Why AB 1127 Means Baby Changing Tables for All

About AB 1127

On October 13th, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into state law, Bill AB 1127, requiring places like restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, grocery stores, sports areas, and other facilities open to the public to have at least one baby changing station available to both men and women in public restrooms. Additionally, these public facilities must use signage to show the location of the baby changing table. The new law which came into effect in January 2018. AB 1127 requires that public facilities maintain, repair, and keep these new baby changing tables clean. AB 1127 will require a permit to install the baby changing table in the bathroom.

Limitations on AB 1127

Places such as industrial buildings, nightclubs, bars, and bathrooms in health facilities meant for one patient do not need to abide by this law. Nightclubs and bars that do not allow people under 18 are also exempt from this law. Facilities where it is impractical to install a changing table will be exempt from AB 1127; this applies to physical impracticality, such as interfering with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and economic impracticality, such as if the installment costs $10,000 or more.

How Will This Affect Me?

This law will make it easier to find a changing table for parents and guardians. Business owners with facilities that are open to the public will be required to build a baby changing table accessible to both men and women.  

 

Sources:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article178791456.html

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2017/12/18/diaper-changing-stations-coming-for-california-dads-too/

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1127

What the (Prop.) F?

According to the City of San Francisco, 1,881 people received notices of evictions back in 2016-2017 (1). With the newly passed Proposition F, all 1,881 would be provided lawyers by the City.

What is Prop. F and to Whom Does it Apply?

Proposition F is a recent San Francisco proposal that requires the city to establish a program which provides full legal representation for all city tenants that are facing eviction. These tenants would be given legal representation within 30 days of them receiving an eviction notice or in the case of an unlawful detainer complaint– such as the case of a tenant overstaying a lease. This would apply to all tenants except for those residing in the same unit as the landlord, as well as non-residential tenants, such as subletters.

While the city of San Francisco has provided free legal representation to tenants before, only a limited number of tenants could receive legal services. Factors such as health, income and age determined which tenants received legal representation. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) and non-profit community organizations provided tenant education, counseling, and other eviction-related services.

How Much Will It Cost?

According to Ben Rosenfield, the San Francisco City Controller, the cost would be “between approximately $4.2 million and approximately $5.6 million annually. This amount would be likely to grow in future years” (2). The city already spends $2 million annually (3) on eviction-related legal representation already, which does not include the $200,000 spending increase by the MOHCD in order to increase staffing for Prop. F. Despite these numbers, some supporters of the law claim that it will decrease homelessness, leading to a decrease in expenses for taxpayers.

What are the Issues with Prop. F?

Proposition F itself did not state any source of funding for the eviction-related program when it was put on the ballot. While it has passed, there is still no explanation as to how Prop. F will be funded. One assumption is the responsibility will fall on taxpayers, which could potentially entail an increase in taxes. The city has to determine the total cost of the program when they begin the budget process before resolving the issue.

Certain opponents of Prop. F as well as the San Francisco Chronicle additionally point out that Prop. F does not differentiate between income classes; individuals who could afford to hire a private attorney would still be provided with one in the case of eviction. If this remains unchanged, the budget will have to be higher, potentially burdening the taxpayers even more.

When Does Proposition F Become Effective?

While any proposition becomes effective 12 months after it has passed, this cannot force the Mayor nor the Board of Supervisors to provide the funds necessary to implement the program. Because of this, it is unclear as to when Prop. F actually will come into effect.

How Does This Affect Me?

Prop. F would directly influence anyone who is evicted in the city of San Francisco by changing the process of eviction. It would also indirectly affect every taxpayer whose money would go towards funding the program.

Sources:

(1)https://sfrb.org/sites/default/files/Document/Statistics/16-17%20AnnualEvctRpt.pdf

(2)https://sf.curbed.com/2018/6/7/17437548/san-francisco-prop-election-eviction-lawyer

(3)https://voterguide.sfelections.org/en/city-funded-legal-representation-residential-tenants-eviction-lawsuits

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/SF-Measure-F-to-give-tax-funded-legal-help-to-12970924.php

What exactly is Costa-Hawkins?

What is the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act?

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act is a California law passed in 1995, preventing rent control requirements from affecting properties built after that year. This law has been supported by property owners and landlords because it allows them to rent their properties at the market rate. The city of Los Angeles also passed a law similar to this called the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which states that housing in Los Angeles built only before 1978 can be subject to rent control. This gives landlords and property owners even more flexibility with their rental rates, allowing them to earn more income, and be more flexible with their spending. However, many tenants and others, including LA mayor Garcetti are currently pushing to repeal this, and have gathered more than 565,000 signatures to include the repeal on the California ballot in November (1).

Why Do People in Los Angeles Want to Repeal Costa-Hawkins?

L.A. citizens would like to repeal Costa-Hawkins because federal and state laws already allow landlords to receive fair rent. They also state that the repeal of Costa-Hawkins would allow cities in California to expand their rent control. Furthermore, they believe that there are not enough laws to protect the tenants, especially since Los Angeles is currently going through a housing crisis because of the lack of affordability in housing.

Need to know more on the Housing Crisis?

In Los Angeles, there has been a county-wide, 32% increase in rent since 2000, while the household incomes have dropped 3% since that year. Due to these trends, the poverty rate of the county has increased from 18% to 25%. A recent report came out stating the city would need to supply 551,807 new affordable units of housing in order to house all of the county’s lowest income-earners– people who make half of this LA county median income: $64,000. The report recommends incentives to have developers build more affordable units in Los Angeles. It also adds a linkage fee to other developers when they build in the city. This proposed fee goes towards affordable housing.

Is Anyone Against the Repeal of this Law?

Many people in California, especially landlords and real estate property owners, are strongly against this bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins. This is because they believe it will deter developers in Los Angeles from constructing new buildings. This would decrease the amount of housing in Los Angeles, worsening the affordability housing crisis that is already happening. Many also believe that property owners can profit more on their housing investments when the rents are high.

So, What is Happening Now?

Renter/tenant groups claim they have enough signatures to put this repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Act on the November ballot. The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, supports the tenant groups. Garcetti told  voters to give the city and its representatives back their power when speaking about the increases in rent. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has gathered more than enough signatures for the repeal to be on the ballot.

How Will This Affect Me If It Passes?

Repealing Costa-Hawkins expands rent control to city properties that built after 1995 (1978 for Los Angeles). Housing-wise, this would restrain and potentially reduce the market value on rentals. This potentially solves the current housing crisis in Los Angeles. Therefore, for those who are low-income, it could potentially increase housing options in the cities that expand their rent control. Costa-Hawkins does not affect cities already under rent control.

If you are a landlord and this bill is repealed, the city you reside in may impose rental control on your property. This could decrease your profit, or attract more prospective tenants to your building.

Sources:

  1. https://la.curbed.com/2018/4/23/17270880/costa-hawkins-repeal-california-rent-control-garcetti
  2. https://la.curbed.com/2017/5/23/15681418/la-county-affordable-housing-shortage-crisis-rental-prices

Think Your Write-In Doesn’t Matter? Guess Again…

Beware the write-in. In the recent May primary in Philadelphia, Drexel student Matthew Clewley won one of two executive committee seats in Ward 24, Division 10, the Powelton Village. What makes Clewley victory all the more impressive? He only needed two votes to do so.

The fact that this election only counted three votes only compliments the circumstances of Clewley’s two-vote win. One vote separated Clewley from Gavriel Blaxberg, a fellow student at Drexel, who won the second executive committee seat. The only other votes in this election: the nullified ones cast for the infamous Harambe.

Guidelines to Consider when Writing In on a Ballot

The anomalies of this local election provides incite for the often not discussed process of writing in names on ballots. Understanding what a proper write-in lends itself to major swings in elections. Take the recently newsworthy, Roseanne Barr, who in the 2012 US Presidential Election, finished in sixth place with 67,326 votes. Barr who, represented the Peace and Freedom Party, campaigned mostly online. She petitioned onto the ballots in California, Colorado, and Florida. For her supporters in other states, they had to write in their votes. It’s likely that a segment of her supporters wrote in “Roseanne” on their ballot sheets; in Philadelphia, this would cause those votes, like Harambe’s to be nullified.

How to properly write in a ballot

Registering (National Elections)

Regarding national elections, only 10 states (and D.C.) allow for write-in votes to be considered without a candidate pre-registering in the state. Pennsylvania and California  do not necessitate prior filing for unregistered candidate’s write-in votes to count. Furthermore, the Golden State requires only 55 signatures for someone to become an official write-in candidate. Eight states do not allow write in options on ballots. Because of this, these states hold the lowest number of candidates on average in the recent election.

Names

When voting in Philly, it’s important to know your write-in candidate’s name that they use when they registered. While “Harambe” and ‘“Roseanne” are recognizable names, voting offices would not recognize these write-ins unless voter registration recognizes the corresponding candidate by their first name only. Harambe’s case brings up an important note: voting offices may declare a write-in vote ineligible, but cannot deny election results because a candidate is not registered to vote. For Blaxberg, who received the same number of votes as Harambe, an ineligible write-in settled the tie and inevitably secured him the seat.

Consolidation

Part of why it is important to be specific when writing in on a ballot is because of the consolidation process. After people finish casting votes, election officials examine the write-in ballots to ensure that they are accrediting each write-in candidate all of their votes. If  another registered voter in the region has the same first name, as the write-in candidate and the write-in only included the candidates first name, officials cannot determine who the vote was intended for. As a result, the officials may void the vote.

Laptop on desk GDPR

Why should the GDPR matter to you?

Today, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect, meaning all companies that do business in the European Union will have new privacy data compliance regulations for the first time in around twenty years. The new regulation’s  ramifications are pervasive for consumers and data handling companies both in and out of the E.U..

Why should people outside the E.U. care?

Consumers in the U.S.  may want to glance over these new rule changes because  new policies directly the E.U. However, many companies that must adhere to GDPR with their privacy policies intersect with companies that handle privacy data for a global client base. This presents an opportunity for these companies to streamline their policies so that American consumers reap benefits of GDPR compliance. Microsoft recently confirmed such a trend, declaring that they will apply GDPR regulations for Microsoft consumers worldwide.

These new regulations impact U.S. business owners as well, regardless of their size. These business owners must make sure the GDPR protects their European client base. Lastly, the GDPR provides opportunity for each company to examine its own statutes that protect of citizens’ personal data. To support this noton, the regulations include provisions that restrict  data transfer outside of the E.U..  This provision targets countries that fail to achieve an “appropriate level of protection.”

What does it mean to be GDPR compliant?

While it’s hard to dispute the importance of all businesses and consumers understanding the importance of GDPR compliance, it’s just as hard to understand what constitutes being GDPR compliance. GDPR compliance can be broken down into the responsibilities held by companies in the two major roles of data handling: the responsibilities of the data controller, and the responsibilities of the data processor.

Compliance: Data Controllers

Data controllers are the entities that controls and claims responsibility for the usage of personal data, both electronic and analog. Under GDPR, the data controller holds the burden to create a contract with each of its data processors.

To achieve GDPR compliance, companies must disclose their basis for companies to process clients’ personal information in privacy policies. Companies must also disclose the ways that they gather and process personal information. Data controllers must allow customers to opt out of profiling or individual automated-decision making, features that make decisions for customers without human involvement; an example of individual-automated decision making is the recommended items feature that firms like Amazon and Google utilize. The GDPR specifies that data controllers must provide customers equally accessible means to withdraw consent as it was for them to initially give consent to the control of their personal data. Data controllers must receive consent from a legal guardian to process data for children under the age of sixteen. Lastly, the GDPR mandates that any high-risk processing is subject to a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

Compliance: Data Processors

Data processors are the entities that process data at the request of a data controller. Where the data controller makes decisions on the use of personal data, the data processor carries out that usage, but does not house any control over that data. GDPR requires data processors to disclose any sub-processors it uses in its privacy policy. GDPR also requires that data processors train their staff in data protection.

Compliance: Shared Duties

The most significant shared duties that data processors and data controllers must uphold deal with new protections for E.U. citizens. The GDPR grants customers the right to easily request access and update their personal information; they can also easily request that controllers delete their personal data and processors. Companies must also automatically discard unnecessary personal data. Customers can also request that controllers deliver their data to themselves or an independent third party. To maintain accountability, both data processors and data controllers must appoint Data Protection Officer (DPO) to oversee the data protection strategy and ensure that their company is maintaining GDPR compliance.

Consequences for non-compliance?

If firms fail to prove that they are following the rules set by the GDPR. Failing to reach these compliance regulations incurs fines up to 4% of their global revenue €20 million ($23.4 million). Regulators will take the larger of the two fines.

What does this mean for personal data regulation?

For the customer of a controller of personal data, the pervasive nature of the GDPR regulation ensures that customers have the means to hold these controllers accountable. Data breaches allow for private information to be collected for unknown use without consent. Facebook’s breach impacted upwards of 87 million of its users and accountability for its role in the breach as a data controller could only be realized after the breach occurred. In Facebook’s case, it took around two years for the knowledge of this breach to be made public. GDPR’s expansion of explicit protections and rights for customers of these companies shifts agency to the consumer.

Under GDPR personal data regulations, Facebook, as a data controller, would evaluate high-risk processing initiatives using the DPIA evaluation process, safeguarding consumers against data processors that may take personal data into their own control. The required disclosure of data controllers’ associated processors and gathering methods  grants the consumer two foreseen protections. Consumers can trace their data beyond the data controller to processors and subprocessors. In doing so, controllers can no longer anonymously incorporate consumer data into trend analysis.

Potential Limitations to the GDPR

The expansive breadth of the GDPR’s territorial and material scope, these guidelines may potentially draw an interesting line regarding privacy regulations for the future. Where digital data controllers, can simply scrub their data of personal information to keep doing trend research, analog controllers do not have the same ability. The GDPR does not restrict companies that must adhere to regulations by size.  This means that independent contractors that handle small-scale analog data still are subject to these data regulations and fines.

Experts do not know how to resolve conflicts between GDPR compliance and foreign legislature. A country that companies store billing receipts for a certain period of time may not allow their companies that distribute to E.U. citizens to scrub personal data despite consumers’ requests. The line of where personal data ends is also unclear; a person’s face (used for facial recognition software) constitutes personal data and may be subject to GDPR protections. Lastly, while consumers can ask that personal data be scrubbed as part of their “right to be forgotten,” companies still have algorithms, that they exclusively own rights to, that identify a past consumer and prospect them on platforms. In a sense, the damage may already be done.