California Conference of Bar Associations
Board members Shaun Dabby Jacobs and Farah Tabibkhoei participated in the Conference of California Bar Associations (“CCBA” or “Conference”) in Sacramento California on behalf of WLALA in October. CCBA is a group of attorneys from local, specialty, and minority bar associations across the state that focus on improving California’s laws by introducing new proposed bills and amendments to existing law. During the three-day Conference this year, they debated almost 100 proposed revisions and amendments to California law called “resolutions,” including a resolution sponsored by WLALA which passed on the Conference floor. This resolution seeks to amend the California Penal Code to provide that the birth of a prosecutor or defense attorney’s child constitutes good cause for a short continuance of criminal proceedings. Existing law does not address whether good cause exists for a continuance to accommodate an assigned attorney’s absence due to the birth of a child or complications in a pregnancy. Although most courts and legal professionals find “good cause” exists in these circumstances, there have been instances where courts have found childbirth or complications in a pregnancy do not constitute good cause because it is not specifically listed in the statutes that identify when a case may be continued. Now that the Conference has approved WLALA’s resolution, CCBA’s lobbyist will take the resolution to the State Legislature to find a sponsor and then push to get the resolution passed into law.
As a result of WLALA’s involvement in both CCBA and the legislative process, we have seized the opportunity to “be the change” by improving California’s laws. This past year, WLALA helped pass two CCBA resolutions into law - Senate Bill 225 and Assembly Bill 260. WLALA played a key role in the passage of these bills into law by writing letters to the Legislature and Governor in support of the bills and drafting portions of factsheets the Legislature relied upon during committee hearings on the bills. Before the passage of these bills into law, the law required adult or sexually oriented businesses, mass transit locations such as airports, train and bus stations, emergency rooms and urgent care centers to post notices on their premises regarding nonprofit organizations that provide human trafficking victims services, and assistance to eliminate and escape slavery and human trafficking. AB 260 and SB 225 increased the categories of businesses required to post such notices to include hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns. The bills were necessary because hotels and motels are prime locations for sex and human traffickers to exploit their victims because of the ease in which traffickers can avoid detection due to the privacy of the rooms and the ability to pay in cash. The new laws will raise awareness about resources available to victims of human trafficking by requiring that notices be posted in the places where victims are most likely to see them.
This is one important example of how WLALA has the ability to create and support change and positively impact California law. Now is the time to start thinking about resolutions for next year’s Conference which will be held from September 14-16, 2018, in San Diego, at the same time and location as the California Judges Association Conference. The deadline to submit resolutions for the 2018 Conference is February 16, 2018. Thus, if you want WLALA to sponsor your resolutions you need to submit it to WLALA’s delegation chair, Shaun Dabby Jacobs, (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Farah Tabibkhoei, (Ftabibkhoei@reedsmith.com) by December 31, 2017, to give WLALA sufficient time to complete its vetting process. We encourage anyone who has ever had an idea for legislation, as well as people curious about the process to talk to Shaun and Farah. We also encourage you to be a more active change maker and get more involved by joining WLALA’s delegation and attending next year’s Conference in San Diego.