(Sacramento) – Two new ideas, which came from constituents, were introduced by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). Both concepts were submitted via Garcia’s There Ought To Be A Law Contest (TOTBAL), which she runs every year. With her goal to educate, empower, and engage constituents, any resident in the 58th Assembly District can submit an idea that they believe should become law in California, and Garcia and her team choose a winner. Those winners travel to Sacramento to participate in the law-making process throughout the legislative session.
The first bill idea came from Amado Castillo from Downey and his cohort of student advocates attending UCLA. They discovered that most university campuses in California have very little access to rape kits on or near their campuses. AB 2228 will require every UC, CSU, and private university to have access to rape kits on or very near campus.
“While legislation alone won’t prevent a rape, ensuring victims have the resources they need to go from being a victim to a survivor is important to me.” Continues Garcia, “This is a commonsense bill. My goal with this legislation is to increase access to rape kits for college students to a place where they spend most of their time, where they feel safe, and have regular access to the health center and public safety services.”
Research found that the closest rape kits were as far as an hour away from campus. The long distance from a rape kit impedes access to necessary services the student deserves. Even 10 miles in Los Angeles traffic can be challenging for most students, especially after a traumatic experience such as rape. Finding a ride to a clinic that is at least half an hour or more away guarantees that rapes are underreported. Students can’t easily get off campus, so having access to rape kits nearby might help increase rape reporting, which is one step in helping to protect future potential victims.
Our second winner of Garcia’s There Ought To Be A Law contest would provide much needed support to high school students by increasing mental health and peer support services on high school campuses. The proposed bill would require a school district that maintains any grades 9 to 12, to establish at each school within the school district a peer support training program to provide training under the program to be administered by school psychologists, counselors, or other qualified peer support trainers holding a pupil personnel services credential.
“I applaud our youth and their courage to have this conversation, which is not always easy and can feel vulnerable. We must do more to provide mental health support for youth – and the sooner the better,” said Assemblymember Garcia.
Schools provide the ideal place to reach all students, especially those who currently face barriers to access. The idea for this bill came from Sade Neri a resident of Downey and a student at Downey High School who engaged on this very issue and she has advocated for schools to support students’ mental wellness. By establishing peer support programs on every high school campus, this bill will break down stigma while regarding our children and young adults with the respect and voice they deserve.
In year’s past, legislation has been introduced to encourage schools to have textbooks and curriculum that teaches students about the Mexican/American citizens deported in the 1930s, designating the Rancho Los Amigos as a rehabilitation innovation center, and to lock the number of seats on the Metropolitan Water District board to ensure fair representation.
This year’s legislation looks to be very promising and it really showcases the talent in the 58th Assembly District. TOTBAL entries are accepted all year long for introduction the next year via this link: https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/SurveysDirect.php?district=AD58&survey=45604&.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.
Contact: Ashley Labar, (916) 319-2058