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California Legislature Shows Support for Key Bills of Value to State’s Children and Families


California Legislature Shows Support for Key Bills of Value to State’s Children and Families

Statement by Ann O’Leary, Vice-President of Children & Families Program at Next Generation

During the past two days, several bills have successfully moved through the California Legislature that hold a lot of promise for California’s families. The forward momentum of these bills—from allowing workers to earn a minimum level of sick days to improving access to quality child care and preschool—has given us hope that our elected leaders understand the widespread value of ensuring that our state’s most vulnerable children and families have a strong start in life.

By voting to pass the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522) today, the California Assembly signaled to the state and country that our employees’ health—and the health of our families—are critically important to the economic success and wellbeing of our communities.

This vote is an historic step forward because, if signed, AB 1522 will allow more than five million workers, who currently have no access to paid sick days, to earn up to three paid sick days a year and strengthen the sick leave policies of millions more. The basic protection offered by AB 1522 will be of great benefit to single working parents who have little support when their children fall ill and need immediate care; and to the millions of workers who must choose between making rent and fighting the flu.

We’re also proud that California’s Senate has taken steps forward to pass the “Fair Start” bill (SB 837) and the Child Care and Development Services Act of 2014 (SB 1123). Both bills expand access to quality child care and preschool for our state’s most at-risk children early in their lives, when quality early learning can have the most impact. With more than half of all low-income children starting school unprepared for kindergarten, these investments are critical both for our children’s education and for the economic prosperity of California.

With both pieces of legislation, more than 234,000 children from low-income families would have access to early education services, and 77,000 of them will be able to access full-day pre-kindergarten.

California is now in a strong fiscal position to make investments that will have impact on the productivity of its citizens and contribute to its long-term economic stability. We look forward to continuing this conversation with our friends in the California Senate and Assembly.


About Next Generation

Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans:  The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future.

Learn more at, and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.

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