New Leadership for CA Women’s Caucus in 2017

2017 launches with new leadership at the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

Assembly Member Cristina Garcia steps in as Chair; and Senator Connie M. Leyva is Vice Chair.

Garcia, elected to a two-year term, also serves as First Vice Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Known as a strong advocate for women’s issues and a champion of electing more women to public office, Gacia went to the mat this past year for AB 1561, her “No Tax on Tampons” bill. The legislation received majority support in the Senate and Assembly, but was vetoed by the Governor.

Garcia is now working with Caucus members to set their policy priorities for the new year.

Without doubt, 2016 was one of the Caucus’ most successful years ever – and a tip of the hat goes to the Immediate Past Chair, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, for her leadership and tenacity.

Working with the Stronger California Advocates Network, the Caucus championed a proactive policy agenda on economic security and secured a multi-year budget commitment of over $500 million for subsidized child care.

While not a complete list, two other major successes are worth noting:

  • Culminating a years-long battle, Senator Holly J. Mitchell succeeded in repealing the Maximum Family Grant, a provision in the state welfare program that had denied aid for infants born into poverty.
  • Senator Leyva also had a big win, securing passage of the 2016 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (SB 1015), which establishes permanent overtime protection for California’s 300,000 domestic workers.

The bad news for the Women’s Caucus is that their numbers in 2017 are diminished. Twenty-six women now serve in the State Senate and Assembly – down from 30 the previous year.


Clueless in Congress

US Capitol - Govt photo Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 6.38.15 PMKathleen Parker’s September 29 column offers unintended insight into the bizarre mind of at least one Republican congressman.

Complaining about the sophistication of the Freedom Caucus – the group that played a role in pushing out Speaker John Boehner – this unidentified House members says:

“These are the guys who couldn’t get a prom date. . . . They’d rather rape and pillage than do the hard work. They can’t get to first base much less hit a home run.”

Seriously? Continue reading “Clueless in Congress”

Corporate Board Rooms Still Not Open Wide to Women

The U.C. Davis School of Management released its annual census that documents how many women serve on corporate boards and in executive positions in California-based  public corporations.  Overall, progress is slower than a slow snail,

Here are the major findings as cited in their executive summary:


  • Women hold 10.5% of the 3,189 board seats in the 400 largest public companies in California.
  • Almost half (44.8%) of California’s companies have no women directors.
  • 33.8% of the 400 companies have only one woman director.
  • Compared to our 2011 report, there has been a slight increase (0.5%) in the percentage of women directors.

Directors and Highest-Paid Executives

  • Only 9.9% of the board seats and highest-paid executive positions in the 400 largest public companies headquartered in California are held by women.
  • Only 1.5% of directors (13 of 846) and 1.2% of CEOs (1 of 85) at the 85 Fortune 1000 companies in this study are Asian, African-American or Hispanic women.

Highest-Paid Executives

  • Women account for 8.9% of the 2,005 highest-paid executives in the 400 largest public companies in California.
  • Almost two-thirds, 63.3%, of California’s companies have no women among the highest-paid executives.
  • Only 29 (7.3%) of the companies have two or more women among the highest-paid executives.
  • Only 13 (3.3%) of the 400 largest public companies in California have a woman serving as CEO.




Today’s 3 Things: Catholic Church Pushing Company Town for Contraception, On the List with Emily, Michelle Obama and Ellen

Facts about the Contraception Ruling
A recent ruling from the Obama Administration requires that contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration be included at no additional cost in health insurance plans — with a carve-out for religious institutions.

There’s a few things you should know about the manufactured political controversy that’s erupted.

#1 Republican candidates are claiming that the ruling will rob religious organizations of their religious freedom.  Not true. 

Churches  and other houses of worship are not required to offer contraception, but affiliated organizations like colleges and social services agencies are required….because they are not religious organizations.

The Catholic Church’s effort to restrict the contraceptive decisions of their non-church-based employees and students reminds me of the autocratic philosophy that pervaded company towns, that were not uncommon at the end of the 19th century.  In these communities, one major business controlled everything, from jobs to housing to food and entertainment.  The citizens of these controlled communities lost any ability to exercise individual choice. That’s what the Catholic Church and its conservative allies are trying to create by pushing back on the Obama ruling.

President Obama’s decision was balanced and judicious.

#2 A strong majority of the American public, including Catholics, support the President’s decision.  Check out these poll results.

#3 The Republican push back on this issue is all about attacking President Obama.  28 states already have similar provisions requiring contraception, which has never created a conservative backlash.  Many thanks to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow…I found this fact on her blog.

Ms. Maddow is also, to my knowledge, the only news anchor who has for months covered the contraception issue, including the proposal by some Republican Presidential candidates to make the availability of contraception a state’s rights issue.  Since when is my reproductive freedom a state right and not a personal liberty?

Here’s my take-away:  If affiliated organizations have the ability to deny contraception to their employees or students, then those organizations are enforcing religious doctrine and thus denying religious freedom.

EMILY’s List Supports California Candidates
Former California Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, running for California’s 52nd Congressional seat, received good news yesterday.  EMILY’s List, the highly respected national women’s organization that raises campaign funds for Democratic, pro-choice women candidates, placed Saldaña “On the List,” which gives her national exposure to raise funds from EMILY’s network of over one million.

Former California state Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny, running for CD 51, and current state Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, running in the newly created CD 35, are also On the List.  Incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Lois Capps (CD 24) are recommended by EMILY’s List.

Click here to see California candidates supported since EMILY’s List was founded in 1985.
Nationally, EMILY’s List has helped elect 16 pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. Senate, 87 to the U.S. House, nine governors, and hundreds of women to state legislatures, constitutional offices, and key local offices.

Let’s end on a light note:
No Girl Push-Ups for These First Ladies
It’s impossible to know who is more adorable — First Lady Michelle Obama or America’s first lady of funny, Ellen DeGeneres.

See why my goal is to do 25 push-ups by the November election….

My favorite line from the video:  “I think we should do it together.”

Check it out: