California Family Resource Association

New family strengthening bills to be enacted in 2017

This list of laws that will be enacted January 1 in California, may affect the family strengthening field:

CalWORKs Payments

Democrats finally succeeded in repealing a policy known as the "maximum family grant" that bars women who get pregnant while on welfare from drawing additional benefits. As of January 1, women in that situation can apply for benefits to cover the new child. They can also apply to cover children who are still minors and were previously excluded.

Minimum Wage

Additional increases in the minimum wage will kick in gradually over the next few years, eventually reaching $15 an hour in 2023. As of January 1, California's minimum wage goes to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. Fact sheet regarding wage increases here.

Prostitution Decriminalization

Sex workers under the age of 18 are victims, not criminals - this 'no such thing as a child prostitute' mantra guided several criminal justice bills this year. Among those signed into law was Senate Bill 1322, which bars law enforcement from arresting minors for prostitution or loitering with intent.

Prostitution Sentencing

Another bill altering the repercussions for sex work was Senate Bill 1129, which removes mandatory minimum sentences for repeat prostitution offenders. That means judges have more flexibility in the sentences they hand down, both for people soliciting sex and people selling it.

Sexual Assault

Sellers of sex may be getting some leniency, but the opposite will be true for people who sexually assault a defenseless victim. The jail sentence a Stanford student received in June for assaulting a passed-out woman (he was released in September), fomented outrage and led to Assembly Bill 2888, which mandates a prison term for sexually assaulting people who are unconscious.

Car Seats

The littlest Californians will be affected by a new road safety law. Assembly Bill 53, passed back in 2015, requires that kids under the age of two be fastened into rear-facing child safety seats. There's an exception for children who weigh at least 40 pounds or are at least 40 inches tall. Children under the age of eight will need to ride in the backseat.