(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) today announced the passage of AB 817 by the Assembly. There are currently almost 3 million California voters who are not proficient in English. In order to support and protect these individuals’ fundamental right to vote, the federal government instituted requirements for counties to recruit a minimum number of multilingual poll workers. AB 817 assists both the voters and the counties in this process by allowing up to five lawful permanent residents to work at the polls and provide language assistance services on Election Day.
“As citizens, eligible California voters who are not fully proficient in English have a right to make fully-informed voting decisions on Election Day. AB 817 helps ensure that our state’s voters have the resources necessary to participate fully in our democratic process,” said Assemblymember Bonta.
AB 187 Proceeds used for Public Safety Programs in Communities Experiencing High Levels of Gun Violence and for Mental Healthcare Programs for Children
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee approved an ammunition tax measure, AB 187, authored by Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). AB 187 provides a critical new source of revenue to assist communities facing high levels of gun violence and will also fund important mental healthcare services for California’s children.
“Cities throughout the state, including Oakland, are suffering horrific and increasing gun violence. Oakland witnessed 131 homicides in 2012 – 21 more than 2011 and the highest in six years. Twelve of those victims were children,” explained Assemblymember Bonta. “AB 187 will provide the City of Oakland, and cities in similar circumstances, with sufficient street-level public safety presence to prevent gun violence and attend to it when it does occur.”
Today, the Assembly approved two bills co-authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta to create jobs, help build affordable housing, and spur economic revitalization---AB 229 and AB 243.
The elimination of redevelopment agencies in the 2011–12 budget removed a major tool used by local governments to remedy blight, provide affordable housing, and trigger local economic development. AB 243 (Dickinson) creates infrastructure and revitalization financing districts (modeled after infrastructure financing districts in existing law), broadens the range of projects and facilities they can finance, lowers to 55% the voter approval threshold necessary to form a district and issue bonds, and allows the districts to be created and exist for 40 years.
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) today announced the passage of AB 817 through the critical Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee. Currently over 2.6 million eligible voters are limited English proficient, including 47% who are naturalized citizens. Counties often face challenges in the recruitment of multilingual poll workers, who provide voters with the language resources they need to participate in elections. By allowing lawful permanent residents to work at the polls, AB 817 provides a two-pronged solution: (1) voters will receive the language assistance they need, and (2) counties will have access to a larger recruiting pool of multilingual poll workers.
"This bill helps ensure that our state's voters have the resources necessary to participate fully in our democratic process and make an informed decision on Election Day," said Assemblymember Bonta.
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, the Assembly Public Safety Committee approved AB 180, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). AB 180 would provide the City of Oakland with the additional tools that it needs to curb gun violence. Bonta made the following statement after the measure passed:
“Across our state, communities are suffering from a devastating combination of budget cuts to public safety and coinciding increases in violent crime. No one can deny that Oakland is suffering from among the worst gun violence in the state and in the nation. Oakland suffered from 131 homicides in 2012 – 21 more than 2011 and the highest in six years. Twelve of those victims were children. And Oakland has seen another 34 murders as of this past Sunday.
Bonta Bill Expands Successful Condom Distribution Project Statewide
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Bonta (D-Oakland) was proud to announce today that his bill to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STDs in California prisons passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The Prisoner Protections for Family and Community Health Act (AB 999) now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“Sexually transmitted disease is a tragic reality of life in prison. The HIV/AIDS infection rate in prison is 8 to 10 times higher than among the general population. Our state must address this unsettling and sometimes disturbing topic head-on and realize that the long-term benefits to vulnerable communities and to the budget are well-worth the modest state investment,” explained Assemblymember Bonta.
Many Legislators have taken steps to address this issue in the past. AB 999 takes a new approach to the problem by reassessing those prior bills and refining them with insight learned from a recent pilot project. Specifically, AB 1334 (Swanson, 2007) would have required the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to allow nonprofits and health agencies to enter prisons to provide sexual barrier protection devices (condoms) to prisoners. Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto message directed CDCR to conduct a pilot program at one state prison facility to determine the risks and viability of condom distribution. A pilot project was subsequently conducted at Solano State Prison from November 5, 2008, through November 4, 2009.
“My office carefully evaluated the successful findings of that pilot project contained in the September 2011 report, Evaluation of a Prisoner Condom Access Pilot Program Conducted in One California Prison Facility, and drafted AB 999 as a direct response to those findings. AB 999 would require CDCR to implement a five-year phase-in to distribute condoms at all state prisons in a manner consistent with the Solano Prison pilot project findings.
“By taking this most basic step in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, we are not only advocating for the improved health of prisoners, but we are also protecting communities across the state that may be exposed to former prisoners with communicable diseases who relocate to neighborhoods upon reentry.
“And if the moral principle of keeping innocent vulnerable populations safe from deadly disease doesn’t compel you,” Bonta emphasized, “the financial considerations are also persuasive. According to the California Department of Health Services the average cost per patient with HIV in the Medi-Cal system is $23,964 per year. Over the life of the patient, a single infection can cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. The pilot program we studied cost approximately $1.39 per prisoner to implement; and the report concluded that this modest cost of the program paid for itself when considered against the fact that the program averted 2.7 to 5.5 infections per year.
“The Solano pilot project found that when condoms are distributed in prisons, they are used. The condoms don’t increase the incidence of consensual sex or rape, but they do create an inexpensive barrier to a deadly disease. I am proud to take a leadership role on this issue and stand up for the vulnerable communities who are being affected by this devastating and preventable cycle,” concluded Bonta.
Visit AB 999 for the full text of the bill.
(Oakland, CA) – California students affected by traumatic events or violence in their communities may soon have greater access to important mental health services as AB 174, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), passed the Assembly Committee on Health today.
Across California, many of the children and youth who are most impacted by traumatic events – including shootings and gang violence -- cannot access the mental health care they need. Children and youth living in low-income neighborhoods, as well as children and youth of color, are disproportionately impacted by trauma, including gun violence, according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, the Assembly approved Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s (D-Oakland) first Resolution, Assembly Joint Resolution 7 (AJR 7), which urges Congress and President Obama to strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid through the policy process and exclude them from the sequester cuts. Bonta made the following statement after the measure passed:
“Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid represent three critical pillars of our social service safety net. After 76 years, Social Security remains actuarially sound, with a trust fund that is expected to peak at roughly $3.1 trillion in 2020. This will allow the federal government to continue full payments until 2033, when benefits would fall to 75%. At that point, cuts can be avoided with just a few changes that have elicited broad support from the American public.
Applauds Flags Flown in Oakland, San Leandro, and Alameda in Support of LGBT Community
(Sacramento, CA) - As a Deputy City Attorney for the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has been at the forefront of the historic legal battle for marriage equality in California. The San Francisco City Attorney's Office was the first governmental entity in American history ever to sue to invalidate discriminatory marriage laws and the only law office to be involved as a party in every aspect of the legal battle since 2004. And on the eve of the Supreme Court's hearing arguments on marriage equality, Bonta made the following statement in support of marriage equality in California and throughout the country:
"Tomorrow's arguments are another defining moment in the legal battle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights and equality. As an attorney experienced and committed to civil rights issues, I am hopeful that the Supreme Court has the moral and constitutional insight to recognize the failings of Proposition 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. I am proud that the San Francisco City Attorney's office took a leading role in the legal battle for marriage equality since 2004 while I was a Deputy City Attorney. Now, as an Assemblymember for the 18th Assembly District, I am looking forward to continuing the fight to allow every loving couple to be married.
Bonta’s AB 123 Would Require School Instruction on the Significant Role of Filipino Americans in the California Farm Labor Movement
(Sacramento) - Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that his bill to require public school instruction on the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement in California unanimously passed the Assembly Education Committee today. AB 123 will now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and, if successful, will move to the floor for a full vote of the Assembly.
"The goal of AB 123 is to supplement California's rich farm worker history with the contributions of the Filipino American community. The Filipino American population composes the largest Asian population in California and continues to grow; yet the story of Filipinos and their crucial efforts to the farm labor movement is an untold part of California history," explained Assemblymember Bonta.