JPAC was fortunate to hear from Scott Graves of the CA Budget Project at our Advocacy Day 2014. As the budget is always on our mind, Graves provided us with a summary of this year’s budget. You read it here.
On May 13, over 85 advocates from across the State represented JPAC in meetings with 53 legislators. We lobbied our representatives to support SB 840 (Lara) on anti-bullying efforts in schools, SB 1165 (Mitchell, Block) on anti human trafficking programs and SB 1388 (Lieu) on increasing penalties for human trafficking, and requesting support for increasing funding for food banks and the SSI/SSP grants for the Stat’es most vulnerable. Our efforts paid off. As a result of JPAC, the SSI/SSP COLA was restored and is next going to be heard in conference committee; Governor Brown restored funding for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program (SEFAP) to $5 million; SB 1388 (human trafficking) was determined to have no fiscal impact and is sitting on the senate floor and is expected to pass and SB 1165 (human trafficking) passed out of the senate appropriations suspense file today and is expected to pass. Our only regret is that SB 840 did not pass out of appropriations suspense because it was deemed too expensive.
These issues are so important to the Jewish community and the community at large and we hope that our conversations and relationships hep make these bills move ahead to protect the most vulnerable in our State.
On May 12 and 13, 2014, Over 85 JPAC advocates came together in Sacramento on Monday evening and Tuesday for JPAC’s annual Advocacy Day. JPAC advocates represented Jewish organizations from across California, including multiple federations and JCRC’s, Hadassah, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and Jewish Family Services agencies. The event kicked off Monday night with state legislators joining JPAC at a reception at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento. JPAC honored Assembly Member and Budget Committee Chair Nancy Skinner with the Legislator of the Year Award. Skinner graciously accepted her award and offered words of encouragement and support for JPAC, stating that JPAC has been a champion of promoting services for the state’s most vulnerable and a major player in helping government do what is right in Sacramento. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom dropped by, as well as Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, Senator Marty Block, Asemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, Asemblymember Steve Fox, Asemblymember Bradford, Asemblymember Brown, Assemblymember Achadjian, and Senator Mark Leno.
On Tuesday, May 13, the conference was in full swing, with a full morning of panel discussions, speakers, awards, and finally, the legislative meetings at the Capitol. Just after the May Revise was released, advocates heard from Asemblymember Nancy Skinner and Senator Carol Liu on the state of funding for social services, along with expert Scott Graves of the California Budget Project. One of JPAC’s lobbying items for this year is to restore the COLA for SSI/SSP grants for seniors and to increase funding for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program (SEFAP) to $5 million annually.
Following that panel advocates heard from Assemblymember Shirley Weber, Senator Lois Wolk, the Anti-Defamation League staffer Nancy Appel, and a UC Berkeley student, on the issue of campus climate and what is happening on our college campuses with regard to Jewish students. Advocates also heard from Senator Marty Block and Senator Ted Lieu on their human trafficking bills, which advocates were going to the Capitol to lobby on in the afternoon. Finally, Abigail Browning of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development made a brief stop to give an update on the trade MOU signed by Governor Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu.
All 85 advocates then went in their groups to the Capitol and met with 53 legislators to ask for their support on the following bills:
- The social service budget and the restoration of cuts to safety net programs.
- Bullying: SB 840 (Lara):This bill would increase school safety by improving the handling of bullying and discrimination in public schools.
- Human trafficking:
- SB 1165 (Mitchell, Block): This bill aims to add sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention education to the sexual health education for junior high and high school students.
· SB 1388 (Lieu):This bill aims to turn off the money faucet that is driving the illicit sex trade by increasing the penalty for sex buyers.
JPAC’s 2014 Legislative Agenda is:
1. The social service safety net cuts and the restoration of those cuts
3. Human Trafficking
Stay tuned for details on the specific bills that JPAC will be lobbying on May 13th.
In December 2013, the American Studies Association issued an academic boycott of Israeli colleges and universities because it contends that Israeli policies have deprived Palestinian scholars and students of their academic freedoms. While we know this is absolutely false and Israeli universities are open to all, many American universities and professors shamefully signed onto this boycott.
JPAC applauds those colleges and universities across the country that oppose this boycott, particularlythe California State University system and the University of California Regents.
CSU Chancellor White commented: “Academic boycotts violate the basic tenets of higher education including academic freedom and scholarly dialog. Boycotts attempt to limit the unfettered creation, discovery and dissemination of knowledge vital to our tripartite mission of research, teaching and service. These characteristics are essential to preparing students with the analytical and critical thinking skills to lead in business, community, educational and civic organizations.” UC Regents President Janet Napolitano commented: ‘Such a boycott threatens free speech and the free exchange of ideas and that an academic boycott goes against the spirit of the University of California, which has long championed open dialogue and collaboration with international scholars.”
SAVE THE DATE
JPAC’s ANNUAL ADVOCACY DAY 2014
May 12th – May 13th
Join Jewish community members from across the State to influence decision-makers in Sacramento on issues of concern to the broader Jewish Community.
Citizen Hotel, 926 J Street Sacramento 95814
Monday, May 12: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. – Legislators’ Reception
Tuesday, May 13: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Program & Legislative Appointments
General Registration is $85. Students are $45.
Visit http://jpac-cal.org/advocacy-day/sign-up-for-advocacy-day/ to register online.
Questions? Contact Julie Zeisler, JPAC Association Director at Julie@jpac-cal.org
June 17, 2013– On June 7, 2013, 36 members of the State Legislature, led by Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield, signed onto a letter to the UC Regents congratulating them on their stance against efforts by some UC student governments to urge University of California to divest from U.S. companies doing business with Israel. Read the Legislative Letter to UC Regents.
These legislators share the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC’s) concern that the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on UC campuses is a divisive and harmful tactic to antagonize and alienate Jewish students on campus, and serves to create further divisiveness rather than a solution that benefits both sides.
The list of signatories includes Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, Senate Appropriations Chair Kevin De Leon, Senate Republican Caucus Chair Ted Gaines, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee Chair Mark Leno, Assembly Democratic Caucus chair Philip Ting, Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, and Assembly Assistant majority floor leader Anthony Rendon.
Anti-Israel divestment resolutions – calling on the university system to divest from multinational companies that allegedly help Israel maintain its occupation in the West Bank – have been debated by student governments at more than a dozen universities across the country in the past few years. The tactic, however, gained traction this past year following the successful passage of resolutions on several University of California campuses.
Two of the successful resolutions, at UC Irvine and UC Riverside, were introduced surreptitiously. Pro-Israel students did not have the opportunity to express opposition to the resolutions at public discussions prior to the student government’s vote. In general, however, divestment resolutions considered elsewhere have been vigorously opposed by pro-Israel students on campus, Hillel representatives, community members and Jewish organizations.
Because these resolutions are non-binding, the university administration is not obligated to make financial decisions based on their recommendations. In addition, the University of California Board of Regents has an explicit policy against divestment. In each case where divestment resolutions succeeded, the university’s chancellor issued a statement reiterating the university’s anti-BDS stance and the UC system’s policy against BDS.
On May 21, 2013, JPAC held its annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento and discussed this important issue with the legislators we met with.
The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) is the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation. Comprised of local Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Committees and Councils, and other Jewish community advocacy groups from throughout California we advocate on behalf of Jewish social service agencies, traditional community concerns, and broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State.
May 21, 2013
For immediate release:
On May 20 and 21, over 60 representatives from 13 Jewish organizations across California came to Sacramento to participate in the 2013 Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Advocates heard from high-ranking public officials including State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Assembly Speaker John Perez who received JPAC’s 2013 Legislator of the Year Award.
JPAC Advocacy Day is an annual mission to Sacramento that brings together lay leaders and staff from Jewish organizations all over California, including Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Councils, and Jewish Family and Children’s Services, as well as nationally known organizations including the Ant-Defamation League, Hadassah, and the National Council of Jewish Women. It is an opportunity to come together in Sacramento and strengthen relationships, discuss policy, and represent the greater Jewish community statewide to our legislators.
The event kicked off Monday night as over 20 legislators joined JPAC advocates at a reception at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento to mingle and schmooze, including Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Asm. Bob Blumenfield, Asm. Achadjian, Asm. Fox, Asm. Adrin Nazarian, and Asm Mark Levine. They mingled with Rabbi Doug Kahn, executive director of the Bay Area’s Jewish Community Relations Council, Anita Friedman, JFCS executive director, and multiple heads of local JCRC’s and Federations. At the reception, JPAC also honored Assembly Speaker John Perez with the Jerry Sampson Award, which recognizes and honors a California State Legislator who embodies the spirit and dedication to good civic government and whose leadership and advocacy on behalf of the organized Jewish community’s priority concerns have been exemplary. Speaker Perez regaled the crowd with stories of conversations with the likes of Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro tem about Jewish values and the definition of Yiddish terms.
On Tuesday May 21, JPAC hosted two panel discussions: the first on the intersection of gun violence and mental health and the second on the Israel/CA trade relationship. The first panel featured State Senator Kevin De Leon, Assembly member Nancy Skinner, and Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of CA, Rusty Selix. The second panel featured Assembly member Bob Blumenfield, Abigail Browning of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Israeli Consul General of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Andy David. The lively discussion on both panels educated and informed JPAC advocates and were useful during their legislative meetings that afternoon.
Additionally, with a strong and united voice, advocates met with over 50 senators and assembly members at the capitol and advocated on three issues. The first is the Life Act, a package of eight senate bills addressing gun safety and gun violence prevention and which closes loopholes to many existing gun safety laws. The second was AB 518, which establishes the Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) program as a Medi-Cal eligible benefit and codifies the program in State law. The third was not a bill, but asks that law makers sign onto a letter to the UC Regents thanking them for their stance against divestment from companies that do business with Israel. This letter came about in light of the divestment activities taking place in the halls of student government on many University of California campuses. During our legislative appointments, JPAC advocates reported practically a rate of 100% support from legislators on our policy priorities for this year, and all of the advocates ended the day with a great deal of satisfaction that their voices were not only heard, but welcomed and respected by our California law makers.
Contact Julie Zeisler for more information on how to get involved with JPAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) is the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation. Comprised of local Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Committees and Councils, and other Jewish community advocacy groups from throughout California we advocate on behalf of Jewish social service agencies, traditional community concerns, and broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State. Click here for more information.
JPAC’s Advocacy Day agenda is a full day and half of exciting speakers and lobbying.
Advocacy Day highlights include:
*Legislators’ Reception honoring Assembly Speaker John Perez
*Welcome address from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
*Keynote address from CA State Treasurer Bill Lockyer
REGISTRATION ENDS MAY 13!
On January 29, 2013, JPAC Board members from all over the State met in Sacramento for our first meeting of 2013. Led by our new Board chair Dave Rand, we discussed our priorities and legislative goals for 2013, and chatted with Israeli Consul General of San Francisco Dr. Andy David, as well as newly elected Assembly member Richard Bloom from District 50 (West LA).
Following the meeting, we went over to the Capitol and met with five influential legislators from around the state: Holly Mitchell (District 54), Marc Levine (District 10), Mark Stone (District 29), Anthony Rendon (District 63), and Kevin De Leon (District 22).