‘Annual Legislative Day’
High school students, veterans join NAACP State Conference to lobby for legislation
Sacramento, CA -- A multi-ethnic group of high school students and veterans gathered in Sacramento Monday, May 18 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel for the NAACP State Conference Annual Legislative Day. In conjunction with the Black American Political Association of California and Western Regional Council on Educating Black Children, the NAACP lobbied in the halls and offices of the capital’s government offices to get the support of officials on five pieces of legislation.
The morning started off with a greeting from the California State NAACP President Alice A. Huffman and a warm welcome from Speaker Karen Bass. After breakfast, a brief lesson on the legislative process was given along with a synopsis of the current NAACP sponsored bills. Armed with legislation literature, notepads, and determination, all teams marched to the capitol building and knocked on office doors, presenting their arguments to designated assemblypersons and senators.
Following are summaries of the proposed legislation:
Assembly Bill 3 would ensure green job placement and advancement opportunities for “specified” populations. The initiative would award grants to operate green job training and education programs across the state, though it is not clear where the money would come from. The NAACP says the bill would guarantee special attention to at-risk youth and ex-offenders.
Senate Bill 107 would relieve nonprofit organizations from certain types of sales tax such as mandatory gratuities, tips, or service fees that may be charged by hotels and food and beverage establishments. Senator Mimi Walters who is the author of the bill, writes, “Because nonprofits are essential to our communities, it is critical that we provide as much relief as possible to protect the precious dollars we donate to causes important to us.”
Assembly Bill 412 would make hanging a noose on private property belonging to another person or on public property a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a possible fine of $5,000. The bill suggests that the offense is a threat to life and an act of terrorism.
Assembly Bill 781 would prohibit local and state employers from discriminating against an applicant or employee on the basis of the individual’s inability to speak a language other than English, unless the occupational requirements include a second language. Plainly, employers would no longer be allowed to include phrases such as, ‘Bilingual Preferred’ or ‘Bilingual Suggested’ on employment applications. The NAACP suggests current practice, “automatically makes African American, Latinos, Asians and Whites who only speak English–—second and third tier candidates for jobs.”
Assembly Bill 1405 would establish the Community Benefits Fund, which would be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and “mitigate direct health impacts of climate change” in the most impacted and disadvantaged communities. The NAACP says, “The fund will pay for energy efficiency and solar on low-income housing, schools, community centers, along with senior ‘cooling’ centers during heat-waves.”
At the end of the day, each team presented their results. Though some members did not have the chance to meet with an assemblyperson or senator, others had first hand experience interacting with the lawmakers of California. One team leader remarked that a representative’s constituent was rude and disrespectful, dismissing the youth and elder’s opinions regarding the bills, while others reported some students were offered internships.
Huffman says, “It is important for (the youth) to get experience advocating directly with these officials. It is important to start training them. So many of our young people come up on lobby day who will become interns or major in political science.” She also says that the NAACP is one of the few organizations that offer the opportunity for young people to become directly involved with the legislative process by lobbying and advocating for civil rights and bills that are important to the community.
“I thought the event was really good,” Huffman reflects, “We were satisfied because we had meetings with 80 to 90 of the elected officials.” She explains that members felt more important in the process this year due to the contiguousness of the issues such as noose hanging and bilingual employment.
The NAACP encourages the public to become involved with civil rights actions by expressing opinions to government representatives on how to better serve the community.
If you have an idea for a bill, bring it to a member of the legislature. If the bill is adopted and written, it will be assigned a number and presented on the floor of the house of origin, then proceed through several levels of analysis. For more information about the legislative process, go to www.assembly.ca.gov.
The California Redistricting Commission, the first civilian redistricting effort in the state’s history, has released the first map after of the 2010 census reapportionment.
The commission’s effort to address federal and state representation, while keeping out major party partisan politics of the usual manipulation and gerrymandering, immediately came under fire from without and within.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Los Angeles Black community will roll out the red carpet this Saturday as one of the most powerful Black men in the United States makes appearances throughout the city.
Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC), who holds the title of Majority Whip for the 110th Congress, will speak at Anthony Samad, Ph.D.’s Urban Issues Forum and hold a press conference in conjunction with California Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass on Saturday at First A.M.E. Church, located at 1968 W. Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Geraldine Washington, president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP for the past 12 years, has stepped down from the position effective January 2009.
Washington has been replaced by former Detroit, Mich. district court judge and NAACP first vice president Leon Jenkins effective Jan. 1st.
Let me first say that I believe a woman should have the right to an abortion. It is the law, and each person has his or her own decision to make. However, since the court decision, Roe v. Wade, the amount of abortions in this nation have been on a steady rise. Black abortions are now at an epidemic rate, and a lot of God’s children are being snuffed out without a chance of life.
Twenty-first century politics are almost always more effective and efficient when they are based on well-organized coalition politics—i.e., the political efforts of several groups coordinated around mutual interests. The issue of California historical place names is ripe for such coalition politics between African Americans and California’s Native Americans, groups that have not usually worked together well in the state.