CA governor signed SB 1384 – eliminating automatic denials of a nursing license because of a criminal record!

On Monday, we received news from Senator Mitchell’s office that the Governor signed Senate Bill 1384!  Introduced by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and sponsored by Equal Rights Advocates, SB1384 reforms impenetrable barriers to becoming a certified nursing assistant – paving a path to stable, living-wage jobs for  men and women with records who are qualified and ready to work.

SB 1384 will eliminate the automatic denial of a nursing license for people with past criminal convictions. It will provide all CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) applicants with a review of their criminal record, recognizing that certain conditions–like the passage of time and no subsequent convictions–constitutes actual evidence of rehabilitation; thereby expanding opportunities for qualified, rehabilitated individuals to access higher paying jobs.

SB 1384 will provide employment opportunities, which will reduce recidivism and encouraging successful reintegration-as employment decreases the likelihood of recidivism by as much as 62%.  This is a particularly significant step for women (many of whom are the primary caregiver for dependent children) whose employment as a CNA would help to provide food, housing, and other necessities for their family.

SB 1384 protects public safety by preserving the discretion to deny a CNA application where there is evidence that the individual has not rehabilitated.  And most importantly, it gives CNA applicants with a criminal record a chance to be evaluated on the basis of their record and all evidence of rehabilitation.

Read more about SB1384 here: in an op-ed, written by ERA project attorney Natalie Lyons and CA Sen. Holly Mitchell, which first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 6, 2014.

Also, ERA made a powerful video series, called “Let Her Work,” which brings the previous restrictions to life by telling the stories of three women with previous criminal convictions struggling to overcome barriers to employment. See here for more about the ‘Let Her Work’ initiative.

We hope SB 1384 will pave the way for reform in California — we are so excited to see where this powerful move takes us!
Thank you, so much, to everyone who supported this great bill!

– The R&R Team