Why Connie Leyva is at the forefront of women’s issues in Sacramento
One of Sacramento’s leading voices on women’s issues didn’t start out that way.
“I kind of lived in a bubble,” said state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, who describes both her father and her husband as supportive. “Coming to Sacramento, I realized women’s rights are always under attack. It really made me want to be an advocate for women.”
That outlook inspired Leyva, 50, to sponsor several bills pertaining to women and women’s rights, including legislation passed by the Senate on Monday, Jan. 29 that mandates on-campus access to abortion-inducing medication for students at four-year public universities in California.
Another Leyva-sponsored bill signed into law last September eliminated the statute of limitation for rape and related crimes in California. A 2016 Leyva bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown cemented overtime protections for privately hired domestic workers – 95 percent of whom are women, according to a 2016 study.
Leyva also is sponsoring a bill this session that would ban non-disclosure agreements in settlements of civil cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
Advocates for women and abortion rights laud Leyva, who was elected to the Senate in 2014 to represent a solidly Democratic district that covers Chino, Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Montclair, Ontario, Rialto, Pomona and about a third of San Bernardino.
“There’s a lot of people who talk about women’s issues. They say they care. They vote the right way some of the time,” said Amy Everitt, state director for NARAL Pro-Choice California.
“You get someone like Connie Leyva – the difference begins to be really clear about what a champion looks like when someone walks the talk.”
Universal praise has not marked Leyva’s first four years in office. Her support of a challenger to a then-Democratic incumbent assemblywoman riled Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, who reportedly used the term