on behalf of the California communities you represent.
2.    Thank Senator Feinstein for her longtime support of the disability community. 
3.    Briefly state your organization’s (or your own) opposition to any legislation amending the ADA to add a “notice” requirement , and state your reasons.
o   State that your organization opposes amending the ADA and risking it being opened to other harmful changes
o   State that your organization opposes any bill that includes notification language – 
§  So-called “notice” legislation removes any incentive for businesses to comply proactively with the ADA. This change in the law would be a boon for businesses at the expense of people with disabilities.
§  Requiring “notice” makes it far more advantageous for a business to delay doing anything to ensure access for all until it receives a notice that someone was not able to access their public accommodation. 
§  In practice, the proposed requirements of these laws mean the continued exclusion of individuals with disabilities from the basic public accommodations of daily life – for weeks, months, and even years. 
4.    Give an example of someone who would be harmed – 
o   Our organization (or you) represents (or are yourself an) individual(s) who would be harmed by this legislation [State example]
5.    Conclusion – we look forward to working with Senator Feinstein in opposing this legislation and working to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.
See additional resources for writing your letters at

SB 562 (Lara/Atkins)

healthy ca

Healthy California Act


This bill would create the Healthy California program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. The bill, among other things, would provide that the program cover a wide range of medical benefits and other services and would incorporate the health care benefits and standards of other existing federal and state provisions. The bill would require the board to seek all necessary waivers, approvals, and agreements to allow various existing federal health care payments to be paid to the Healthy California program, which would then assume responsibility for all benefits and services previously paid for with those funds.

The Problem

Under the current national law (Affordable Care Act), 30 million Americans still lack health insurance coverage.  Runaway inflation, like the rate prior to the ACA, still forces many to choose between eating and seeing their healthcare provider.  Many still ensure that their children are covered by forgoing their own.  Approximately 30,000 die each year from easily treated conditions due to lack of health insurance. Healthcare costs currently consume 17% of our GDP and are rising steadily.

The Solution

  • Covers Everybody

Each of us will obtain the healthcare we need through a just, equitable healthcare system that guarantees healthcare for every California resident as a fundamental human right, not just as a privilege.

  • Comprehensive Plan

Healthy California will cover ALL medically necessary care, including medical, vision, dental, hearing, and reproductive. One comprehensive plan, freedom of provider choice, no more networks.

  • Reduces Costs

Healthy California will pay for all covered services, giving it the power to eliminate waste and contain costs. No more co-pays, deductibles, or premiums! California saves $37 billion/year off current healthcare costs!

  • Our Healthcare

Healthy California will be accountable only to the public. Doctors and nurses, not insurance companies, work with you to decide your care. This ensures that private profit never comes before public health.

You can track this current legislation at: – click here to track CA SB562 Healthy California

Fact Sheet:  SB-562-Challenging-Questions

DAC & the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers SUPPORT this legislation as a part of a campaign of over 6 million Californians.  You can see Affiliates at: Healthy California Act – Who We Are

AB 74 (Chiu)

ab74 affordable housing

Housing: Rental Assistance


This bill would create the Housing for a Healthy California program to provide rental assistance to individuals who are homeless and receive services from the Whole Person Care pilot program, the Health Homes program or other locally controlled funding source.  It has been determined that the state cannot use federal funds earmarked for medical services to be used for housing.  It is allowed for the state to use state revenue for this purpose.

Track this bill at: CA AB74 2017

DAC and the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC) SUPPORT this bill.

AB 150 (Mathis)

Disability Rights: Liability


This bill is another version of a “notice and right to cure” physical accessibility legislation that emerges each year.  If enacted, it would prevent a plaintiff in a physical accessibility claiming alleged violations of the state Disabled Persons Act (DPA) and the Unruh Act from filing a complaint under the DPA against a business with fewer than 50 employees.  It would require a plaintiff to: 1) notify the business owner or operator of the alleged violations; 2) wait 6 months to see if the violations persist; and 3) would preclude the plaintiff for pursuing the complaint any further if the owner of operator makes a “good faith effort” to correct the violations.

Track this legislation at: CA AB150 2017

AB 150 is OPPOSED by the CFILC, ACLU, Californians for Disability Rights, Disability Rights California, Consumer Attorneys of California, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform and DAC.

AB 796 (Kalra/Thurmond)

Increasing SSI/SSP grants and COLA


Reinstates the SSI/SSP COLA in 2018 & brings monthly payments to 100% of 2018 Federal Poverty Level (FPL), an incremental step toward full restoration of recession-era cuts to the SSI/SSP program, which awards monthly grants to seniors and other disabled adults who get no or minimal Social Security benefits.  Current SSI grant puts recipients at 70% of FPL.

Track this legislation at: CA AB796 2017

DAC and the California Alliance for Retired Americans SUPPORT this legislation.

AB 1200 (Cervantes)

Aging: ADRCs


This bill would establish by law the Aging and Disability Resource Connection Program (ADRC), administered by the Department of Aging.  There would be three major purposes, 1) as an information clearinghouse and assistance in accessing Long Term Supports and Services at the local level; 2) would establish the ADRC Advisory Committee as the primary adviser in the development and implementation of the program; and 3) would require the Department of Aging and the Department of Health Care Services to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services to authorize local government agencies to claim reimbursements for administrative activities in pursuit of the establishment of ADRCs.

The status quo has seen the existence of ADRC programs, but without the benefit of legal investiture or funding.  With full investiture of such a program, California can begin to tackle the looming threat of the “Silver Tsunami.”

Track this bill at: CA AB1200 2017

CFILC and DAC SUPPORT this bill.

SB 10 (Hertzberg)

California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017bail reform

Several organizations are collaborating to co-sponsor SB 10: The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017. Introduced by Senator Bob Hertzberg and other legislators, the bill will reform California’s money bail system by ensuring that people are not kept in jail simply because they cannot bail to buy their freedom.

Momentum for bail reform is gaining steam both here in California and throughout the country for one simple reason: the current system isn’t working.

The Problem

  • Money bail has created a two-tiered system of justice in California – one for the rich, and one for everyone else.

The current money bail system gives the rich a “get out of jail” pass, while punishing everyone else with detention and debt.

All too often in California, people who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime are locked in jail for weeks, months, or even years while they wait for trial. Many would be able to return home, if they could afford to post bail.

  • Money bail is not making us any safer or making sure people come back to court. Meanwhile, the for-profit bail industry is raking in the profits.

California’s money bail system does not do a good job of protecting our communities. Under the current system, people’s freedom is determined by their wealth, not by whether or not they can be safely released. Wealthy people can buy their freedom, no matter how much of a risk they pose.

California’s system is also not very effective at getting people to come back to court for their hearings. In fact, California has lower court appearance rates than the rest of the country.

The Solution

The California Money Bail Reform Act of 2017 (SB 10) seeks to reform the money bail system to make it more just and to make communities safer. This legislation intends to significantly reduce the use of money bail and to increase the number of people who are able to safely return home after arrest.

Track this current legislation at: CA SB10 2017

Fact Sheet:

Bail Reform Fact Sheet

DAC and the American Civil Liberties Union SUPPORT this legislation.