News

Thursday, May 16, 2019

*as adapted from the LA Times Editorial Board*

Tens of thousands of Californians who otherwise would have been at grave risk of losing their homes, their children, their ability to pursue a living or other basic human rights and needs at least had a fighting chance to defend themselves in court because of landmark 2009 legislation that gave them access to lawyers.

In a rare feat of foresight, the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act that established the pilot program required and provided funding for evaluations. So we know, for example, that providing counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction in Los Angeles County increased the likelihood of tenants responding to eviction actions, of cases being settled, and of tenants retaining their housing or finding new places to live with minimal costly disruption.

Similarly good outcomes in the few other counties involved in the pilot led the Legislature to make the program permanent in 2016. Now lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase court filing fees to expand the number of people served by the program. It’s a good move that deserves to proceed.

AB 330 by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat representing the west San Fernando Valley, would increase filing fees for some court services, such as issuing a writ to enforce a judgment or taking an affidavit.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

SACRAMENTO — Two days after a fatal shooting at a San Diego County synagogue, California officials pledged millions of dollars to protect religious congregations and other organizations targeted by hate crimes.

Surrounded by two dozen lawmakers, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that his revised budget proposal will include $15 million for grants to nonprofit groups to improve security at buildings — such as mosques, synagogues, churches and LGBT community centers — that are frequented by people at risk of being attacked because of who they are or what they believe.

The security grants, which are based on a federal program, have been made available for the past three years to California churches, schools and women’s health clinics to pay for reinforced entrances, alarms, guards and other safety improvements.

But Newsom said hundreds of applications have gone unfulfilled for lack of money. The state set aside only $500,000 for the program last year.

The California Legislative Jewish Caucus requested the funding increase this month, following an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead and a shooting last fall in which 11 people were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“I know it feels on some days like our world is unraveling, like every day we wake up and read about another act of hate-motivated violence. But we cannot accept this, we cannot accept this new normal,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat who is vice chair of the Jewish caucus.

Monday, April 29, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Democratic governor vowed on Monday to spend $15 million for increased security at “soft targets” like the synagogue where a gunman opened fire over the weekend, killing one worshipper.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he will include the money in his $144 billion general fund budget proposal, which he intends to revise by the middle of May.

The California Legislative Jewish Caucus had requested it, calling for a 30-fold increase in a state program that last year spent $500,000 on grants to nonprofits organizations vulnerable to hate crimes.

“It was self-evident, the need to do more,” Newsom told reporters. “That money pales in comparison to the need for mosques, for synagogues, for other institutions.”

California has spent $4.5 million since 2015 to augment a federal grant program created after the 2001 terrorist attacks, including $2 million in 2017. But lawmakers and previous Gov. Jerry Brown reduced the funding to $500,000 this year.

California’s Jewish lawmakers want the state to spend much more on security guards, reinforced doors and gates, high-intensity lighting and alarms, and other security for vulnerable institutions. Those include Muslim, Sikh and other minority institutions, women’s health groups and LGBTQ organizations.

“The unfortunate reality is that even in houses of worship, thoughts and prayers won’t keep us safe,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat from Encino and vice chairman of the caucus. “We need more than thoughts and prayers. We need real security and we need the state to step up and play a role in that.”

Gabriel’s legislation would help pay for increasing physical security at nonprofit organizations at higher risk because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

New labeling proposed for medications

Law to prevent taking wrong drugs

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-San Fernando Valley) recently introduced legislation to protect patients by requiring physicians to include the purpose of any prescription medication on the medication’s label, unless the patient opts out.

Labeling medications will help to avoid confusion and reduce the risk of adverse drug events—including medication errors, adverse or allergic reactions, and overdoses for patients taking multiple medications, said Gabriel, whose district includes Calabasas.

The bill is known as AB 387.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

(As excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle)

More relief for the heavy costs of college — fees, books, food and housing — could become available for California students under two bills introduced Thursday in the Legislature.

AB542 would add 3,000 additional grants to the Competitive Cal Grant program for low-income students, which turns away thousands of qualified students, according to a statement by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Van Nuys, who introduced the bill.

“For my family and so many others, California’s public higher education system was a ticket into the middle class,” Gabriel said in a statement. “We must ensure that our young people have access to the education they need to secure good jobs.”

Monday, February 11, 2019

As excerpted from the Philadelphia Inquirer

Background checks for ammunition sales. A lifetime gun ownership ban on anyone convicted of domestic violence. A sales limit of one gun per person per month.

Those are among the restrictive new laws and proposals that could reduce gun violence in California. The state already has stricter gun-control laws than most; legislators said this week they hope to position their state as a model for the rest of the nation.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

As excerpted from the Times of San Diego

California already has 109 laws on the books that regulate the use of firearms, more gun-control rules than any other state. More, it seems, are on the way.

Last week an all-Democratic contingent of lawmakers announced plans to send a raft of new gun-related bills to the governor before the end of the legislative session. The 16 lawmakers were joined by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, a gun control advocate and mass shooting survivor, along with representatives of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A group of 16 Democratic lawmakers in California are banding together for stricter gun laws. At the state capitol this week, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel of San Fernando Valley announced the group and said it aims to craft new legislation:

The group of lawmakers is created from the Assembly and Senate. Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona joined the group for a round table Monday to discuss mass shootings and officially endorse the group. She is a survivor from a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona. Assemblymen Gabriel said California cannot wait for Washington to pass common-sense gun laws that will protect schools, families and communities.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

As excerpted from US News & World Report

DEMOCRATIC California lawmakers joined former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona Monday to announce the creation of a gun violence working group.

The group, comprised of 16 members of both the state Assembly and state senate, met with Giffords, who survived a mass shooting in 2011, for a roundtable before they held the press conference.

The lawmakers have voiced concern over Washington's lack of response to the nation's growing gun violence and are proposing laws such as new taxes on firearms and monthly limits on gun purchases, according to Courthouse News Service.

"Thoughts and prayers from Washington won't keep our kids safe," Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel said Monday. "What we need are common-sense gun laws that will protect our schools, our families and our communities."

Monday, February 4, 2019

As excerpted from the Los Angeles Times

Sixteen California lawmakers met Monday with former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was gravely wounded in a 2011 mass shooting, and agreed to form a working group to develop and pass gun control laws that can serve as a model for other states and the nation.

The working group will put together a package of gun laws, including new taxes on firearms for anti-violence programs, and submit them to Gov. Gavin Newsom for approval.

The Democratic state legislators said they are frustrated by inaction in Washington on the issue of gun violence and are hopeful that Newsom will be sympathetic to their efforts to further restrict the availability of firearms in California.

“Thoughts and prayers from Washington won’t keep our kids safe,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel of Van Nuys after the closed-door meeting with Giffords. “What we need are common-sense gun laws that will protect our schools, our families and our communities.”