JCRC 2020 Legislative Agenda
July 31, 2020
Posted by: JCRC Staff
Yesterday, San Francisco officials announced their prediction for a “major surge” in hospitalizations and death from COVID-19's rapidly increasing spread in the city. Meanwhile in Berkeley, the Way Christian Church began demanding answers when a fire was started just hours after Pastor Michael McBride hung a Black Lives Matter banner. On the same day, Assemblymember David Chiu, who represents the 17th Assembly District, told the California Employment Development Department (EDD) that it has been failing California and "because of EDD's failures, our constituents are depleting their life savings, going into extreme debt, and having trouble paying rent and putting food on the table." All of this on Tisha B'Av, our Jewish day of mourning, which only made the day’s news more poignant for many. At JCRC we are building a legislative agenda to respond to these troubled times.
Free and Fair Elections: JCRC Democracy Initiative
JCRC launched a non-partisan Democracy Initiative in 2017. Since launch we've hosted a full-day forum on democracy, voter registration drives and other pro-democracy events. As part of this work, we are supporting these legislative efforts to assure fair, free, and safe elections:
- AB 860 – Requires county elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter for the November 3, 2020, statewide general election, ensuring that all voters have a safe way to vote.
- California Proposition 17, the Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment – a constitutional amendment that would allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote in California.
Right now there are uprisings across the country calling out long existing systemic racism in our systems of government and law enforcement. In support of our racial justice consensus and Black lives, we are endorsing the following:
- AB 2054 – Allows vulnerable populations to have a voice in emergency response planning.
- AB 3121 – Establishes the Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.
- AB 1550 – Makes discriminatory emergency calls actionable in civil and criminal court.
- Proposition 16, the Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment – Repeals Proposition 209 (1996), which says that the state cannot discriminate or grant preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, or contracting.
- HR 40, Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act – Establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.
Criminal Justice Reforms
- AB 1506 – Creates a section of the Department of Justice to review law enforcement use of force policies, and that upon request will conduct independent investigations of police involved shootings.
- H.R. 7120, Justice in Policing Act of 2020 – Addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It includes measures to increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct, to enhance transparency and data collection, and to eliminate discriminatory policing practices.
With historic unemployment and little relief in sight, our work to enhance economic stability and build sustainable economic resources has never been more important. This year we hope to see passage of:
- SB 899 – Makes it easier for religious institutions and institutes of higher education to build affordable housing on their own property.
- California Proposition 15, the Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative – Changes the California Constitution to require commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market value and dedicates revenue.
Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 has laid bare the racial and economic injustice in the United States and demonstrating daily the ineffectiveness of the healthcare system. In addition to sharing resources and opportunities to help, we are advocating these elements must be included in the next COVID-19 relief package:
- An extension of the extra unemployment payments set to expire July 31 (today).
- Payroll Protection Program with a simplified application process and loan forgiveness process.
- State stabilization funds.
- Additional funding for social services, public health, and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages.
- Rental assistance for people who suffered job loss or lost hours of work due to Covid 19 and can not afford to pay their rent.
- Medical care and other resources for refugees, asylum seekers, recent and undocumented immigrants.
- Increased funding for the childcare block grant.
- Increased funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
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JCRC’s unique consensus building process: JCRC has a large, diverse constituency covering several legislative jurisdictions. So, we have developed a careful and deliberate procedure for selecting the scope of our annual legislative agenda. Even before our Public Policy Committee debates bills there is an extensive process with high-level input from representatives of our member organizations via which JCRC builds consensus.