Following Texas Hostage Standoff, Jewish Caucus Chair Introduces Legislation to Protect Communities Facing Hate-Motivated Violence

Legislation Would Extend and Strengthen California’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, Which Has Provided Critical Security Funding to Vulnerable Communities

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA — Following the tense hostage standoff this weekend at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, a group of California legislators today introduced legislation to strengthen protections for Californians facing hate-motivated violence. Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), the Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, the new legislation will extend and strengthen California’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which is currently set to expire in 2025

“Colleyville, Texas may be thousands of miles away, but the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel was deeply personal for many Jews in California,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who Chairs the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “It was a sad and shameful reminder that our houses of worship are always targets, and that security training and enhancements can mean the difference between life and death. Our Caucus is committed to ensuring that the State of California steps up to protect our community and all other vulnerable communities targeted by hate.”

Assemblymember Gabriel authored legislation to establish the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2019 in the wake of the deadly shooting at Chabad of Poway, a synagogue in San Diego County. Since then, the program has funded critical security enhancements at religious institutions, LGBTQ community centers, reproductive health facilities, and other nonprofits deemed to be at risk from violent extremism. Last year’s state budget included a $50 million allocation for the program, a historic increase that was secured with the support of leaders and activists representing a broad coalition of vulnerable communities.

In addition to extending the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the legislation also will create more flexibility for how grant funding may be used, including for security training. Notably, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker from Congregation Beth Israel specifically highlighted the security training he had received from local and national organizations in helping to save his life and the lives of three others who were held hostage at his synagogue.

Co-Authors of the measure include Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Jewish Caucus Vice Chair, Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Marc Levine (D–Marin County), Jose Medina (D-Riverside), Chris Ward (D-San Diego), and State Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), Josh Becker (D-Peninsula), Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa), Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Josh Newman (D-Orange County), Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), and Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles).