News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – April 7, 2017

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo: Despite talks of another urgent push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Congress looks posed to leave on their two-week recess today without further action. California lawmakers in the Assembly and the Senate passed measures to provide further protections to immigrants. And learn about a Bay Area grocer trying to help families maximize produce purchases with their CalFresh benefits, similar to efforts seen at farmers markets.

Health Care

Welfare Reform Offers a Window Into Block-Granting Medicaid | Governing | April 2017

Most Republicans in Congress want to turn Medicaid into a block grant program. That may not happen, but the possibility is real enough that it’s worth thinking about how such a massive change might play out. One way to do that is to think back to the last time Congress converted a federal-state entitlement into a flat block grant to states… Policymakers hope that the same sorts of changes can bring about real savings in Medicaid. But the TANF story also contains enough warnings to make the current crop of state leaders nervous.

More talks but no decisions on Republican push to overhaul healthcare | Reuters | April 5, 2017

A U.S. House of Representatives vote to overhaul Obamacare before lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week break looked unlikely late on Tuesday as top White House deputies and key Republican groups said more discussions were needed. Vice President Mike Pence and administration officials met on Capitol Hill for two hours with lawmakers from the moderate “Tuesday Group,” the conservative Republican Study Committee, and the House Freedom Caucus, the rebel group of conservative lawmakers that derailed the first administration-backed healthcare bill last month. While progress had been made, the officials and House lawmakers said no bill text had been agreed on and no decisions had been made by the various Republican factions.

Don’t expect Medicaid work requirements to make a big difference | Axios | April 3, 2017

Liberals and conservatives have irreconcilable differences of policy and principle over the issue of Medicaid “work requirements.” But their impact depends on how they are implemented and is likely to be very small — because most people on Medicaid who can work already are.


California lawmakers vote for stronger immigrant protections | Associated Press | April 7, 2017 (fully story follows)

Lawmakers in the California Assembly have voted to strengthen protections for immigrants in the country illegally who are victims or witnesses of crimes. Lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to prohibit law enforcement from detaining a crime victim or witness for a suspected or actual immigration violation. The bill still requires approval by the state Senate and a signature from the governor. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer said his bill will help people cooperate with law enforcement. Police are already prohibited from detaining people who report or are assisting with investigations of hate crimes for immigration violations. The Los Angeles Democrat’s bill, AB493, would extend the protection to victims and witnesses of all crimes.’ The bill is one of several proposed this session to strengthen protections for immigrants in California.

Most California dentists are immigrants. Where else do immigrants work? | Sacramento Bee | April 7, 2017

It’s well known that most California farmworkers are immigrants. But did you know that so are most dentists, medical scientists, butchers and nursing aides? California depends on its immigrant workforce more than any other state in the nation. Nearly 40 percent of the state’s full-time, year-round workers are immigrants, the highest rate in the nation, according to a Bee review of the latest census data.

In California, Landlords Threaten Immigrant Tenants with Deportations | The Atlantic | April 5, 2017

Housing lawyers are reporting a troubling trend: Landlords exploiting the growing fear of immigration authorities to evict tenants, raise rents, and clear residents from gentrifying neighborhoods. Shirley Gibson’s client was in jeopardy. A mother of three living in San Mateo County in California, the woman had obtained a restraining order against her children’s father for domestic abuse. Her landlord took the opportunity to demand that she sign a new, higher lease. She pleaded with him to let her take the document to an attorney… The landlord wasn’t having it. Gibson says that he made a clear threat: If you don’t sign this right now, I’m going to call immigration, and you will be taken to Mexico, away from your children.

​California Senate OKs statewide immigrant ’sanctuary’ bill | Associated Press | April 3, 2017

California lawmakers gave initial approval Monday to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, a measure that proponents said rebukes President Donald Trump for his immigration crackdown. It makes California a statewide sanctuary for many people who are in the country illegally.

Child Welfare

Attorney general: compliance with tribal child custody law a ‘priority’ | Eureka Times-Standard | April 1, 2017

A coalition of California tribal governments, including two from the North Coast, say the state has taken a ‘monumental’ step toward addressing systematic failures to protect tribal civil rights in child custody cases. The tribes’ comments Friday came after members of a tribal government task force presented California Attorney General Xavier Becerra with a report two years in the making detailing longstanding compliance issues with the U.S. Indian Child Welfare Act. The report drafted by the Indian Child Welfare Act Task Force is calling for the state to prioritize its compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act through increased investigations into compliance, increasing state funding, implementation of a tracking system for child custody cases and increased consultation with tribal governments.


Bay Area Pilot Program Makes Produce Less Costly For Low-Income Families | Capital Public Radio | April 4, 2017 

For low-income families, the cost of produce is one big barrier to food access. Two hundred and fifty farmers markets across California currently participate in Market Match programs to help CalFresh recipients stretch their budget by giving a penny-for-penny match on produce. Now, for the first time in California, the same concept is being tested with California-grown produce at the supermarket. Eli Zigas is the Food and Agriculture Policy Director with SPUR, a Bay Area non-profit in the urban planning sector. He lauds the work of Market Match and hopes to see them grow at farmers markets across the state. 

To submit stories for inclusion in CWDA’s weekly Media Memo, email Sarah Jimenez. County staff and others not currently receiving the Media Memo directly can sign up on the CWDA website at the bottom of the home page.