California legislative wins in 2023

By Fatimeh Khan and Jennifer Tu

AFSC has been working on two California legislative bills over the past year.  Earlier this week, these two bills became law!

Since 2019, AFSC and coalition partners have been championing the Racial Justice Acts, a series of bills to challenge racism in the courts.  These long-running efforts led to two new laws: The Racial Justice Act (2020) to address racial discrimination in the courts and The Racial Justice Act For All (2022) to address past instances of racial bias in the courts.  We are proud to share that a third bill has now become law!

AB 1118

The Racial Justice Act 3.0 (2023) will provide implementation details to ensure the appeal process provided by the previous two Racial Justice laws can run smoothly.  Our legislative work ensures Black & Brown people in California have a path to challenge racist convictions and sentences, whether those occur in the future or in the past.  Now, a significant legislative hurdle has been overcome, and California can ensure that these paths exist regardless of financial means.  Thanks to Racial Justice Act’s author (Assemblymember Ash Kalra) and cosponsors (including AFSC and coalition partners), it is now state law that cost should not be a barrier to racial justice.

AB 60

What about before a trial is held?  What could a world with non-carceral, just approaches look like?  In 2019, AFSC had supported a failed bill that would have explored this question in just three counties.  This year, a new state bill brought this question to all counties in California.  AB 60, authored by Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, creates awareness of alternatives.  AFSC has been supporting a new statewide coalition of Restorative Justice organizations to pass this bill, which was signed into law earlier this week.  Under this new state law, victims of crimes must be notified of the  availability of restorative justice programs.  This law will allow people who have been harmed to be informed that they can choose a path towards empowering and healing justice.


Together, these two new laws are important victories.  They’re also just one in a long series of steps by AFSC to challenge injustice in California.  We continue to work towards ending mass incarceration by promoting healing and restorative practices as alternatives to violence and punishment.  If you would like to follow us in this journey, please subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.