CAIR-California is thrilled to announce that many of our priority bills were signed by the governor this year.

Legislative advocacy is a key part of CAIR-CA’s work of upholding justice and defending civil rights.

“As an organization dedicated to justice, advocating for legislation that helps the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and promotes equality in the state of California is crucial to achieving our mission,” CAIR-CA Government & Legislative Affair Coordinator Yannina Casillas said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a total of six of the 10 bills that were part of CAIR-CA’s legislative agenda.

Our 2018 legislative successes encompassed the areas of education, immigration and criminal justice, all three of which are at the center of our work with our community.

Two top-priority Assembly bills – related to bullying and business licenses – were both signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown before the close of this year’s legislative session.

AB 2291 – School Safety, Bullying

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu, requires local educational agencies to adopt specific new procedures to prevent bullying by Dec. 31, 2019. The bill requires schools operated by a school district or a county office of education, along with charter schools, to annually make available an online training module developed by the California Department of Education (CDE) to all school-site employees who have regular interaction with pupils. The bill requires the CDE to post its online training module and an annually updated list of other available online training modules related to bullying or bullying prevention on its website.

CAIR-CA’s statewide report on school bullying found that 53 percent of 1,041 Muslim students in California surveyed were bullied over their religion in 2016.

CAIR-CA is currently conducting a survey for Muslim students in California ages 11 to 18: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAIR2StopBullying.

AB 2184 – Business Licenses

This bill, also introduced by Chiu, requires cities and counties that license businesses within their respective jurisdictions to accept a California driver’s license or identification number, individual taxpayer identification number or municipal identification number in lieu of a Social Security number, if the city or county otherwise requires a Social Security number for the issuance of a business license.

AB 931 – Police Accountability & Community Protection Act

AB 931 was another top-priority bill, and it was sadly tabled this year.

AB 931, introduced by Assembly members Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty, would have authorized police officers to use deadly force only when necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death.

AB 931 was prompted by the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento in March.

“We are disappointed that the state Legislature did not step up to save lives and take steps to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community,” Casillas said. “We are committed to continuing this fight next year.”

Raj Manni, the father of Stephon Clark’s fiancee, Salena Manni, wrote an impassioned plea to pass the legislation.

READ: Raj Manni: To prevent more Stephon Clarks, pass AB 931 (Sac Bee)

But CAIR-CA also saw other legislative successes on priority bills, which were signed by Gov. Brown:

  • AB 1584 protects minors from giving up their DNA to law enforcement without the consent of a legal guardian, unless required under the DNA Act or pursuant to a court order or search warrant.
  • SB183 prohibits federal immigration enforcement agents, officers or personnel from entering a building owned, occupied or leased by the state, a public school or the California Community Colleges in order to perform surveillance, effectuate an arrest or question an individual without a valid federal warrant.
  • AB 2845 creates the Pardon and Commutation Panel; requires the panel to provide an expedited review and application process for an individual with a pending deportation hearing or deportation order; and makes a certificate of rehabilitation available to a person who has had a conviction dismissed pursuant to withdrawal of plea, as specified.
  • SB 1421 allows public access to police investigation, findings and discipline relating to deadly and serious uses of force. It allows public access to police investigations, findings and discipline relating to proven sexual assault against a civilian, and proven dishonesty in the investigation, reporting, and prosecution of crimes, such as perjury and planting and destroying evidence.

“The fact that we were able to successfully advocate – along with other organizations – to create a more just California shows how much power there is in speaking out, meeting with legislators and standing up in solidarity,” Casillas said. “We are so grateful to the lawmakers that introduced these crucial bills and are excited to see how these laws positively impact our community and our state’s future.”

With the Nov. 6 election coming up, Casillas reminded Californians to vote.

“We have the opportunity to choose lawmakers who stand for justice and equality and for our best interests. Let’s hold them accountable on Election Day 2018.”

Find CAIR-CA’s Voter Guide here.

If you were unable to register online to vote by the Oct. 22 deadline, don’t let that stop you. You can conditionally register; find more information here: http://bit.ly/2QMBKA2.