Friday, August 3, 2012

AB 2039: Time for More Letters of Support

I think of AB 2039 as the Little Engine that Could (one of my most adored children’s book).   When my daughter was a baby, I came upon a plaque with the phrase “I think I can, I think I can” and hung it in her room. 

She still has that plaque.

I believe if we think we can do something we can do it!   

This bill to expand the definition of family under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) had slim hopes of making it out of various Assembly committees.

Each time, AB 2039 passed out of those committees and made it to the Assembly floor where, with fingers and toes crossed, we hoped it would pass. 

It did!  (I think I can, I think I can!)

This little engine made its way to Senate Committees.  It passed the Labor and Industrial Relations committee and was sent over to the Appropriations Committee which meets Monday, August 6.

If it passes out of that committee, it goes to the full Senate.

We’re getting so close! 

The Labor Project for Working Families has been working diligently through their California Work and Family Coalition Action Center to get this bill passed each step of the way.  They’ve asked me to testify in front of the Appropriations Committee on Monday to explain why expanding the definition of family is important to me as a caregiver to my brother.  Having the perspective of both caregiver and employer, I can see both sides of this issue.

The caregiver side of me wins out so I am strongly in favor of the expansion of the benefits this bill provides to family caregivers. 

Testifying in front of a Senate Committee?  Oh boy!

The painfully shy (yes, it was painful), 12-year-old girl in me turning bright red because she was terrified to read a report in the front of her classmates silently screamed “No!” when first asked. 

Then I realized this cannot be about my past fears terrors. 

This opportunity is about recognizing how families are changing and making sure the law keeps up with those changing dynamics.  This opportunity is about protecting caregivers who are doing a difficult job in caring for a family member which is made even more difficult if they are working a job.  It’s an opportunity to help those family caregivers not yet given protected leave because they don’t care for the current narrowly defined version of family.  

How narrow?  The current definition of family doesn’t include siblings, grandparents, parents-in-law or adult children who are not dependents. 

This is an opportunity I can't pass up just because I am terrified. It is too important. I’m setting aside my 12-year-old self and testifying on Monday.  (I think I can; I think I can!) 

In the meantime, please send letters of support to members of the Senate Appropriations committee at the following fax numbers.  (A sample letter can be found on this page).  

Chair Senator Christine Kehoe:  (916) 327-2188;
Vice-Chair Senator Mimi Walters: (916) 445-9754;
Senator Elaine Alquist:  (916) 324-0283;
Senator Bob Dutton: (916) 327-2272;
Senator Ted Lieu: (916) 323-6056;
Senator Curren Price:  (916) 445-8899;
Senator Daryl Steinberg:  (916) 323-2263

Let’s get this little engine over the hill – or at least to the full Senate floor!

I think I can; I think I can!


David said...

Trish, I think you can too - that is a great book, and this is a very important and informative post. I have the book too - I'll have to find it and dust it off for #2 :-)

Judy Stone-Goldman said...

Trish, I had no idea the content of this bill. I'd heard about it in passing but had a complete misunderstanding of its scope and purpose. How amazing that you are taking a place in this important event! It is a gift for you to realize your power now in creating a better world for Robert, yourself, and others who face challenges in caregiving, and also to move beyond that memory of the scared little 12 year old girl!

And yes, you definitely can do this!

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

Unknown said...

I would guess that my feelings about this bill go without saying. That said, thank you for keeping it in our thoughts!