New Homemade Food Legislation - 2017

On Tuesday, a bill was introduced in the California legislature to expand the types of homemade foods allowed to be sold in California, especially hot meals. The bill, AB 626, was introduced by Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia and Joaquin Arambula, however, the bill is still in “spot bill” form, meaning that the full details are not yet written in the public record. The current bill just paints a picture in broad brushstrokes of what the two Assemblymembers seek to achieve. Nevertheless, this is really exciting and potentially groundbreaking legislation! However, after much deliberation and meetings with stakeholders around the state, we’ve decided that we will only support further homemade food legislation if it ensures some form of community ownership of any web platforms intermediating the sale of homemade foods.

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Sustainable Economies Law Center Awarded American Bar Association Award

The Sustainable Economies Law Center was awarded the 2017 Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access by the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. The Louis M. Brown Award recognizes our center for "improving access to legal services for those of moderate and middle incomes in ways that are remarkable and replicable." Our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Program and our Fellowship Program are two ways in which our Center is improving legal access for those of moderate income. 

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New Workers Comp Law Undermines Worker Ownership in California

California State Assembly.pngBecause of a new California law that passed last year, starting January 1, 2017, any worker cooperative corporation with seven or more members must now obtain workers compensation insurance for its worker-owners, even when everyone serves on the Board of Directors.

Although Assembly Bill (AB) 2883 was framed as a bill to clean up ambiguities in the code, it failed to take into account its impact on Cooperative Corporations. Many worker cooperatives are now being hit with enormous insurance bills costing worker-owners as much as 20% of their income. Prior to AB 2883, worker-owners had a choice in how this money was spent, sometimes setting it aside instead for higher wages that are paid directly to workers, or using it to provide comprehensive medical insurance. AB 2883 effectively takes this decision-making power away from worker-owners, undermining worker self-determination.  

This article provides background, steps that cooperatives can take to respond, and information about the worker cooperative community’s current efforts to change the law.

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Jamie Facciola of Repair Revolution
Jamie Facciola of Repair Revolution. Photos by Gabriel Tolliver of Oaklandnorth.net

Meet Jamie. She’s an entrepreneur who first came to the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe in 2015 with a question: "If I reframe repair, will people come?" Since then, her business, Repair Revolution, has gone through many iterations. She’s brought together a cluster of neighborhood repair shops for pop-up events in Oakland, where Oaklanders bring their old clothes, phones, and small appliances to be fixed, and she operated a two-month-long repair salon at OwlNWood, a local boutique in uptown Oakland. 

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Piecing Together the Community Energy Puzzle

By Subin Varghese, Community Renewable Energy Director

What if you could use your consumer power and investment dollars to drive a fast and equitable transition to renewables? That’s part of the potential of community-owned renewable energy: to expand opportunities for ordinary citizens to put their money toward community-controlled energy facilities that share not just electricity among community members, but the economic benefits of the enterprise as well.

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Resiliency in a Time of Trump

By Simon Mont, Organizational Design Fellow

It can be difficult for a nonprofit to stay aligned with its mission. As contexts change and opportunities and funding appear and disappear, leaders are faced with the task of keeping their organizations financially viable while maximizing impact. The pressure to keep the organization afloat financially and keep their staff employed can induce leaders to pursue strategies that are more responsive to funders than what the community really needs. Streams of funding will shift under Trump’s administration, and it’s important that we are vigilant about staying aligned and accountable.

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The Power of Wholeness in the Workplace

By Simon Mont, Organizational Design Fellow

Humans are truly amazing creatures.  We can reason and deduce.  We can intuit and feel. We have an innate desire to expand ourselves to understand more complexity, assume more responsibility, make bigger contributions, and develop into an ideal version of our selves that we can now just barely glimpse even in the moments of our greatest clarity. We hold visions of unnameable harmony and justice in our hearts. When we have the space to follow this deeply held, essentially human, intuition, we are capable of tremendous insight and creativity.

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