"Putting kids first is a no-brainer. They are the most important Californians," James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Kids Action said.
They were here to advocate for SB18 dubbed the "Children's Bill of Rights" — the proposed law that aims to support all California kids and their right to basic needs.
"Quality healthcare, nutrition, go to child care, go to quality preschool. Not have to live in a homeless shelter. To have a roof over their head," Steyer said.
California proudly boasts that it is the 6th largest economy in the world. But according to the children's research group, Annie E. Casey Foundation, the state needs to do a better job when it comes to kids. Here is why:
- 1.2 million kids do not have access to licensed child-care
- 75% do not have preventative health screenings
- 1 in 4 do not have enough food to eat
"We need to have a base minimum commitment of every child, tween, teen, should have to be a strong and productive citizen," Irella Perez said.
Perez said her four children chose to break their perfect attendance record to join her at the Capitol Monday, because they knew their presence could make a difference in getting support for the bill.
This is the first of its kind at the State level. If this passes in California, SB18 supports hope that it paves a way for other states.
"Kids need adults like us lobby for them and to make them the top priority in the state," Steyer said.
Though the bill is still in the early stages, there are critics. Some parents are worried the bill would strip the rights of parents, and give the state more power over the children.
The bill's co-author, Assembly member Cristina Garcia hopes to work on some amendments.
"We've been listening to the parents, and if they think we can do better, we encourage them to come to the table with solutions. Together, we can cross something that protects parents right but also ensures that our kids and our future workforce has what we need," Garcia said.
The bill still needs to go through several legislative hearings before it can become law.