JPAC Legislative Highlights 2022
JPAC strives to represent two core pillars of Judaism: supporting our own community and lifting up society as a whole. This legislative agenda meaningfully addresses the Jewish community’s core safety concerns and provides critical social services for those in need.
Combating Antisemitism and Hate
At a time when antisemitic and hate-motived incidents have reached record highs, 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.
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.
SIGNED INTO LAW: SB 641 (Skinner): Improves the CalFresh application process for college students in various ways, preventing hunger and supporting successful college completion.
VETOED: SB 1302 (Portantino): Appropriates $1 billion to the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to provide grants to high schools for student wellness centers.
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.
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.