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California Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed

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

Gov. Newsom’s New Executive Order Opens Pathway to State Jobs, Higher Pay

On Aug. 31, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to improve access to higher paying and more fulfilling careers for students and workers.

The executive order launches the development of a new Master Plan on Career Education designed to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow, including jobs that don’t require college degrees. Additionally, the executive order directs the state to take further steps to reduce other barriers to state employment.

“All families, students, and workers deserve the freedom to succeed: to build real-life skills and pursue careers — including those that don’t require college degrees,” said Newsom. “California is leveraging billions of dollars in investments to prepare students and workers for good-paying, long-lasting, and fulfilling careers.”

The Master Plan on Career Education aims to create career pathways; prioritize hands-on learning and real-life skills; and advance universal access and affordability for all Californians through streamlined collaboration and partnership between government and the private sector.

The executive order also builds on California’s effort to improve the state’s hiring process. Recognizing that many state jobs do not require four-year college degrees for success in a position, the Governor’s executive order directs the California Human Resources Department

(CalHR) to evaluate whether a college degree is needed for a particular position whenever its classification is reviewed. CalHR is currently engaged in outreach efforts to help more Californians access state employment.

Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer Applauds Passage of Gun Safety Resolution

On Aug. 31, the Senate Public Safety Committee voted to pass Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 7, the Right to Safety Act, legislation that could impact federal gun laws.

“This is not a symbolic gesture,” said Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). “This is a push to have a real national conversation on the issue of gun violence in America and do something about these near-daily horrific acts.”

According to the resolution’s language, “The measure would apply to the United States Congress to call a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution of the United States for the purpose of proposing a constitutional amendment relating to firearms, as specified.

Jones-Sawyer says if SJR is approved by the Legislature, it will give California and other states a chance to fight back against an “activist Supreme Court.”

“Poll after poll shows a majority of Americans want action taken to have gun safety laws in place,” Jones-Sawyer said. “A Right to Safety Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will do exactly that without impeding on the Second Amendment.”

California Senate Sees Leadership Shifts on Both Sides of the Aisle

Both Democrats and Republicans in the California Senate announced changes in their leadership last week.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, who made history as the first woman and first LGBTQ+ Californian to hold the Senate’s top job, announced on Aug. 28 that the Democratic Caucus had convened and chosen Sen. Mark McGuire (D-Healdsburg) as the Senate Pro Tem designee.

Atkins will step down next year as Senate President pro Tem but she has not yet announced a specific date or month when the transition will take place.

“I am confident that this will be a seamless transition, and that Senator McGuire will continue to guide the Senate and California down a path of success. Senator McGuire has been a key member of my leadership team, a trusted confidant, and time after time, the convener who sets the table to get things done,” she said. “The Senate and the people of California will be in good hands with Senator McGuire as their future leader of the Senate.”

The same day, Senate Republican leader Sen. Brian Jones (R-Santee) announced that Sen. Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta) will replace Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach) as Senate Republican Caucus chair.

Nguyen is the first Vietnamese American state legislator in the United States. She is stepping down to run for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

“I look forward to working with him on our priorities to fix California. As a retired firefighter, Kelly is a fearless advocate for protecting the public and tackling fentanyl in our communities,” said Jones at a Capitol press briefing.

Anti-LGTBQ Groups Announce Plan to Place Transgender Student Rights on 2024 Ballot

Last week, multiple anti-LGBTQ groups announced an effort to place three initiatives on the November 2024 California ballot aimed at limiting the rights of transgender youth.

The initiatives, which need 550,000 valid signatures each to get on the ballot, are an effort to put policies in place that lawmakers have refused to take up with legislation, the activists say.

One of the initiatives requires that parents be notified if their child identifies as transgender at school. The second would prohibit transgender students from participating on sports teams not aligned with their gender at birth. The third would ban gender-affirming medical care for minors. This includes puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery.

Similar policies have been put in place in 20 U.S states. Many are currently facing court challenges.

“We need to make sure that the legislation that we’re doing will stand the test of time … and is as robust and appropriate as possible in response to the threats that are out there,” Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego), vice chair of the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Legislation regarding students’ rights to control the disclosure of their identity or sexuality is being considered in the State Legislature. However, a floor vote in the Assembly or Senate is unlikely before lawmakers go on recess Sept. 14.

Another bill, AB 1314, that would require schools to notify parents if their children self-identify as a gender different from the one on the birth certificate is currently under review in the Assembly Education Committee.

Victim Advocates, Business Owners, Law Enforcement and Republican Officials Rally Against Crime

On Aug. 31, Republican lawmakers, businessowners, crime victim advocates and law enforcement officials held a rally at the State Capitol demanding an end to policies, in their view, that have made communities around the state less safe.

The rally took place one day ahead of the Appropriations Committee suspense hearing where the fate of several bills the Republican Caucus prioritized was determined for this session.

California Black Media (CBM) will follow up with more coverage on bills that advanced this session and others that have been put on hold.

“Enough is enough – the Legislature needs to stop excusing and enabling the crime wave that’s turning people around the state into victims,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (R-Yuba City).

“Members of the Appropriations Committee have a choice: double down on the pro-criminal policies that got us into this mess or protect law-abiding Californians. I hope they make the right decision.”

Speakers, including trafficking survivor Dominique Brown, of Breaking the Chains, called on the committee to advance Senate Bill (SB) 14, which would make human trafficking of a minor a serious felony.

“SB 14 is a critical step to protect children and young adults from the horrors of human trafficking,” said Brown. “I hope the passage of SB 14 will make a lasting statement that God’s children are not for sale.”

Attendees also rallied to stop other public safety and crime-and-punishment related bills, including SB 553, SB 94, SB 81, and ACA 4.

September Is National Emergency Preparedness Month

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) has designated September as Emergency Preparedness Month as part of its public awareness campaign on disaster preparedness.

Last week, the Governor’s Office of Emergency of Emergency Services (CalOES) released a number of online toolkits (in 12 languages) to inform state residents about what they can do if faced with a natural disaster.

As the state gets drier, hotter and wetter – and as more and more residents experience extreme weather conditions every year – officials say the information is lifesaving, and preparation for emergencies is a lot simpler than most people think.

For more information on getting prepared visit Listos California.

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