Sunday, December 25, 2022

California, Laboratory of Democracy

Even as certain states have become laboratories of fascism, California continues to move in the opposite direction--sometimes in direct challenge to the former. Today's Chronicle (along with this piece from earlier in the month) highlights some of the bills that go into effect January 1, and for the most part they reflect progressive priorities. A selection: 
  • Decriminalization of jaywalking (traditionally a pretext for cops to target people of color and people without money); 
  • Decriminalization of loitering with intent ("LGBTQ advocates labeled the loitering prohibition a 'walking while trans' ban because they said it resulted in police targeting transgender women and women of color"); 
  • Several pro-choice laws, allowing nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions, "laws that protect medical records and cooperation with out-of-state entities regarding abortion restrictions...and protections for people from criminal or civil liabilities for pregnancy loss or abortion"; 
  • A ban on higher prices for (substantially) the same item marketed toward women; A ban on the use of rape kits to investigate the victims
  • An increase in the minimum wage, to $15.50; and 
  • Salary transparency (requiring workplaces to include salary range in job postings). 
From protecting choice to restraining the police to giving more power to workers, these laws move California toward a more equitable and democratic future. So as grim as it may be in places like Texas and Florida, we can take comfort in the fact that some states are fighting back.

Happy Holidays to everyone who reads this, and may you all have as much good news as possible, personally and politically, in the coming year. 

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