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 Happy Thanksgiving!

At this time of Thanksgiving, JPAC wishes to extend its gratitude to its member organizations and to all California legislators on both sides of the aisle. We look forward to working with you as we continue to advocate on issues of concern to California's Jewish community and all of its citizens. We invite you to join us in the coming months in advocating on behalf our shared values in furtherance of a democratic and civil society.

We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and look forward to working together in the new year.
JPAC Legislative Update

The Legislature adjourned on August 31 st. They have now returned to their districts for Fall Recess. The 2017 Legislature will be sworn-in the first week of December.
During the month of September, 789 bills went to the Governor, and he had until September 30 th to sign or veto on any regular session bills, or they became law. This year, he vetoed a higher proportion of measures they sent to his desk, 159 of 1,059, or 15.01%, than he had rejected in any of his previous 13 years in the governorship.
JPAC Bills of Interest
  • AB 1066 (Gonzalez) Agricultural workers: wages, hours, and working conditions. - The bill was approved by the Governor on September 12th and is now chaptered. Beginning in July 1, 2019 any person employed as an agricultural worker, will not be employed more than nine and a half hours in one day or work in excess of 55 hours in one work week unless the employee receives one and a half times that of employees regular rate of pay.
  • AB 1584 (Brown) Public social services: SSI/SSP - The Governor vetoed AB 1584, along with four other social services bills with a message explaining that he did not sign them because the bills would have made changes that would have resulted in an increase of funding in the budget that has already received an increase. He also mentioned that the appropriate time to discuss the proposal is when the budget process begins again on January 10, 2017. When JPAC initially supported the bill, it originally had provided an increase in benefits by SSP (grant for people who are 96% or less of poverty level for 2016, and 100% PL for 2017), but with the Senate amendments it drastically changed and would have only increased/decreased the cost of living that is determined from the CA Necessities Index - starting in 2018.
  • AB 1760 (Santiago) Human Trafficking - The bill died on the Assembly Appropriation Suspense File. The bill would have ensured that children in California would not be arrested and prosecuted for crimes their traffickers would force them to commit.
  • AB 1761 (Weber) Human Trafficking: victims: affirmative defense - The bill was approved by the Governor on September 26th and is now chaptered. The bill provides and additional protection for victims to ensure they are not convicted of crimes their traffickers would force them to commit by creating an affirmative defense applicable to non-violent, non-serious, non-trafficking crimes. 
  • AB 1762 (Campos) Human Trafficking: victims: vacating convictions - The Governor vetoed the bill with a message mentioning that the bill creates a process for victims of human trafficking to petition for dismissal of convictions and arrests that occurred while they were a victim of trafficking, and explained that he has already signed SB 823 (Block), which he said, accomplishes much the same intent as this bill, but creates a more balanced procedural approach in his view. JPAC supported the bill.
  • AB 2410 (Bonta) Early learning: school readiness - Although the bill died on the Assembly Appropriation Suspense File, the issue was dealt with in the state budget. The bill would have established a ten-member advisory committee to develop recommendations for defining kindergarten readiness.
  • AB 2660 (McCarty) Early education: multiyear plan -  Although the bill died on the Assembly Appropriation Suspense File, the issue was dealt with in the state budget. The bill would have required the CA Dept. of Education to submit a multi-year plan for providing access to high quality prekindergarten programs to the Legislature and the Dept. of Finance.
  • AB 2734 (Atkins) Local Control Affordable Housing Act - The bill died on the Assembly Appropriation Suspense File. The bill would have enacted the Local Control Affordable Housing Act to redirect state savings from the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. The Affordable Housing funds became tied to the negotiations on the Governor's by-right proposal and ultimately were put off until next year.
  • AB 2844 (Bloom) Public contracts: discrimination - JPAC supported this bill and it was part of our lobby day agenda. Governor Brown signed AB 2844 (Bloom) on September 24th.  This measure was sponsored by the Jewish Caucus in response to the growing effort of BDS, Boycott, Divest, Sanction to isolate and delegitimize the State of Israel.  The bill was one of our Advocacy Day lobbying priorities during our Lobbying Day in Sacramento.  The bill was a tough fight from the moment Richard Bloom introduced the first version in March.  It was strongly opposed by BDS organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Palestinian groups who generated hundreds of bodies in Sacramento to oppose the measure and lobby the Governor to veto it.  JPAC provided a critical role in explaining the need to address the BDS issue to the Governor's office and organized a meeting in the Governor's office in September with the Governors Chief of Staff and Chief Legislative Deputy which was attended by JPAC Chair Jerilyn Gelt, JPAC Legislative Advocate Cliff Berg, and Aubrey Farkas of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation as well as member organizations such as AJC and other pro Israel groups.   AB 2844 passed both Houses of the Legislature in August by overwhelming majorities despite strong opposition from the anti-Israel groups and went to the Governor.  It was not clear where the Governor would come down on the issue until he announced the signing.
  • SB 1053 (Leno) Housing discrimination: applications - JPAC supported the bill and it was part of our lobby day agenda. The bill died on the Senate Appropriation Suspense File. The bill would have ensured that landlords do not deny applicants on the sole basis of them receiving Section 8 vouchers.
In July, JPAC and the Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) held a successful effort to alter some concerns regarding the Jewish portion of the History-Social Science Framework in California Public Schools.
Once about every ten years the State Board of Education (SBE) has a hearing to act on changes that will go into the framework for California Public Schools. During the ten years, they have held multiple hearings through the CA Department of Education (CDE) and the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to discuss what changes should be made.  
JPAC, ICS and Senator Block's office met with Tom Adams, the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction at CDE, prior to the final hearing at CDE in order to discuss some concerns and amendments to the current framework.
During the final July 14 th hearing, JPAC, the Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) along with other Jewish Organizations came to Sacramento and testified for a number of amendments to the current framework. After the State Board of Education heard the public comments, Tom Adams went and publicly spoke to the Board, suggesting that they vote for the Jewish amendments to the framework. The Board then voted to approve all of the IQC suggestions, and approved the framework unanimously.
Gun Violence Prevention Bills
The last week of June, the Legislature approved and sent to the Governor ten gun control bills. Governor Jerry Brown acted on legislation that was part of "The Safer California Gun Safety Package" on June 30 th that would impose new restrictions on assault weapons and the regulation of ammunition in California.
The Governor signed the following bills:
  • AB 1511 (Santiago) requiring that the infrequent loans of a firearm be made only to family members.
  • SB 880 (Hall) and AB 1135 (Levine) amending the definition of assault weapons to include semi-automatic rifles with magazines that can be detached with a bullet button.
  • AB 1695 (Bonta) expanding the existing misdemeanor of making a false report to law enforcement to include that a firearm has been lost or stolen, and imposing a 10-year ban on owning a firearm for people convicted of making a false report.
  • SB 1235 (De León) creating a new regulatory framework for purchasing and selling ammunition.
  • SB 1446 (Hancock) banning possession of high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
The Governor vetoed the following measures:
  • AB 1176 (Cooper) which would have put an initiative on the ballot to clarify that stealing a firearm is felony grand theft.
  • AB 1674 (Santiago) which would have extended the limit on handguns of one purchase per month to long guns. Brown said in a veto message that the regulation "would have the effect of burdening lawful citizens who wish to sell certain firearms that they no longer need."
  • AB 2607 (Ting) which would have expanded the list of people who are able to petition for gun violence restraining orders to include employers, co-workers, and mental health and school workers who had contact with the subject in the past six months. In a veto message, Brown said expanding the list would be "premature."
  • SB 894 (Jackson) which would have made it an infraction to fail to report the theft or loss of a stolen firearm. In a veto message, Brown noted that he vetoed similar messages in 2012 and 2013 "because I did not believe that a measure of this type would help identify gun traffickers or enable law enforcement to disarm people prohibited from having guns."I continue to believe that responsible people report the loss or theft of a firearm and irresponsible people do not; it is not likely that this bill would change that."
  • AB 1673 (Gipson) which would have expanded the definition of "firearm" to curb homemade weapons created without serial numbers, or "ghost guns."
No Place Like Home: The No Place Like Home Initiative, which became a budget trailer bill, AB 1618 Mental Health Services was debated and tweaked until the end of June, and was passed the last week of June 70-7 in the Assembly, and ultimately signed on July 1 st by the Governor.
The financing portion of the No Place Like Home program was released on August 9 th in the form of two budget trailer bills - AB 1628 and SB 858.   For budget bills, the legislature always introduces both an Assembly Bill and a Senate Bill vehicle that are identical, and depending on which house is in charge of the budget process that year, they negotiate on which bill will move. AB 1628 was the bill that advanced to the Governor's Desk.   
AB 1628 is the companion bill to the No Place Like Home program which establishes the financing mechanics behind the program. The budget bill indicates that the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) will sell the bonds and utilize MHSA funding to finance those costs, while the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will receive the bond revenue and develop the guidelines for disbursing the money to the counties, as well as be held accountable for housing built.
We received various assurances from leadership that the existing funding would not be impacted and some weak intent language was added into the bill.
Senior Nutrition: During the Budget Conference between the Senate and the Assembly, the Conferees increased an additional $2 million for the Senior Nutrition Program.
The Senior Nutrition Program provides nutritionally-balanced meals, nutrition education and nutrition counseling to individuals 60 years of age or older. In addition to promoting better health through improved nutrition, the program focuses on reducing the isolation of the elderly and providing a link to other social and supportive services such as transportation, information and assistance, escort, employment, and education.
Early Childhood Education: The 2016-17 budget included significant multiyear investments that expanded early childhood opportunities and aimed at stabilizing the infrastructure of early education and care programs.

The budget will allow for more surefooted progress for early childhood system in the future. From here, we're better positioned to ensure more young children have access to high-quality early care and education options that are essential to their healthy development and success in school and beyond.

The new budget investments start with an additional $100 million in 2016-17, and will grow to approximately $500 million annually in 2019-20. The budget includes the following investments:
The Legislature has adjourned the 2015-16 Legislative Session and the Members have gone back to their districts during the interim in order to focus on their elections. The Governor had until September 30 th to act on every bill that was on his desk, meaning that every bill that passed both houses is now either law or dead for the year.
The new Legislative Session will begin the first week of December when Legislators are sworn-in and take office after the November elections.
For questions or more information about these bills and programs, please contact Julie Zeisler at Julie@jpac-cal.org or Cliff Berg at (916) 448-8240.
In the State Assembly, Democrats garnered a super-majority by defeating two, potentially three, incumbent Republican Legislators (one race has yet to be called).  In the Senate, Republicans mounted unsuccessful challenges in two Democratic districts, and Democrats mounted unsuccessful challenges in two Republican districts, though one of the two races has yet to be officially called.  There were also several inter-party battles which predominantly favored the more moderate of the two candidates.  So the Democrats look like a super majority in the Assembly but may wind up one short in State Senate.
U.S. Senate
Kamala Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez - Governor Brown must now appoint a successor who will serve the remaining two years of Harris' term.  Will Brown appoint a placeholder? Or, will he appoint someone who intends to run for reelection in two years, thereby giving them a leg up on any challenger? We will find out soon.
U.S. Congress
Former Assembly Member Isadore Hall (D) lost to local City Councilmember Nanette Barragan in what had historically been a safe African American seat, CD 44.  This race is unique in that it represents a significant demographic shift.
State Senate - Contested Races
Former Assembly Member Anthony Portantino (D) defeated Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich (R) in SD 25, despite Antonovich's strong name identification. This remains a Democratic seat.
Former Capitol Staffer Henry Stern (D) defeated Steve Fazio (R) in SD 27.  This remains a Democratic seat.
Assembly Member Scott Wilk (R) defeated Johnathon Ervin (D) in SD 21.  This remains a Republican seat.
Assembly Member Ling Ling Chang (R) is ahead against Candidate Josh Newman (D) in SD 29.  Though the race has not been called, Chang will likely prevail to keep this a Republican seat.
Senator Richard Roth (D) defeated Candidate Richard Reed (R) in SD 31.  Historically this was a Republican seat; however, registration has changed dramatically, making it a relatively safe Democratic seat.
State Senate - Challenges
Assembly Member Bill Dodd (D) defeated Former Assembly Member Mariko Yamada in SD 3.  Dodd is a moderate, whereas Yamada is a liberal.
Senator Jim Beall (D) defeated Assembly Member Nora Campos (D) in SD 15.  Campos was funded primarily by the oil industry in protest to Beall's support of environmentalist legislation.
Former Assembly Member Steve Bradford (D) defeated former Assembly Member Warren Furitani (D) in SD 35.  This has historically been a safe African American seat, though the demographics are changing.
Scott Weiner defeated Jane Kim for Mark Leno's seat in San Francisco.
State Assembly - Contested Races
Assembly Member Marc Steinorth (R) defeated well financed candidate Abigail Medina (D) in AD 40, which was one of the Democrats top targets.  This remains a Republican seat.
Assembly Member David Hadley (R) lost to former Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D) in AD 66, returning this seat to Democrats.  This is one of two wins necessary for Democrats to garner a super-majority.
Assembly Member Catherine Baker (R) defeated Candidate Cheryl Cook-Kallio (D) in AD 16 to keep this a Republican seat; the only Republican seat in the Bay Area. 
Assembly Member Tom Lackey (R) defeated Former Assembly Member Steve Fox (D) in SD 36 to keep this a Republican seat.
Assembly Member Eric Linder (R) lost his reelection bid to Candidate Sabrina Cervantes (D) in AD 60, moving this seat from Republican to Democratic control.  This victory gives Democrats a super-majority.
Assembly Member Young Kim (R) is losing to former Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) in AD 65.  Though the race has not been called, it's unlikely that Kim will be able to make up sufficient ground to retain the seat.  This seat moves from Republican to Democratic control.
State Assembly - Challenges
Assembly Member Cheryl Brown (D) lost in her reelected bid against Candidate Eloise Reyes (D).  Brown was a moderate who campaign was largely funded by business, whereas Reyes is a liberal whose campaign was largely funded by environmentalists.
Former Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra (D) beat incumbent Assembly Member Patty Lopez (D) to return to the Assembly.  Bocanegra is a moderate, whereas Lopez is a liberal.
Candidate Tim Grayson (D) easily defeated Candidate Mae Torlakson (D) in AD 14.  Grayson is the more moderate of the two.
Candidate Jordan Cunningham (R ) defeated Candidate Dawn Ortiz-Legg (D) in AD 35, previously Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian's seat.
Candidate Madison Nguyen (D) defeated Candidate Ash Kalra (D) in AD 27, previously Assemblymember Nora Campos' seat.
Candidate Laura Friedman (D) defeated Candidate Ardy Kassakhian (D) in AD 43, previously Assemblymember Mike Gatto's seat.

Thank you to our member organizations:   


Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach and West Orange County

Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley

Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region

Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara

Jewish Labor Committee Western Region


Anti-Defamation League Western Region

30 Years After

American Jewish Committee Los Angeles

ETTA Israel 

The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC) is the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation. JPAC is Comprised of local Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Relations Committees and Councils, Jewish Family Services agencies, and other community advocacy groups from throughout California. We advocate on broadly shared values that affect the citizens of our State.