Fiona Ma has always had an interest in domestic violence. But, she really started to see the evils of it from Claire Joyce Tempongo’s case. On October, 2000, she was brutally murdered in front of her two young children by an ex-boyfriend in San Francisco. He was arrested on five prior felony counts yet allowed to roam free on the streets due to a lack of information sharing between the various criminal justice agencies.
When Fiona Ma was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2002, she took the passion she gained from Tempongo’s domestic violence case with her. While on the SF Board, she served on the Department of the Status of Women’s Justice and Courage Oversight Panel and led efforts to complete the Justice Information Tracking System (JUSTIS) to connect the different agencies. While serving on the Budget Committee, she successfully got $1.3 million for domestic violence services and programs.
After serving for the SF Board of Supervisors, Fiona Ma was elected in 2006 to represent the people of California’s 12th Assembly District. The district includes San Francisco, Daly City, Colma and Broadmoor.
When elected to the state Assembly in 2006, Assemblywoman Ma was appointed Chairwoman of the Select Committee on Domestic Violence. She has authored numerous pieces of Legislation and hosted a number of legislative hearings to continue to advocate for domestic violence victims.
Assemblywoman Ma sponsored the following bills that were chaptered into law. She sponsored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 6 in 2007, which raised awareness about teen dating violence. She also authored AB 1771 in 2008 making it easier for judges to issue restraining orders and AB 258 in 2009, which replaces “primary aggressor” with “dominant aggressor” in the Penal Code. Assemblywoman Ma also co-authored SB 13 in 2009, which re-allocated $16.3 million to the General Fund from a special fund to prevent the closure of domestic violence shelters throughout the state.
In her last year at the California State Assembly she sponsored AB 593 and AB 1593. Both were signed by the Governor. AB 593 seeks to clarify Penal Code 1473.5 to include the domestic violence victims that were unintentionally denied their original writ of habeas due to not having competent and substantial expert testimony presented at their trial. AB 1593 requires that the parole board give great weight to any information or evidence that proves the prisoner experienced intimate partner battering (IPB) and its effects at the time the crime was committed. AB 1593 will also prohibit the parole board commissioners from using “lack of insight” as evidence to deny suitability in cases involving IPB.
As the Select Committee Chairwoman, Assemblywoman Ma convened the following hearings:
- Domestic Violence: Building Strong Communities To Stop The Violence
- Incarcerated Victims of Domestic Violence
- Teen Dating Violence Prevention Awareness
- Screening of Sin by Silence, a documentary revealing the lives of women who are domestic violence’s worst case scenarios: women who have killed their abusers
- Domestic Violence: Shelters for Domestic Violence Victims and their Children
- Domestic Violence in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community
- Domestic Violence: The Interest of the Child
- Legislative Overview
In 2009, Assemblywoman Ma was appointed by Speaker Karen Bass to the Domestic Violence Advisory Council, the only statewide collaboration of advocates, providers, and policymakers to provide support and development services for domestic violence victims and their children. Her commitment has allowed her the opportunity to perform in the 2009 and 2010 productions of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”. The production is a part of the V-Day movement, a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.
In honor of her tireless work on behalf of young girls, women, victims and survivors, Assemblywoman Ma has received numerous awards over the years from Crime Victims United, Su Casa, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, My Sister’s House, Women, Inc., San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women, California Women’s Law Center, Ignite, Democratic Women’s Forum, and Democratic Women’s Club of Stanislaus County (please see “Fiona Ma’s Awards” for the entire list of awards she’s received).
Assemblywoman Ma received her B.S. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), her M.S. in Taxation from Golden Gate University (SF), and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has been licensed in California as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1992.