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California DOJ Feeds
Attorney General Becerra Leads Coalition of Attorneys General in Placing Trump Administration on Notice: Failure to Comply with Injunction that Halted Birth Control Refusal Rule is Illegal
by Office of the Attorney General on September 18, 2019 at 4:58 pm
September 18, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, firstname.lastname@example.orgSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today led a coalition of 15 attorneys general in urging the Trump Administration to immediately comply with the court-ordered injunction in California v. Azar. The injunction secured by Attorney General Becerra earlier this year, in addition to an injunction secured by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, halted the Trump Administration’s attempt to strip access to cost-free birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite the clear injunction from the court, the Trump Administration has yet to update its website and inform the public about the injunction and its impact on their contraceptive coverage. “Attention Trump Administration: regardless of your stance, the law is the law and complying with a court mandate is not optional. The Administration must let women know that they continue to have full access to birth control,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Millions of women rely on cost-free birth control under the ACA and this Administration’s unacceptable inaction continues to misinform them about the access to which they’re entitled. The public deserves transparency and the Administration must comply with the mandate, otherwise we will see them back in court.” Since the ACA’s Women’s Health Amendment was put into place in 2012, 62 million women have benefitted from this provision. On October 6, 2017, the Trump Administration issued ill-conceived rules that allowed virtually any employer to deny women cost-free birth control guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. Attorney General Becerra secured a nationwide injunction in December of 2017. Nearly a year later, the Trump Administration issued final rules that were nearly identical to the interim final rules. Attorney General Becerra quickly challenged the rule and secured yet another injunction, protecting access to birth control for millions of women across the country. Despite that injunction being in place, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor websites state that employers can opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, in violation of the court’s order. Further, another HHS webpage lists all of the preventive services mandated under the ACA, but does not include contraceptive coverage. In today’s letter, Attorney General Becerra and the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, urged the Trump Administration to comply with the injunction. The letter can be found here. &nbs
Attorney General Becerra, Governor Newsom, and CARB Chair Nichols Blast Trump Administration Attempt to Rob California’s Legal Authority to Set Emission Standards
by Office of the Attorney General on September 18, 2019 at 4:04 pm
September 18, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, email@example.comSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols today vowed to fight any action by the Trump Administration to revoke California’s waiver to establish vehicle emissions standards for greenhouse gas emissions and standards to require manufacturers to sell zero emissions vehicles. These standards are vital to curbing emissions and addressing air quality issues and the climate crisis. “As President Trump arrives in California to rake in campaign cash, his Administration is preparing to announce his desperate plan to rob our state of its long-standing authority to set vehicle emissions standards. To those who claim to support states’ rights – don’t trample on ours,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In California, we can’t afford to backslide to the days of dirty air and unregulated emissions. For us, this is about survival. Our communities are screaming for help to address the new normal of devastating droughts and superstorms, wildfires and mudslides. Unlike the Trump Administration, we won’t run scared from global warming. And when you endanger our people, our economy, or our planet, we rise with the full force of the law behind us.” “While the White House is abdicating its responsibility to the rest of the world on cutting emissions and fighting global warming, California is stepping up. In July, we came to landmark voluntary agreements with four major automakers to reduce vehicle emissions and oppose Washington’s rollback of clean air standards. We are showing it can be done,” said Governor Newsom. “The President could learn from California. Instead, he is acting on a political vendetta by announcing his intention to end aspects of our clean car waiver. It’s a move that could have devastating consequences for our kids’ health and the air we breathe, if California were to roll over. But we will not – we will fight this latest attempt and defend our clean car standards. California, global markets, and Mother Nature will prevail.” “For the first time in its 50-year history, the US Environmental Protection Agency is trying to stop states from taking reasonable actions to cut smog,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “Shame on the Trump Administration for putting the health of millions of its citizens at risk for absolutely no reason.” Under the federal Clean Air Act, California may set its own vehicle emissions standards that are at least as protective as the federal government’s standards. California retains this authority in order to address the extraordinary and compelling air pollution issues affecting the state. Other states may also choose to adopt these standards. As part of the process, California is required to obtain a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Over the past 50 years, the EPA has granted 100 waivers for California standards. Thanks to those standards, the state has reduced emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons annually, encouraged the development of emission controls technologies, and contributed to stronger federal standards. In January 2012, California, through CARB, adopted its comprehensive Advanced Clean Car Program for model years 2017 through 2025. The program combines the control of smog-causing pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions into a single coordinated package of standards. The rules save drivers money at the pump, reduce air pollution, and curb greenhouse gases. In 2013, EPA granted California a waiver for the Advanced Clean Car Program. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia follow at least a portion of the Advanced Clean Car Program. The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are preparing to announce a plan to revoke California’s authority for its greenhouse gas and zero emission vehicle standards, using a tired and unsuccessful argument that the waiver is preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. This argument has been rejected by Congress, the courts, and by the EPA itself. EPA’s revocation arguments under the Clean Air Act fare no better, departing, as they do, from the purpose, structure, and plain text of the Act. Attorney General Becerra — with other California leaders including Governor Gavin Newsom and CARB Chair Mary Nichols — leads a coalition of states, cities, and counties opposing President Trump’s plan and any weakening of the Clean Car Standards. The coalition stands strong to defend our nation’s Clean Car Standards as well as California’s strict limits on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and its Zero Emission Vehicles program, both of which protect the health and safety of its residents.
Attorney General Becerra to President Trump: You Have No Authority to Pull California’s Waiver; We’ll See You in Court
by Office of the Attorney General on September 17, 2019 at 7:42 pm
September 17, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, firstname.lastname@example.orgSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement in response to reports that the Trump Administration would revoke California’s waiver to set greenhouse gas emission and ZEV standards: “While the White House clings to the past, automakers and American families embrace cleaner cars,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The evidence is irrefutable: today's clean car standards are achievable, science-based, and a boon for hardworking American families and public health. It’s time to remove your blinders, President Trump, and acknowledge that the only person standing in the way of progress is you. You have no basis and no authority to pull this waiver. We’re ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend; we’ll see you in court if you stand in our way.” Tags: Environment
Attorney General Becerra Calls on Trump Administration to Withdraw Rule That Rolls Back Critical Protections for Nursing Home Residents
by Office of the Attorney General on September 17, 2019 at 4:28 pm
September 17, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, email@example.comSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a comment letter condemning a new Trump Administration rule that rolls back critical protections for people with disabilities and seniors living in Medicare and Medicaid long-term care facilities. The Rule, proposed by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), would subject Californians residing in long-term care facilities to harm by rolling back beneficiary protections and lowering the quality of care afforded to residents. The Trump Administration frames the Rule as making changes to “unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome” provisions. Yet, the Rule bypasses statutory requirements, subjecting residents of long-term care facilities to potential harm, and puts states on the hook to ensure no gaps emerge in the health and safety of residents. Over 1,200 skilled nursing facilities are located in California, serving an annual population of about 400,000. “This reckless rule would deprive Californians who reside in long-term care facilities of protections for quality care,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Trump Administration is attempting to sidestep the law in order to roll back common-sense safeguards for our most vulnerable family members. We will fight against this rule for the sake of our seniors and people with disabilities. In California, we don’t turn our backs on those who do not have the ability to fight back.” In the letter Attorney General Becerra criticized the Rule, pointing out that it is both illegal and immoral. The Rule would specifically roll back protections set in place in 2016, the first major revision of long-term care facility standards since 1991. Patients currently have the right to voice grievances with respect to treatment or care, without discrimination or reprisal. Under current law, facilities are also required to resolve grievances. The proposed Rule would allow facilities to sidestep this requirement. The proposed Rule would also eliminate minimum requirements for the amount of time that compliance officers and infection preventionists spend at long-term care facilities. Attorney General Becerra argues that these changes eliminate residents’ rights, conflict with the Affordable Care Act and the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, and violate the Administrative Procedure Act. Lastly, Attorney General Becerra argues that the rule is arbitrary and without adequate justification, and does not take into account the harms it will cause. A copy of the comment letter can be found here.&nbs
Attorney General Becerra Slams Federal Attempt to Circumvent Civil Rights Protections
by Office of the Attorney General on September 16, 2019 at 10:27 pm
September 17, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, firstname.lastname@example.orgSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro today led a coalition of attorneys general in opposing a new Trump Administration rule undermining civil rights protections that prevent federal contractors from discriminating against employees. Under the proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would expand existing exemptions to allow any federal contractor who asserts a religious purpose to discriminate against current or prospective employees based on the religious or moral objections of the contractor. In a comment letter, the Attorneys General urge DOL to rescind the proposal and note, among other things, that it needlessly conflicts with protections afforded under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “This is 2019, not 1920. No one should fear losing their job because of whom they love,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Trump Administration is paving the way for federal contractors to openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community and anyone else who might not conform to their personal beliefs. Here in California we’re standing up for workers and refuse to roll back the clock on the civil rights of all Americans.” “All Americans have the right to live and work free from discrimination,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “This proposed rule makes it easier for employers to discriminate against employees who don’t share their same specific religious beliefs, including members of the LGBTQ community. I’m proud to stand with my colleague Attorneys General in opposing this rule and protecting the rights of all workers—regardless of what they look like, where they’re from, who they love, or the God they worship or choose not to worship.” Under the proposed rule, DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs would expand its interpretation of the religious exemption contained in Executive Order 11246, which was issued one year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was amended in 2014 to include landmark anti-discrimination protections for workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Executive Order 11246 mandates equal employment opportunity in federal government contracting and prohibits all federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. The executive order already allows for a limited exemption that enables certain religious organizations to favor employees or job candidates of a “particular religion.” Under the new proposal, DOL seeks to loosen the standards regarding the types of organizations that can self-identify as religious. As a result, DOL is opening the door for a broad range of employers, including for-profit corporations, to claim the exemption and discriminate against their employees based on any worker’s non-adherence to specific religious beliefs or practices as understood by the contractor. For example, as a result of the proposal, a gay or transgender employee could potentially be required to adhere to the religious tenets of a for-profit corporation’s owners or board or face the possibility of termination. In the comment letter, the Attorneys General highlight how this expansion of the exemption would directly conflict with existing protections afforded under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and describe how the rule would harm the states’ residents. Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting the civil rights of people in California and throughout the country. In May, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit against a Trump Administration rule that would allow care providers to deny basic healthcare on the basis of religious or moral objections. Attorney General Becerra also led a coalition of states in asserting that gender non-binary individuals deserve full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity on passports. In July, Attorney General Becerra joined a coalition of attorneys general in defending Title VII’s prohibition against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation before the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, in accordance with California law, the California Department of Justice develops and maintains a list of states that are subject to state-sponsored travel restrictions because of laws in those states that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. In submitting the comment letter, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. A copy of the comment letter is available here.
Attorney General Becerra Files Sex Trafficking Charges Against Organized Crime Ring Operating Statewide
by Office of the Attorney General on September 13, 2019 at 7:27 pm
September 13, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, email@example.comSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the filing of multiple charges against Jing Chiang Huang, Shu Mei Lin, Shao Lee, Peihsin Lee, Pengcheng Cai, and Dafeng Wen for alleged felonies involving sex trafficking, tax fraud, and money laundering as part of an organized crime ring operating throughout California. The charges are the product of multiple operations undertaken by the California Department of Justice and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with numerous local and national law enforcement partners. “The California Department of Justice stands ready to combat serious criminal activity like sex trafficking wherever it occurs in our state,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners for their tireless efforts that resulted in the arrest of and charges against these six criminal defendants. We intend to prove that they exploited vulnerable women of Asian descent and forced them to perform sex acts in exchange for money.” In the amended criminal complaint filed with the Santa Clara County Superior Court, Attorney General Becerra alleges that the defendants committed 13 felonies between 2015 and 2019 related to sex trafficking of multiple victims, tax fraud, and money laundering. Per the complaint, the defendants allegedly advertised on Backpage.com in connection with their human trafficking operation and allegedly deprived individuals of their liberty in order to force them to commit sex acts at multiple brothel locations. In order to exercise control over the victims, the defendants allegedly withheld at least one survivor’s passport and threatened future job opportunities. Among other things, the defendants were also allegedly involved in the collection of proceeds related to the sex trafficking and allegedly attempted to launder the money through monetary instruments, such as checks, that were then deposited at various banks. As a result of a June takedown targeting the crime ring, two of the defendants, Jing Chiang Huang and Shu Mei Lin, were arrested and 14 survivors of trafficking were rescued. Following further enforcement action this week, three additional defendants, Peihsin Lee, Pengcheng Cai, and Dafeng Wen, were arrested. Their arraignment was continued late yesterday to November 7, 2019, at which time all the defendants, except Shao Lee who is currently at large, are set to appear before the court. The criminal proceedings involving all of the defendants are expected to be consolidated. The arrests and charges were the result of a joint operation led by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. The operation involved the California Department of Justice, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Santa Clara Police Department, Santa Clara County Probation Department, Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force, San Jose Police Department, Burlingame Police Department, Fremont Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, Milpitas Police Department, Newark Police Department, Oxnard Police Department, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Sunnyvale Police Department, Tacoma Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and California Franchise Tax Board. Today’s announcement builds on Attorney General Becerra’s ongoing efforts to stamp out sex trafficking in the state and safeguard the rights of survivors. Last year, Attorney General Becerra helped bring down the world’s largest online brothel, Backpage.com, and convicted its CEO. Additionally, Attorney General Becerra testified before the U.S. Senate to push for the passage of the federal Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which became law in 2018. The California Department of Justice has also fought to protect juvenile victims of trafficking, bringing 54 felony charges against the alleged operators of a statewide sex trafficking ring based in Tulare County in 2017. It is important to note that criminal charges are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty. A copy of the amended complaint is available here.
Attorney General Becerra: California Will Restrict State-Funded and State-Sponsored Travel to Iowa
by Office of the Attorney General on September 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm
September 13, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, firstname.lastname@example.orgSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that, effective October 4, 2019, California will prohibit state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Iowa because of a new provision in law Iowa enacted on May 3, 2019. The law, House File Bill No. 766 (HF 766), repeals existing protections under the Iowa Civil Rights Act that previously ensured Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care. The new law makes it clear that coverage for this care is no longer required in Iowa. “The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming healthcare,” said Attorney General Becerra. “California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it. That’s why my office is adding Iowa to the list of states subject to state-funded or sponsored travel restrictions.” In 2007, Iowa added “gender identity” as a protected characteristic under its Civil Rights Act, which prohibits any owner or manager of a public accommodation from refusing or denying service to or discriminating against any person based upon listed protected characteristics. In March 2019, in Good v. Iowa Department of Human Services, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed that Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgery was protected under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Just two months after the ruling, Iowa’s governor signed HF 766 into law, legislatively repealing the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision. HF 766 makes it clear that coverage for individuals seeking gender-affirming care is no longer required in Iowa. As a result, it has the effect of repealing state protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. California law — Assembly Bill 1887 (AB 1887), which took effect in 2017 — prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states that enact a law after June 26, 2015 that voids or repeals an existing state or local protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Iowa’s new law, HF 766, has triggered the enforcement of California’s AB 1887 protections. In contrast to Iowa’s law, California has long permitted Medi-Cal reimbursement for gender reassignment-related care. In 1978, the California First District Court of Appeal found that gender-affirming treatment is medically reasonable and necessary and held that transsexual surgery is not cosmetic as defined under Medi-Cal regulations. Further, California law prohibits insurers from denying coverage for gender transition care if similar services are otherwise available to their other members, including, but not limited to, hormone therapy, hysterectomy, mastectomy, and vocal training. Recognizing that discrimination has no place in our society, the California Department of Justice is committed to protecting the rights of members of the LGBTQIA community. Earlier this month, the Attorney General filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to block the Trump Administration’s “Healthcare Refusal Rule” that would allow healthcare providers to deny care to LGBTQIA individuals on religious or moral grounds. On behalf of the State of California, Attorney General Becerra is a co-plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, a case seeking to defend the rights of transgender individuals seeking to join, or currently serving in, the U.S. military. Attorney General Becerra has also fought against discriminatory actions by the federal government threatening safe and equitable access to healthcare and education for members of the LGBTQIA community. Additionally, in May, the California Department of Justice led a coalition of attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of State to include a passport option that accurately reflects the gender identity of gender non-binary individuals. For additional information on AB 1887, including the list of states subject to its provisions, visit: www.oag.ca.gov/ab1887.
Attorney General Becerra Responds to Trump Administration Announcement of Rescission of Clean Water Rule
by Office of the Attorney General on September 12, 2019 at 6:05 pm
September 12, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, email@example.com Rescission of Clean Water Rule and reinstatement of prior WOTUS definition will result in ambiguity and confusion at the expense of clear protections for California’s waterways SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that they are issuing a final rule rescinding the Clean Water Rule and reinstating the prior confusing and ambiguous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition from the 1980s. The rescission rule is the most recent step in the Trump Administration’s plan to weaken pollution control measures under the Clean Water Act. “California won’t stand for this latest environmental attack by the Trump Administration, which could threaten federal protections for the majority of our waters. Our oceans, lakes, and rivers are all connected – when pollution impacts one source, it impacts them all and affects our communities," said Attorney General Becerra. “While we don’t go looking for a fight, there’s too much at stake for us to let this go. We’re prepared to defend the Clean Water Rule.” The rule would repeal the Clean Water Rule enacted during the Obama Administration and replace it with the outdated definition of “waters of the United States.” The 2015 Clean Water Rule sought to address significant issues with the prior definition of “waters of the United States.” For decades, the pre-2015 definition had been interpreted differently among the courts, leading to confusion, unpredictability, and inconsistent application of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Rule clarified the definition of “waters of the United States” to explicitly include waters in floodplains, riparian areas, and intermittent and ephemeral streams. This was an especially important development for the State of California, as the majority of California’s streams and rivers are intermittent or ephemeral. The Clean Water Rule provided a clear and predictable framework of federal Clean Water Act protections for many California wetlands, rivers, creeks, streams, and tributaries. Many of these California waters may be deprived of clear federal protections from pollution as a result of the rescission. In September 2017 and August 2018, Attorney General Becerra, as part of a multistate coalition, filed comment letters urging the agencies to withdraw the rescission of the Clean Water Rule, asserting the rescission is inconsistent with and contradictory to the Clean Water Act, is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act, and would have a negative impact on the nation’s waters. Tags: Environment
Attorney General Becerra Further Moves to Invalidate Trump Administration’s Unconstitutional and Illegal Healthcare Refusal Rule
by Office of the Attorney General on September 12, 2019 at 5:11 pm
September 12, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, firstname.lastname@example.orgThe rule would allow healthcare providers to deny basic healthcare to women, LGBTQ individuals SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a motion for summary judgment to continue the fight against the Trump Administration’s “Healthcare Refusal Rule” and stop this unconstitutional and illegal rule from going into effect. The Refusal Rule would allow any individual, entity, or provider—from doctors to front office staff—to deny healthcare, including emergency care and reproductive care, based on any religious or moral objections. In the filing, Attorney General Becerra asserts that the Rule violates the U.S. Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act and the Affordable Care Act. On July 1, 2019, Attorney General Becerra successfully obtained a preliminary injunction which prevented the Rule from taking effect until November 22, 2019. Today’s filing furthers his actions to stop this harmful, discriminatory rule. “Our courts have the thankless task of checking the Trump Administration’s lawless and reckless behavior. The Healthcare Refusal Rule would license discrimination against women, LGTBQ individuals, and other vulnerable populations,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This is 2019, not 1920. Every Californian has a right to seek medical care regardless of who they are or whom they love. We will defend that right every step of the way.” Under the Healthcare Refusal Rule, the Trump Administration vastly and illegally expands conscience protections and coerces state compliance by threatening federal funding. For California, nearly half a trillion dollars of federal funding is at stake. In today’s filing, Attorney General Becerra asserts that the Rule is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, specifically the Spending Clause, the Establishment Clause, the Free Speech Clause, the Due Process Clause, Separation of Powers and Equal Protection. Attorney General Becerra further argues that the Rule will threaten federal funding for California’s programs that provide crucial health, education, and labor services, including: $63 billion for healthcare services such as Medi-Cal; $1.5 billion for public health initiatives including emergency preparedness and vaccination programs; $10.8 billion for child welfare and refugee assistance programs and in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities; $8.3 billion for educational programs, including child care and state preschool programs, migrant education, adult education, education for homeless children, special education, and vocational education; $4.2 million for mental health services; and $89 million to support healthcare for the inmate population. Today’s filing is the latest step in Attorney General Becerra’s continued fight to protect Californians’ healthcare rights. In 2018, Attorney General Becerra submitted a comment letter to HHS opposing the Rule, and arguing that it would harm California’s residents, healthcare providers, licensees, and consumer protection laws. On February 15, 2019, the California Attorney General’s Office met with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget to discuss the Rule’s harms and its negative impact on California. On May 21, 2019, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit, arguing that the Rule is unlawful and contradicts laws that establish protections for patients against discrimination. On June 4, 2019, Attorney General Becerra filed for a preliminary injunction seeking to block the Healthcare Refusal Rule from taking effect as litigation continues. The injunction was granted on July 1, 2019. Attorney General Becerra filed today’s motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alongside Santa Clara County, the City and County of San Francisco, Trust Women Seattle, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Whitman-Walker Clinic, Inc., Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Center on Halsted, Hartford Gyn Center, Mazzoni Center, Medical Students For Choice, The Association of LGBT+ Psychiatrists, American Association of Physicians For Human Rights: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, and individual plaintiffs. A copy of the motion can be found here.
Attorney General Becerra Denounces Predatory Mortgage Loans in Amicus Brief Supporting City of Oakland
by Office of the Attorney General on September 11, 2019 at 6:17 pm
September 12, 2019Contact: (916) 210-6000, email@example.comSACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit brought by the City of Oakland against Wells Fargo. The City alleges that the bank engaged in predatory mortgage lending targeting minority communities. In the brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Attorney General Becerra urged the court to affirm the district court’s denial of Wells Fargo’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and highlighted the harmful effects of discriminatory lending practices in California. “Equal access to housing starts with equal and fair access to our financial institutions,” said Attorney General Becerra. “For many African-Americans and Latinos, the hardships of the mortgage crisis haven’t stopped. Our fight for economic justice continues and I’m proud to stand with the City of Oakland in this effort to combat predatory lending in our state.” “Wells Fargo's racially discriminatory mortgage lending practices against African-Americans and Hispanics have devastated individuals, families, and communities in Oakland, throughout California, and across the country where Wells Fargo operates, dramatically increasing foreclosures and decreasing the Black and Latino middle class,” said Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker. “Evidence shows that Wells Fargo systematically provided more expensive and higher risk loans to African-American and Hispanic borrowers in Oakland and other cities who qualified for the more favorable loans that the bank offered to white borrowers. We applaud Attorney General Becerra for standing with Oakland to hold Wells Fargo accountable and stop these racially discriminatory practices.” In 2015, the City of Oakland filed a lawsuit alleging that, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Wells Fargo harmed the city through a pattern of illegal and discriminatory mortgage lending, heavily impacting minority community members. In particular, Oakland alleged that Wells Fargo steered minority borrowers there to loans with higher costs and risks, and refused to allow those borrowers to refinance, or would only refinance on less favorable terms compared to other similar loans, when they were no longer able to meet the terms of their original agreements. According to the first amended complaint, African-American and Latino borrowers were more than twice as likely to receive a high-cost or high-risk loan from Wells Fargo than similarly situated white customers. As a result, the city alleged, among other things, that these discriminatory practices suppressed property values in minority communities in Oakland, reduced property tax revenues, and increased the costs of providing municipal services. Wells Fargo’s motion to dismiss the case was largely denied and the bank is currently seeking review before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Attorney General Becerra is committed to tackling housing inequity in the state and throughout the country. In March and October of 2018, the California Department of Justice submitted comments opposing changes proposed by the Trump Administration that would revoke key tools used to overcome entrenched patterns of residential segregation and foster inclusive communities. In July of 2019, Attorney General Becerra urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to withdraw a proposed rule on housing assistance eligibility, which would risk eviction for tens of thousands of Californians. Attorney General Becerra also joined a coalition of attorneys general seeking to protect federal rules allowing equal and consistent access to shelters for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. A copy of the brief is available here.