More social justice spending + Tax group vows to pursue initiative + SB 287 in suspense

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Via Lindsey Holden...

Black Californians pushing the state for reparations to address systemic racism also want to see leaders commit millions more dollars to support community and social justice organizations.

The California Black Power Network joined with four other groups in Sacramento Wednesday to lobby lawmakers for $100 million over three years ahead of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May budget revision presentation Friday.

The coalition wants to use the money to build an endowment that supports Black-led community organizations, said Marc Philpart, executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund.

The Black Freedom Fund already raises private money and distributes grants, but financial backing from the state would be significant, he said.

“These resources will expand the important work the Black Freedom Fund has established, funding grassroots organizations throughout the state, ensuring they have the infrastructure they need to succeed,” Philpart said in a text message.

Newsom has been hesitant to commit state dollars to new spending initiatives, as California is facing an estimated $22.5 billion budget gap.

Organization leaders said the state depended on them to connect with Black communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests that followed the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.

“The fact of the matter is, California needs us,” said Kaci Patterson, founder of the Black Equity Collective, at a press conference. “We are our communities’ first responders. When we can go from disposable one day to essential workers the next, we know that this state knows how much they need us. And we are here today to say fund us like you know you need us. This budget ask is a down payment toward the state investing in who it says it wants to be.”

Assemblyman Corey Jackson, D-Moreno Valley, joined organizers to support their budget request and to push his own anti-racism legislation.

Among Jackson’s bills are measures that would limit law enforcement use of police dogs, amend the California constitution to change the state’s anti-affirmative action law and create state standards for removing educational curricula or banning books in schools.

“We are going to make sure that we have the ability to create our own agency, our own power,” Jackson said. “And it starts by building stuff. We need to turn our programs into organizations, and our organizations into institutions.”


On a 4-3 vote Wednesday, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee rejected SCA 4, Sen. Kelly Seyarto’s proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the so-called “death tax.”

But tax advocacy group Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association isn’t fazed. In a statement after the vote, it said it would pursue a constitutional amendment to undo part of 2020’s Proposition 19, which changed the law so that property is reassessed to market value in most cases when it passes from parent to child.

“It’s unfortunate that this Senate committee was not willing to protect California families from being taxed out of their property when a parent dies,” said HJTA President Jon Coupal in a statement.

In his statement, Coupal pointed out that his group is the one that got Proposition 13 — which limits property taxes in the state — on the ballot.

“We will be filing an initiative with the attorney general’s office very soon to restore the protections that Proposition 19 took away,” Coupal said.


SB 287 currently sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s dreaded suspense file, and it will be up to committee chair Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, to decide its fate..

That bill, authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would hold social media companies accountable for, among other things, knowingly or negligently allowing children to buy illicit drugs on their platforms.

TV therapist Dr. Laura Berman and her husband Samuel Chapman, whose 16-year-old son died from taking fentanyl-laced drugs, have released a video calling for Portantino to let SB 287 off the suspense file.

“Drug dealers are using social media to target kids and social media companies are doing nothing to stop it,” Chapman said in the video.

Berman called Portantino out by name in the video.

“With the leadership of State Sen. Anthony Portantino, we have an opportunity to pass a bill that will save childrens’ lives,” Berman said in the video.”

The video urges members of the public to call Portantino’s office and ask him to support the bill.


“When you have to give a speech on the housing crisis while juggling mama duty…”

- Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, sharing pictures of her giving a speech while watching her young child, via Twitter.

Best of The Bee:

  • Dianne Feinstein is back, and she could make a big difference in resolving the federal debt limit battle, getting judicial nominees approved and deciding the fate of Julie Su, via David Lightman.

  • California Reparations Task Force will consider cash payments, apology to Black residents, via Marcus D. Smith.

  • Later this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to introduce a revised budget for fiscal 2024, which begins July 1. A gloomier employment outlook could have an impact on deficits and spending, via David Lightman and Maggie Angst.