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 JPAC Advocacy Day 2016: A Huge Success!

On May 9th and 10th, JPAC held our 2016 Advocacy Day in Sacramento.  Attended by 80 advocates representing 15 organizations from across the State, we met with 40 legislators and staffers, honored State Senator Fran Pavley (D-27) with the Jerry Sampson Legislator of the Year award, and heard from our Keynote speaker former Assembly Speaker and current UC Regent John A. Perez on issues affecting all Californians. JPAC also hosted a riveting panel discussion on homelessness and affordable housing with former Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Asm. Adrin Nazarian, Asm. David Chiu, and issue experts. 


Our morning kicked off with a rousing and inspirational opening by Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino.  We put our Jewish values into action as we lobbied our elected representatives on an anti-BDS bill, an affordable housing bill, and two budget items that directly benefit the state's most vulnerable.  

JPAC Advocacy Day is an annual mission to Sacramento that brings together lay leaders and staff of Jewish organizations all over California.   It is an opportunity to come together in our State's Capitol to strengthen our relationships, debate public policy, and represent the greater Jewish community statewide to our legislators.    


JFS LA CEO Paul Castro presents Senator Fran Pavley with Legislator of the Year Award
Senator Mark Leno presents Earl Raab award to lay leader of the year  Rabbi Doug Kahn
Former Speaker John A. Perez

Rabbi Noah Farkas  
Homelessness and Housing Panel. From left: Maggie Merritt, Michael Lane, Asm. Adrin Nazarian, Asm. David Chiu, Asm. and Former Speaker Tani Atkins; Moderated by Nancy Volpert


From left:  Jerilyn Gelt, Asm. Richard Bloom, Nancy Volpert, Paul Castro
JPAC Advocacy Day Lobbying   

JPAC advocates met with over 40 state senators and assembly members and their staff at the State Capitol to advocate for "yes" votes on these issues:   
YES to AB 2844 (Bloom) :
California Combating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel Act of 2016:  This bill will  ensure that the State protect its mutually beneficial relationship with the State of Israel by prohibiting a public entity from entering into a contract with a company that is participating in the boycott of Israel.  
This bill passed by a unanimous (10-0) vote of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on the bill on April 19 th, 2016.  The Assembly Judiciary Committee analysis raised concerns regarding constitutional issues , including First Amendment (free speech) rights.  The author responded to the concerns by taking suggested amendments which resolved the Committees concerns.  The Committee then voted to approve the amended bill 10 to 0. It was referred to Assembly Appropriations and made it out of Suspense file with significant amendments.

AB 2844 is next scheduled to be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on June 28 at 1:30 pm.   Please consider attending the hearing and testifying in favor of this bill. 
YES to SB 1053 (Leno): Housing Opportunity Act: SB 1053 would provide all Californians with a full and fair opportunity to seek housing by ensuring that landlords cannot deny applicants simply because they receive rental subsidies. SB 1053 would amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to clarify that housing subsidy vouchers, such as Section 8 vouchers, are a protected source of income . This bill seeks to ensure that landlords do not deny low-income families and other vulnerable populations the opportunity to apply for available housing by expanding protections against housing discrimination under the FEHA by revising the definition of "source of income" to include income paid to a housing owner or landlord on behalf of a tenant, including federal, state, or local public assistance or subsidies.
 This bill was placed in the Senate Appropriations Suspense file on April 18, 2016, and did not make it out of Suspense.

Budget Ask:  Protecting Funding for Mental Health Services:
The California Senate has introduced a budget initiative called "No Place Like Home" to prevent and address homelessness in our local communities, with a particular emphasis on helping those with mental illness. We requested that this proposal not re-purpose money from Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), which funds critically-important preventative and community-based programs for mentally ill homeless people.

Budget Ask: $5.4m for Senior Nutrition Programs:
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.        
For questions or more information about these bills and programs, please contact Julie Zeiser at [email protected] or Cliff Berg at (916) 448-8240.
Item #1: AB 2844 (Bloom): the Combating BDS in California Bill, will be next heard in the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday, June 28 at 1:30 p.m.  Please consider attending and testifying in favor of this bill. 

Item #2: JPAC is supporting the efforts of the Institute of Curriculum Services, which was launched in 2005 and is a special nonprofit national project of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Supported by direct grants and donations, ICS is dedicated to promoting accurate instructional materials and instruction on Jews, Judaism, and Israel for American K-12 students. Its work impacts the millions of public and private school students who learn about Jews, Judaism, and Israel in social studies classes each year. 

Please reach out to members of the State Board of Education and urge their support for ICS' suggested changes to the Draft History-Social Science Framework.

The members are:
1.       Dr. Michael Kirst, State Board President
2.       Dr. Ilene Straus, State Board Vice President
3.       Ms. Sue Burr, Member
4.       Mr. Bruce Holaday, Member
5.       Dr. Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon, Member
6.       Ms. Patricia Ann Rucker, Member
7.       Dr. Nicolasa Sandoval, Member
8.       Dr. Ting L. Sun, Member
9.       Ms. Trish Boyd Williams, Member
10.   Michael McFarland, Student Member
By: Jerilyn Gelt, JPAC Board Chair
Rabbi Doug Kahn, the longtime Executive Director of JCRC in San Francisco, is retiring after over 30 years as the leader of community relations in San Francisco.  As JPAC Chair and Past President of the Bay Area JCRC Board of Directors, I was thrilled when JPAC decided to honor Bay Area JCRC Executive Director Rabbi Doug Kahn with its Earl Raab Award this year. Mr. Raab founded both JPAC and the Bay Area JCRC (he was Doug's first boss there), and the award named in his honor is given to a recipient who best exemplifies his high standard of communal activism and advocacy for residents of our state. In a departure from tradition, the award was given to Rabbi Kahn (rather than a lay leader) in honor of his retirement after 34 years serving JCRC and the Jewish Community as well as representing JCRC on JPAC's Board of Directors.

Working with Doug has been a privilege. He shared his many talents with JPAC, including his activist spirit, his nuanced diplomacy and his passion for issues affecting the Jewish community and Israel. His thoughtful insight into complex matters and his talent for creating consensus among those of disparate viewpoints were valued by all those who served on the JPAC Board and will continue to inspire us all.

What JPAC Advocacy Day Means to Me
By: Stacey Dorenfeld, Hadassah Southern CA member 
 At first, JPAC was just a curiosity, a passing thought, an idea; something that I never imagined would create a powerful fire within my soul. So, as an active member of Hadassah, the largest Women's Zionist organization, I was honored to participate in a statewide coalition of Jewish organizations all working towards common goals.
I was privileged to bring seven members of Hadassah Southern California with me to Sacramento for JPAC's Advocacy Day in May 2016. It was above and beyond an incredible experience. I felt the presence of respect and hope that comes from joining with our government, hand in hand, towards the mutual goal of nurturing a cohesive Jewish community within our state.
JPAC has taught me that getting involved in civic responsibilities and advocating on behalf of Jewish values and being in sync with our Senators and Assemblymembers gives me a voice that is actually heard.   The thrill of being in the State Capitol with the largest coalition of Jewish organizations in the nation is bigger than just me.  JPAC has touched me in so many ways and I am now even more committed to continuing my involvement in advocacy and representing the Jewish community.  
JPAC Members Honored by California Association of Non-Profits
From Left: Nancy Volpert (JFSLA); Asm. Adrin Nazarian, and Shana Hazan (JFSSD)
On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) is hosting the inaugural California Nonprofits Day celebration at the State Capitol in Sacramento, honoring nonprofits across the state as Nonprofits of the Year. 

Congratulations to Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and Jewish Family Service of San Diego for this honor!
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 San Diego County

Jewish Federation of Greater Long Beach and North Orange County

Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley

Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region

Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara

Jewish Labor Committee Western Region

Hadassah Southern California

Hadassah Central Pacific Coast

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.