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OUR MISSION
OUR TEAM

OUR TEAM

Ted Mermin

Director

CLICC is led by Ted Mermin, Interim Director of the Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice, Executive Director of the Public Good Law Center, and former California Deputy Attorney General.

Danielle Kando-Kaiser

Policy Advocate, Corbin & Kaiser

Danielle is the Chief Operating Officer and a founding partner of Corbin and Kaiser. She is a seasoned professional specializing in governmental advocacy.

OUR MISSION

The California Low-Income Consumer Coalition strives to ensure that all people, regardless of their income or background, have opportunities under the law to achieve their full potential.

 

Every year, dozens of bills are introduced in the California Legislature that touch on issues affecting low-income consumers, including access to credit, arbitration, auto lending, bankruptcy, car rentals, debt collection, foreclosures, identity theft, medical bills, payday lending, student loans, towing, and utility services. Consumer bills often disproportionately affect low-income Californians, and, in particular, communities of color, who are more likely to enter the marketplace hampered by a lack of financial resources, language access issues, and a history of discrimination. As a result, many of the indigent are easy prey for the unscrupulous.

It is CLICC’s mission to right the balance. We seek to ensure that all consumers in California have their voices heard, and their needs recognized, by the Legislature. Low-income Californians ought to be able both to access the protections of California law and to grasp the opportunities of California’s economy. To that end, we work to build a state, and a future, in which consumer rights and economic justice are fully recognized and firmly established.

OUR COALITION

OUR COALITION

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Bet Tzedek

Founded in 1974, the mission of Bet Tzedek (Hebrew for “House of Justice”) is to act upon a central tenet of Jewish law and tradition: “Tzedek, Tzedek, tirdof—justice, justice, you shall pursue.” The doctrine establishes an obligation to advocate the just causes of the most vulnerable members of society. Consistent with this mandate, Bet Tzedek provides free legal assistance to eligible low-income residents, particularly in Los Angeles County, regardless of their racial, religious, or ethnic background.

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Centro Legal De La Raza

Founded in 1969, Centro Legal de la Raza is a comprehensive legal services agency protecting and advancing the rights of immigrant, low-income, and Latino communities through bilingual legal representation, education, and advocacy. By combining quality legal services with know-your-rights education and youth development, Centro Legal promotes access to justice for thousands of individuals and families each year throughout Northern and Central California.

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Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto

Founded in 1969, Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) provides legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in East Palo Alto and the surrounding communities of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Practice areas include housing, immigration, and economic advancement. CLSEPA provide legal assistance and advice to over 6,000 community members per year. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students, and community volunteers work with staff members to provide life-changing legal services to residents in need.

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Elder Law & Advocacy

Elder Law & Advocacy is a caring group of experienced elder-law staff and trained volunteers who serve over 8,000 seniors annually in both San Diego and Imperial Counties. We provide free and low-cost civil legal services, Medicare and Medicare related counseling and advocacy, referrals to community senior service providers, and community education. The majority of services are offered at no-cost to qualifying seniors.

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La Raza Centro Legal

La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco Advocacy is a multicultural community social justice center based in the Mission District of San Francisco. Born out of the civil rights and Chicano movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Centro Legal was founded in 1973 by Latino law students to fill a gap in the availability of economically and culturally accessible legal services for the Bay Area’s Latino population. Since our founding, we have established a reputation of credibility in the community: as a source of trustworthy legal advice and referrals, as a place where clients will be treated with dignity and respect and where they will find advocates willing to fight for them and with them.

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Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino

Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, a non-profit, has provided free legal services to the neediest residents of this county for over 50 years. Our mission is to strengthen communities by providing access to the judicial system by providing legal education, counsel, and advocacy services for those in need, regardless of their ability to pay. Our vision is a society where poverty does not inhibit justice; a society where all people have equitable access to justice, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, personal traits, or affiliations.

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Legal Aid of Marin

Legal Aid of Marin's mission is to provide access to the civil justice system to low-income, vulnerable and otherwise underserved residents of Marin County. We strive for practical solutions to client problems through quality legal service. Areas of focus include: elder law; debt law; employment law; and housing law.

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Legal Assistance for Seniors of Oakland

Legal Assistance for Seniors works to ensure the independence and dignity of seniors by protecting their legal rights through education, counseling, and advocacy.

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Open Door Legal

Open Door Legal is pioneering the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation. Our goal is to show that when everyone has access to the law, poverty will be dramatically reduced.

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Public Counsel

Public Counsel is the largest pro bono law firm in the nation. Founded in 1970 in Los Angeles, its 71 attorneys and 50 support staff—along with over 5,000 volunteer lawyers, law students, and legal professionals—assist more than 30,000 individuals, families, and community organizations every year. Our projects focus on the needs of those living at or near the poverty level in such areas as Education, Children’s Rights, Immigration, Veterans, Community Development, and Homelessness. The Consumer Law Project is one of Public Counsel’s original projects. From its inception it has assisted thousands of low-income homeowners, students, and consumers in resolving claims of unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentations, and a wide range of issues involving fairness in the marketplace.

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Public Law Center

The Public Law Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides free legal services to low-income residents of Orange County. Annually, over 8,000 of the most vulnerable residents of Orange County, including immigrants, minorities, veterans, seniors, and children, receive services from PLC's staff and volunteers. Our work includes counseling, individual representation, community education and strategic policy advocacy and impact litigation to challenge societal injustices, and we practice in the areas of domestic violence, human trafficking, guardianship, housing, health, bankruptcy, asylum, family law, consumer fraud, immigration, and discrimination. PLC's Consumer Law Unit works on a variety of issues, including debt collection defense, identity theft, bankruptcy, student loans, auto fraud and predatory lending.

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Riverside Legal Aid

Riverside Legal Aid, a dba of the Public Services Law Corporation of the Riverside County Bar Association, provides pro se litigants with legal services, education and counselling. Services are limited to low income residents of Riverside County and are provided at offices in the cities of Riverside and Indio as well as in-court services in both cities and at the courthouse in Temecula. Areas of practice include, but are not limited to Family Law, Probate, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Unlawful Detainers, Bankruptcy and civil litigation in State and Federal courts.

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Santa Clara Law

The Katherine & George Alexander Community Law Center Justice at Santa Clara School of Law provides free legal services to low-income individuals who have been victimized as consumers and debtors by unfair business practices and fraud. The Community Law Center offers advice clinics twice-a-month regarding consumer-related issues. It also offers a monthly clinic regarding debtors’ rights. The advice provided during the clinics is free of charge. The Consumer Practice Area's major types of cases include: Fraud while purchasing a new or a used car; Car repossession or towing issues; Debt collection harassment; Notario or paralegal fraud; Telemarketing or door-to-door sales fraud; Identity fraud; Credit card fraud; Bankruptcy Credit reporting problems; and other miscellaneous consumer cases.

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Watsonville Law Center

The Watsonville Law Center (WLC) provides free legal services to low-income individuals on California’s Central Coast. We believe that everyone benefits when the most vulnerable among us thrive, and that a holistic collaborative approach is most effective. We focus on legal problems with long-term impacts and solutions, such as workers’ rights, consumer rights, and access to employment.

Policy Advocates

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Corbin & Kaiser

Corbin & Kaiser is a Sacramento-based firm serving not-for-profit, government, and cause-based organizations through government relations, coalition building, fund development, and public relations.  Joint partners Samantha Corbin and Danielle Kando-Kaiser have managed national organizational expansions, procured over $700 million in funding for education and public interest programs, and have led clients and coalitions to victory in front of the legislature. We take our clients from planning to action — and success.

OUR WORK

OUR WORK

2024 Legislative Priorities

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Removing Medical Debt from Credit Reports

When someone incurs medical expenses they cannot afford, those unpaid bills often turn into medical debt that is included on their credit report. This damages their credit score and may affect their ability to get an affordable car loan or a mortgage, to rent an apartment, and even to get certain jobs. SB 1061(Limón) would prohibit the inclusion of that medical debt on credit reports.

Past Sponsored Bills

AB 1119

2023

Wicks

Removing the Last Vestiges of Debtors’ Prison

AB 1119 rebalances the power dynamic between debt collectors and families with consumer debt. First, AB 1119 reduces the need for court appearances as people who get a notice to appear in court, but whose income and property are under the threshold protected by existing California law, will now be able to file a financial affidavit rather than taking up court time. Second, AB 1119 makes clear that there is no jail time for failure to pay debts in “limited civil” cases in superior court.

Signed by Governor

SB 478

2023

Dodd/Skinner

Fighting Junk Fees by Requiring That the Advertised Price Include All Mandatory Charges

SB 478 adds a provision to the California Legal Remedies Act that prohibits businesses from advertising a price that does not include all required fees (excluding taxes).

Signed by Governor

SB 1200

2022

Skinner

Reducing the Interest Rate and the Term of Post-Judgment Debt

SB 1200 provides relief to debt-burdened Californians subject to debt-collection lawsuits. SB 1200 reduces the interest rate on most personal and medical debt judgments from 10% to 5% per year, and limits renewals of those judgments to a single five-year period.

Signed by Governor

AB 1405

2021

Wicks

Reining in Debt Settlement Companies

AB 1405 establishes the Fair Debt Settlement Practices Act (Act) to prohibit debt settlement companies from engaging in specified practices or acts and to authorize a harmed consumer to bring a civil action against the provider by debt settlement companies.

Signed by Governor

AB 430

2021

Grayson

Making it Easier to Establish Identity Theft in Cases of Coerced Debt

AB 430 modifies the documentation requirements involved in various statutes that provide civil protections for victims of identity theft. The bill replaces obsolete references to a Federal Trade Commission Affidavit of Identity Theft.

Signed by Governor

AB 832

2021

Chiu

Creating Protections from Eviction and Back Rent Debt

AB 832 restricts landlords’ ability to evict tenants or to recover COVID back rent debt if tenants have applied for or would qualify for rental relief payments under federal and state efforts including the Emergency Rental Assistance Payments (ERAP) program. In addition, AB 832 "masks" actions to evict tenants for nonpayment of COVID rent debt or to collect that debt so that they will not appear on credit reports or tenant screening reports.

Signed by Governor

AB 1414

2023

Kalra

Ending Archaic and Unfair “Common Counts” in Debt Collection Cases

AB1414 prohibits common counts, which allow creditors and debt buyers to circumvent the usual rules of evidence and civil procedure, from being used in debt collection cases.

Signed by Governor

AB 199

2022

Budget

Expanding Automatic Waivers of Court Filing Fees

AB 199 incorporates the court fee waiver provisions of SB 355 provisions into the Budget Act of 2021.

Added to Budget Bill

SB 633

2022

Limón

Expanding the Co-Signers Act

SB 633 provides that, for certain types of consumer contracts, where the tradesperson or business knows or has reason to know that a co signer or guarantor is not proficient in English, the tradesperson or business must provide a translated notice in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean, as translated and made available by the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.

Signed by Governor

AB 390

2021

Berman

Making it Possible for Consumers to Cancel Online Subscription Services

AB 390 allows consumers to cancel online subscriptions for unwanted goods and services immediately and at any time. AB 390 also requires businesses to provide a link or button on their website or a readily accessible email address for termination.

Signed by Governor

AB 790

2021

Quirk-Silva

Extending a Key Consumer Protection to Cover PACE Contractors

AB 790 would amend a provision of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act so that it clearly applies to PACE fraud and be used to hold program administrators liable for their involvement in these schemes.

Signed by Governor

SB 355

2021

Becker

Expanding the Number of People Eligible for Filing-Fee Waivers in Superior Court

SB 355 expands eligibility for initial court filing-fee waivers and alters the calculation to determine income-based eligibility for such waivers. AB 199 incorporates these provisions into the Budget Act of 2021.

Added to Budget Bill

CONTACT

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