JPAC advocates on behalf of Jewish social service agencies, traditional community concerns, and broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State. JPAC monitors and helps to develop and promote state legislative initiatives of interest to the Jewish community, the community at-large, and Israel.
In 2018 JPAC saw great legislative success in Sacramento. We developed two completely new state budget proposals which were approved by the Legislature and the Governor:
In addition, JPAC was successful in securing additional funding for the CA Nonprofit Security Grant for a third year.
Assisting Holocaust Survivors
JPAC secured a $3.6 million appropriation for a new Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program. Holocaust Survivors in California are increasingly frail and vulnerable, and they have staggering unmet needs related to home-care, nutrition, transportation and housing. Existing aging and community-based services are inadequate, and additional state resources are needed to ensure Holocaust survivors can live out their final years with dignity. The grant solicitation will be managed by the California Department of Social Services and grant applications are due December 7.
Responding to Hate on Campus
JPAC secured $1.25 million appropriation for the State of California to take the lead in working with institutions of higher learning on how to respond to the troubling trend of hatred and bigotry occurring on college campuses.
Grants will be managed by University of California Office of the President (UCOP) to fund a qualified 501(c)(3) organization to provide a comprehensive responding to hate on campus training with the intention of preventing and responding to hate on University of California and California State University campuses.
Non-Profit Security Grants
JPAC was successful again this year in advocating for a budget request to add $500,000 to the State budget for the California Nonprofit Security Grant Program for nonprofit organizations potentially targeted by hate-motivated violence. While the grants are available to any organization targeted by hate-motivated violence (as determined by the Department of Homeland Security), the Jewish community is at a particularly high risk of attack. Since 2016, Jewish institutions have been subjected to an increasing number of violent attacks across the country by extremists, including the most recent tragic and horrific attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.
The grant funds can be used for a variety of security measures, such as target hardening and other physical security enhancements to prevent, mitigate, and respond to acts of terrorism and hate-motivated violence.
JPAC heavily advocated for state funding and legislation to ensure people who are living at or below the poverty line have access to housing, healthcare, social services and food. JPAC continues to be an advocate for lifting Californians out of poverty and lobbied for the following legislation during Advocacy Day:
SB 982 (Mitchell): The content of the bill ended up being included in the State Budget in the Human Services budget trailer bill, AB 1811 (Chapter 35). The bill increases the maximum aid payment (MAP) amounts for CalWORKs recipients by 10% effective April 1, 2019, and states the intent of the Legislature to provide future grant increases in 2019-20 and 2020-21, contingent upon funding in the annual Budget Act, in order to increase grants to no less than 50% of the Federal Poverty Level. The Budget Act includes $90 million General Fund in 2018-19 and $360 million in 2019-20 to fund the first step of this policy. This is the largest increase in the cash grant in California’s history.
- AB 3171 (Ting): The bill originally created the Local Homeless Solutions Program to provide matching funds to cities to create innovative and immediate solutions to the problems of homelessness, including, but not limited to, state and local social services and healthcare systems. The bill was pulled from the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee by the Author but transitioned into trailer bill language in SB 850. The language in the trailer bill provides for the distribution of $500 million in one-time funding for flexible solutions to address homelessness.
AB 3200 (Kalra): The bill would have originally reinstated the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the State Supplementary Payment (SSP) and indexed the maximum aid payment for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/SSP to the federal poverty level (FPL). The issue was dealt with through the budget process which approved the 2.8% Federal COLA increase for the SSI/SSP Grants but did not increase aid payment to the 100% of the federal poverty level. In addition to the pass-through of the federal increase, the Legislature also adopted trailer bill language in AB 1811 to codify state COLAs for SSP and CalWORKs grants, with those beginning in 2022-23, subject to funding in the annual Budget Act.
JPAC advocates met with over 60 state senators and assembly members and their staff at the State Capitol to advocate for “yes” votes on these issues:
YES to 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. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on October 2nd.
YES to a package of Immigration Bills:
* AB 3 by Assemblymember Bonta will create Regional Centers and Statewide Resource Centers for public defenders to gain immigration expertise. The issue was successfully dealt with in the state budget.
* AB 291 by Assemblymember Chiu will prohibit landlords from threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities, whether in retaliation for engaging in legally-protected activities or to influence them to vacate. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on October 5th.
* AB 699 by Assemblymember O’Donnell will safeguard against immigration enforcement activities on school campuses and promote a safe and equitable learning environment for all students. The bill was signed into law on October 5th.
* SB 6 by Senator Hueso will provide access to qualified legal counsel to immigrants in deportation or removal proceedings. The issue was successfully dealt with in the state budget.
* SB 29 by Senator Lara will prevent local governments from contracting with private companies to detain immigrants for profit. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on October 5th.
* SB 31 by Senator Lara will prevent 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. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on October 5th.
* SB 54 by Senate President pro Tem de Leon will prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from engaging in immigration enforcement. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on October 5th.
Budget Ask: $2 million for the California Nonprofit Security Grant: SUCCESS!
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!
2016 Advocacy Day
JPAC advocates affiliated with organizations including AJC, ADL, Hadassah, several Jewish Federations and JCRCs, and Jewish Family Services agencies across California met with over 40 state senators and assembly members at the Capitol to advocate for issues that affect millions of Californians. We lobbied in favor of the following bills and budget items:
- AB 2844 (Bloom) Public Contracts: Discrimination – Governor Brown signed AB 2844 (Bloom) on September 24th. AB 2844 passed both Houses of the Legislature in August by overwhelming majorities.
- SB 1053 (Leno) The Housing Opportunities Act – JPAC lobbied for the bill in order to ensure that landlords could not deny rental applicants housing opportunities simply because they receive rental subsidies, such as Section 8 vouchers.
- 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 invited a panel to discuss the Root Causes of Homelessness and Legislative Solutions which included Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D), Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D), Assemblymember David Chiu (D), Michael Lane, Policy Director for Non Profit Housing Association of Northern California and Maggie Merritt, the Executive Director of the Steinberg Institute.
2015 Advocacy Day
Over 90 advocates met with 45 state senators and assembly members at the capitol to advocate on behalf of millions of Californians. We lobbied in favor of the following bills and budget items:
- The social service budget: $36 million in the state budget for Restoring Funding for Programs that serve Older Californians, Disabled Adults and Those Who Care for Them (Asm. Brown)
- AB 47 (McCarty): This bill creates the Preschool for All Act of 2015 and requires, on or before January 1, 2017, all eligible children to have access to the state preschool program the year before they enter kindergarten, if their parents wish to enroll them. Findings and declarations cited in the bill are that studies have shown that high-quality preschool significantly improves children’s school readiness and school performance, that quality preschool provides a return of $15,000 for every child served, and that investment in high-quality preschool will result in savings in prison expenditures.
- AB 608 (Gordon), AB 1240 (Bonta, Thurmond), AB 1321 (Ting): These three bills would provide more access to healthy food for low-income children and families in California.
- FY 15 non-profit security grant program: This budget allocation of $ 2 million would increase funding available for homeland security grants for non-profits that face increase security risks.
As a result of JPAC’s work, we saw an increase in attention given to the progress of preschool for all, with additional money being directed to early childhood education for a total of $392 million. AB 1321 (Ting) was signed into law, and several million in social services programs that fall under the Restoring Funding for Programs that serve Older Californians, Disabled Adults and Those Who Care for Them was restored. Finally, the Governor approved allocating $2 million for the non-profit security grant program which is managed by the Office of Emergency Services.
2014 Advocacy Day
JPAC advocates met with over 50 senators and assembly members at the capitol and lobbied them to support three bills and two social service safety net programs.
- SB 840 (Lara):This bill would increase school safety by improving the handling of bullying and discrimination in public schools
- SB 1165 (Mitchell, Block): This bill would add sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention education to the sexual health education for junior high and high school students
During our legislative appointments, JPAC advocates reported a overwhelmingly high rate of 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.
As a result of JPAC lobbying, Governor Brown restored funding for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program (SEFAP) to $5 million in 2014-2015 which is vital to help reduce hunger. We successfully got SSI/SSP into the budget conference committee; however once they took up the social services programs the restoration was not adopted. The budget conferees were disappointed that the Administration chose to not support this item and they hope to revisit this next budget cycle.
The two human trafficking bills passed out of their Committees and will now go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Both are expected to pass. Unfortunately, SB 840 (Lara) did not pass out of the Appropriations Committee.
2013 Advocacy Day
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. 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.
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.
- Fended off multiple proposals to defund or eliminate human services programs for elderly & vulnerable
- 2009 – Saved ADHC and MSSP from taking major cuts and proposed elimination from the state budget.
- One-year (2009-10) total restoration of the funds ($20M) to support domestic violence shelters in California.
Secured passage of legislation (AB2160) that puts California in the forefront as a national leader in pressuring the Iranian regime with sanctions and divestment
ACR 144 (Blumenfield) – to proclaim April as Genocide Awareness & Prevention Month