On Monday, September 28, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 2463 (Wicks), effectively stopping the unjust practice of forcing the sale of family homes over small, unsecured debts. East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) celebrates the passage of this long-overdue legislation, which will prevent a statewide foreclosure crisis by expanding consumer protections for all Californians.
The legislature’s budget action proposes to permanently repeal 23 fees, including various probation-related fees and public defender fees, across California, in AB 1869/SB 824!
EBCLC and local parnters join to call the City of Berkeley to reimagine public safety by de-policing transportation. Read our letter to Mayor Arreguin and Councilmembers.
On February 20, after years of work by EBCLC, community land trusts, and Berkeley government, Mayor Jesse Arreguín introduced the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), a groundbreaking affordable housing policy that prevents displacement by empowering tenants with choices when their owner decides to sell. Raise your voice for TOPA today!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Governor Newsom Signs Bill Preventing Homelessness, Protecting Low-Income Debtors
Low-Income Californians Get Protection From Debt Collectors Trying to Clean Out Their Bank Account.
Three years ago, during Brandon Greene’s first week working as a lawyer in a new clinic affiliated with the East Bay Community Law Center, he was handed a stack of cases to review. Each involved a client who was struggling to pay down the fines and fees that easily accumulate in California’s criminal justice system. It was his job to help. A handful of the cases were so old that he couldn’t find current contact information for the clients. He quickly realized that “some of those folks,” even if he did reach them, “could not get back on their feet at all” because of their debt. “The folks who were being affected were mostly indigent,” he said. “Everything costs money. Every program costs money. And a lot of folks can’t afford to pay these things.”
Theresa Zhen, a staff attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley, who is helping coordinate the advocacy effort for SB144, is already declaring victory. “The fact that even the opposition to the bill admits that it’s philosophically right is huge,” she said. “We’re finally having the real conversation: that courts have been built on the backs of the poor.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Today, Senate Bill 144, introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell, was amended with text that will end the assessment and collection of administrative fees imposed against people in the criminal justice system
By doing so, it would dramatically reduce the economic hardships caused by court-ordered debt and enhance the economic security of system-involved populations, their families and their communities. SB 144 will usher in an era of criminal justice policy that does not rely on stripping wealth from communities of color and low-income communities.
East Bay Community Law Center celebrates victory as Alameda County Courts vote to make changes to the current Ability to Pay Determination Process that will provide more people with access to reduce their burdensome traffic court fines and fees.
Lawyers like the East Bay Community Law Center’s Theresa Zhen, left, have supported a bill that would stop California from forcing defendants like Velia Dueñas, right, to pay court fees they can’t afford.