Banks Need More Diverse Boards, Management, New Report Finds

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

Most Boards Overwhelmingly White and Male; Citi Most Diverse

Major bank boards of directors remain overwhelmingly white and male, reports The Greenlining Institute in its latest study of bank board diversity, being released Thursday morning. Focused on nine major institutions with a major California presence, Greenlining found that Citi’s board was most diverse, while eight of nine boards were at least 80 percent white and 80 percent male. Five banks had zero Latino representation, four had no Asian Americans, and two had no African Americans.
Continue reading “Banks Need More Diverse Boards, Management, New Report Finds”

Bill Lets Taxpayers Know If Tax-Exempt Hospitals Earn Their Tax Breaks

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – Inspired in part by a report issued last year by The Greenlining Institute, Assembly members  Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) have renewed their effort to ensure that the public knows how not-for-profit hospitals are earning their tax-exempt status. Assembly Bill 503, as just amended by the authors, provides greatly increased transparency and accountability for hospital “community benefit” spending.

The bill is co-sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, California Nurses Association, and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

“These hospitals get a massive tax break for operating for the benefit of the community, but today it’s nearly impossible to get a true picture of whether they’re spending these community benefit dollars in ways that truly help communities in need,” said Greenlining Institute Health Policy Director Carla Saporta. “AB 503 will help make sure we know whether these hospitals are earning their tax exemption, give communities a voice in the process, and help our health care system reflect the needs of the 21st century.”

The bill:

  • Creates transparency by directing the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to develop a standardized format for community health plans and standardized methodology for estimating the economic value of community benefits. It also requires that community health needs assessments and community benefit plans be posted online.
  • Brings the community into the process of developing community health needs assessments, requiring hospitals to obtain comments from local health care providers, nurses, patients, community groups and health-related organizations and to include at least one member from an underserved or vulnerable population on their community benefit planning committees.
  • Stipulates that 90 percent of available community benefit moneys be “allocated to charity care and projects that improve community health for underserved and vulnerable populations,” and that at least 25 percent be “be allocated to community building activities geographically located within underserved and vulnerable populations.” Community building activities address the root causes of why people get sick where they live and work, including programs such as efforts to improving unhealthy housing conditions for those living with asthma and educating young people about health careers.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org

Bill to Boost Diverse Small Businesses Has 1st Hearing Tuesday

AB 962 Would Track Major Hospitals’ Contracting with Businesses Owned by Women, People of Color, Veterans and LGBTs

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — On Tuesday, April 2 the Assembly Health Committee will consider AB 962, introduced by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and coauthored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). The measure would use reporting and transparency to encourage California hospitals – a $230 billion industry in the state – to boost their contracting with businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and LGBT people. The measure, sponsored by The Greenlining Institute, is modeled on a successful program overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which over three decades has sparked massive increases in contracting with Minority Business Enterprises by California’s regulated utilities, as well as a similarly successful program that was administered by the Department of Insurance.

WHAT: Assembly Health Committee hearing on AB 962

WHO: Assemblymember Autumn Burke, Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace, members of the committee

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 4202

WHEN: Tuesday, April 2, 1:30 p.m.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Bring More Climate Investments to Disadvantaged Communities Passes 1st Senate Hurdle

Bill to Bring More Climate Investments to Disadvantaged Communities Passes 1st Senate Hurdle

Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
Isabel Alegría, Public Advocates, 510-541-5428 (cell), ialegria@publicadvocates.org
Bill Magavern, Coalition for Clean Air, 916-214-0065
Parin Shah, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 415-286-7850 (cell), parin@apen4ej.org
Laura Muraida, SCOPE, 323-789-7920, lmuraida@scopela.org

SACRAMENTO – Today the Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed AB 1550 (Gomez), designed to ensure that the benefits of California’s climate change policies reach the communities and households needing them most. The measure would require a minimum of 25 percent of proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be invested in projects located directly within disadvantaged communities, while an additional 20 percent would go to projects that benefit low income households regardless of their location within California.

Advocates for clean air and underserved communities hailed the bill’s steady progress, noting that under AB 1550, climate investments in disadvantaged communities will match the percentage of the state’s population living in those communities, while making sure benefits also reach low-income Californians throughout the state.

Public Advocates Staff Attorney Chelsea Tu said, “With the passage of AB 1550 out of this committee, California has taken another step toward delivering on its promise to bring health and economic benefits to low-income and disadvantaged families and communities from the state’s cap-and-trade revenues.”

SCOPE Research Director Laura Muraida commented, “Today marks a significant step forward as we continue working to shape equitable climate policy that benefits the communities hardest hit by pollution, poverty and disinvestment.”

“Assemblymember Gomez’s bill will help California communities that have been disproportionately impacted by air pollution, poverty and climate change,” said Fabiola Lao, Deputy Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air. “It will help bring clean energy and clean transportation services, such as electric buses, to these communities.”

“We applaud Assemblymember Gomez’s leadership and commitment to ameliorating the disproportionate amount of pollution and poverty that communities across the state have faced for decades,” said Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “AB 1550 expands opportunities for sorely needed investment and reaffirms the strength and value of CalEnviroScreen, a tool created by environmental justice communities, as the state’s tool for addressing historic disparities.”

“California’s climate policies have already brought real benefits to neighborhoods hit by the worst effects of pollution and poverty, but we can and must do better,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Alvaro Sanchez. “AB 1550 takes us a major step in the right direction.”

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Bill to Control Health Insurance Rates Called Urgent for Small Business

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

Greenlining Institute Joins Call for Passage of AB 52

SACRAMENTO – Health policy experts from The Greenlining Institute today joined Assemblymembers Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to call for the passage of legislation to protect consumers and businesses by allowing the state insurance commissioner to reject excessive health insurance rate increases.

Continue reading “Bill to Control Health Insurance Rates Called Urgent for Small Business”

Bill to Ensure Diversity in California Insurance Has Senate Hearing Today

SB 534 Would Require California’s Largest Insurers to Report Their Supplier Diversity and Governing Board Diversity

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – This afternoon the Senate Insurance Committee will consider legislation to promote diversity in California’s insurance industry, SB 534, introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). The measure, also strongly supported by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and The Greenlining Institute, would require the largest players in the state’s $310 billion insurance industry to report on their level of contracting with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and LGBT individuals. It would also require insurers to report on the diversity of their governing boards and set goals for supplier and board diversity. The measure is modeled on a number of prior, highly successful diversity initiatives based on reporting and transparency.

WHAT: Senate Insurance Committee hearing on SB 534

WHO: Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena); Department of Insurance Senior Deputy Commissioner and Legislative Director Michael Martinez; President/CEO of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. and Department of Insurance Diversity Task Force member Linda Akutagawa; Golden Gate Business Association board member and Department of Insurance Diversity Task Force LGBT representative Jay Greene; Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace; members of the committee

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 112

WHEN: Wednesday, April 10, 1:30 p.m.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Ensure Diversity in California Insurance Passes First Senate Committee

SB 534 Would Require Largest Insurers to Report Supplier Diversity and Governing Board Diversity

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO – Today the Senate Insurance Committee passed legislation to promote diversity in California’s insurance industry, SB 534, introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). The measure, which was supported by testimony from the California Department of Insurance, members of the department’s Insurance Diversity Task Force and The Greenlining Institute, would require the largest players in the state’s $310 billion insurance industry to report on their level of contracting with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and LGBT individuals. It would also require insurers to report on the diversity of their governing boards and set goals for supplier and board diversity.

“SB 534 will ensure that California’s insurance providers think about diversity when they make procurement decisions and choose their boards of directors,” said Greenlining Institute Health Equity Director Anthony Galace. “California leads the nation in diverse-owned businesses, which creates the ideal environment and opportunity to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion among insurance companies and other large businesses.”

Data collected by the Department of Insurance in 2017 showed that 80 percent of major insurers’ governing board seats were held by men while just 12 percent were held by people of color. Of nearly 2,400 total board seats, only 14 members self-identified as LGBT, while 13 percent of insurance companies reported zero women and 35 percent reported zero persons of color on their boards.

SB 534 is modeled on a number of prior, highly successful diversity initiatives based on reporting and transparency, which have stimulated large increases in corporate contracting with California’s diverse businesses. The bill now moves to the Judiciary Committee.

For further background on the bill, see Anthony Galace’s blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

Bill to Maximize Clean Energy Benefits Has 1st Hearing Wednesday

AB 961 Would Require CPUC to Consider Benefits Like Cleaner Air, Improved Health, Jobs in Underserved Communities 

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — On Wednesday, April 10, the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy will take up a bill to require the California Public Utilities Commission to consider “non-energy benefits” – impacts like job creation and improved public health – when evaluating clean energy projects. Environmental justice advocates consider it essential for the state to look beyond direct, energy-related impacts and consider the many other benefits that clean energy projects typically bring to underserved communities, which often struggle with high pollution levels and a lack of economic opportunities.

WHAT: Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy hearing on AB 961

WHO: Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, Greenlining Institute Energy Equity Legal Counsel Madeline Stano, Self-Help Enterprises West Goshen Community Member, Lucy Hernandez

WHERE: State Capitol, Room 437

WHEN: Wednesday, April 10, upon adjournment of the Communications and Conveyance Committee (approximately 1:30 p.m.)

For further background on the bill, see Madeline Stano’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Maximize Clean Energy Benefits Passes First Committee

AB 961 Directs CPUC to Consider Benefits Like Cleaner Air, Improved Health, Jobs for Underserved Communities 

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022 (office), 415-846-7758 (cell)

SACRAMENTO — Today the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy passed AB 961, which would require the California Public Utilities Commission to consider “non-energy benefits” – impacts like job creation and improved public health – when evaluating clean energy projects. The bill is sponsored by The Greenlining Institute and backed by a broad array of environmental justice groups, solar developers, environmental groups, and progressive nonprofits.

“California leads the nation in clean energy innovation, but the benefits too often don’t reach low-income communities of color because the Public Utilities Commission never measured how these projects cut pollution, improve community health and boost the economies of underserved communities,” said Greenlining Institute Energy Equity Legal Counsel Madeline Stano. “What gets measured gets done, and this bill will make sure that officials look at the whole picture when they evaluate clean energy projects.”

“Energy efficiency programs have the potential to deliver so many benefits to local communities, especially communities that bear a disproportionate environmental and economic burden,” said Jodi Pincus, Executive Director of the Rising Sun Center for Opportunity. “We’re doing those communities a disservice if we only count the energy benefits and dismiss things like safety, affordability and workforce development.”

“California’s clean energy investments in social and environmental justice communities are highly impactful in providing broad benefits, including increased health and safety, increased resiliency, new economic opportunities, and reduced energy burden for low-income families,” said Stanley Greschner, Chief Policy and Business Development Officer of GRID Alternatives.  “AB 961 ensures these societal benefits will be quantified and measured over time. Doing otherwise, California is selling itself short when it comes to measuring the success of its clean energy investments.”

AB 961 formalizes a recommendation in the California Energy Commission’s unanimously adopted SB 350 Low-Income Barriers Study that the state establish common definitions of “non-energy benefits,” develop standards to measure them, and prioritize projects that promote them in environmental justice communities, the communities that suffer from the worst pollution and economic stagnation.

The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

For further background on AB 961, see Madeline Stano’s recent blog post.

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THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute

greenlining.org
@Greenlining

 

Bill to Regulate Health Insurance Rates Passes Assembly

Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

AB 52 Seen as Critical Protection for Small Businesses, Individuals

AB 52, which would allow state regulators to reject excessive health insurance rate increases, passed the California Assembly  today by a vote of 43 to 1 (with Assembly Republicans not voting due to a procedural dispute).

Continue reading “Bill to Regulate Health Insurance Rates Passes Assembly”