The California Latino Legislative Caucus signaled it will focus on legislation to help food vendors, undocumented students and low-income families when members outlined their legislative priorities in a Wednesday press conference in Sacramento that was also live-streamed.
“This package of bills aims to address issues that our communities feel every day – economic inequity, environmental injustices, inadequate healthcare, and the rights to immigrants, to name a few,” said state Sen. María Elena Durazo, the caucus chair.
“Our mission is to put these inequities front and center and to fight for policies that will create better outcomes for all Californians.”
The caucus, which boasts 29 members (of which 17 are Latinas) in the state Senate and Assembly, identified 20 bills for this legislative session.
“Our priority legislation reaffirms our caucus’ commitment to challenging inequity and uplifting our most underserved,” said caucus vice-chair, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, D-Salinas. “While other states are making it harder for Latinos to vote, banning Latino and other history in schools, and demonizing our immigrant neighbors, our bills reflect California’s diversity and equity values.”
Durazo said Gov. Gavin Newsom will be notified of the caucus’ priority bills “so he knows what the Latino legislators in this state need for our community.” The proposals range from helping street vendors to limiting law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials when undocumented criminals are released.
LEGISLATORS EXPLAIN THEIR BILLS
AB 2750 by Assemblymember Nia Bonta, D-Oakland, would direct the state Department of Technology to “create a state digital equity plan to identify barriers to digital equity faced by covered populations; and, document and promote digital equity among covered populations.”
“This is no more felt than during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the need for closing the digital equity gap,” said Bonta, “because many students and people were unable to access their ongoing digital instruction or not able to access the health care they needed.”
SB 860 by state Sen. Susan Rubio would extend the Young Child Tax Credit eligibility to households with no earned income including unpaid caregivers with children 6 years and younger. The tax credit would be extended to those with no income and to undocoumented residents.
“I want to note that the undocumented population contributes approximately $3.2 billion annually in taxes, and they deserve to be taken care of,” said Rubio.
AB 288 by Assemblymember Lisa Calderón, D-Whittier, would prohibit colleges/universities from subtracting the amount of private scholarships from financial aid awards to students who are eligible for a federal Pell Grant and/or California Dream Act financial aid.
“Every single dollar” from private groups should go toward students,” said Bonta.
AB 1730 by Assemblymember James Ramos would encourage school districts, county offices of education and charter schools to form Indian Education Task Forces with local tribes.