- Felicia Matlosz
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assembly Bill 263, the Health Oversight and Leadership in Detention Act authored by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), passed off the Assembly Floor. The bill passed with bipartisan support, obtaining more than the 54 votes required for an urgency measure. AB 263 focuses on ensuring public health and worker safety in private detention facilities and has garnered support from public health and community-based organizations.
The bill clarifies the applicability of public health orders to all private detention facilities, including those used to house and detain immigrants in California. It also requires private operators to abide by Cal/OSHA workplace safety rules and regulations.
“California is on its way to reopening and developing comprehensive plans to safeguard our communities and our state.” Assemblymember Arambula said. “AB 263 is a critical step in ensuring that public health orders are followed by everyone who operates in our state, including private detention facilities. As Governor Newsom outlined in his plans, we need to secure these congregate settings. When it comes to public health, the health of each of us depends on the health of all of us.”
“California has the legal right and the moral duty to protect the health and safety of everyone in our state,” said Jackie Gonzalez, Policy Director at Immigrant Defense Advocates. “AB 263 ensures that local public health departments are empowered to take action when it comes to private detention facilities.”
The bill comes in the wake of ongoing concerns about health and safety in private detention facilities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates have argued that private detention facilities have failed to abide by public health orders, with employees also filing suit alleging breaches of safety. AB 263 now moves to the Senate.
AB 263 is sponsored by Immigrant Defense Advocates, NextGen California, Physicians for Human Rights, and the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice.