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Three bills crucial to communities of color await Browns signature


SACRAMENTO–Three bills considered critical to the future of California’s growing communities of color have passed the state Legislature and are now awaiting the governor’s signature.

“Taken together, these three bills represent tremendous potential progress for California’s communities of color,” said Greenlining Institute Executive Director Orson Aguilar.

The bills are:
SB 535 (Sen. Kevin DeLeon) would guarantee that 10 percent of the potential $1 billion in revenue generated by California’s cap-and-trade program will be directed to disadvantaged communities–the communities most in need of cleaner air and the economic opportunities generated by the new green economy–for programs to reduce pollution and develop clean energy.

SB 1233 (Sen. Alex Padilla), sponsored by the Greenlining Institute, would make ballot initiative petitions available in widely spoken languages, making a crucial part of our democratic system accessible to millions of California voters whose English is limited. The federal Voting Rights Act requires that translated ballots and state voter guides be made available to these voters, but there is currently no such provision for initiative petitions–depriving millions of California voters of any say in what measures get on the ballot.

AB 53 (Assemblyman Jose Solorio) will help bring jobs and opportunities to small businesses. Insurance companies collect over $100 billion a year in premiums from small businesses and consumers in California, but no one knows how many of those dollars are invested back into California’s small businesses. AB 53, modeled on a successful program covering the state’s utilities, creates transparency by requiring the largest insurance companies to report on how much they contract with small businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans.