20 Ways SELC is Changing the World this Summer!

Legal CafeSELC has been working hard since our last newsletter and we want you, our friends and supporters, to know what we've been up to. Read below for 20 exciting ways that SELC has been leading the way towards more just and resilient economies!

1. Legal Cafes

SELC is providing one of the most innovative legal advice clinics in the country, the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. It's 1/3 Legal Advice Clinic, 1/3 Living Classroom, 1/3 Community Building and Collaboration Space! SELC staff and volunteer attorneys provide pay-it-forward legal advice for projects and organizations that build the sharing economy.

2. Neighborhood Food Act

SELC has worked for over a year to lay groundwork for the  California Neighborhood Food Act, and we are refining the details this summer. California State Assemblymember Steven Bradford has committed to work with SELC - in collaboration with Ubuntu Green and Slow Food California -to introduce this groundbreaking bill.  This legislative proposal furthers SELC's work to promote agriculture in both urban and rural settings. Among other things, this bill will require cities to revise outdated land-use policies that exacerbate food insecurity by putting up barriers to food cultivation and sales.

3. Starting Worker-Owned Businesses, en Español

SELC, in collaboration with Green Collar Communities Clinic and Women's Action to Gain Economic Security, is facilitating an all Spanish language training on how to start a worker-owned cooperative business. The training will be in Richmond this Saturday, July 13th, at the Latina Center! Click here for more information about our workshop, "El Proceso Legal Para Iniciar Tu Negocio Cooperativa," which will provide the basic tools for our Spanish speaking neighbors to build more just livelihoods with businesses they own and operate cooperatively.

4. Building the Legal Apprenticeship Movement

SELC launched a new website, LikeLincoln.org, to educate people about and promote alternative routes to becoming a lawyer, through apprenticeships and independent study in California and five other US states. The website is named after President Abe Lincoln, who became a lawyer without going to law school. At a time of crisis in the legal education system and profession, we hope that our website will provide valuable information to future and practicing attorneys about this important opportunity for the profession.

5. SELC’S City Policy Recommendations for Short-Term Airbnb-Style Rentals

Short-term home stays are becoming an increasingly popular way to travel, and to offset the high cost of housing. Because this trend is bringing up new legal gray areas for cities, SELC released a set of recommendations to help policymakers address this important element of the sharing economy. You might have heard about it in several online articles (eveninternationally)!

6. Sharing Economy City Policy Brief

The first sharing economy policy brief of its kind, this forthcoming document is the culmination of three years of SELC’s research and writing. Published in partnership with Shareable.net, the document outlines model policies that remove barriers to Housing, Transportation, Jobs, and Community Food and Agriculture in the sharing economy! Get excited because the brief will be published this month! Be sure to check back on SELC’s City Policies program page to find it.


7. Legalizing Local Currencies

Communities without dollars are not communities without wealth. That's why SELC is seeking to introduce legislation in California that would remove important barriers to the creation of community currencies, an emerging economic strategy for creating thriving local economies, reducing poverty, and co-creating more democratic means of exchange.We're also researching other potential legal barriers to the creation of community currencies. Find out more at www.CommunityCurrenciesLaw.org.

8. Time Bank Tax Exemption

SELC is drafting a model tax exemption application for time banks and it will soon be available onCommunityCurrenciesLaw.org. There are now over 300 time banks in the US, and an average of two more being created every week, according to time bank expert Edgar Cahn. As time banks flourish across the country, we are helping to create model documents to serve their legal needs and further unlock their potential for democratic and just community wealth creation.

9. Greasing the Wheels of the Community Farm Movement

Over 50 residents from ten farm worker communities partnered with SELC and the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment to host a training for community farmers. Since the training, over sixty families in Shafter and Arvin have joined newly formed community farms, and both farms plan to expand beyond their current acreage this year.

10. Monthly Happy Hour Gatherings

SELC understands the old adage, A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having! In this vein, we hold monthly happy hours where legal professionals, law students, change makers, and SELC supporters can come together over a drink and swap stories. See which happy hour is happening in your neck of the woods on SELC's Events page.

11. Community Renewable Energy Webinar

In April, SELC hosted the Community Renewable Energy Webinar, the first installment of our Shareable City Policies Webinar Series for planners, policymakers, and sharing economy change makers. SELC’s panel of experts discusses the legal barriers, policy opportunities, and steps to creating clean, democratic, resilient energy grids with distributed economic benefits. Click here to view the video recording and access the slideshow presentation here.

12. Supporting California's Asian Immigrant Farmers

SELC has been providing legal support to Chinese, Hmong, and Lao farmers who are facing employment law barriers to the operation of small family farms. We are currently seeking to meet with the Department Labor Standards Enforcement and seeking funding to continue this work. Please support our work with Chinese, Hmong, and Lao farmers here.

13. Summer Interns

We have four awesome law student interns this summer doing amazing research and community building. Their projects include research on personal chef business laws, squatting laws, youth-owned cooperatives, push-cart businesses, lending circles, community currencies, legal definitions of worker cooperatives, and much more.

14. Money Transmitter Laws

Recently, SELC was made aware of the ways in which money transmitter laws might act as significant barriers to the creation of small-scale online businesses and to community currencies. One of SELC's current research projects is to create a guide to complying with these laws. More importantly, because it costs an enormous amount of money to comply with money transmitter laws, SELC is looking for ways to advocate for change so that compliance is not so burdensome for small-scale businesses.

15. Training the Next Generation of Sharing Economy Lawyers

SELC and the Green Collar Communities Clinic held a two-day legal training for law students, attorneys, and legal apprentices entitled "Transactional Law for Just and Resilient Communities." The participatory training at UC Berkeley's Boalt School of Law focused on how transactional law and the sharing economy both fit into the struggle for social justice. Pictured here is one of the graduates of this training receiving his certificate.

16.  Building a Movement to Convert Businesses Everywhere to Cooperatives

Picture a world where hundreds of businesses in every community begin to convert to cooperatives. SELC wants to make this a reality. On July 25th, in partnership with the Hub Bay Area, SELC will pilot a new workshop on how to transition an existing business to a worker or consumer owned cooperative. Workshop participants will examine a variety of different business types and explore the potentials for cooperative structuring and strategies for transitioning to a cooperative. North Carolina-based cooperative activist Marcie Hawkins Smith and SELC Executive Director Janelle Orsi will lead this workshop. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

17. California Worker Cooperative Statute

SELC and the Green Collar Communities Clinic, in collaboration with key stakeholders in California, are working to create a legal entity designed specifically for worker-owned cooperatives. This will help pave the way for the legal formation of cooperatively owned businesses, clarify tricky legal questions that worker-owners face (are they owners or employees?), and provide a replicable model for laws in other states.

18. Financial Empowerment through Lending Circles

SELC is researching legal frameworks for the creation and formalization of community-based lending circles, gifting circles, and mutual aid circles.  Such circles reduce economic vulnerability in low-income communities, provide access to capital for community-driven projects, and supplement support traditionally received through insurance and public benefits.  SELC will be having an informal discussion about lending/giving/mutual aid circles at our August 1st Legal Cafe. Find out more info here: tandas.eventbrite.com

19. SELC's Cooperative Housing Bill Is Nearing the Governor's Desk

SELC helped to draft and has been shepherding Assembly Bill 1024 through the California legislature.  This bill will facilitate cooperative ownership of housing in California by removing various barriers to cooperative development.  The bill passed in the Assembly and out of two committees in the Senate. It is now headed for the Senate floor. SELC will be seeking letters of support once it hits the Governor's desk. Click here to learn more, and watch our cartoon about it here.

20. SELC Supporters ROCK!

Thanks to over 120 individual donors, we flew past our $10,000 matching grant target in May and earned a matching grant of $10,000 from the 11th Hour Project! We also made a video to thank you for supporting our work. To keep the momentum going and build on the upcoming release of our Sharing Economy City Policy Brief, we're now asking for support for our City Policies Program.

With your contribution, we can do the important work of collaborating with policy makers to make our recommendations a reality!
Please support our City Policies Program today.


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