(Sacramento) – Assistant Speaker pro Tempore Isadore Hall, III (D-Compton) today was joined by Speaker Karen Bass (D – Los Angeles); Speaker-elect John A. Pérez (D- Los Angeles); members of the legislative Asian Pacific Islander, Black, Latino, LGBT and Women’s caucuses; prominent civil rights organizations and representatives from the University of California at the State Capitol in publicly condemning a racially offensive student event hosted by students of UC San Diego and demanding full accountability for their actions.
The event called the, ‘Compton Cookout’ was organized by members of various Greek fraternal organizations including Pi Kappa Alpha and encouraged participants to mock Black History Month by promoting negative and offensive racial and gender stereotypes.
“These acts of racism and sexism will not be tolerated in California or anywhere in the United States,” said Assemblymember Hall. “I stand united with fellow legislative leaders in publicly condemning those responsible for this act of hate and demanding full accountability for their actions.”
Continued Hall, “Today, I call upon UC San Diego Chancellor Mary Anne Fox, UC President Mark Yudof and the UC Board of Regents to launch an immediate and thorough investigation of the ‘Compton Cookout’ event to determine the names of those responsible for planning and participating in this act of racism and sexism, what university affiliated organizations participated in the event and what if any public funds or resources were used to plan or carry out the event. At the conclusion of the investigation, university officials should act swiftly to sanction all responsible parties including the revocation of fraternity or sorority charters, the full repayment of any public funds used to support these organizations and the individual suspension or expulsion of any student found responsible for planning or participating in this act of hate.”
“I don’t want these organizations to merely apologize for their actions. I want names and I want these individuals and organizations to understand that this type of racist and sexist behavior will not be tolerated in California. State taxpayers will not stand for their money to be spent supporting any organization that fosters racism, hate and intolerance. The legislature will closely monitor the university’s investigation and, if necessary, will act within its budgetary and oversight capacity to ensure that public funds do not finance racism or sexism in our state,” concluded Hall.
The full text of the ‘Compton Cookout’ invitation is attached for reference.
Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III Condemns Racist and Sexist “Compton Cookout” Event
(Sacramento) - Assistant Speaker pro Tempore Isadore Hall, III (D-Compton) stood at the Capitol steps,with his fellow legislators including Speaker Karen Bass and Speaker-elect John Pérez to publicly condemn a racially offensive student event hosted this past weekend by students of the University of California, San Diego. The event called the, ‘Compton Cookout’ was organized by members of various Greek fraternal organizations and encouraged participants to mock Black History Month by promoting negative and offensive racial and gender stereotypes. Assemblymember Hall says university officials should investigate the organizers of the event and determine what sanctions, including suspension, should be taken against the fraternity or fraternities responsible for the event. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
Speaker Bass Condemns Racist and Sexist “Compton Cookout” Event
(Sacramento) – Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) joined Assistant Speaker pro Tempore Isadore Hall, III (D-Compton) and other legislators on the steps of the State Capitol to publicly condemn a racially offensive student event hosted recently by students of the University of California, San Diego. The event called the, ‘Compton Cookout’ was organized by members of various Greek fraternal organizations and encouraged participants to mock Black History Month by promoting negative and offensive racial and gender stereotypes. Speaker Bass says university officials should investigate the organizers of the event and determine what sanctions, including suspension, should be taken against the fraternity or fraternities responsible for the event. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
Speaker-elect John A. Pérez, Condemns Racist and Sexist “Compton Cookout” Event
(Sacramento) - Speaker-elect John A. Pérez (D- Los Angeles) stood at the Capitol steps,with his fellow legislators including Speaker Karen Bass to join Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III (D-Compton) in publicly condemning a racially offensive student event hosted this past weekend by students of the University of California, San Diego. The event called the, ‘Compton Cookout’ was organized by members of various Greek fraternal organizations and encouraged participants to mock Black History Month by promoting negative and offensive racial and gender stereotypes. Speaker-elect Pérez said that this event was "calculated to be offensive" and added that it creates an atmosphere of hostility and exclusion which compromises the core mission of an educational institution. Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
Assemblymember Hall says those responsible for the event must be held accountable. (:32) mp3
Assemblymember Hall says the event invitation was full of racial and sexist references. (:15) mp3
Assemblymember Hall says acts of racism and sexism must not be tolerated. (:20) mp3
SACRAMENTO - California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston) on Thursday thanked President Obama and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for their dedication and commitment to high-speed rail by allocating billions of dollars to 31 states, including California, for their projects.
"The Legislature has worked closely with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Caltrans and other stakeholders to show just how well prepared California is to launch a high-speed train here--and today's announcement by President Obama shows that effort has paid off,” Bass said. "We hope this is only the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership between California and the federal government to make sure transportation in California and throughout the country comes into the 21st Century.”
Galgiani agreed. "California is unified behind its high-speed train project. We have gathered support from a broad coalition of groups in all geographic regions throughout the state. We are all unified in our goal of obtaining a clean, safe, interstate transportation system, as well as offering an economic boost to the state by providing Californians jobs. For every $1 billion spent on infrastructure projects for a high-speed train, jobs are created for 18,000 Californians.”
"The federal government created the Eisenhower Interstate System in 1956, the greatest public works project in history, and now they are ready to take the next step and improve interstate travel and invest in a high-speed rail system. I am pleased we have received this boost of funding and I am proud that California is one of the few states in the country who are taking the lead in developing a true high-speed rail train system,” added Galgiani.
The Obama Administration announced earlier today that California is going to receive $2,349,400,000 of the $8 billion in stimulus funding for high-speed train development under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Combined with matching state, local and private funding, the federal infusion could generate billions to help launch the initial Anaheim-to-San Francisco link in a system that eventually will stretch to 800 miles, serving most of the state's major cities.
Bills Will Address Problem of Concussions Among High School Athletes
(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) has introduced two bills to address the problem of recurring concussions and life-threatening injuries among high school athletes. AB 1646 will add training on potentially catastrophic injuries, such as head and neck injuries, asthma attacks, and heatstroke, to the CPR and first aid certification required of all California high school coaches. AB 1647 will require athletes suspected of having a concussion to get a doctor’s written permission before returning to play. Below are Assemblymember Hayashi’s prepared remarks from today’s capitol news conference announcing the introduction of AB 1646 and 1647.
“Too many high school athletes return to play too early after a head injury, placing them at risk for another concussion. Multiple concussions can result in brain bleeding and swelling, and related health problems such as sleep disorders, memory loss, and depression.
I am pleased that state leaders and advocates have joined together to discuss the impact such injuries are having on student health and safety. It is a serious problem, as the Center for Injury Research and Policy reported that 41 percent of high school athletes who suffered a concussion returned to play prematurely. Because their heads and necks are still developing, high school players are at risk for greater injury and need a longer recovery time. The American Academy of Family Physicians showed that the incidence of catastrophic head injuries is more than three times greater among high school football players than college players.
But football is not the only sport, and this is not just about boys and men. In 2008, an NCAA study reported that concussion rates were higher in women than in men in soccer - 27 percent higher. They were also higher in basketball (66 percent), and in ice hockey (80 percent). In fact, a 2009 American Journal of Sports Medicine article showed that female athletes are suffering more severe symptoms from multiple concussions than male athletes.
I have introduced two bills to address this problem and increase student safety. AB 1646 will add training on concussions and other potentially catastrophic injuries, such as asthma attacks and heatstroke, to the CPR and first aid certification required of all California high school coaches. AB 1647 will require medical clearance from a health professional before a student can return to play following a sports injury.
AB 1646 is similar to the laws passed by Oregon and Texas. Oregon’s 2009 law mandates annual concussion training for coaches. School sports officials also keep players off the field for the rest of the day when injured, and mandate a medical evaluation before they return. In 2007, Texas passed “Will’s Bill,” requiring every high school coach to be trained in basic safety and emergency procedures, with special emphasis on concussions and second-impact syndrome. AB 1647 is similar to Washington State’s law, which is considered the nation’s toughest return-to-play law. It passed last year, requiring medical clearance of youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion before they go back to training and competition.
Our kids believe that they need to be tough and play through the pain when injuries occur, so they’re unlikely to tell anyone when they think they have a concussion. It’s also hard for parents to say no to their kids when they want to go back and play. We need to help the adults around student athletes become more aware of the problem, and empower them with laws that put the health of the player first. 2010 should be the year that California resolved to take concrete steps to protect its student athletes. Through these bills, we can better protect our kids, allowing them to be the athletes they want to be, without sacrificing their safety.”
AB 1652 takes a comprehensive approach to promote increased safety for skiers and snowboarders
(Sacramento) - Today Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) announced the introduction of Assembly Bill 1652. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to promote increased safety for skiers and snowboarders by requiring better signage, accident and injury reporting, and helmet use for kids and resort employees.
California has 32 largely unregulated ski resorts. There are no requirements concerning posting of signs related to ski slope conditions, boundary warnings, or known hazards. Data regarding injuries or fatalities occurring at ski resorts is only aggregated nationally by the ski industry associations; therefore consumers are unable to get information about the overall death and injury statistics or the relative safety performance of individual ski resorts.
Numerous recent studies have found that traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of injury-related death among skiers and snowboarders, and children in particular are at higher risk. A 2008 study conducted by University of Washington professor Peter Cummings concluded that the use of helmets could reduce the risk of serious injury in up to 60 percent of all accidents. Additionally, skiers and snowboarders who crashed or fell had a 15 percent reduction in the risk of any head injury if they were wearing a helmet.
"While tragic accidents at California's ski resorts are, fortunately, not common, we know we can do more to protect the safety of ski resort enthusiasts and workers," said Jones. "Requiring helmet use for workers and kids, having a clear safety plan, posting adequate signs warning of possible dangers and changing conditions are the tools we need to put in place to ensure the safety of those enjoying California's mountains. I am pleased to be working with the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization to craft comprehensive legislation to put these important protections in place."
Assemblymember Jones was joined by Dr. Dan Gregorie, founder of the California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization (CSSSO), at the event in the State Capitol to announce the introduction of AB 1652.
"Accidents happen, but when injuries and deaths occur that could potentially be avoided, that's when the Legislature needs to investigate what can be done," said Dr. Gregorie. "Skiers and snowboarders now travel as fast as cars. If highway safety is a priority, then why not ski and snowboard safety? One life lost to a preventable accident is one life too many. It's time something is done to hold ski resorts more accountable and make uniform signage, adequate barriers and proper traffic and speed management part of everyday safety practices."
(Sacramento) - Assemblymembers Ted Lieu and Alyson Huber today joined Crime Victims United and law enforcement officials to call on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to implement common-sense public safety protections as tens of thousands of prisoners begin to be set free early, many without parole supervision and with no rehabilitation. Lieu and Huber announced the introduction of Assembly Bill 1678 to mandate public safety protections.
"As a tidal wave of prisoners are released back into our community, many of them without rehabilitation services or parole supervision, it is imperative that common-sense public safety protections be in place to protect the public and help local law enforcement shoulder the burden of the early release of convicted criminals," said Assemblymember Ted Lieu. "Law enforcement not only needs to know who CDCR is releasing early and without parole supervision, but they should also have a voice to ensure CDCR isn't releasing prisoners who will immediately commit another crime."
Under the Governor's proposals, which became law today, three fundamental changes will occur. First, many criminals behind bars in either state prisons or local jails will have their confinement cut in half. For every six months a criminal serves in confinement, that criminal will receive six months of early release credit. Second, for state prisoners, CDCR begins determining which prisoners to release without parole supervision, also known as Non-Revocable Parole. Third, rehabilitation programs in state prisons will be gutted and 600 to 800 vocational and educational prison instructors will be given pink slips.
"Public safety must be our number one priority," said Assemblymember Alyson Huber. "That's why we are calling on CDCR to immediately involve local law enforcement."
"In an effort to save money, we believe the crime reductions many communities have seen could be at risk," said Floyd Hayhurst, Vice President of the Association for Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs. "We believe the state should implement ways to reduce the impact of early release."
Assembly Bill 1678, authored by Assemblymembers Lieu and Huber, was introduced today to mandate common sense public safety protections. Specifically, AB 1678 would enable local law enforcement agencies to object to the release of a convicted felon into Non-Revocable Parole status; require CDCR to notify local law enforcement agencies with critical information about identity, location and criminal history within a reasonable time period prior to their release; and increase transparency by making public a list of crimes committed by prisoners being released without parole supervision.
"We believe these protections are reasonable and will help us control crime and protect the public," said Brian Johnson, Director for the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
Keep California Moving – Fix the Roads Roundtable (Fresno)
Speaker Atkins Joins Business, Labor and Local Leaders to Keep California Moving
Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins discussing California’s transportation issues at Fresno press conference.
FRESNO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature’s special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to keep California moving.
“The Central Valley is vital to California’s economy, and fixing our infrastructure is vital to the Central Valley,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “Many Valley communities and businesses are dependent on the lifelines provided by Highway 99 and Highway 5. They need to be kept in good shape. That’s why we are working closely with the state’s local elected officials and business community to ensure we can enact real solutions to the state’s transportation problems in this special session of the Legislature.”
“It’s fundamental that California be able to move goods and people in a modern, efficient way,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who called for a special session on transportation funding in June. “The problem is clear and we’re going to find the right path forward. The potholes don’t wait, the congestion doesn’t wait.”
A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that peak-commute drivers in Fresno waste 23 hours a year sitting in traffic, resulting in an estimated cost of $495 per driver. More than 75% of motorists in Fresno County drive their own cars instead of taking public transportation, and that takes a heavy toll on the roads.
“Some of the roads in Stanislaus County are literally crumbling under my tires, and the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto needs basic maintenance so badly it is no longer safe for heavy trucks and busses,” said Vito Chiesa, president of the California State Association of Counties and a Stanislaus County supervisor. “Reforms and accountability measures are needed to ensure taxpayer dollars are going toward transportation, but it is an indisputable fact that we need new revenues to address the severe maintenance backlog of our local streets and roads. I urge lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Sacramento to find a workable solution. The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost when we do finally fix our roads.”
Fixing all our roads now would cost more than $100 billion, but waiting 10 years would push the cost to nearly $300 billion. Every dollar invested in transportation infrastructure produces $5.20 in economic benefit, and every $1 billion that gets spent on transportation infrastructure leads to roughly 18,000 jobs.
Darius Assemi, Granville Homes President and CEO and California Transportation Commission Commissioner, added, “We need more revenue along with reforms to ensure Californians’ tax dollars are spent wisely, and solely used for transportation purposes to fix our deteriorating roads.”
Transportation funding has not kept pace with the state’s aging infrastructure. Most of the funding comes from gasoline excise taxes, which have not kept up with inflation. California collects 30 cents per gallon, a value that hasn’t increased in 25 years and, in fact, decreased by 6 cents in July. This means that the purchasing power of today’s excise tax is at an all-time low. Increased fuel-efficiency standards allow cars to travel more miles with less gas, also generating fewer gas-tax dollars to fix the roads.
According to multiple studies in recent years, California faces numerous transportation problems:
California has the second-highest share of roads in “poor condition” in the nation. More than half of our state roads need rehabilitation or pavement maintenance.
Our state has six of the 10 cities with the worst road conditions in the nation.
Nearly 1/3 of our bridges and overpasses show signs of deterioration, or do not meet design standards.
Nearly 70% of California’s urban roads and highways are congested.
Statement from Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego)
“The Governor’s signature is the next step for a prudent and progressive budget that will make California a better place to live, work and play. We are sending more money to schools, helping working families by expanding child care and preschool and establishing a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and we improve higher education funding and financial aid. The budget the Governor signed today makes important investments and pays down debt while adding to state reserves. It is not only a reflection of our state’s economic health, but a plan that will continue to help build California’s fiscal fitness.
“While the budget signed today is clearly the best one we’ve had in years, there is more work to do on Medi-Cal, DDS and infrastructure. Today, I will be appointing the members of the Assembly committees for the special sessions that have been called on health care and infrastructure. Those committees will take the lead in resolving the important issues still before us.”
“It appears the University of California is moving in the right direction to enroll more California students—and that’s great news. When the Assembly conducted our in-depth review of the University of California this year, it was clear that the university can and should do a better job fulfilling its mission to educate California students. That’s why we included an additional $25 million for UC if it enrolls 5,000 more Californians.”
“By expanding public restroom accommodations, people with physical disabilities and their families and friends are given the dignity and comfort to go about their daily lives. These rudimentary human necessities are imperative for the health and well-being of our disabled community.”
“This bill brings California’s election recount process into the 21st century. Elections are a fundamental democratic principle and we must make every effort to ensure their integrity. I believe AB 44, will do just that.”
“I remember the challenges that I had when I was a new mother myself. As a mother I could not imagine what life would be like to not have the opportunity to care and nurture for my own child. It is only right that we give foster youth who are parents the ability to care for their child while maintaining the principals of keeping families together.”
As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I know the importance of college affordability and safety. We must ensure students are provided with safe learning environments. In addition, students need transparency in higher education costs in order to make informed financial decisions for college."
"We know that students in foster care are more likely to achieve their full potential when they are provided services designed to meet their particular needs. It's imperative that foster youth get the support and resources they need to succeed academically."