Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Brown Signs Domestic Violence, Business Bills

Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills strongly supported by the Chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization Fiona Ma, CPA, to help victims of domestic violence and businesses devastated by natural disasters.

AB 1399 (Baker) will create a checkoff box on California personal income tax return forms which will allow Californian’s to donate to the newly created Domestic Violence Victims Fund. Domestic violence shelters will be able to apply for a grant from the new fund, administered by the California Office of Emergency Services, to help provide much-needed assistance to victims.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), nearly one-third of all women murdered in the United States in recent years were murdered by a current or former intimate partner. In 2010, 1,017 women, more than three a day, were killed by their intimate partners. A survivor’s safety and well-being is most at risk during episodes of violence and when attempting to leave an abuser. Domestic violence shelters are a key part of safety planning to prepare ahead of time and be as protected as possible.

“Women and children who have endured physical, mental and emotional abuse need our help putting their lives back on track. AB 1399 (Baker) will help keep the shelter doors open and provide a place where women and children can sleep soundly, without fear,” said Chairwoman Ma.

During her six year tenure in the Legislature, Chairwoman Ma served as Chair of the Domestic Violence Select Committee and witnessed how many California domestic violence shelters were forced to turn away women and children because of a lack of funding. In 2013 NNEDV conducted a 24-hour survey of domestic violence programs across the nation and reported 66,581 adults and children had found refuge and assistance, while an additional 9,641 requests for services were unmet because of a lack of resources. Each one of those unmet requests is another lost opportunity to break the cycle of violence. Now that Governor Brown has signed AB 1399 (Baker), shelters will receive greatly needed financial resources.

Another bill signed by the Governor, AB 1599 (Dodd) will allow the BOE to provide business owners in disaster areas more time to file returns and pay their BOE tax obligations.

“California business owners who have been severely impacted by natural disasters are focusing on the recovery of their business, which will affect their ability to file and pay their taxes,” said Chairwoman Ma.

“The Board of Equalization can now grant tax relief to countless businesses across the state that have been impacted by natural disasters. I’d like to thank Governor Jerry Brown for recognizing the urgency of this bill and acknowledging that California needs to do more to assist victims in the recovery process,” said Assemblymember Bill Dodd.