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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, Legislature Agree on $310.8 Billion Budget

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature reached an agreement on a state budget totaling $310.8 billion for the 2023-24 fiscal year. It came into effect July 1.

The agreement includes provisions for trailer bills that support clean transportation, expanded Medi-Cal coverage, expedited judicial review, advanced mitigation by Caltrans, the conversion of San Quentin into a rehabilitation center and wildlife crossings on I-15, among other initiatives.

“In the face of continued global economic uncertainty, this budget increases our fiscal discipline by growing our budget reserves to a record $38 billion, while preserving historic investments in public education, health care, climate, and public safety,” said Newsom.

Negotiations had been delayed because the of the Governor’s demands, including an infrastructure proposal that lawmakers opposed. A compromise was reached by limiting the types of projects eligible for expedited approval permits and excluding a proposed water conveyance tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

“We started our budget process this time around with tough economic challenges, but one overarching goal: to protect California’s progress,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego).

On July 1, California Officially Recognized Juneteenth as a State Holiday

This past weekend, on July 1, Assembly Bill (AB) 1655, which declares Juneteenth an official California state holiday took effect.

AB 1655, introduced by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, was signed into law by Gov. Newsom last September.

On June 19 of next year, California state employees can elect to take the day off work to commemorate the holiday celebrating the emancipation of formerly enslaved Black Americans.

California “Renters Caucus” Announces Pro-Tenant Bills

On June 29, The California Legislative Renters Caucus – a group of five lawmakers who are all renters — held a press conference to announce a package of bills aimed to protect the rights of tenants in California.

The Renters’ Caucus was formed in 2022 in response to the state’s dire housing crisis. This unique caucus is committed to ensuring that the interests of California’s 17 million renters are represented in state government.

Each member of the caucus is responsible for introducing a bill for consideration. Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Caucus, hosted the press conference and introduced Senate Bill (SB) 555. The bill aims cap limit security deposits to no more than one month’s rent.

“Each of the pieces of our legislative agenda is addressing a different challenge that renters are facing,” said Haney. “

Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D- Ladera Heights), Vice Chair of the Caucus, introduced AB 1248. This bill limits independent redistricting to fight gerrymandering.

Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose) introduced AB 309. The bill would set eligibility criteria for residents of social housing and establish a lottery system for selecting residents.

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner (D-Encinitas) introduced AB 548, which protects renters by giving more authority to inspectors to insure safe living conditions.

Sen. Aisha Wahab (D-Hayward) introduced SB 555 which creates a practical data driven masterplan that outlines a plan to produce 1.2 million affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

Attorney General Bonta Releases 2022 Hate Crime Report: Blacks Still Most Targeted Group

California Attorney General Rob Bonta on June 27 released the 2022 Hate Crime in California Report. The document also highlighted resources to support ongoing efforts across the state to combat hate.

In California, hate crime events rose by 20.2% from 1,763 in 2021 to 2,120 in 2022. Reported hate crimes targeting Black people remain the most prevalent and increased 27.1% from 513 in 2021 to 652 in 2022, while reported anti-Asian hate crime events decreased by 43.3% from 247 in 2021 to 140 in 2022. Hate crimes involving sexual orientation bias rose by 29% from 303 in 2021 to 391 in 2022.

“This report is a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done to combat hate in our state. I urge local partners and law enforcement to review these findings and recommit to taking action,” said Bonta. “The alarming increases in crimes committed against Black, LGBTQ+ and Jewish people for the second year in a row illustrates the need for our communities to join together unified against hate.”

Controller Malia Cohen Updated her Office’s Compensation in Government

State Controller Malia M. Cohen published 2022 self-reported payroll data for cities and counties on the Government Compensation in California website. The data cover 688,912 positions and a total of more than $54.65 billion in 2022 wages.

Users of the site can view compensation levels on maps and search by region, narrow results by name of the entity or by job title and export raw data or custom reports.

The data covers 459 cities and 53 counties. The City of Hayward had the highest average city employee wage, followed by Pleasant Hill, Atherton, and Hillsborough. Topping the list for highest average county employee wage were Alameda, Los Angeles, San Mateo, Monterey, and Sacramento counties. The highest-salaried city employee in California was the City Manager for the City of Montebello. The top 25 highest-paid county employees work in health care.

With Words of Encouragement and a Resolution, Assemblymember Mike Gipson Uplifts Fatherhood

In recognition of Father’s Day this year, Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) introduced House Resolution (HR) 36, legislation declaring June “Fatherhood Well-Being Month.

Last week, at Ted Watkins Park in South Los Angeles, Gipson joined residents in his community to highlight the importance of fathers and father figures in collaboration with a South Los Angeles community initiative called Project Fatherhood.

“This elevates the work of Project Fatherhood that is originally from this Watts community; that goes out and provides skill building for fathers, giving them experiences they need to be great fathers in this community,” said Gipson. “It’s a great blessing for me.”

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