A Successful Advocacy Day

JPAC’s 2015 Advocacy Day was a huge success.  With over 95 advocates in attendance, we lobbied more than 45 legislators on bills and issues that impact the overall health and well being of the State of California.

The event kicked off Monday night with state legislators and their staff joining JPAC advocates at a reception at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento. At the reception, JPAC honored Senator Marty Block (D-39), chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, with the Legislator of the Year Award.  JPAC has a very close and productive working relationship with the Jewish Caucus and we were overjoyed to award Senator Block with this well deserved award.

On day two, we held two panel discussions, the first of which was about what the State can do to improve economic justice for all. To attain economic justice for ALL residents of California, we need a broad perspective and multi-pronged approach that will address the many underlying issues impacted by a lack of equity.  Among the key components are health, education and workforce/income issues.  This panel presented an opportunity to briefly highlight each of those areas. Advocates heard from Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-7), Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-54), and Mike Herald of the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

The second panel was about campus climate from the perspective of students, directly addressing the issue of anti-Semitism on college campuses. Advocates heard from Ollie Ben, Executive Director, San Francisco Hillel; Avinoam Baral, President of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, UCLA; Avi Oved, UC Student Regent; Julia Reifkind, President of Aggies for Israel, UC Davis; and Lauren Rogers, Chief of Staff to the UC Student Regent, UCLA.  This panel was moderated by Dan Gold of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation.  Those in attendance were overwhelmingly impressed by these articulate students who are making a huge difference on their campuses to improve relations with campus administrators in addressing anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

Our keynote speaker was former UC Regents President Mark Yudof, who spoke about the role of the UC Regents in dealing with issues that include free speech on campus and dealing with prejudice.  During lunch, Jon Levinson was honored with the Earl Raab award.  Earl Raab is one of the Jewish community’s most widely recognized and respected community leaders and intellectuals. As the co-founder of JPAC, he recognized the importance of having a strong, unified voice in Sacramento to better the lives of those in our community.  The Earl Raab Award is awarded annually to a community activist who best exemplifies Mr. Raab’s high standard of communal activism and advocacy for residents of our state. Mr. Levinson was nominated for this award based on his communal service within the Jewish community. 

Advocates then met with 45 members of the Legislature and lobbied on a slate of issues including:

  1. Restoring Funding for Programs that serve Older Californians, Disabled Adults and Those Who Care for Them
  2. Non-profit Security Grant Budget Allocation Request
  3. Assembly Bill 47 (McCarty): Preschool For All
  4. Hunger Bills Package:

JPAC’s Legislative Agenda is Announced

On May 12, JPAC’s Advocacy Day will be in full swing! Advocates will lobby on three main issues: budget cut restoration for programs for needy seniors, a hunger bill package, and preschool for all. 

We are also pleased to announce our support for several other bills of interest and importance to our members, including Atkins’ affordable housing bill package, several immigration bills, and an ADL-sponsored by (AB 1267).

Details can be found here.  Register today!





May 11th – May 12th

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 11: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. – Legislators’ Reception

Tuesday, May 12: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Program & Legislative Appointments

Visit https://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

California’s Insurance Commissioner on Iran Divestment

Commissioner Dave Jones recently updated the California Department of Insurance’s website to detail the work that his office has accomplished on Iran divestment.  The website can be viewed here.

An excerpt from the website is below:

The Department has developed a list of companies doing business with the Iranian oil and natural gas, nuclear, and military sectors. Select the link below to view the list of companies.

The Department may in the future revise the list by adding companies found to be doing business with the Iranian oil and natural gas, nuclear, and military sectors; removing companies that cease doing business with those sectors; or making changes based on other risk-related considerations.

JPAC’s Lobbying Efforts Pay Off in Sacramento

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.

JPAC Advocacy Day 2014 a huge success!

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:


  1. The social service budget and the restoration of cuts to safety net programs.
  2. Bullying: SB 840 (Lara):This bill would increase school safety by improving the handling of bullying and discrimination in public schools.
  1. 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.


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JPAC’s 2014 Legislative Agenda Announced

JPAC’s 2014 Legislative Agenda is:

1. The social service safety net cuts and the restoration of those cuts

2. Bullying

3. Human Trafficking

Stay tuned for details on the specific bills that JPAC will be lobbying on May 13th.

JPAC thanks CSU and UC Presidents for opposing ASA Boycott

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.”