JPAC Announces Legislative Agenda, Signaling the California Jewish Community’s Top Priorities for 2022
JPAC’s Priority Legislation and Budget Requests Take Comprehensive Approach to Combating Antisemitism and Hate, and Advance Central Jewish Values by Expanding Critical Services for Vulnerable Populations
Today, the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) announced its 2022 Legislative Agenda. Selected and approved by the Board – representatives from 30 of California’s major Jewish organizations – JPAC’s legislative priorities include a slate of 28 bills and 10 budget requests under consideration by the California State Legislature. As the Jewish community reels from record levels of antisemitism and a recent hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX, this package takes a comprehensive approach to rooting out hatred and protecting against hate-motivated violence.
“JPAC strives to represent two central pillars of Judaism: supporting our own community and lifting up society as a whole,” said David Bocarsly, JPAC’s new Executive Director. “This legislative agenda meaningfully addresses the Jewish community’s core safety concerns and provides critical social services for those in need.
“The Jewish community is experiencing heightened levels of fear and anxiety as antisemitic and hate-motived incidents reach record highs. Our legislative agenda supports policies that tackle each stage in the evolution of hatred: education, preventing its spread, physical security, and community response. And yet, even as we work towards our own safety, we aim to uphold the Torah’s most enumerated commandment – v’ahavta lere’acha kamocha (loving the stranger as yourself) – by working to combat poverty and inequity, and expand access to food, healthcare, and immigrant services. This legislative agenda is a bold declaration that the California Jewish community shows up for ourselves and for all people.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), antisemitic incidents in the United States have doubled since 2015 to record highs. Since 2018, the Jewish community has been victim to deadly attacks at synagogues and gatherings in Pittsburgh, Poway, Jersey City, and Monsey. The hostage situation in Colleyville in January was yet another reminder of the very real threat facing our community.
Of the 38 priority items, the following eight will be highlighted at JPAC Advocacy Day in Sacramento on May 9-10, 2022. Advocacy Day – JPAC’s premier annual policy conference and advocacy effort – is returning in-person for the first time in three years and will honor JPAC’s historic 50th year. Nearly 200 Jewish community leaders will gather to network with some of the state’s most powerful lawmakers and activists, and practice and participate in direct lobbying.
JPAC Advocacy Day Priorities
Combating Antisemitism and Hate
SB 693 (Stern): Creates a large-scale study to assess the state of Holocaust and Genocide Education in the state.
AB 587 (Gabriel): Requires social media companies to report their hate content policies as well as how hate continues to proliferate on their platforms.
AB 1664 (Gabriel): Extends and expands the state’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to waive the sunset clause and include security training. Security training is provided by many Jewish Federations and was used by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker to escape the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX, in January.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program Budget Request – $80 million: Provides assistance to nonprofit organizations at risk of hate-motivated violence to enhance their physical security infrastructure. Last year’s state budget included a record $50 million for the NSGP, but it was still insufficient to meet the demand as over 350 organizations applied for funding. JPAC has championed this request every year.
AB 2282 (Bauer-Kahan): Brings penalties for wielding the noose, the burning cross, and the swastika into parity; expands code to ban these symbols in more places.
Expanding Services for Our Communities
AB 4 (Arambula)/SB 56 (Durazo) – Health4All: Provides Medi-Cal benefits for all income-eligible Californians who are only ineligible due to immigration status and age. Of note, this will benefit Ukrainian immigrants who have not yet been granted Asylum or Temporary Protected Status.
SB 464 (Hurtado) – Food4All: Provides state-funded nutrition benefits to all Californians who are ineligible for CalFresh due to immigration status. Of note, this will benefit Ukrainian immigrants who have not yet been granted Asylum or Temporary Protected Status.
Senior Nutrition Program Expansion – $70 million: Provides resources to help our Area Agencies on Aging – including several of JPAC’s family service agencies – meet the needs of hungry older adults and people with disabilities. With the imminent end of enhanced federal Covid-relief funding, we face a potential funding cliff that will drastically reduce current service levels, losing 7 million meals and harming approximately 26,000 older Californians.