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California Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed

Joe W. Bowers Jr. and Edward Henderson | California Black Media

State Superintendent Thurmond Forcibly Removed from School Board Meeting

Last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was removed from a Chino Valley Unified School District board of education meeting after speaking out against a policy requiring school staff to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender.

Thurmond was invited to the meeting by students concerned about the policy.

After Thurmond spoke, he was verbally attacked by the board president, Sonja Shaw.

“You’re in Sacramento purposing things that pervert children,” she said.

Thurmond wrote in a series of tweets, “I don’t mind being thrown out of a board meeting by extremists. I can take the heat – it’s part of the job. What I can’t accept is the mistreatment of vulnerable students whose privacy is being taken away.”

Thurmond has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has spoken out against book bans.

The Chino Valley school board voted to approve the policy, which is similar to Assembly Bill 1314, authored by Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) which failed to get a hearing in the state Assembly.

Essayli also spoke at the school board meeting and received mixed reactions from the attendees.

That evening, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement urging the school district to protect students’ privacy.

Rep. Barbara Lee PAC Launches “Rescue Mission” After Falling Behind in Polls, Fundraising

A Super PAC supporting Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) is making a push for her to secure a spot among the top-two candidates in the close race to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) in the U.S. Senate.

The PAC’s organizers stated that they need to start introducing Lee to a broader statewide audience immediately and outlined an ambitious goal for a TV advertising budget.

So far, Lee’s outside group ‘She Speaks for Me’ has raised more than $1.5 million in the second quarter, which surpasses the $1.4 million the campaign has in the bank so far. However, that amount is lower than the fundraising totals of her Democratic rivals, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA-30) and Katie Porter (D-CA-47). Schiff’s campaign has raised nearly $30 million while Porter’s campaign has netted over $10 million.

A recent poll placed Porter and Schiff ahead of Lee among likely voters.

Advocates to Gov. Newsom: Ban Cannabis Products Targeting Children

Last week, a coalition of groups committed to raising awareness about the cannabis industry’s practice of targeting children through marketing, called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to enact a “Cannabis Candy Ban.”

Youth Forward, an organization working to shape cannabis policy, is leading the charge with a petition to direct tax revenues from marijuana into youth and community reinvestment programs.

“Currently, the industry legally sells cannabis products that mimic well-known household brands and features bright colors, fonts and cartoon food images that are attractive to children,” said Youth Forward in a release. “The success of the cannabis industry should not cost the safety of California youth and children.”

The Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act, Assembly Bill (AB) 1207, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), passed the Assembly with a 61-0 vote in May. The bill aims to prevent children from consuming cannabis products by regulating packaging and advertising.

AB 1207 is currently under review in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

New California Law Eliminates Fees Domestic Violence Survivors Pay for Case Evidence

Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) last week announced that Senate Bill (SB) 290, “Domestic Violence Documentation: Victim Access,” was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The new law modernizes the Access to Domestic Violence Reports Act of 1999 to make it easier for domestic violence survivors to access the evidence they need to try to obtain court-ordered legal protections. SB 290 eliminates the fees for digital records, including 911 recordings and photographs of injuries, property damage, or other abuse, that have been passed along to crime victims since 1999.

“Until now, DV survivors have had to pay for the evidence they need to seek legal protections from their abusers, often at exorbitant costs they cannot afford,” said Min. “SB 290 will allow more DV survivors to seek and receive the protection measures that will keep them safe.”

The new law applies to domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking, and elder and dependent abuse survivors.

Justice-related costs are common for victims. Female victims pay over $1,000 after they petition courts for protection. The estimated lifetime costs of abuse—including the costs of court, health problems, and lost productivity—are $103,767 for women and $23,414 for men.

Black in School Coalition Expresses Appreciation to Newsom and Legislature for Adopting Updated Equity Multiplier

The Black in School Coalition (BISC), a statewide alliance of scholars, educators, and community leaders that advocates for more funding for Black students in California’s public schools based on performance, has expressed gratitude to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature for adopting a revised version of the Equity Multiplier in the 2023-24 budget. The recently approved budget provides $300 million in new ongoing education funding as part of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

In April, BISC organized a rally at the state Capitol, where more than 2,000 students gathered to oppose Newsom’s original Equity Multiplier plan. They were concerned it did not adequately address the unique challenges Black students face.

The newest iteration of the plan adds a stability indicator requirement to the formula and now accounts for additional factors, such as chronic absenteeism, which will result in more resources directed to California’s lowest-performing students, who are disproportionately Black.

The top five school districts benefiting from these new funds are: Los Angeles Unified: $42.3 Million, Fresno Unified: $16.6 Million, San Bernardino City Unified: $9.2 Million, Lancaster Elementary: $8.8 Million, and Twin Rivers Unified: $7.5 Million.

“Our coalition’s robust advocacy efforts have been a powerful catalyst in addressing the need for this Administration to support Black students. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but we applaud our state leaders for taking this critical first step to provide better education supports,” said Dr. Margaret Fortune, speaking on behalf of the BISC.

Small Business Owners Applaud Superior Court for Extending Enforcement on “Rushed and Unfair” Privacy Rules

Last week, The Sacramento Superior Court delayed the California Privacy Protection Agency’s (CPPA) enforcement of new privacy regulations until March 29, 2024.

This provides a one-year compliance period as approved by voters in 2020’s Proposition 24 vote. The CPPA finalized the regulations on March 29, 2023, and had planned to begin enforcement on July 1, 2023.

Regulations include the right for consumers to correct inaccurate personal information business collect, the right to opt out of certain “sharing” of data rather than just the right to opt out of “sale” of data, and the right to limit the use and disclosure of sensitive personal information.

Many businesses across the state opposed the CCPA timetable for the regulations, arguing that they did not have enough time to comply before the levying of penalties began.

“The Sacramento Superior Court confirmed what we have been asking the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) to consider for over a year: the agency’s regulation rollout has been rushed and unfair to California’s diverse small businesses,” Julian Cañete of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Pat Fong Kushida of the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce and Edwin Lombard of the small business consultancy ELM Strategies said in a joint statement.

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