Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan: Progress on Various Pressing Issues

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(Courtesy of Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s Office)
Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan joins the Legislative Women’s Caucus on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento during a press conference in late January.

    The first month of the new year proved to be a busy and productive one for Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), with one of her assembly bills making its way to the State Senate and the introduction of another, seeking to protect rights and access to reproductive choice.
    Assembly Bill 1287, which prohibits higher prices, known as the “Pink Tax,” on goods marketed to women, passed off the Assembly floor late January with a bipartisan vote of 59-0, according to a press release on Bauer-Kahan’s website. Co-authors of the bill include assembly members and senators from the Bay Area and Southern California.
    AB 1666, which prohibits legal action brought against anyone providing, helping or receiving abortion care within the State of California, seeks to protect state providers, individuals and organizations in the wake of uncertainty over the future of United States citizens’ right to abortion.
    “Hopefully we will learn from each other, as far as what we can do to protect women,” Bauer-Kahan said when asked if it is her hope that the rest of the country follows California’s example.
    Bauer-Kahan serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Women’s Reproductive Health in the California State Assembly, which is the first committee of its kind in the United States.
    Bauer-Kahan’s latest bill, dealing with safe access to reproductive health services in the state, works alongside AB 1356, which adds protections for patients and providers against harassment from protesters. AB 1356 was signed into law by Gov. Newsom last September and sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. The bill will increase fines for harassment at reproductive health clinics and ban the aggressive filming and the posting of personal information of those working at or visiting the clinics.
    In addition to her work on equality and access to reproductive healthcare, Bauer-Kahan also places importance on local schools, with a vow to “continue to work on ensuring that access to education is meaningful and well-funded.”
    Elected to the 16th Assembly District in 2018, Orinda resident Bauer-Kahan is the current Chair of the California State Assembly of Water, Parks and Wildlife, and aims to continue progress toward protecting the environment.
    “My wonderful community is very focused on climate change and the environment,” she said, noting the importance of issues such as wildfire prevention. “Clean water and preservation of our open space are two issues that I have worked on and are really important to me.”
    Bauer-Kahan has also worked alongside the Justice for Miles Hall Foundation to create AB 988, which designates the three-digit telephone number 9-8-8 as an alternative to traditional 911 calls during urgent mental health crises. Walnut Creek native, Miles Hall, was 23 years old when he suffered a mental health crisis and tragically, was shot and killed by responding Walnut Creek police in 2019.
    The new hotline is projected to go live July, 2022, with plans for full implementation in California by 2027. It will offer state citizens and visitors 24/7 access to suicide prevention and behavioral health assistance.
    Dialing 988, Bauer-Kahan said, will free up law enforcement to keep communities safe.
    Emphasizing community needs ahead of politics, Bauer-Kahan has experience with working across political party lines. She spoke of instances in which, even in cases of polarizing issues, respectful conversations took place. Disagreements do happen sometimes, she said, but they enable her to learn from her Republican colleagues.
    “I wish, especially the younger generation, could see us work in Sacramento,” Bauer-Kahan said.
    “More often than not, you can find common ground.”

Andrea Madison can be reached at drea.madison.05@gmail.com.

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