Saturday, September 14, 2013

Legislature Approves Bills Authored by Assemblywoman Gonzalez to Protect and Empower California’s Noncitizens With Federal Immigration Reform Stalled

AB 1024 will Authorize Law Licenses for Noncitizens who Pass Bar Exam; AB 1152 Cracks Down on Immigration Reform Scams

SACRAMENTO, CA– (Friday, September 13, 2013)
– Both  houses of the California State Legislature overwhelmingly approved bills authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that provide professional opportunities and consumer protections to noncitizens in California while Congress struggles to approve comprehensive immigration reform.

Both Assembly Bills 1024 (Attorneys’ Right to Practice) and 1159 (Immigration Fraud Consumer Protections) are headed to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for signature after winning large bipartisan approval in the last few hours of legislative session on Thursday evening.

“San Diego County and the rest of California has waited on Congress to fix our broken federal immigration laws, but we can’t wait any longer to improve the lives of people who are falling through the cracks because of that inaction,” Gonzalez said. “Instead, these bills are part of a package of reforms my State Capitol colleagues and I crafted to protect, empower and improve the quality of life for our friends, neighbors and family members who are forced to suffer under the status quo.”

On bipartisan votes in both the Assembly and Senate, AB 1024 was approved in an effort to permit the California State Supreme Court to admit as an attorney any applicant that has passed the State Bar examination and fulfilled all other requirements.

AB 1024 is a direct response to a case currently pending at the California State Supreme Court. Recently, the Court heard testimony in the case In Re Sergio C. Garcia on Admission (S202512), which concerned Mr. Garcia’s petition to obtain a law license in California.  Having passed the State Bar examination and fulfilled all other requirements, Mr. Garcia was routinely sworn into the legal profession in 2011.  Two weeks later his license was rescinded on the basis that the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act passed by Congress in 1996 prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving professional licenses with the use of public funds, unless state law explicitly overrides it.

“AB 1024 completes the promise we’ve made to DREAMers who have worked hard, studied hard, passed the Bar exam and now just want the right to make a living for themselves as an attorney,” Gonzalez said.

AB 1159 would require that lawyers and consultants performing services under the pending federal immigration reform act abide by common sense business practices that will protect more than 2.5 million potentially eligible Californians from the unauthorized practice of law by non-lawyers, fraud, and unnecessary mistakes that could jeopardize a client’s pursuit of citizenship or – worse – result in deportation. The bill received unanimous support in both the Assembly and the Senate on Thursday.

“As millions of California families face the historic opportunity of improving their lives by pursuing a pathway to citizenship, the state must be ready to ensure immigration services are performed by competent professionals and include anti-fraud protections,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “AB 1159 prepares California for this upswing in demand by creating more accountability and transparency in an otherwise daunting process for immigrants, who are already targets of fraud now.”

Assemblywoman Gonzalez has asked that the Legislature act in order to crack down on the unscrupulous practice by some professionals to demand payment for immigration reform services based by promising that clients could “cut to the front of the line” when federal immigration reform is eventually enacted by paying now. AB 1159 would prohibit those advanced payments. The bill also increases the bonding requirements for non-attorneys performing immigration reform services and requires that contracts for immigration reform services include a disclaimer about how to report immigration fraud to the State Bar or Attorney General in the language of the client receiving the services.

Expands current law to apply to “anyone who is not an attorney” from advertising as a “notario,” not just notaries public. This ban prevents confusion that has oftentimes been capitalized upon by non-attorneys hoping to present themselves as attorneys, as a “notario” in many Latin American nations is a type of lawyer.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City. For more information, visit



(Sacramento)  AB 482, a bill to improve the cost effectiveness of the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) and to fund museums through the sale of a Snoopy license plate, was passed by the State Legislature today and sent to the Governor.

“Museums need financial support to remain viable and to keep entry fees affordable for all Californians,” says Atkins.  “Snoopy is a beloved American icon and having his ‘endorsement’ is sure to increase sales of the license plate.  I am excited about partnering with him in support of preserving California’s cultural treasures.”

The CCHE was established at the California State Library in 2003.  Since then, it has provided $122 million in grants to not-for-profit groups, government entities, and Native American tribes from funds generated by voter-approved Proposition 40.  These grants have supported the acquisition, restoration, preservation, and interpretation of our state’s historical and cultural resources. Due to dwindling Prop 40 funds, CCHE’s activities and staff face significant reductions and a winding down of the grant program.

Under AB 482, which is sponsored by the California Association of Museums, the CCHE would move over to the Natural Resources Agency where efficiencies can be implemented, with savings to the state of approximately $30,000 per year.

At the same time, a permanent source of funding for CCHE’s programs became possible when the widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz offered the rights to Snoopy’s likeness for a license plate that would raise funds for museums.  AB 482 authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer the Snoopy plate, which, like all specialty license plates would cost $50, plus another $48 if motorists want their plate personalized .  If the bill passes and is signed into law, DMV will be able to accept requests for the new plate.  They require at least 7,500 prepaid requests before starting production.  The California Association of Museums has already received more than 9,200 pledges from Californians who say they will purchase the plate once it is available.  The proceeds from the plate will be distributed through a competitive grant process.  All museums will be eligible.

Governor Brown has until October 13 to sign or veto the measure.

Friday, September 13, 2013

DeMaio Receives Endorsement from Anti-Immigration, Anti-Gay, Washington Republican

Today Carl DeMaio – the handpicked candidate of national Republicans – received the endorsement of another out-of-touch, radical Washington Republican, Congressman Tom McClintock. Congressman McClintock’s extreme voting record and hateful rhetoric is completely out of touch with San Diego’s middle class families.

As one of the most conservative Members of Congress – voting with his party 90 percent of the time – Congressman McClintock routinely puts his extreme ideology before solutions, whether it’s cosponsoring a bill to redefine rape, proclaiming that “there’s only one race here, it’s the American race,” or supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

“Carl DeMaio claims that he’s a ‘new generation Republican,’ but the company he keeps tells a different story: that he’s just another out-of-touch Tea Party Republican,” said Matt Inzeo of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “With Carl DeMaio’s embrace of Tea Party Congressman Tom McClintock, San Diego voters should be worried, since McClintock’s priorities are so out of whack – saying that ‘there’s only one race here, it’s the American race,’ cosponsoring a bill to redefine rape, and supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. It’s clear that Carl DeMaio truly is Washington Republicans’ favorite candidate, and is choosing to put his political party ahead of standing up for the hardworking middle class families of San Diego.”


Member of the Tea Party Caucus. Congressman McClintock is a member of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. [McClatchy, 5/09/12]

McClintock on Immigration: “There’s Only One Race Here, It’s the American Race.” On August 14, 2013, “Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) took a strong stand against multiculturalism at a town hall meeting, arguing that immigrants need to shed their culture, become “the American race,” and if they’re unwilling to do so, “reevaluate” whether they want to be in this country in the first place. ‘There’s only one race here, it’s the American race. And the only way you accomplish that is through assimilation. That is what our immigration laws are designed to promote, and that is precisely what illegal immigration undermines…[..] If immigrants aren’t willing to shed their past culture, said McClintock, “then perhaps that is nature’s way of telling you that, maybe, you should reevaluate your options,’ said McClintock.” [Think Progress, 8/14/13]

Co-Sponsored Bill to Redefine Rape. In 2011, McClintock co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only “forcible rape” and not “rape” generally. Under the language proposed by the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, rape becomes “forcible rape.” The Washington Post reported that the bill’s critics believed “the modifier could distinguish it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically recognized as rape, including statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.” [HR 3 Co-Sponsors, 112th Congress; Washington Post, 2/01/11]

Part of Ongoing Effort to Amend Constitution to Ban Gay Marriage. In 2013, after the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, McClintock along with other House conservatives sought to reintroduce a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. McClintock “criticized the 5-4 court decision as ‘ideologically driven and legally inconsistent.’” [The Hill, 6/26/13]

McClintock: “Calling a Homosexual Partnership a Marriage Doesn’t Make it One.” In 2008, McClintock supported Proposition 8 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. “Lincoln asked, 'If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? The answer is four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one,'” McClintock said in a statement. “And calling a homosexual partnership a marriage doesn’t make it one,” [LA Times, 10/21/08]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Weber’s Bill Facilitating Contracts for Minorities, Women, and Vets Signed by Governor

(Sacramento, CA) –AB 173, the Small Business Procurement Act for University and Colleges by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown.  Signed into law on September 9, 2013, the legislation will provide higher educational institutions with flexibility to encourage contracting with state-certified small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises.

“When I was Chair of the Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission in San Diego, I helped minority-owned, woman-owned, and disabled veteran owned business owners increase their public contracting opportunities with the City of San Diego, allowing these disadvantaged business owners to become solid competitors in the marketplace,” said Assemblymember Weber.

Current law grants State agencies the option of using a streamlined contract process for small businesses and disabled veteran business enterprises called the “SB/DVBE Option,” which involves contracts up to $250,000.  Under the SB/DVBE Option, public agencies have the flexibility to award contracts in the traditional manner, which includes costly advertising, protests and bidding requirements or the more efficient option of obtaining two quotes from state-certified small businesses and DBVEs.

AB 173 simply extends this contracting option and threshold to California’s Higher Education system. Under current law, the University of California must competitively bid all contracts over $100,000.  For California State Universities and California Community Colleges, they must competitively bid all contracts over $50,000 and $81,000.

These lower thresholds result in many contracts being negotiated through the formal, costly bidding process.  Routinely, the colleges complain that the requirement is cumbersome and time consuming, often taking months to purchase simple items.

This proposal would allow the three systems to use the SB/DVBE Option for contracts up to $250,000.  If the universities want to use formal bidding or the SB/DVBE Option, they can choose whichever works best for them.

“By using the SB/DBVE Option, universities and colleges will not only save time and money with a more streamlined contracting process, but they would also continue to support the procurement of small businesses and DVBEs which are crucial to the state’s economy,” stated Assembly Member Weber.

This bill received strong support in the California State Assembly and Senate and is supported by the University of California, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity, the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and   the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce.