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New California laws now in effect

Measures included are LGBTQ+ laws offering protections for trans youth and their families, as well as LGBTQ+ and other people living with HIV

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Capitol Dome, California Statehouse, Sacramento (Los Angeles Blade file photo)

LOS ANGELES – As the last session of the California legislature ended Governor Gavin Newsom signed numerous measures that took effect on January first. One of those new laws that was set to that was set to go into effect was placed on a temporary hold by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge last Friday, December 30.

A temporary restraining order came in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday by a restaurant coalition trying to overturn the law, called AB 257, through a referendum on the November 2024 ballot. AB 257 creates a special council that will have the authority to create employment laws for workers at fast food chains with 100 or more locations or franchises nationwide. The council will be able to set wages, working conditions and training for fast food workers.

If the referendum qualifies for the ballot, it would block AB 257 until voters have a say. Also known as the FAST Recovery Act, AB 257 would, among other things, create a worker representative body with the power to raise wages.

The order prevents the law from being implemented until after a Jan.13 hearing, in which the court will decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction.

Other measures included are LGBTQ+ laws offering protections for trans youth and their families, as well as LGBTQ+ and other people living with HIV will also see improved protections around their ability to obtain life or disability insurance.

Workplace improvements with California’s minimum wage that increases by 50 cents to $15.50.  Expanded rights for farmworkers, transparency of pay scales, bereavement leave, along with the implementation of a two-year-old state law that bans the sale of flavored tobacco products.

California also becomes the first state to limit the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials. Prosecutors have at times relied on rap lyrics as evidence the artist was documenting a crime they were accused of committing. Researchers found that juries shown similar lyrics have shown bias against Black and Latino rap artists, but not white country music artists.

New Laws:

SB107, authored by gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), starting January 1 it will be California policy to reject any out-of-state court judgments removing trans kids from their parents’ custody because they allowed them to receive gender-affirming health care. State health officials will not be allowed to comply with subpoenas seeking health records and any information related to such criminal cases, and public safety officers must make out-of-state criminal arrest warrants for such parents their lowest priority.

AB 218 by gay Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) creates a process for Californians seeking a change of gender to also request that their marriage license, certificate, and their children’s birth certificates be reissued with their updated gender-affirming information.

SB 283 by Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), imposes a prohibition on a life or disability insurance insurer from considering an applicant’s occupation in determining whether to require an HIV test and clarifies that limiting benefits payable for a loss caused or contributed to by HIV is allowed if it was part of the original underwriting risk. It also clarifies that the misdemeanor for willful, negligent, or malicious disclosure of HIV test results to a third party is punishable by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 364 days.

AB 465 by former Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), who was termed out of office this month, requires professional fiduciaries to receive LGBTQ+ cultural competency and sensitivity training during their education and licensing process. Private professional fiduciaries provide critical services to older adults and people with disabilities, from managing their clients’ daily care, housing, and medical needs to ensuring their bills are paid and managing their investments.

SB 731 gives people with some criminal convictions a clean slate. The law expands what type of crimes are eligible to be automatically sealed and, for the first time, allows people with violent felony records to petition to have their records sealed if they completed their sentence and have not had a new felony offense in four years. Almost all crimes qualify except sex-related crimes. Certain provisions of this law will take effect in July.

SB 923, requires California medical professionals who interact with transgender, gender-nonconforming, and intersex patients to receive cultural competency training. It also calls for health providers to create searchable online directories of their gender-affirming services.

Known as the TGI Inclusive Care Act, it builds on the state’s Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund created in 2020 and allocated $13 million last year. The Office of Health Equity within the state Department of Public Health administers the fund and awards grants to organizations providing trans-inclusive health care.

SB 960 eliminates a requirement that peace officers be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents applying for citizenship. The law simply requires that anyone applying to be a law enforcement officer be legally authorized to work in the United States.

SB 972 makes it easier for mobile street vendors who often sell fresh fruit, tacos or hot dogs, to obtain permits and meet health requirements. The law reduces the cost of permit fees and changes health requirements which often times were similar to brick-and-mortar restaurants or food trucks.

AB 1041 allows employees to take family care or medical leave for an expanded group of individuals. An employee can now take leave for a “designated” person who is either related by blood or whose association with the employee is equivalent to a family relationship.

SB 1087 prohibits anyone from buying a catalytic converter other than from an automobile dismantler, an automotive repair dealer or a person providing documentation they are the lawful owner of the catalytic converter. AB 1740 requires recyclers to obtain a copy of the title of the vehicle from which the catalytic converter was removed.

SB 1162 is a big win for workers. It requires businesses with 15 or more employees to include information about salary ranges for all job postings. Workers will also have the right now to know the pay scale for their current position. Companies with 100 or more employees are required to submit pay data and wage history to the state by May of each year or face penalties.

AB 1200 bans the use of food packaging, such as take-out boxes and food wrappers, made from plant fibers that contain PFAS that were intentionally added or are present at levels above 100 parts per million. PFAS are hazardous chemicals added to food packaging to make them more water or stain resistant.

Assembly Bill 1314 in 2022, the Feather Alert System, which creates a system similar to Amber Alert but for indigenous people who have gone missing “under unexplained or suspicious circumstances.”

AB 1661 requires hair salons, nail salons and other barbering and cosmetology businesses to post signs containing information about slavery and human trafficking. The signs must include phone numbers where to report such crimes.

AB 1700 requires the state attorney general to establish a website for people to report items they suspect are stolen and being sold on the internet. A companion bill (SB 301) that requires online marketplaces to obtain personal and financial information from high volume sellers takes effect in July.

AB 1909 requires cars to change lanes, when feasible, to pass a bicyclist using a traffic lane. It also allows electric bicycles to be used on most bicycle lanes but allows local governments to prohibit them on recreational trails. The OmniBike law would also stop enforcement of local bicycle licensing laws.

AB 2147 makes it illegal for law enforcement to stop and cite a person for jaywalking unless the person crosses the street in an unsafe manner.

AB 2223 protects women from prosecution if they chose to end a pregnancy or undergo an abortion, even if it happens outside the medical system. It also protects someone who helped a women with an abortion from criminal or civil liability.

AB 2294 allows police to keep in custody individuals convicted of theft from a store in the past six months if they are suspected of organized retail theft. Previously, an individual detained for retail theft was given a written notice or citation and released. The law also establishes recidivism programs to prevent repeat offenders.

AB 2466, authored by Out lesbian Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona). Agencies that place foster children can no longer decline to place a child with a resource family because a parent identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. It also scraps the usage of the phrase “hard-to-place children” in state codes.

California has three new state holidays. AB 1655 adds June 19, known as Juneteenth, as a state holiday. AB 2596 recognizes Lunar New Year as a state holiday and AB 1801 designates April 24 as Genocide Remembrance Day.

Consumer Privacy: Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) approved in 2020, gave consumers the right to know, delete or opt-out of the sale of their personal information. New provisions take effect in 2023 that allow consumers and employees to ask businesses to disclose the personal information they have collected on them and ask them to delete or correct that information.

Employees may also ask a company not to sell or share their personal information and have the right to know what personal information their employer is selling or sharing about them and with whom.

Consumers and employees can also direct businesses to limit the use of sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, financial account information, geolocation data or genetic data.

Additional reporting from KABC 7 Los Angeles and The Bay Area Reporter

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California

New California law requires bars & nightclubs to offer ‘roofie’ tests

Bars & nightclubs who do not comply with the new law could face administrative actions impacting their licenses

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Screenshot/YouTube ABC7 Bay Area

SACRAMENTO – A new law mandating certain alcoholic beverage license holders to offer drug testing devices for sale or at no cost to patrons will take effect across California beginning July 1.

AB 1013 requires establishments with a license from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to have signage displayed in a prominent and conspicuous location, letting patrons know that drug testing kits are available to test for common date-rape drugs, often referred to as ‘roofies.’

The required signage displays a message reading, “Don’t get roofied! Drink spiking drug test kits available here. Ask a staff member for details.” A sample sign is available on ABC’s website and can be downloaded and printed by licensees.

The new law impacts approximately 2,400 licensees across California. Type 48 licenses are issued to bars and night clubs. The license authorizes the sale of beer, wine, and distilled spirits for consumption on the premises where sold. Minors are not allowed on the premises, and food service is not required.

Licensees will be responsible for procuring testing kits. ABC does not sell or provide kits, and does not recommend or endorse any specific company that does.

Additionally, Type 48 licensed premises must either offer the drug testing devices for sale to customers at a price not to exceed a reasonable amount based on the wholesale cost, or be given to customers free of charge.

Drug testing devices could include test strips, stickers, straws or other devices that can detect the presence of controlled substances in drinks. These substances could include flunitrazepam, ketamine, and gamma hydroxybutyric acid.

License holders who do not comply with the new law could face administrative actions impacting their licenses. For more information please visit ABC’s industry advisory Type 48 Licenses New Signage and Product Requirements page.

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California

Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott donates to Calif. LGBTQ non-profits

About $137 million went to organizations that serve Californians including LGBTQ+ groups like the LGBTQ Center Long Beach

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Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott (Screenshot/YouTube NBC News)

LOS ANGELES – Billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott announced last week she would donate about $640 million to 341 charities nationwide. The 53-year-old with an estimated personal wealth of $36.3 billion has given away $16.5 billion from the fortune she gained after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019.

In a statement posted to her Yield Giving website on March 19, Scott said:

“From a pool of over 6,000 applicants, each of these 361 community-led non-profits was elevated by peer organizations and a round-2 evaluation panel for their outstanding work advancing the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means, and groups who have met with discrimination and other systemic obstacles. Grateful to Lever for Change and everyone on the evaluation and implementation teams for their roles in creating this pathway to support for people working to improve access to foundational resources in their communities. They are vital agents of change.”

In California, her gift giving organization on its website listed that about $137 million went to non-profits that serve the Golden State’s residents including several LGBTQ+ organizations.

The Associated Press reported the philanthropist typically donates to organizations after privately researching them, but this time, she partnered with the philanthropic group Lever for Change to analyze over 6,000 applicants after announcing an open call.

What started as a plan to donate $1 million each to 250 charities nationwide ended up doubling, with about 279 organizations receiving a $2 million donation and the rest receiving $1 million.

Among those receiving funding were: LGBTQ Center Long Beach which received $2 million, Equal Rights Advocates $2 million, Sacramento LGBT Community Center $1 million, Openhouse $2 million, Pacific Center for Human Growth $2 million, and The Wall Las Memorias $1 million.

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California

Legislation to protect consumers against medical debt unveiled

Medical debt continues to increase and is a barrier to employment, housing, and the promotion of health care access and equity

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Photo Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Senator Monique Limón (D- Santa Barbara), and a coalition of prominent consumer advocacy organizations today unveiled Senate Bill 1061 (SB 1061), legislation seeking to protect consumers from having their credit ruined by prohibiting medical debt from being reported on credit reports.

Credit reports are meant to gauge an individual’s ability to repay future debt. Medical debt is often unforeseen and not a reliable indicator of financial risk, yet it can unfairly prevent consumers from getting loans, renting an apartment, or getting a job.

“California families should not need to suffer from the harmful and unnecessary impacts resulting from having their credit damaged by medical debt. We have a straightforward solution and need to implement it here in California, just as we have seen some of our sister states do successfully,” said Attorney General Bonta. “There is no need for medical debt to appear on credit reports and we can stop the harmful spiral where people have unforeseen, catastrophic medical debt and become unhoused, unemployed, or without a vehicle to get to work. To reduce homelessness, to reduce food insecurity, and to address many of California’s other systemic issues, we must utilize upstream interventions that get to the crux of these problems. This is exactly what SB 1061 does.”

“Today a staggering 1 in 5 Californians has reported having medical debt with a disproportionate impact on women and mothers. This debt negatively impacts Californians credit history making it harder to secure a loan, buy a house, or be approved for a credit card,” said Senator Limón. “Without a robust health care system that covers necessary and often lifesaving medical expenses in a timely, accurate and comprehensive manner, medical debt should not be included on consumer’s credit reports.”

“We’ve known for years that medical debt doesn’t predict credit defaults, nor does it accurately predict a person’s desire and willingness to pay off loans,” said Jenn Engstrom, State Director of CALPIRG. “We’re hopeful that the legislation introduced by Senator Limón and sponsored by Attorney General Bonta will help create a fair credit system that doesn’t penalize people for life events they can’t control like getting sick.”

“Frontline nurses know that patients with medical debt, especially low-income Californians, delay or avoid medical care because they worry about the impact on their credit reports,” said California Nurses Association President Cathy Kennedy, RN. “SB 1061 will help to ensure patients will get the care they need by removing medical debt from credit reports. Then we will have a fair credit system that will not penalize patients when they get the care they need and deserve.” 

“People can’t control when they will get sick or hurt, and they can’t control when billing disputes and insurance problems will cause debts for expensive medical care to end up in collections,” said Chi Chi Wu, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “This law is necessary to protect consumers from unmanageable and unpredictable medical debts and to address the disparate impact of medical debt on Black households.”

“Getting hit with medical debt isn’t like taking out a loan,” noted Ted Mermin, director of the California Low-Income Consumer Coalition. “It’s not voluntary, it doesn’t predict how creditworthy you are, and all too often the amount you’re charged is something the healthcare provider basically made up. But there’s nothing fictional about the serious negative impact medical debt can have on consumers’ credit reports.”

“The Consumer Federation of California is pleased to be a co-sponsor of SB 1061 and work with Senator Limón, Attorney General Bonta and all the other fine groups working to enhance consumer protection when it comes to medical debt,” said Robert Herrell, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California. “Simply put, California is falling behind in consumer protection in this area. States like New York and Colorado are leading the way. Those states have realized that medical debt shouldn’t be an anchor dragging consumers down, both personally and via their credit worthiness. California must do better for consumers and this bill is an important step in that direction. This bill will put California back at the front of the line when it comes to consumer protection against medical debt ruining their lives.”

“Health care costs are rising, forcing more and more Californians to delay or skip care in fear of getting an expensive medical bill that can lead to debt,” said Katie Van Deynze, policy and legislative advocate for Health Access California, a co-sponsor of the bill. “Black, Latino and low-income Californians disproportionately have medical debt, and counting it against credit exacerbates inequities in health, housing, employment and more. SB 1061 will give all Californians more peace of mind to seek the care they need knowing it will not negatively affect their credit and their future.”

The bill sponsored by Attorney General Rob Bonta, the National Consumer Law Center, the CA Nurses Association, Health Access CA, Consumer Federation of CA, CA Low Income Consumer Coalition, Cal-PIRG, and authored by Senator Limón states that:

  • Health care providers should not provide information regarding a patient’s medical debt to a credit reporting agency. 
  • Health care providers should include a provision in any contract entered into with a collection agency that prohibits the reporting of any information regarding a patient’s medical debt to a consumer credit reporting agency.
  • Credit reporting agencies should not accept, store, or disclose any information concerning a medical debt.

Medical debt continues to increase and is a barrier to employment, housing, and the promotion of health care access and equity. The Urban Institute reported 7.8% of California consumers with a credit report had a medical debt listed on it, increasing to 8.5% for Black Californians.

People with medical debt are more likely to say debt has caused them to be turned down for a rental or a mortgage than people with student loans or credit card debt, increasing their risk of homelessness or being forced to live in substandard housing.

Debt can also create barriers for finding employment as employers often use credit reports as a basis for hiring decisions, which in turn, makes it even more difficult to pay off medical debt. Both Colorado and New York have passed laws that prohibit medical debt from appearing on credit reports. In September 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a rulemaking process to remove medical bills from consumers’ credit reports.

Text for the proposed bill can be found here

Medical Debt in LA County Baseline Report and Action Plan, June 2023

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California

State launches 1st-of-its-kind council to create thousands of jobs 

The California Jobs First Council is an integral part of California’s broader strategy to prepare students and workers for high-paying careers

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California Governor Gavin Newsom greets workers at the Species Conservation Habitat Project in Southern California's Salton Sea region, 2024. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the creation of the California Jobs First Council and operational plan focused on streamlining the state’s economic and workforce development programs to create more jobs, faster.

The Council and operational plan will guide the state’s investments in economic and workforce development to create more family-supporting jobs and prioritize industry sectors for future growth.

Co-chaired by Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development, and Stewart Knox, Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development, the California Jobs First Council will bring together various state entities, including:

  • Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research: promoting alignment with General Plan guidelines and land use policies
  • Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency: representing nature-based solutions and clean energy industries
  • Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture: representing the agriculture industry
  • Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency: representing the circular economy
  • Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency: representing the healthcare industry and promoting jobs for disabled and disadvantaged workers
  • Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs: representing the more than 1.6 million former service members that reside in the state
  • President of the Public Utilities Commission: representing opportunities to advance California’s clean energy workforce of the future and economic opportunities for communities

 “California has created more opportunities, more jobs, and more businesses than any other state, but we need to ensure that we’re all moving forward together. Through this new council and these investments, we’re aligning all of our economic resources to create more jobs, faster for Californians in every community,” Governor Newsom said.

“The California Jobs First Council is another piece of the puzzle in the Governor’s pursuit of creating a California For All,” said Myers. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to align strategic investments that further economic growth and job creation in every region of California.”

Graphic via the Office of the Governor

The Council will coordinate the development of a statewide industrial strategy that includes a statewide economic snapshot and identification of priority sectors, a statewide projects portfolio, a business expansion, attraction, and retention strategy, and a workforce development strategy.

The California Jobs First Council will also support the regional Jobs First Collaboratives to expand industry and create jobs locally.

The California Jobs First Council is an integral component of California’s broader strategy to prepare students and workers for high-paying careers. The Council will work alongside the Council for Career Education and in line with the Governor’s 2023 Executive Order that directed the creation of a Master Plan for Career Education to ensure that Californians have career pathways, develop the skills and find even more opportunities to be full beneficiaries of our state’s economy. 

The Master Plan is largely aimed at aligning and simplifying the K-12, university, and workforce systems in California to support greater access to career education and jobs for all Californians. In connection with the Master Plan for Career Education, the Jobs First Operational Plan will highlight the ways in which workforce development can and should be a tool used by the State and the regional Jobs First Collaboratives to help Californians, particularly the most disinvested communities, in meeting the specific skillset needs of the State’s and our regions’ priority industry sectors.

In 2021, Newsom launched the $600 million Regional Investment Initiative (formerly the Community Economic Resilience Fund, or CERF) to create high-quality, accessible jobs and help build resilience to the effects of climate change and other global disruptions impacting the state’s diverse regional economies.

This investment has supported the creation of Jobs First Collaboratives in each of the state’s 13 economic regions, with representation from a wide variety of community partners including labor, business, local government, education, environmental justice, community organizations and more. These Collaboratives are in the process of developing roadmaps, including a strategy and recommended series of investments, for their respective regions.

Today, Governor Newsom announced that the state has awarded $14 million to each of the 13 Jobs First Collaboratives – $182 million total – to invest in sector-specific pre-development activities, enabling regions to take projects from exploratory and last-mile to ready-to-go projects that can access local, state, and federal funds, as well as private and philanthropic investments. The 13 Jobs First Collaboratives cover every region of the state: North State, Capitol, Redwood Region, Bay Area, North San Joaquin Valley, Eastern Sierra, Central San Joaquin Valley, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Kern County, Central Coast, Inland Southern California, and the Southern Border.

“California Jobs First represents a very intentional, inclusive approach to economic and workforce development,” said Stewart Knox, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency. “By maximizing state resources and investments, the state is empowering communities to chart their own futures in a manner that is inclusive and equitable.”

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California

Newsom announces Project Homekey funds another 370 homes

Newsom announced 6 new Homekey projects, creating 370 affordable homes to serve individuals experiencing homelessness throughout the state

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new Homekey grant awards for six new projects that will create an additional 370 homes for Californians at risk of or experiencing homelessness. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

OAKLAND – Today, in Oakland, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new Homekey grant awards for six new projects that will create an additional 370 homes for Californians at risk of or experiencing homelessness, including several developments focused on young people transitioning to adulthood.

Communities benefiting from these new awards include Oakland, Fresno, San Diego, Yuba City, and Los Angeles.

“Homekey continues to deliver needed housing faster for Californians struggling with homelessness,” Newsom told reporters at a press conference. “By utilizing existing facilities including hotels, motels and former office spaces, properties are being quickly transformed into housing — helping to solve the homelessness crisis while creating welcoming places for Californians to call home,” the governor added.

Today’s $99.9 million in grants is administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and will create new affordable housing in the cities  of Oakland, Fresno, San Diego, Yuba City, as well as the city and county of Los Angeles. To date, this innovative program has funded 250 projects that will include 15,319 homes, serving more than 167,164 Californians over the projects’ lifetimes.

“The homes created through the Governor’s Homekey initiative will change lives for generations,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Tomiquia Moss. “Through the projects awarded so far, more than 167,000 vulnerable Californians will be relieved of the burden of housing insecurity, providing them with a solid foundation – and critical services – from which to explore opportunities that once may have seemed out of reach.”

“Homekey continues to deliver needed housing faster for Californians struggling with homelessness,” Newsom told reporters at a press conference in Oakland Friday. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

“The evolution of Homekey has inspired creativity among localities and developers to embrace new building models that bring critical affordable housing online more quickly,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “Through Homekey, we are now able to provide the foundation of housing stability to young people entering adulthood without the family support so many take for granted, as demonstrated through several projects today.”

The project the Governor toured in Oakland today is a former Quality Inn that was previously awarded $20.4 million and will be converted to housing with a total of 104 permanent units serving individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness, as well as homeless youth. In total, the community of Oakland has received $133.5 million in Homekey funding.

Homekey originated as Project Roomkey early in the COVID-19 pandemic as an effort to provide shelter to unhoused Californians in a non-congregate setting. While early Homekey projects focused on hotel and motel conversions, projects in the third round of Homekey have included a hospital conversion, new builds, and innovative modular construction models. The program goal remains to rapidly expand availability of affordable housing to help Californians exit or prevent homelessness.

To learn more about today’s awardees, click here.

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Gov. Newsom & First Partner induct 17th California Hall of Fame

Gov. Newsom & Jennifer Siebel Newsom yesterday joined the California Museum to induct the 17th class of the California Hall of Fame

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California Hall of Fame 17th Class 2024. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom yesterday joined the California Museum to induct the 17th class of the California Hall of Fame.

California Hall of Famers Los Lobos (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)
California Hall of Famer Leon E. Panetta (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)
California Hall of Famers The Go-Go’s (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)
California Hall of Famer Thelton E. Henderson (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)
California Hall of Famer Helene An (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)
California Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

The inductees of the California Hall of Fame 17th class are:

  • HELENE AN: Master chef and the Mother of Fusion Cuisine
  • WILLIE L. BROWN, JR.: History-making Mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the California Assembly
  • VINTON G. CERF: Renowned computer scientist and a Father of the Internet
  • AVA DUVERNAY: Visionary storyteller and award-winning filmmaker
  • THE GO-GO’S: Chart-topping all-female pop punk band
  • THELTON E. HENDERSON: Revered federal judge and civil rights leader
  • LOS LOBOS: Iconic Chicano rock band
  • CHERYL MILLER: Legendary basketball player and sports broadcaster
  • LEON E. PANETTA: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and dedicated public servant
  • BRENDA WAY: Celebrated artistic director and choreographer

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Major storms forecast with heavy rain, flooding & mountain snow

The first in a series of storms will bring rain and mountain snow Wednesday, a second and likely much stronger storm will arrive Sunday

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National Weather Service/KTLA satellite/radar composite screenshot of U.S. West Coast showing the atmospheric river moving toward California on Jan. 30, 2024.

OXNARD, Calif. – The National Weather Service has issued a storm warning for the vast majority of California Tuesday as the likelihood of heavy rain, thunderstorms and localized flooding is expected as two separate storm systems will impact the state starting late Tuesday.

“This is a big storm,” says KTLA 5 News meteorologist Henry DiCarlo. “The cold front stretches all the way from Canada into Mexico.”

This series of storms will hit the state for the next 10 days and is expected to bring significant rain, high winds, deep snow as well as potential flash flooding and power outages.

The atmospheric river is slated to bring cooler temperatures with rain totals of two to three inches are forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California’s coastal areas and inland valleys. The Weather Service said the Central Coast, foothills and mountains could see four to five inches of rain with a likelihood of thunderstorms and localized flooding.

Several inches of snow are likely across the higher mountain elevations late Wednesday night and into Thursday. Snow levels during the main rain band are expected to be at 7000 feet or higher, then drop off Thursday afternoon and evening to around 6000 feet.

Gusty south to southeast winds expected in the mountains of up to 60-70 miles per hour. 

This weather pattern will continue in the next few weeks, with above normal precipitation likely statewide, especially across Southern California. At the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the State Operations Center in Mather is being activated to coordinate a unified response to these storms across state, local and federal agencies.

“The state is working around the clock with our local partners to deploy life-saving equipment and resources statewide. With more storms on the horizon, we’ll continue to mobilize every available resource to protect Californians,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in statement released by his office Tuesday afternoon.

The Governor has also directed the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to lead an early, proactive push to preposition state personnel and equipment into the communities most at risk of damage before the worst of the storms arrive. The state is also taking action to prepare for potential flooding by activating the Flood Operations Center for increased coordination and utilizing California’s spillways where necessary.  

Storm Timing

A chart showing expected rain timing and intensity. Jan. 30, 2024. (Graphic/NWS)

“This storm has a large range of outcomes,” the National Weather Service acknowledged in its daily bulletin. The second round will impact California sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.

KTLA 5 News meteorologist DiCarlo cautioned that one possible outcome, shows the storm stalling off the Central Coast and bringing 12 to 24 hours of steady rain, which would increase the risk of flooding.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) issued the following tips:

  1. Stay connected. Californians are reminded to dial 311 to get help or ask questions. If you have a critical emergency, call 911. Stay informed by signing up for emergency alerts including warnings and evacuation notices. Go to CalAlerts.org to sign up to receive alerts from your county officials. Check in with loved ones and neighbors.
  2. Get your information from trusted sources. During a disaster, it’s critical to have accurate information. Check state and local government or emergency management websites and social media accounts for trusted information specific to your area. Local news outlets and meteorologist are also a good source of information. Be wary of posts from unknown sources on social platforms or from online ‘experts’ without credentials.
  3. Prepare for high winds. Before a high wind event: remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures, remove loose roofing material, bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies, secure outdoor objects that could blow away, shutter windows securely and brace outside doors. During a high wind event: take cover next to a building or under shelter, stay away from windows, stay clear of roadways and train tracks, avoid elevated areas such as roofs, watch for flying debris.
  4. Travel safely. Avoid non-essential travel during the peak of the storm expected Sunday and Monday. If you must drive, download the QuickMap app or visit QuickMap (ca.gov)  to learn up-to-the-minute information on road conditions, traffic, closures, and more. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  5. Be ready in case of power outagesTake inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity. Keep your devices charged. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs if the power goes out such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Also, plan accordingly for the potential of water outages.

Get more tips here.

Additional Resources

  • Storm Season Safety Guide: the state is sharing multilingual resources, deploying a network of community-based organizations through the Listos California campaign, and highlighting other work underway to protect at-risk communities this rainy season.
  • Prepare Yourself through Texts: Californians can sign up for a 5-lesson text message course through Listos California on what to do before, during and after floods, high winds, debris flows and other storm impacts. This course is available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Punjabi. Text “CAWINTER” to 20202 via SMS to sign up.
  • Visit National Weather Service for current weather patterns in your area.
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California

California vs Hate project: New informational materials released

CA vs Hate operates as a non-emergency, multilingual hate crime and incident reporting hotline and online portal

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Graphic by the California Civil Rights Department.

SACRAMENTO – In response to the surge in reported hate crimes, the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) has unveiled new informational materials aimed at connecting Californians with support through California vs Hate, the state’s anti-hate hotline and resource network.

As incidents of hate continue to rise, CA vs Hate offers a safe and anonymous platform for victims and witnesses to report acts of hate and access assistance, including mental health, financial, and legal services.

Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his commitment to eradicating hate from California, stating, “Hate does not belong in California. By expanding resources and tools, the California Civil Rights Department is making our communities safer and promoting healing. Report and find assistance using these resources today.”

CRD Director Kevin Kish emphasized California’s leadership in combating hate, urging citizens to take advantage of CA vs Hate. “Whether it’s at a place of worship, in a classroom, or anywhere else, there is no place for hate in our state. I encourage everyone to take advantage of California vs Hate to report and get support. Together, we can help ensure all of California’s communities get the assistance and healing they need.”

Officially launched by Governor Newsom last year, CA vs Hate is a direct response to the alarming increase in reported hate crimes in California. Recent years have seen hate crimes reach their highest levels since 2001, escalating by over 20% from 2021 to 2022. The conflict in the Middle East has further exacerbated the situation, with CA vs Hate noting a significant uptick in preliminary reports of hate in the three months following the conflict’s onset.

CRD’s efforts extend beyond the hotline, encompassing a multilingual digital, print, and radio ad campaign, community-specific outreach initiatives, and support for statewide civic action during United Against Hate Week. The newly highlighted informational materials include a one-page infographic outlining the reporting process and available resources, translations of CA vs Hate posters and social media graphics into over 20 languages, a fictional case study example for better understanding services, and virtual backgrounds for online meetings to promote awareness.

Historically, many hate crimes have gone unreported due to various factors, including fear of retaliation, lack of culturally competent resources, concerns about immigration consequences, and distrust of law enforcement. CA vs Hate addresses these challenges by offering a community-centered approach that allows individuals to report hate acts without engaging with the criminal legal system. The hotline services are confidential and free, irrespective of immigration status.

CA vs Hate operates as a non-emergency, multilingual hate crime and incident reporting hotline and online portal. Reports can be made anonymously by calling (833) 866-4283 or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, or online at any time. The online portal supports reporting in 15 different languages, and the hotline accommodates reports in over 200 languages. Individuals in immediate danger or those wanting to report a hate crime to law enforcement immediately should call 911.

For more information on CA vs Hate, please visit CAvsHate.org.


The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. CRD’s mission is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-funded programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.

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California

210,000 Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants live in California

Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants to the U.S. may experience barriers to employment associated with legal status as well as added challenges

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East LA Library presents Mariachi Arcoiris during Hispanic Heritage Month. On National Coming Out Day, the first LGBTQ+ mariachi in the world performs & discusses the sensitive topic that is very taboo in the Hispanic community. (Photo: Mayra B. Vasquez/Los Angeles County)

LOS ANGELES – A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that there are 211,000 Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants in California, including 68,800 who do not have Green Cards. An estimated 85% of immigrants without Green Cards are undocumented.

The majority of Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards live in Southern California, including 32% in Los Angeles and 34% outside of Los Angeles. Three-quarters (76%) of California’s Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years, and 42% have spent over half of their lives in the U.S.

Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, researchers examined the demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants. Results show that Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards are older, have less education, and have fewer economic resources than U.S.-born Latinx LGBTQ+ people.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards live at less than 200% of the federal poverty level compared to 43% of their U.S.-born LGBTQ+ peers. Most (93%) Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants are in the workforce, with nearly one-third (32%) working in service occupations.

“Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants to the U.S. may experience barriers to employment associated with legal status, as well as added challenges related to LGBTQ+ stigma and racism,” said lead author Rubeen Guardado, Policy Analyst at the Williams Institute. “It’s critical that policies and programs address the intersectional needs of a heterogeneous Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrant population—particularly those who are most vulnerable due to lack of documentation.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Half of Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards (cisgender and transgender) identify as bisexual (49%), 48% as gay/lesbian, and 3% identify as heterosexual and are also transgender.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards were born in Mexico, 24% are from Central America, and the remainder are from other parts of Latin America (9%) or elsewhere (1%).
  • About half (49%) of Latinx immigrants without Green Cards are under the age of 35 compared to three-quarters (76%) of U.S.-born Latinx LGBTQ+ people.
  • Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards are twice as likely as their U.S.-born peers to have only a high school degree or less (73% vs. 34%, respectively).
  • Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards are more likely to rent (as opposed to own) their homes compared to U.S.-born Latinx LGBTQ+ people (77% vs. 54%) even though are older, on average, than their U.S.-born counterparts.
  • More than four out of 10 (44%) Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants without Green Cards have no health insurance, compared to 11% of their U.S.-born LGBTQ+ peers.


“More research on Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants is needed, including studies that explore differences in quality of life and access to support among undocumented LGBTQ+ Latinx immigrants by gender identity,” said co-author Kerith J. Conron, Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Research on the discrimination, harassment, and violence against Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrants experienced in their countries of origin, during migration, and within the U.S. would also be valuable, given the negative effects of such exposure on mental health.

Read the report

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California

California’s Project Homekey hits milestone: 15,000 homes created

Since the start of Homekey, the state has rapidly transformed office spaces, hotels, and other unused buildings into housing

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HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez & Gov. Gavin Newson toured a former Motel 6 that has been converted into 40 permanent Homekey units. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Today, at a Homekey property in Costa Mesa, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state has created 15,000 housing units as part of Homekey, an effort launched in 2019 to rapidly house individuals experiencing homelessness. Approximately 163,260 individuals will be assisted with housing throughout the course of this program.

“Homekey is a national model for rapidly creating affordable housing for Californians in need. In a few short years, this initiative has created more than 15,000 homes, to help over 163,000 people. Homekey demonstrates what is possible when people think outside the box and refuse to accept the status quo,” said Governor Newsom

Governor Newsom toured a former Motel 6 that has been converted into 40 permanent Homekey units, primarily for veterans at risk of homelessness with an additional 10 units for individuals that meet the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) eligibility criteria. Each unit includes kitchenettes, appliances, and furniture among other features.

At this stop, the Governor also announced the latest awardees to receive grant funding from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). These communities include Oakland, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and the counties of Lassen and Marin. This funding will support six projects in total at a cost of nearly $95.6 million and will create 396 affordable homes.

Gov. Gavin Newson toured a former Motel 6 that has been converted into 40 permanent Homekey units. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

“Over a three-year period, Homekey has funded projects that will provide housing security to more than 163,000 Californians over the decades to come,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “The current set of awards includes housing dedicated to veterans, and the conversion of a shuttered hospital to shelter those experiencing homelessness. This program has allowed jurisdictions to get creative with adaptive reuse of existing spaces, and with providing a full array of services that help make homelessness rare, one time, and non-recurrent.”

Originally launched months into the COVID-19 pandemic as an extension of Project Roomkey – to curb the spread of disease among Californians in congregate shelters – Homekey funds additional building types and supports a broader population of people experiencing or at risk for homelessness. This includes young people transitioning to adulthood from foster care or an unsafe environment.

Homekey Round 3 grant funding – administered by HCD – is available to local public entities including cities, counties, tribes, and housing authorities to develop a broad range of housing types including hotels, motels, hostels, single-family homes, multifamily apartments, adult residential facilities, and modular housing, and to convert commercial properties and other existing buildings to permanent or interim housing.

HCD continues to review Homekey applications, and grants will be announced on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted.

To learn more about today’s announcement and awardees, click here.

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