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California Politics

Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ+ & Latino groups buy ads for Ricardo Lara

“Voters deserve to know that Lara has been a champion for consumers, the environment, LGBTQ+ civil rights and access to quality healthcare”

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California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara/Facebook

LOS ANGELES — Nearly a dozen progressive political groups in California announced Friday they had launched an initial six-figure advertising buy on Friday in support of California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who is running for re-election.

The ad, which will air on digital and Connected TV across the state, is the largest independent expenditure paid media effort in support of Lara in advance of the June 7th primary election. 

Lara made history in 2018 as the first openly LGBTQ+ statewide elected official in California and the only openly LGBTQ+ person elected to statewide office in the nation.

Raised in East Los Angeles by immigrant parents, Ricardo Lara’s humble beginnings have guided his work in public service. Lara was elected as California’s Insurance Commissioner in 2018, following an eight year career in the California legislature.

As a State Senator, he authored legislation that would have created a universal health care system for California and wrote the Health4All Kids Act – guaranteeing health care coverage for all California children. Lara is the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to statewide office in California and the only openly LGBTQ+ person elected statewide in the country.

The campaign is being funded by Californians Supporting Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner 2022, an independent expenditure committee supported by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers, SEIU California State Council, California Association of Realtors, Equality California, LGBT Caucus Leadership Fund, California Professional Firefighters, Latino Victory Fund and California Latino PAC.on.

“Ricardo Lara has worked to combat continued attacks on abortion access and reproductive freedom,” said Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California Vice President of Communications & Campaigns Jennifer Wonnacott. “While the Supreme Court considers overturning Roe v. Wade, Ricardo Lara is working to enforce a new law that expands access to abortion by prohibiting health plans and insurers from charging a co-pay, deductible, or other cost- sharing requirement for abortion care. That’s why Ricardo Lara is the only candidate for Insurance Commissioner endorsed by Planned Parenthood.” 

“California voters deserve to know that Ricardo Lara has been a champion for consumers, the environment, LGBTQ+ civil rights and access to quality healthcare as our Insurance Commissioner,” said Equality California Managing Director of External Affairs Samuel Garrett-Pate. “Since taking office, Lara has taken on tough fights and won for working families — holding the insurance industry accountable while fighting for health care for all, helping California consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting California wildfire victims in rebuilding their lives and safeguarding access to abortion. We are proud to join so many civil rights and labor organizations in support of Insurance Commissioner Lara’s re-election.”

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California Politics

Thousands gather for ‘Bans Off Our Bodies Rally’ in DTLA

Angelenos joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans- women, men, kids- Black, Latino Asian, LGBTQ+ marching across the nation Saturday

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U.S. Senator Alex Padilla addresses 'Bans Off Our Bodies Rally' (Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

LOS ANGELES – Several thousand Angelenos joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans including women, men, kids- Black, Latino Asian, LGBTQ+ marching across the nation Saturday to protest the potential overturn of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision after the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion.

Screenshot/KCBS 2 Los Angeles

The crowds were joined by politicians and dignitaries including U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who gave a speech to the rally, LA Mayoral candidate Congresswoman Karen Bass, (D-37), California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the First Partner and wife to California Governor Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Tony Hoang, the Executive Director of Equality California and the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Alexis McGill Johnson.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Alexis McGill Johnson, Commissioner Ricardo Lara, & Senator Alex Padilla
(Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

In his speech Padilla delivered remarks on the importance of defending access to safe, legal abortion at the federal level.

The “Bans Off Our Bodies” was a daylong event organized by groups including Women’s March, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, MoveOn, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

From Pittsburgh to Pasadena, California, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Lubbock, Texas, tens of thousands participated in “Bans off our Bodies” events. Organizers expected that among the hundreds of events, the largest would take place in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other big cities, the Associated Press reported.

LA Mayoral candidate Congresswoman Karen Bass, (D-37) (Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

“If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, said before the march.

Saturday’s rallies come three days after the Senate failed to muster enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade. Sponsors included the Women’s March, Move On, Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet, MoveOn, SEIU and other organizations.

Tony Hoang, the Executive Director of Equality California & Senator Alex Padilla
(Photo by Samuel Garrett-Pate)

At the Chicago rally, speaker after speaker told the crowd that if abortion is banned that the rights of immigrants, minorities and others will also be “gutted,” as Amy Eshleman, wife of Out Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot put it, the Associated Press noted.

“This has never been just about abortion. It’s about control,” Eshleman told the crowd of thousands. “My marriage is on the menu and we cannot and will not let that happen,” she added.

Thousands gather in DTLA to protest potential overturn of Roe v. Wade:

KTLA event report:

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California Politics

Newsom’s May budget revision on spending record California surplus

Newsom’s proposal provides relief from inflation, ensure public safety, address homelessness & combat climate change

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Office of the Governor of California

SACRAMENTO – As global inflation and war in Europe drive up costs across the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a $300.7 billion budget to provide relief from rising inflation, ensure public safety, address homelessness, transform public education, and combat climate change.

The Governor’s proposal includes an $18.1 billion inflation relief package to get money back into the pockets of Californians and bring down costs for families. 

Led by GDP growth of 7.8 percent, the Blueprint includes a $97.5 billion surplus. The Governor’s proposal ensures that this year’s spending will not hamstring future budgets, calling for $37.1 billion in reserves including $23.3 billion for the state’s Rainy Day Fund, and spends 94 percent of surplus revenues on one-time expenditures.  

Newsom intends to funnel some of the money to address pressing issues such as abortion rights, climate, education, inflation and crime. His plan spans both long-term investments and immediate rebates, largely made possible by the $97.5-billion tax surplus through next summer. 

“Backed by a robust surplus and grounded in our unshakable values, we’re paving the California Way forward to prosperity and progress for all. With historic investments, we’re doubling down on our formula for success and making sure no one is left behind – supporting working families and businesses, tackling climate change, expanding health care access, making our communities safer, and more,” said Newsom. “While gridlock persists in Congress and right-wing fanatics turn statehouses across the country into laboratories of hate and oppression, here in California, we’re putting in the work to grow our economy and implement real, inclusive policy change to create a brighter future for all.”

  • $18.1 Billion Inflation Relief in direct payments to help address inflation, help people pay their utility bills and rent, and reduce costs like health care and child care. 
  • $47.1 billion climate commitment – an increase of $32 billion this year – to tackle pollution, build climate resilient water supplies, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, ensure grid reliability and accelerate clean energy solutions, and protect communities from extreme heat. 
  • $660 million to ensure public safety with funding for new officers and mental health support for law enforcement, support for victims of sex trafficking, cracking down on internet crimes against children, and tackling the opioid crisis. 
  • $14.7 million to confront homelessness and the mental health crisiswith investments to help get people off our streets and into the services and care they need, focusing particularly on Californians who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders.
  • $37 billion to rebuild Californiawith money for infrastructure including broadband and new housing, as well as a historic investment of $128.3 billion to transform public education.
  • Billions of dollars to invest in Californians and the Governor’s pro-life agenda, including funding to: 
    • Improve our education systems with universal preschool, after school and school meals; and expanded, more affordable child care
    • Make health care more accessible and affordable through Medi-Cal expansion and subsidies, increased reproductive health care access, home visiting, and support for black infant health, youth mental health and suicide prevention, and addressing adverse childhood experiences. 
    • Clean up our environment by tackling pollution, particularly in disadvantaged communities that bear the brunt of its impacts.  
    • Ensure our communities are safe with violence prevention programs, expansive gun buyback programs and getting fentanyl and other opioids off our streets. 

As previously announced, the governor is proposing spending $11.5 billion for tax refunds in the form of $400 checks sent to every eligible registered vehicle owner.

Californians who have more than one vehicle registered to their name would get $800. That’s because the payments are capped at two vehicles per person, officials announced previously.

Legislative leaders have announced different plans to help Californians with cash rebates that puts Democrats in the California Senate at odds with Newsom. They will need to reach a compromise.

In response to the Governor’s May budget revision, Out Senator Scott Wiener, (D-SF) noted;

“While the Governor’s budget proposal has an awful lot to like — for example, rent and utility relief, expanded childcare subsidies, and important infrastructure investments — the proposal to send $400 per car is short-sighted. It will undermine our ability to make transformational investments with long-term benefits, as opposed to a short-term sugar high.

“Instead of sending money to car owners who may or may not be struggling, let’s provide targeted relief to those most in need while deeply investing in our deteriorated schools, water systems, and transportation systems and massively investing in the housing we so desperately need.

“With this temporary, massive budget surplus, we have a unique opportunity to deeply invest in California’s future in a way that makes people’s lives better for generations to come. Let’s not lose that opportunity.”

Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director, Tony Hoang: 

“At a time when far-right extremists like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are attacking our LGBTQ+ students and transgender youth and their families, we are grateful to Governor Newsom for continuing to stand with our community, support our kids and invest in the fight for full, lived LGBTQ+ equality.

“The governor’s revised budget will help to build an inclusive, safe and empowering future for all and serves as an example for other states to work to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable members of our communities in this critical inflection point for the nation.”

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California Politics

Newsom proposes reproductive health package, expand access

Newsom announced a Reproductive Health Package to expand access & welcome companies from anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ states

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Screenshot/KTLA

SACRAMENTO – As the U.S. Supreme Court appears prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade and states throughout the country pass laws to restrict access to reproductive health care and ban abortions, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a Reproductive Health Package to expand access to these vital services and welcome companies from anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ states.

The Newsom Administration continues efforts to maintain and improve availability of safe and accessible reproductive health care services and prepare for a potential influx of people from other states seeking reproductive health care and abortion services. 

“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights; we’re going to fight like hell, making sure that all women – not just those in California – know that this state continues to recognize and protect their fundamental rights,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re expanding access to these critical services, welcoming businesses and their employees fleeing anti-abortion states, and reaffirming our commitment to continuing to work closely with the Legislature and reproductive rights stakeholders to further solidify California’s leadership on abortion rights.”

Governor Newsom’s Reproductive Health Package includes $125 million to further bolster California’s health care infrastructure, expand access to services for patients, and help prepare for the influx of people seeking reproductive health care from other states. Today’s announcement, which adds $57 million to January’s $68 million proposal, includes the following:

  • Cover Uncompensated Care for Peoples Uninsured for Abortion Services. $40 million for grants to reproductive health care providers to offset the cost of providing care to low- and moderate-income individuals who do not have health care coverage for abortion care services.
  • California Reproductive Justice & Freedom Fund. $15 million for grants to community-based reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations to conduct medically accurate and culturally competent outreach and education on sexual health and reproductive health issues. 
  • Comprehensive Reproductive Rights Website. $1 million to develop and maintain a website that provides accurate and updated information to the public on the right to abortion under state law, information about reproductive health care providers, and options for coverage for reproductive health services, including state-funded coverage and programs.
  • Research on the Unmet Needs for Reproductive Health Care Services. $1 million for research regarding the unmet needs for access to reproductive health care services.
Office of the Governor

These new proposed investments build off of Governor Newsom’s California Blueprint in January, a $68 million package to:

  • Invest in Reproductive Health Clinical Infrastructure. To support California’s clinical infrastructure of reproductive health care services, the Blueprint included $20 million to provide scholarships and loan repayments to health care providers that commit to providing reproductive health care services. 
  • Capital Infrastructure, Improved Security. The Blueprint included $20 million to assist reproductive health care facilities in securing their physical and information technology infrastructure and to enhance facility security.
  • Make Reproductive Health Care More Affordable. The Blueprint included $20 million to subsidize the cost of abortion care for Covered California consumers due to federal payment limitations for abortion coverage. 
  • Remove Barriers for Reproductive Health. To make it easier to get the medical care needed for family planning and reproductive health, the Blueprint removed Medi-Cal requirements for in-person follow-up visits and ultrasounds if not medically necessary. 
  • Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (PACT) HPV Vaccine Coverage. The Blueprint included $8 million to add the human papillomavirus vaccine as a covered benefit under the Family PACT program, effective July 1, 2022. 

In addition to these critical investments, Governor Newsom is further investing in California’s values and growing the state’s inclusive economy by proposing incentive opportunities for businesses to relocate to California or grow jobs and their economic footprint here from states with anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

By updating existing business incentive programs to provide additional consideration for companies leaving states that have enacted restrictions on reproductive rights and anti-LGBTQ+ laws, Governor Newsom is welcoming companies that share California’s values and doubling down on the diversity that makes our economy a global leader.

Governor Newsom’s Reproductive Health Package includes proposals championed by members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. Today’s announcement builds upon the recent action of Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon to advance a constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to an abortion.

The Governor has also eliminated out-of-pocket costs for abortion services and signed into law a legislative package to strengthen access and protect patients and providers. And, in October, Governor Newsom announced the Administration’s participation in the California Future of Abortion Council, to collaborate with advocates, policymakers, providers, patients and others on ways to advance the state’s reproductive health leadership.

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