Sunday, June 16, 2024

Laura Friedman: My time in the California Assembly will help me serve you in Congress

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This is my last year in the Assembly, which means I’m looking back at years of legislation and what I might be able to work on in Congress. I’ve always approached my work from two angles: helping people and helping the environment. A lot of my favorite legislation accomplished both things at once. Many of these issues point to larger challenges that affect states beyond California, and I am determined to tackle these from the federal level when I’m in Congress.

Children are among our most vulnerable; those in the foster care system, doubly so. California has extended foster care, meaning children aging out of the system at 18 can receive housing stipends until 21 years of age. But that funding could be abruptly cut when living situations were changing, leaving children who are actively enrolled in foster care homeless. My bill AB 1979 changed that. Now foster youth will retain stable housing.

Young people starting out on their own are frequently renters, which means they get to make their first security deposits.

Security deposits can be prohibitively expensive and tenants’ ability to get them back can vary from landlord to landlord. My bill, AB 2801, will ensure that landlords can’t keep security deposits just because they want to or to pay for upgrades for their next tenant.

The other thing college students can’t afford is the psychological trauma from sexual assault or harassment. It’s not uncommon for coaches, professors or staff at community colleges or universities who have been credibly accused of sexual assault or harassment to simply resign and apply to another university.

And because their cases are not investigated if they leave, nothing pops on their subsequent background checks. My bill, AB 810, will allow hiring universities to ask previous employers about substantiated allegations made against the applicant, bringing to light for the first time ever in the hiring process, patterns of abuse. That bill is currently in the Senate.

Jewish college students are experiencing rising anti-Semitic incidents. However, when they turn to their campus administrations for help, very often DEI offices have no training on or resources to help address antisemitism. I am proud to have introduced AB 2925, which will require college campuses to require training on how to combat antisemitism as part of their already required diversity, equity and inclusion training.

Protecting public health and our environment has always been one of my top priorities. Nearly inescapable toxic and carcinogenic “forever” chemicals are contained in nearly everything, makeup, bedding, cleansers, body washes and much more. No one bill is going to fix all of that, but I authored two pieces of legislation last year, AB 1059 that banned PFAS-ridden forever chemicals from consumer products and AB 496, which barred dozens of hormone disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals from being used in makeup and other personal care products that millions of people wear every day.

These were both common sense bills. I am determined to ensure that the federal government does its part to keep all Americans safe from toxic chemicals.

I’m grateful for the years that I’ve had to work on these issues as a City Council member, mayor and Assembly member. I sincerely hope I am honored enough to spend the rest of my career fighting to address these same challenges, and more, affecting the lives of Californians, in Congress.

Outgoing Assembly member Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, is a candidate for the 30th Congressional District seat currently held by Adam Schiff.

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