Legislators who consistently protected and advanced the rights of all Californians honored.
Sacramento, CA — Today the ACLU of California announced its first Civil Liberties Champions, the result of tracking the votes and other key actions of state legislators on nearly 200 bills related to civil rights and civil liberties in 2019.
"These dedicated legislators worked with the ACLU in 2019 to enact landmark legislation to reduce police shootings and increase accountability for police officers; advance criminal justice reform; improve reproductive healthcare on university campuses, and access to needed medical care for people in jail; and enacted important legislation to expand voting rights and make the jury selection system more fair,” said Kevin Baker, Legislative Director of the ACLU of California.
Nine members of the legislature were honored for their exemplary records on civil liberties.
In the Senate, four legislators had perfect scores on civil liberties issues. In the Assembly, there were five legislators with perfect scores. These Civil Liberties Champions are:
Legislators were evaluated on a wide variety of issues, including:
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Education Equity
- Economic Justice
- Immigrants' Rights
- LGBTQI Rights
- Reproductive Justice and Gender Equity
- Privacy and Technology
- Voting Rights
"A special thanks to Senator Bradford, Senator Mitchell and Assembly Member Kamlager from our Southern California region. These Civil Liberties Champions stood out in a region where many of their counterparts fell short of advancing the civil rights and civil liberties important to their constituents," said Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California.
Norma Chavez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties added, "The ACLU fights to secure justice, fairness, equity and freedom for all Californians. The legislative champions we honor share the same commitment to these fundamental American values. We are particularly grateful for the leadership and vision of Assembly Member Weber who authored AB 392, a landmark bill that enacted one of the strongest laws in the county to reduce the number of police shootings in California."
"Every year, the ACLU pushes our state forward, working to pass groundbreaking legislation to protect the rights of Californians," noted Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California. "We work with legislators who demonstrate the courage of their convictions and fight with us to advance civil liberties. We are especially honored to recognize northern California Senators Nancy Skinner and Scott Wiener, along with Assembly Members Ash Kalra, Mark Stone and Buffy Wicks."
The ACLU legislative scorecard reflects whether legislators voted for or against the rights of Californians on eight key issue areas, using the final floor vote in each house of the legislature. There were 101 bills scored in the Assembly, and 96 scored in the Senate. The numbers vary because some bills that were voted on in one house did not receive a vote in the other house. A failure to vote on a bill attributable to an absence, as verified by the official record, is not counted against a member. Abstentions are counted because they represent an intentional decision not to vote on a bill, which effectively counts as a vote against the bill because passage of legislation requires a majority of "yes" votes.
As always, the ACLU of California remains absolutely nonpartisan — not only as a matter of tradition or legal requirements, but because we believe civil rights and civil liberties are not partisan issues. We do not endorse or oppose specific candidates for elected office, nor do we make financial contributions to candidate campaigns. The ACLU urges voters to go to the polls, informed about how the choice of elected officials leads to differences in policies and impacts people’s lives.