JPAC Priority Legislation

 

Since 2019, JPAC has successfully advocated for over $300 million dollars from the state budget for a wide range of community projects, including enhancing community security initiatives, rebuilding Jewish summer camps destroyed in wildfires, expanding our Holocaust education institutions, and securing vital resources for seniors, immigrants, and people experiencing food insecurity. We have helped pass crucial legislation to counter antisemitism and hate, expand mental health, anti-poverty, and anti-hunger initiatives, and support immigrants and older adults. And we led the advocacy efforts to remove antisemitic content from the state’s ethnic studies curriculum.

We work closely with the Legislative Jewish Caucus and other allies in the California State Legislature to further core Jewish community issues and values. Our annual policy priorities consist of bills and budget requests that meaningfully address the Jewish community’s security and discrimination concerns and provide critical social services for those in need.

JPAC uses our community’s collective reach and strength to help build the world we want to live in – for ourselves and for all vulnerable people across California.

Countering Antisemitism and Hate

With skyrocketing levels of antisemitism following October 7, 2023 – when Hamas committed its terrorist onslaught in Israel – JPAC is putting forth a robust antisemitism bill package to ensure the safety of Jewish students, workers, and members of society.

*Indicates a JPAC-sponsored item

^Indicates two-year bill

 

*California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program – $80 million: Provides funding for synagogues and other nonprofits at risk of hate-motivated violence to secure their institutions from hate crimes.

*California Teachers Collaborative on Holocaust and Genocide Education – $5 million: Expands the work of the Teachers Collaborative to ensure schools meet their requirement to teach about the Holocaust. The Teachers Collaborative is composed of 14 leading California Holocaust and genocide educational institutions working together to create lesson plans, vehicles for the distribution of new curriculum, and teacher training programs.

AB 1979 (Ward): Doxing Victims Recourse Act – Provides recourse for doxing victims by allowing a victim to pursue civil action to receive restitution for the harms endured because of being doxed. Doxing is when someone releases another person’s private, personally identifying information, without their consent, with the intent to cause that person harm.

AB 2621 (Gabriel): Requires law enforcement trainings on hate crimes to include education on the role gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) can play in preventing hate-based violence.

*AB 2867 (Gabriel): Ensures that California law is applied to protect residents seeking to reclaim art stolen in times of political persecution. This is a critical protection for many in our own community who were victims of the Nazi looting in World War II.

AB 2917 (Zbur): Prevents violent acts of armed extremism by naming risk factors judges should consider in deciding whether to issue a gun violence restraining order (GVRO), removing firearms before clear threats turn into tragedy. The risk factors added include threats of violence made against groups and locations where groups gather, and threats made against any person or group protected by California’s hate crimes law.

*AB 2925 (Friedman): Requires antisemitism to be included in higher education anti-discrimination and DEI trainings.

AB 3024 (Ward): Stop Hate Littering Act – In response to an uptick in antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ flyers illegally distributed on private property, ensures victims of hate littering are provided adequate protections and civil recourse. Hate littering is defined as the distribution of hateful propaganda targeting one’s race, gender, religion, or other actual or perceived protected characteristics in the form of flyers, posters, or symbols, with the intent to terrorize. These protections and recourse are afforded under existing law called the Ralph Act, which will be expanded to include hate littering.

^SB 399 (Wahab): Prevents employers from disciplining workers who refuse to attend meetings where the sole purpose of the meeting is to convey an employers’ religious or political values.

Died in Senate Appropriations: SB 1080 (Newman): Requires school sites to provide culturally appropriate halal or kosher food options if the share of a school’s student body is comprised of five percent or more of individuals adhering to these dietary restrictions.

*SB 1277 (Stern): Codifies the California Teachers Collaborative on Holocaust and Genocide Education as an official state program.

SB 1287 (Glazer): Requires higher education institutions to strengthen code of conduct policies to better address incidents of harassment and intimidation, and to respond appropriately when students call for genocide.

Died in Senate Appropriations: *SB 1421 (Stern): Institutes an “Office of Civil Rights” at the California Department of Education, tasked with investigating incidents of hate in schools, including discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying related to various factors such as disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.

SB 1504 (Stern): Cyberbullying Protection Act – Requires social media platforms to consistently address instances of cyberbullying reported by children or their parents, and to either remove the content or explain why it is not in violation of their platform’s policies. The bill permits an aggrieved minor to bring a civil suit against a company that is in violation of the Act.

 

Supporting Vulnerable Communities

We aim to uphold the Torah’s most enumerated commandment – v’ahavta lere’acha kamocha (loving the stranger as yourself) – by working to combat hunger and poverty, expand access to healthcare, support vulnerable communities, and combat climate change. 

*Indicates a JPAC-sponsored item

^Indicates two-year bill

 

*San Diego Rapid Response Network Funding Restoration – $150 million budget restoration: Restores funding for programs that support asylum seekers in the California border region, including Jewish Family Service’s Asylum Seeker Shelter and Services.

^AB 311 (Santiago) / SB 245 (Hurtado): Food4All –  Provides state-funded nutrition benefits to all Californians who are income-eligible for CalFresh but cannot access the benefit due to their immigration status.

Died in Assembly Appropriations: AB 1914 (Grayson): Instructs the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to develop a model curriculum for a certification program for providers of care for individuals with developmental disabilities, designed to be offered at community college campuses where there is sufficient student interest and a properly qualified faculty to sustain a certification program.

AB 1949 (Wicks): Enables a minor between 13 and 18, or the parent of a minor under 13, to opt-out of permitting social media platforms to collect, sell, or share their personal information. This helps avoid incentives for social media companies to use addictive features to keep minors on their apps to collect more data.

Died in Assembly Appropriations: AB 1968 (Jackson): Requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to automatically enroll seniors age 60 years and older who meet qualifying income thresholds into Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in California as CalFresh.

AB 1986 (Bryan): Creates an oversight and review process for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) practice of banning books in prison.

AB 2263 (Friedman): Establishes a study to assess departmental infrastructure, funding strategies, and target populations for a statewide Guaranteed Income program. The study will be led by a newly formed Coordinating Council. This initiative is designed to reach California’s most socially and economically vulnerable populations, with a special focus on regions with a high cost of living.

AB 2432 (Gabriel): Creates the California Crime Victims Fund, to be funded by certain fines imposed by a court on corporations convicted of a white-collar crime. The Fund is intended to avoid cuts for domestic violence services programs impacted by federal funding cuts to the VOCA (Victims of Crime Act).

Died in Assembly Appropriations: AB 2459 (Wilson): Ensures foster youth are offered an opportunity to have a trauma-informed mentor through a qualified nonprofit mentoring organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters, by requiring social workers and probation officers to include information regarding mentoring services for the foster youth. Nonprofits will also be alerted if a foster youth is relocated to maintain continuity of care.

*AB 2507 (Friedman): Pilots an interest-free student loan program to benefit students from low-income, homeless, at-risk of homelessness, or food insecure families, supported by Jewish Free Loan Association. This bill would be a first step in moving us towards a state-wide interest-free student loan program.

AB 2728 (Gabriel): Improves the implementation of last year’s JPAC-sponsored SB 4 that allows affordable homes to be built on land owned by synagogues and faith institutions. This includes incentivizing cities and counties to plan for and encourage the production of housing on faith institution-owned lands, expanding existing data tracking, and providing prospective developers and landowners with important information relating to building housing on SB 4-eligible land.

Died in Assembly Appropriations: AB 2956 (Boerner): Allows adults enrolled in Medi-Cal to keep their coverage for a full 12 months, amidst a huge number of unanticipated procedural disenrollments due to the rolling back of the flexibilities afforded during the Covid public health emergency. It also makes some federal flexibilities permanent, improving the Medi-Cal enrollment and renewal system for all.

AB 3160 (Gabriel): Makes permanent the enhanced state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (housing credit). State housing credits fill financing gaps, expanding access to billions of dollars of federal housing credits, and creating tens of thousands of new affordable housing units.

AB 3172 (Lowenthal): Establishes liability for social media companies with design features that they know harm young users’ mental health. While the resultant costs of these harms are currently borne by families, educational institutions, and taxpayers, this bill would expand on protections in existing negligence law by specifically addressing social media platforms.

^SB 37 (Caballero): Creates a rent subsidy program for older adults and people with disabilities to end and prevent homelessness.

*^SB 85 (Wiener): California Extended Case Management Act – Extends critical case management services for new refugees beyond the federal government’s 90 days. Offers an additional 90-270 days, depending on need.

^SB 227 (Durazo): SafetyNet4All – Creates an Excluded Workers Program for workers excluded from unemployment insurance due to their immigration status. Eligible workers would receive $300 each week for up to 20 weeks.

^SB 242 (Skinner): Prohibits funds deposited and investment returns accrued in a HOPE trust fund account from being considered as income or assets when determining eligibility and benefit amount for any means-tested program until an eligible youth withdraws or transfers the funds from the HOPE trust fund account, as specified. To the extent this bill would expand county duties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

^SB 294 (Wiener): Ensures health plan denials of care for mental health disorders for youth ages 0-26 are automatically reviewed, either through the grievance process for non-urgent cases or through the Independent Medical Review process for urgent/life-threatening cases.

^SB 729 (Menjivar): Requires health care services to provide coverage for infertility and fertility services. Revises the definition of infertility to ensure same-sex couples are covered by health care insurance and are treated without discrimination.

^SB 867 (Allen): Adds a $15.5 billion state general obligation bond to the 2024 ballot to address California’s need to protect communities and natural resources from the impacts of climate change.

SB 957 (Wiener): Enacts recommendations from last year’s state audit to close loopholes in existing law and ensure that the California Department of Public Health is collecting, analyzing, and reporting data on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) to improve LGBTQ+ health outcomes.

SB 976 (Skinner): Prevents social media platforms from providing “addictive feeds” to minors – i.e. algorithmically-driven content recommendations, as opposed to content specifically searched for by the user – unless they first obtain parental consent to do so. It also enables parents to restrict their child’s access to the platform at night and during school hours (or other times), limit the total daily hours on the platform, and prevent users not already connected with their child from viewing or responding to content they have posted. It does not give parents access to their child’s specific activities online or any additional controls over their account.

SB 1089 (Smallwood-Cuevas): Addresses food injustice by requiring advance notification to community stakeholders prior to the closure of a grocery store in underserved or at-risk communities. Specifically, it requires the county to provide resources for community members to access healthy food nearby and for employees to access jobs elsewhere.

Core Jewish Community Issues

At a time when antisemitic and hate-motived incidents have reached record highs, our agenda supports policies that protect vulnerable communities and prevent further discrimination.

 

Community Security

Included in budget ($40 million): *Nonprofit Security Grant Program – $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 there was still only enough funding to provide grants to 38% of applicants. JPAC has championed this request every year.

» In light of the October 7th terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas and the subsequent violence towards Jews and Muslims in California, Governor Newsom also allocated $10 million in emergency funding for local police departments to patrol houses of worship.

Included in budget ($1.5 million for one year): *CA Collaborative on Holocaust and Genocide Education – $3 million over 2 years: Continues and expands the work of the CA Collaborative, comprised of 14 leading California Holocaust and genocide educational institutions. The Collaborative is charged with creating a robust series of CA Common Core-aligned lesson plans; developing vehicles for the statewide distribution of new curriculum; and training and supporting California teachers through workshops, conferences, and digital resources. We know that effective education about what happens when bigotry goes unchecked prevents future hate and hate crimes.

Signed into law: AB 449 (Ting): Requires every state and local law enforcement agency to adopt a hate crimes policy guiding officers to prevent, report, and respond to hate crimes. Requires pamphlets to be sent to the AG’s office on what’s available locally.

Two-year bill: AB 644 (Jones-Sawyer): Creates a campus climate survey at public higher education institutions.

Vetoed by the Governor: AB 1079 (Jackson): Establishes a Hate Crimes Intervention Unit to implement research-based community interventions in conjunction with community leaders and organizations in communities where a hate crime has been confirmed by the Department of Justice.

Signed into law: *AB 1185 (Gabriel): Expands the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program (CSNSGP) to include “community connectors,” nonprofits and government agencies who provide security services like vulnerability assessments and trainings for a network of at-risk nonprofits.

Two-year bill: ACA 4 (Bryan): Amends the Constitution to restore the voting rights of people currently incarcerated in prison. Studies suggest that people who vote are less likely to reoffend.

 

Anti-Discrimination

Signed into law: AB 1503 (Lee): Extends the acceptable amount of time off of school for religious holidays and gatherings from four hours to one full school day per semester.

Signed into law: SB 309 (Cortese): Inmate Religious Practices – Creates a statewide policy on religious clothing, grooming, and headwear in state and local correctional and detention facilities.

Two-year bill: SB 399 (Wahab): Prevents employers from disciplining workers who refuse to attend meetings where the sole purpose of the meeting is to convey an employers’ religious or political values.

Passed – On 2024 Ballot: ACA 5 (Low): Brings a 2024 ballot initiative to voters to remove anti-same sex marriage language (from Prop 8) from the California constitution.

 

Core Jewish Community Values

We aim to uphold the Torah’s most enumerated commandment – v’ahavta lere’acha kamocha (loving the stranger as yourself) – by working to combat hunger and poverty, expand access to healthcare, support vulnerable communities, and combat climate change. 

 

Hunger

Two-year bill: AB 311 (Santiago) / SB 245 (Hurtado): Food4All – Provides state-funded nutrition benefits to all Californians who are income-eligible for CalFresh but cannot access the benefit due to their immigration status.

Signed into law: AB 712 (Carrillo): Allows CalFresh participants to purchase hot and prepared food with their EBT card.

Signed into law: SB 348 (Skinner): Healthy Meals for Children – Ensures every school-aged child has access to two healthy meals every day, regardless of where they live or their family’s income; increases student access to lower-added sugar and sodium meal options; and provides students with adequate time to eat at school.

Included in budget ($30 million): SB 600 (Menjivar): Increases benefit adequacy by raising the CalFresh minimum allotment from $23 a month to $50 a month.

 

Poverty

Two-year bill: SB 242 (Skinner): Prohibits funds deposited and investment returns accrued in a HOPE trust fund account from being considered as income or assets when determining eligibility and benefit amount for any means-tested program until an eligible youth withdraws or transfers the funds from the HOPE trust fund account, as specified. To the extent this bill would expand county duties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Two-year bill: SB 382 (Becker):  California Workforce Pay for Success Act – Funds workforce development projects with a proven track record of training workers for successful careers. Creates a board and a separate fund in the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency to speed up grant awards to high performing, non-profit workforce training programs that have consistently been able to effectively train people and place them in successful careers. In cases where a non-profit doesn’t meet the goals set out in its application, the state would be free to terminate the contract and only pay for the results that were achieved.

Two-year budget request: Workforce Development Program – $800 thousand: Through the Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s California Workforce Development Board, designs a social innovation financing model based on achieving successful outcomes for serving those with barriers to employment as defined in Labor Code section 14005(j) and placing them in high quality jobs where there are measurable outcomes such as wage gains and career advancement.

 

Supporting Vulnerable Communities

Dead: Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention – $44 million: Prevents violence by engaging youth and community around safe and healthy relationships; provides spaces where survivors can access culturally-specific healing; engages men—and people of all genders—through nonviolence programs that are innovative, healing-centered, and holistic; stabilizes funding for domestic and sexual violence organizations by eliminating reliance on an inequitable fee; and creates a cohesive, coordinated, statewide approach to ending cycles of violence.

Signed into law: AB 28 (Gabriel): Gun Violence Protection Tax – Creates a permanent funding stream for violence intervention and prevention work that is currently funded through CalVIP and has no guarantee of funding.

Two-year bill: AB 617 (Jones-Sawyer): Representation, Equity, and Protections (REP) for All Immigrants Act – Ensures all immigrant Californians can access high-quality, holistic immigration legal services.

Two-year bill: AB 1040 (Alvarez):  Offers course credit for community college students who offer one-to-one mentoring with historically underserved populations, which many community college students themselves grew up in. This could transform civic and community engagement in our state, while improving the long-term education/career success of community college students.

Signed into law: *SB 4 (Wiener): Affordable Housing on Faith Lands Act – Provides a streamlined process for religious organizations and nonprofit colleges to develop affordable housing on their property, making it easier for these institutions to build stable, affordable homes for their communities.

Two-year bill: SB 37 (Caballero): Creates a rent subsidy program for older adults and people with disabilities to end and prevent homelessness.

Two-year bill: *SB 85 (Wiener): Creates the CA Extended Case Management program, which provides an additional 3-9 months of services for new refugees beyond the federal government’s 90 days.

Two-year budget request: *CA Extended Case Management for Refugees – $18.2 million: Extends critical case management services for new refugees beyond the federal government’s 90 days. Offers an additional 3-9 months, depending on need.

Two-year bill: SB 227 (Durazo): SafetyNet4All – Creates an Excluded Workers Program for workers excluded from unemployment insurance due to their immigration status. Eligible workers would receive $300 each week for up to 20 weeks.

 

Mental Health & Healthcare

Signed into law: AB 904 (Calderon): Requires health insurers to develop a maternal and infant health equity program that addresses racial health disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes through the use of doulas.

Two-year bill: AB 1120 (Gabriel): Promotes universal school-based mental health screenings for students in grades 6-12.

Dead: SB 680 (Skinner): Creates financial disincentives for the biggest social media companies to make business decisions that they know will hurt children. Specifically, makes companies financially liable for promoting to children the sale of fentanyl, eating disorders, suicide content, or addictive techniques like auto-scroll and constant nudges to return to the platform.

Two-year bill: SB 729 (Menjivar): Requires health care services to provide coverage for infertility and fertility services. Revises the definition of infertility to ensure same-sex couples are covered by health care insurance and are treated without discrimination.

 

Climate

Signed into law: SB 49 (Becker): Offers tax incentives for companies to build solar canopies on their parking lots, which are already covered in cement, and not coveted for their view or wildlife protection.

Signed into law: SB 261 (Stern): Climate Financial Risk Disclosure – Mandates large companies that do business in California to submit annual climate-related financial risk reports to the public. It also informs the rest of the country, allowing other states to make use of the reports published here to mitigate their own risk.

Combating Antisemitism and Hate

Our agenda supports policies that tackle each stage in the evolution of hatred: education, preventing its spread, physical security, and community response.

 

Education About the Impact of Letting Hatred Go Unchecked

FUNDED: Renovate and Expand the JFCS Holocaust Center – $3 million: Supports renovation and expansion efforts for the JFCS Holocaust Center, the preeminent organization in Northern California for Holocaust and genocide education, serving 28,000+ students, teachers, and community members each year. The building renovation project will preserve and enhance a wide range of critical programs and activities to better serve current and future educators, students, scholars, Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

FUNDED: Funding for the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education – $1.4 million: The Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education was established by executive action from Governor Newsom in 2021. Inspired by Senator Henry Stern’s JPAC-sponsored bill, the Council’s creation was a major victory for JPAC. The Council’s formation and mission are currently being developed, but they have little ability to ensure the proper educational goals are being achieved without funding.

 

Preventing the Spread of Hate

SIGNED INTO LAW: AB 587 (Gabriel): Requires social media companies to report their hate content policies as well as how hate continues to proliferate on their platforms.

 

Physical Security to Protect Against the Manifestations of Hate

SIGNED INTO LAW: 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.

FUNDED: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Budget Request – $50 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.

 

Community’s Response and the Search for More Solutions

SIGNED INTO LAW: 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.

SIGNED INTO LAW: SB 1161 (Min): Conducts a survey about the prevalence of harassment on public transit so that the state can develop policies which mitigate such harassment.

FUNDED: Funding for the Commission on the State of Hate – $1.8 million: AB 1126 (Bloom) was a JPAC-sponsored bill signed into law in 2021, establishing the Commission on the State of hate. Similar to the Governor’s Council, the Commission needs funding to further its mission of analyzing and proposing policy solutions to root out hate.

 

 

Expanding Services for Our Communities

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. 

 

Benefits for Immigrants

PARTIALLY INCLUDED IN BUDGET BILL: 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.

VETOED: AB 2847 (Garcia) Excluded Workers Pilot Program/SafetyNet4All: One year pilot program to provide unemployment benefits ($300 a week for up to 20 weeks) to undocumented Californians.

INCLUDED IN BUDGET BILL: SB 464 (Hurtado) – Food4All: Provides state-funded nutrition benefits to all Californians who are ineligible for CalFresh due to immigration status.

California Extended Case Management Program – $39.75 million: Creates the California Extended Case Management (CECM) program, which will serve 30,750 eligible refugees, humanitarian parolees, asylum seekers, asylees and trafficking victims, ensuring each client will have one full year of assistance. Current case management programs provide services for 90 days, and this program will extend those services an additional nine months. Case managers will help clients with housing assistance, health care access, job readiness and training, financial literacy education, cultural orientation, English language training, and school enrollment.

 

Older Adults & People with Disabilities

Senior Nutrition Program Expansion – $70 million: Provides resources to help our Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) – 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.

FUNDED: Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program – $36 million: Provides resources for Jewish Family Service agencies to offer trauma and home care, culturally appropriate case management, home-delivered meals, transportation, and more to our aging Holocaust Survivor population. Of the 15,000 survivors still in California, 50% live at or below the poverty line. The Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany typically fills gaps in state funding for in-home and skilled nursing care, but its recent March 2022 grant funding announcement was unexpectedly short of the need. This crisis is only worsening as survivors age and suffer from isolation and subsequent trauma due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

FUNDED: “The Village” – Housing for Adults with Disabilities – $9 million: Supports Cornerstone Housing’s (an offshoot of ETTA) efforts to develop and operate housing for people in the Greater Los Angeles community who have developmental differences. The building will be open to residents of all backgrounds and (dis)abilities who can live independently with a portion of units allocated for low-income individuals.

 

Poverty

VETOED: AB 92 (Reyes): Guarantees access to childcare by ensuring family fees do not exceed 1% of a family’s income, ensures no family earning below 75% of the state median income pays families fees, and convenes stakeholders to create an equitable family fee schedule.

INCLUDED IN BUDGET BILL: SB 854 (Skinner) – HOPE for Children Act: Establishes Baby Bonds, paid to children who lost a parent or caregiver to Covid-19, as well as eligible foster youth, to address financial disparities and long-term economic outcomes. The bonds will be preserved until children reach adulthood, so funds can be used to build their wealth.

INCLUDED IN BUDGET BILL: SB 860 (Rubio): Modifies the Young Child Tax Credit to allow families with a qualified child but who have earned no income that year to also access the credit. It also indexes the credit for inflation.

SIGNED INTO LAW: AB 2244 (Wicks): Reduces residential parking requirements for newly built religious institutions to allow for the construction of affordable housing.

California At-Risk Student Interest Free Loan Program – $30 million: Dramatically expands Jewish Free Loan Association’s student loan program to meet skyrocketing demand for students who are low income, homeless, at risk of homelessness, and food insecure. The goal of the program is to help low-income students remain in school and graduate with as small a debt burden as possible. JFLA is a nonsectarian agency serving anyone facing a financial challenge.

Model Job Training Program for Changing Workforce Needs – $14.75 million: Creates Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) San Francisco’s model innovative job training program to address inequality and the changing workforce needs. JVS will test and scale an approach to the state’s employment and inequality crises that is designed for scale and can be replicated by the state. It will specifically expand access to services for populations disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic: BIPOC workers, women, immigrants, and those without four-year degrees.

 

Hunger

SIGNED INTO LAW: SB 641 (Skinner): Improves the CalFresh application process for college students in various ways, preventing hunger and supporting successful college completion.

 

Health

VETOED: SB 1302 (Portantino): Appropriates $1 billion to the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to provide grants to high schools for student wellness centers.

 

Racial Justice

PASSED LEGISLATURE, WILL APPEAR ON 2024 BALLOT: SCA 2 (Allen): Places an Article 34 repeal measure on the ballot. Article 34, a Constitutional Amendment passed in 1950, gives wealthy neighborhoods veto power over affordable housing and worsens racial segregation. Repealing it will require 2/3 vote of the legislature, and a vote of the people.

 

Domestic Violence

SIGNED INTO LAW: AB 2277 (Reyes): Waives program requirements for CalWORKs – a critical social service that assists families in financial need – for survivors of domestic violence. Currently, counties have the authority to waive CalWORKs program requirements for survivors of domestic violence, but many counties do not. This bill will require counties to waive the requirements. 

SIGNED INTO LAW: SB 914 (Rubio): Requires recipients of state funding to address homelessness to include domestic violence survivors and unaccompanied women within the vulnerable populations for whom specific system supports are developed. The bill also requires the California Interagency Council on Homelessness to set and measure progress towards goals to prevent and end homelessness for these vulnerable populations.

 

Supporting Jewish Institutions

FUNDED: Rebuilding Camps & Community Centers Destroyed in the Wildfires – $40 million: Supports the rebuilding efforts of six Jewish and non-Jewish overnight camps, retreat facilities, and community centers that were destroyed in wildfires since 2017. These facilities serve diverse economic populations, including disadvantaged and disabled Californians. The institutions are Shalom Institute, Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, URJ Camp Newman, Camp Krem, Camp Skylark, and Camp Jack Hazard.

A package of bills and budget items that address Hate Crimes, including:

AB 57 (Gabriel): Implements recommendations from the State Auditor to better prevent, respond to, and document hate crimes in California. AB 57 also would strengthen existing requirements for peace officers to undergo comprehensive hate crime training.

AB 557 (Muratsuchi): Requires the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish and maintain an accessible toll-free hotline number and an online form for reporting hate crimes and hate incidents.

AB 1126 (Bloom): Establishes the California Commission on the State of Hate & Violent Extremism within state government.

$50 million for the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

 

A package of bills and $5.5m in budget items that address Holocaust and genocide education, including:

SB 693 (Stern): The Never Again Education Bill

$1 Million – Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) Holocaust Library

$2.5 Million – Holocaust Museum LA’s Building Truth Campaign to fund technology in the Museum’s Education Pavilion.

$2 Million – Grants for Teacher Training on Holocaust education.

 

A package of priority social service initiatives that serve vulnerable youth, seniors, and the disabled.

SB 224 (Portantino): Requires that students between grades 1 and 12 receive mental health education at school.  

AB 470 (Carrillo): Eliminates the asset limit test for Medi-Cal programs serving seniors and persons with disabilities.

SB 364 (Skinner): Makes school meals available to every public school student without red-tape or paperwork, and provide meals for students when schools are closed.

In 2020, JPAC focused on COVID-19 response and state support for the non-profit sector; ensuring that California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum does not contain derogatory references or biased descriptions of Jews, Judaism, Israel, and Israelis; and supporting legislation that protects our State’s needy seniors through the protection of the Multi-Service Senior Program (MSSP) in the State budget.

 

Protecting the Non-Profit Sector

JPAC’s membership is composed of non-profit organizations across California. Our member organizations collectively employ approximately 5,000 staff and serve over 1,000,000 people each year. JPAC member organizations provide critical aid, assistance, and legal services to our state’s most vulnerable, including individuals detained at the border, forced into homelessness, or denied essential healthcare. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many of our member organizations have established emergency funds to further be of assistance to their clients and the communities they serve. See our letter to Governor Newsom here.

 

California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) recognizes the value of Ethnic Studies and the research demonstrating its benefits on students. On July 23, 2019 JPAC submitted a letter to the IQC that included a thorough review of the model curriculum and recommendations for modifications. See our letter after the release of the first draft of the model curriculum here.

In addition, JPAC requested that the CDE, in their review of the first draft and subsequent second draft, ensure the following:

  1. The final Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum must remove all derogatory references or biased descriptions of Jews, Judaism, Israel, and Israelis.
  2. If the State retains the expanded coverage of ethnic groups as seen in the first draft of the model curriculum (Chapter 2), then Jewish Americans should be appropriately and respectfully included.
  3. The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum should include Antisemitism in discussions of hate crimes, bias, prejudice, and stereotyping and be listed explicitly

See our letter to CDE here.

You can also read our subsequent letters following the release of the second draft and the third draft of model curriculum.

 

MSSP

JPAC has a long history of advocating on behalf of critical social service programs that serve those members of our community most in need. Protecting and providing for our elders has always been a high priority for the Jewish community. Across the state, Jewish Family Service and Jewish Children and Family Service agencies serve more than 200,000 clients annually, many of whom were impacted by previous cuts to programs and services whose funding was never restored. Jewish human service agencies are statewide leaders in providing comprehensive services to seniors, from wellness programs, to behavioral health services, to caring for the frailest elders, including Survivors of the Holocaust.

MSSP serves almost 12,000 frail older adults (65+) in their homes, rather than in institutions. MSSP providers across the state, including Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and Jewish Family and Children’s Services in the San Francisco Bay Area, provide clients with case management and patient advocacy, professional nursing, social work, and other clinically-driven direct services to the frailest elderly so they may remain safely at home.

The majority of MSSP clients live alone, subsist on approximately $1000 per month, and have complex medical and psychosocial needs that require specialized medical and social support services. MSSP staff serve in the critical role of client advocate to make sure that clients have access to community resources and services. Without this assistance, these individuals or their families are left to navigate an increasingly complicated system of medical and social services.

MSSP was on the chopping block this year and was threatened by total elimination. Together with our partners, JPAC lobbied to ensure that this program remained funded by the State.

In 2019, JPAC focused on continuing to ensure that the State’s safety net for California’s most needy seniors stays intact; that there is protection for non-profits at risk of a terrorist attack or hate crime; and that we as a state are considering and implementing innovative ways to reduce the number of people living in poverty.

Aging With Dignity

The Multi-Purpose Senior Services Program (MSSP): A one-time increase of $24.9 million over three budget years to provide frail seniors with professional case management and a range of critical services, including: nursing care, social work, and other clinically-driven direct services. Read more about the MSSP here.

SB 228 (Jackson): Creates the Master Plan for Aging, outlining the state’s goals and objectives relative to the growth of the aging population and their accompanying needs.

AB 1382 (Aguiar-Curry): Establishes, as part of the Master Plan for Aging, a comprehensive strategy for preparing and supporting California’s caregiver workforce.

Read the Master Plan For Aging Here. Read Governor Newsom’s Press Release Calling For the Master Plan For Aging in the press here.

 

Addressing and Preventing Hate Crimes

Budget Request: $15 million for the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program, to improve the physical security of nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack due to ideology, beliefs, or mission.

Budget Request: $6 million for the Holocaust Museum LA’s expansion project, to accommodate increased demand for student visits.

AB 1548 (Gabriel): Establishes the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program to improve the physical security of nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack due to ideology, beliefs, or mission.

AB 300 (Chu): Improves accuracy in reporting of hate crimes and incidents.

AB 1052 (Chu): Requires peace officers to undergo comprehensive training on hate crimes.

 

Ending Childhood Poverty

AB 24 (Burke): Establishes the Targeted Child Tax Credit (TCTC) to support families and children living in deep poverty by taking into account the basic necessities of a family when issuing a tax credit.

Budget Request: California Earned Income Tax Credit: Supports Governor Gavin Newsom’s Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget proposal that doubles the existing California EITC by investing $1 billion in a new Working Families Tax Credit.

AB 898 (Wicks): Advances health equity and improves the children’s behavioral health system in California.

JPAC lobbied a package of bills that address poverty and homelessness by increasing State funding to help impoverished families, seniors and other individuals meet their most basic needs; provide badly needed support for elderly Holocaust Survivors who are struggling to live out their days in dignity; and, a new program to make California a national leader in combating hate, safeguarding free speech, and promoting inclusive climates on its university campuses. And finally, we continue to advocate for the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides funding for nonprofits that are at high risk of a hate crime or terrorist act.

AB 3171 (Ting): Homeless Persons Services Block Grant: This bill creates the Local Homelessness Solutions Program, which will provide matching funds to cities with programs to combat homelessness. These funds must be matched by the recipient city and may be spent on a range of homelessness activities, including shelter diversion, rapid re-housing, rental assistance, emergency shelter, navigation centers, bridge housing, and permanent supportive housing. The bill will seek up to $1.5 billion in one-time state funding for the program.

AB 3200 (Kalra): Public Social Services: SSI/SSP: This bill has become known as the $100 for 100% bill and would increase State Supplementary Payment (SSP) grants by $100 a month to reach nearly 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and restore the annual Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the program. While the FPL itself is still an insufficient income level in California to care for aged, blind and disabled members of the community, this bill would nonetheless make important progress.

SB 982 (Mitchell): CALWorks: SB 982 endeavors to eliminate deep poverty in the CalWORKs program by requiring a minimum grant level of 50 percent of the federal poverty line. By doing so, this bill would help protect children from the harms of chronic poverty and better enable the CalWORKs program to achieve its goals.

Budget ask: $1.25 million, making California a national leader in combating hate, safeguarding free speech, and promoting inclusive climates on its university campuses. The California Responding to Hate on Campus Grant Program will enable the State of California to take the lead in working with colleges and universities on blunting these troubling trends and challenges on their campuses.This initial step will demonstrate that a small public investment can make a significant difference in shaping how people think and respond when confronted with hate.

Budget ask: $3.6 million to ensure that Holocaust survivors are able to live in dignity in their communities. While the size of the survivor population is decreasing, the number of survivors needing and seeking assistance is increasing. The California Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program will help ensure that Holocaust survivors are able to live out their lives with dignity and prevent the very things Survivors should never have to face again — eviction, hunger, inadequate medical care, social isolation, and despair – while avoiding the financial and emotional costs of unnecessary institutionalization. This allocation will be used to fund and supplement funding for services including Home Care, culturally appropriate case management, home-delivered meals, transportation, and emergency financial assistance. At an estimated average expenditure of $6,000 per Holocaust survivor, a $3.6 million investment would serve approximately 600 frail survivors throughout California. This competitive grant program within the appropriate State of California department will be used to meet the unique and urgent needs of vulnerable Holocaust Survivors.

JPAC also had significant input into AJR 35, a resolution introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine regarding Poland’s disturbing legislation limiting speech about that country’s role in the Holocaust. We are awaiting it’s hearing in the Senate, though it has already passed in the Assembly. Read the Resolution here. Our Letter of Support can be read here.

California State Nonprofit Security Grant – $2 million: The State of California has a demonstrated need for a state grant program (similar to the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program administered by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the California Office of Emergency Services) to support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit organizations that are at risk of a violent attack. Such funding would enable eligible nonprofit organizations to obtain physical security enhancements (e.g., reinforced doors and gates, high-intensity lighting systems, alarms) and security training that would help them to prevent, mitigate, and respond to acts of terrorism and hate-motivated violence. Similar to the federal program, criteria for determining eligible applicants could include factors such as prior attacks or threats against the organization or similar organizations, findings from risk assessments, the symbolic value of the organization or site, and the role of the organization in responding to or recovering from an attack.  This budget item was approved by Governor Brown.

AB 1520 (Burke) – Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Act This bill establishes a permanent framework through the state budget process, which requires the Legislature to invest in programs that have been proven to significantly reduce child poverty. The goal of this bill is to reduce child poverty by 50% over the 20-year period starting in fiscal year 2018-19 and to use the framework proposed by this bill as recommendations for enacting future legislation to fund programs or services and future innovations to reduce child poverty.  In addition, the Legislature will be required to hold hearings on California’s progress to reduce child poverty every two years.  This bill was signed into law by Governor Brown.

Immigration Bill Package

AB 3 (Bonta): Creates Regional Centers and Statewide Resource Centers for public defenders to gain immigration expertise
AB 291 (Chiu): Prohibits landlords from threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities, whether in retaliation for engaging in legally-protected activities or to influence them to vacate.
AB 699 (O’Donnell): Safeguards against immigration enforcement activities on school campuses and promote a safe and equitable learning environment for all students.
SB 6 (Hueso): Provides access to qualified legal counsel to immigrants in deportation or removal proceedings
SB 29 (Lara): Prevents local governments from contracting with private companies to detain immigrants for profit
SB 31 (Lara): Prevents public agencies and their employees from assisting with or providing personal information for any federal registry based on an individual’s religious, ethnic or national origin
SB 54 (de Leon): Prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from engaging in immigration enforcement.

Support Bills

SB 2 (Atkins): Building Homes and Jobs Act
SB 3 (Beall): Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018
AB 158 (Chu): Hate crime reporting standards
AB 800 (Chiu): Hate crimes: hotline
AB 1161 (Ting): Hate crimes
AB 796 (Kalra): Public social services: SSI/SSP

AB 164 (Arambula): Food Assistance
AB 60 (Santiago & Gonzalez): Subsidized child care and development services: eligibility periods
AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher): Discrimination: reproductive health
AB 900 (Gonzalez): Compensation for Victims of Human Trafficking

Bills

AB 2844 (Bloom) – Public Contracts: Discrimination:  AB 2844 passed both Houses of the Legislature in August by overwhelming majorities despite strong opposition from anti-Israel groups. Governor Brown signed AB 2844 (Bloom) on September 24th

SB 1053 (Leno) The Housing Opportunities Act – Ensures that landlords could not deny rental applicants housing opportunities simply because they receive rental subsidies, such as Section 8 vouchers. Died on the Senate Appropriation Suspense File.

Social Services Budget items

Requested that the Senate Leadership Proposal, the No Place Like Home Initiative, would maintain critical funding for current mental health services

Requested $5.4 million increase in General Fund support for senior nutrition programs, in which we received a $2 million increase.

JPAC lobbied to prevent bullying and human trafficking and to increase funding for the social service safety net. 

The social service budget: Restoration of the SSI/SSP COLA and $5 million for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program (SEFAP) program

SB 840 (Lara): Increases school safety by improving the handling of bullying and discrimination in public schools

SB 1165 (Mitchell, Block): Adds sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention education to the sexual health education for junior high and high school students

SB 1388 (Lieu):This bill would increase penalties for sex buyers

SCR 121 (Block): Relative to the Memorandum of Understanding Between Israel and California.

Our 2013 priority list included gun safety, Israel/CA trade,  Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS), and Anti-Semitism on campus.

The LIFE Act (Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement): Senate Democrats unveiled eight legislative actions to curb gun violence in California which would close loopholes in the regulation, circulation and education relating to firearms and gun ownership. Termed the “LIFE Act,” it includes eight bills all backed by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. For more information about the LIFE Act, please click here.

Assembly Bill 518 (Yamada and Blumenfield): Community-Based Adult Services: CBAS is an outpatient service that offers critical health and social services in an integrated manner to Medi-Cal eligible patients who are at risk of placement into nursing homes at much greater expense to the State.  Participants receive skilled nursing care, therapeutic activities, physical therapy, and a range of other services to assist people in avoiding costlier – and usually undesired – out-of-home placements.  A.B. 518 seeks to provide statewide standards that will help provide a more uniform and reliable system of care throughout the State.

JPAC partnered with former State Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield and former Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to circulate a letter to the University of California Regents thanking them for their stance against BDS.  Read the letter here.

 

Other bills JPAC supported include:

AB 978 (Blumenfield): Financial institutions: Iran sanctions

AB 1166 (Blumenfield): International relations: trade and economic development: Israel

AB 156 (Holden): Human trafficking: interception of electronic communications.

AB 694 (Bloom): Admissibility of evidence: victims of human trafficking

SB 327 (Yee): Human trafficking: recall and resentencing

SB 516 (Steinberg): Human trafficking

SB 612 (Leno): Residential tenancy: victims of human trafficking and elder or dependent adult abuse

AB 276 (Hueso): CalFresh eligibility

AB 309 (Mitchell): CalFresh: homeless youth

AB 191 (Bocanegra): CalFresh: categorical eligibility

AB 216 (Stone and Maienschein): High school graduation requirements: pupils in foster care

SB 391 (DeSaulnier): California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013

AB 16 (Perez): Domestic violence: corporal injury

AB 65 (Achadjian and Lowenthal): Sex crimes

SB 400 (Jackson): Employment protections: victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking

AB 263 (Hernández and Roger): Employment: retaliation: immigration-related document practices

SB 118 (Leiu): Unemployment Insurance

AB 2160 (Blumenfield and Feuer): AB 2160 empowers the California Insurance Commissioner to disallow investments in Iran from assets that would otherwise contribute to the financial solvency of insurers as a condition for operating in California. AB 2160 would require a domestic insurer to treat any indirect investment in the Iranian energy sector as a “nonadmitted asset” on the financial statements of that insurer in filings with the California Insurance Commissioner. Articles on AB 1260 can be found here. This bill was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 23, 2012.

SB 1193 (Steinberg): This bill would require specific businesses to post a list of resources to assist victims of human trafficking. Articles on AB 1732 can be found here. This bill was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 24, 2012.

AB 1732 (Campos): This bill would expand under the definition of bullying the following terms “electronic act” via a post on a social network Internet Web site “burn pages,” “credible impersonations,” and “false profiles.” Articles on AB 1732 can be found here. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on July 23, 2012.

Social Services Budget Items

JPAC