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CA Progressive Groups Launch "Building the California Dream Alliance"

Laiseng Saechao from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network speaks at a press conference Wednesday announcing the "Building the California Dream Alliance." (Christopher Calhoun)
Laiseng Saechao from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network speaks at a press conference Wednesday announcing the "Building the California Dream Alliance." (Christopher Calhoun)
May 5, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - More than two dozen California progressive organizations announced Wednesday they're forming a new coalition called the "Building the California Dream Alliance." The groups advocate for many different issues ranging from gender equity, environmental justice, workers' rights, immigrant rights, health care and more.

Jon Youngdahl, executive director of the Service Employees International Union, said they are now banding together to release a list of bills they call dream builders and dream killers to counter the "job killer" list put out by the California Chamber of Commerce.

"For far too long, we've allowed a few CEOs to limit what's possible in California," he said. "In our dream builder's list, we'll define a new progressive vision for a Golden State of unlimited opportunity regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, health status or age."

Senate Bill 43, which would end solitary confinement for juveniles, is one of the bills the Alliance considers a "dream builder."

Another is Senate Bill 23, which would roll back the maximum family grant in the Cal Works welfare program.

Elizabeth Landsberg, director of policy advocacy for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said it will help struggling families.

"Today, if a family is already receiving welfare assistance and they have another child, that child does not get assistance from the state of California," she said. "It's really built on some old-fashioned, sexist, racist notion that a woman would actually have a baby in order to get more welfare payments."

Among the bills on the "dream killer" list are proposals that would weaken the California Environmental Quality Act, roll back overtime protections for domestic workers, and reduce penalties on employers who violate the labor code.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA