Saturday, October 5, 2013

In his book “America is in the Heart: A Personal History,” the great Filipino-American writer Carlos Bulosan wrote about the dire straits of Filipino farm workers like himself in the United States. “I came to know afterward that in many ways, it was a crime to be a Filipino in California,” Bulosan wrote. “It was the year of the great hatred: the lives of Filipinos were cheaper than those of dogs.”

Between 1910 and 1930, wave upon wave of young Filipino men came to America and found work mostly in its fields and canneries. In California they labored to help tame and develop the land, but their heroic efforts are barely acknowledged in recollections of the state’s history. But a significant step has recently been taken: The important role of Filipino-Americans in California’s labor history will now be taught in school.

Friday, October 4, 2013

(Sacramento) – Since the early days of our country Filipino-Americans have made significant contributions to U.S. history. In this Public Service Announcement Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) asks everyone to celebrated Filipino traditions and heritage during October, Filipino-American History Month.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

State Board of Education Required to Provide State Curriculum on the Significant Role of Filipino Americans in the California Farm Labor Movement

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 123 today – a first-of-its-kind bill to require the state curriculum to include the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement in California.  Bonta notes that Governor Brown’s signature of the bill is the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of Filipino American History Month, this October.

“The goal of AB 123 is to supplement California’s rich farm worker history with the contributions of the Filipino American community. The Filipino American population composes the largest Asian population in California and continues to grow; yet the story of Filipinos and their crucial efforts to the farm labor movement is an untold part of California history,” explained Assemblymember Bonta.

“The historical significance of vastly influential leaders, such as César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, are rightfully synonymous with California’s farm labor movement. Generations of people who follow their stories have benefited from their commitment to social and economic justice in innumerable ways. Missing from the current curriculum are events such as the Delano Grape Strike of 1965, which was led by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), comprised of first generation Filipinos. A week following this strike, the National Farm Workers Association, led by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, combined forces with AWOC and by the fall of 1966, the numbers grew to approximately 2,000---almost entirely Filipino and Mexican workers, joined together in a powerful collaborative movement. The combined forces grew the movement to approximately 10,000 by 1970.

“By signing AB 123, Governor Brown has made an unprecedented move to give students a more complete account of California’s farm labor movement and ensure that these important leaders, such as Philip Vera Cruz and Larry Itliong are remembered by future generations of Californians,” explained Bonta.

Dolores Huerta, an iconic social justice and labor rights activist, spoke in support of the bill in committee: “The students of California need to learn that the sacrifices made by both the Filipino and Latino workers benefitted all Californians. AB 123 will ensure that the history is taught accurately.”  

The bill is particularly important to Assemblymember Bonta because of his personal heritage and history. Bonta was raised as a child in La Paz, the United Farm Workers’ headquarters, where his parents organized Filipino American and Mexican American farm workers. Also, as the first Filipino American elected to the California State Assembly and the Godson of José Gomez, Executive Assistant to César Chávez, Bonta is committed to the cause of farm workers and ensuring that the legacy of the farm workers is properly taught to the children of California.

Bonta concluded, “I am proud that Governor Brown recognizes the contributions of Filipinos to the history of our state and country by signing AB 123 and including them in the history and social sciences curriculum taught in California schools.”

Supporters of AB 123 include: Dolores Huerta (Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers of America), Tita Alice Bulos (“grandmother” of Filipino American politics), United Farm Workers of America, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California School Boards Association, Afrikan Student Union at UCLA, Alameda Councilmember Stewart Chen, Alameda Education Association, Alyansa Ng Mga Kababayan, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, American Indian Student Association at UCLA, Anakbayan East Bay, Anakbayan Los Angeles, Anakbayan San Diego, Anakbayan Seattle, Anakbayan Silicon Valley, Asian Americans for Advancing Justice, Asian Americans for Civil Rights & Equality, Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA, Barkada of Santa Clara University, Belmont High School Club Asian Sentinels Integration & Awareness, California Immigrant Policy Center, Cesar E. Chavez High School Principal Ben De León, City of Berkeley, City of Carson Mayor Jim Dear, Cosmopolitan United Church, Consulate General of the Philippines in San Francisco, Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Filipina Women’s Network, Filipino Advocates for Justice, Filipino American Democratic Club of San Francisco, Filipino-American Educator Association of California, Filipino American Educators Association of San Diego County, Filipino Barkada, Filipino Fiesta of Sacramento, Filipino Memorial Project, Filipino Migrant Center, Filipinos Unifying Scientist-Engineers in an Organized Network, Kababayan at UC Irvine, Kabataang Maka Bayan, Katipunan Pilipino Student Organization, KAYA Filipino Americans for Progress, Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Muslim Students Association at UCLA, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, The People’s Education Movement, Philippine National Day Association, Pilipino American Coalition, California State University, Long Beach, Pilipino American Society for Education, Pilipino-Americans in Social Studies at the University of California, Irvine, Pilipino Pre-Health Undergraduate Student Organization, Samahang Pilipino at UCLA, University of the Philippines Alumni Association Sacramento & Vicinity, Vietnamese Student Union at UCLA, and over two thousand individuals. 

Contact: Legislative Director Amy Alley 916-319-2018

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

(Oakland, CA) – On January 1, 2014, Californians will begin seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act as implementation in our state occurs through Covered California. But you shouldn't wait until then to sign up.

The enrollment period begins TODAY, October 1st and ends March 31st.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

(Oakland, CA) –Interest continues to grow in Assemblymember Bonta’s AB 999, which was featured in an article on September 18, 2013, in the respected, science magazine monthly, Scientific American.

View the full Scientific American article here:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/09/18/condoms-behind-bars-a-modest-proposal-to-cut-stis-in-calif-prisons/

The article closes with, “California, with 120,027 current inmates, has one of the largest prison populations in the country. So, ramping up protections for that population could help put a sizable dent in the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and other STI infections nation-wide.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

(Oakland, CA) - Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that AB 180, a bill to give Oakland much needed local authority to address the unique challenge of gun violence in the city, passed the Legislature and is now being considered for approval by Governor Brown. There have been 3,026 gun crimes in Oakland this year – the highest number in the state.

Assemblymember Bonta explained, “AB 180 could curb this escalating problem by allowing Oakland to enact more targeted and more effective ordinances than are currently in place. Oakland is suffering from among the highest levels of gun violence in the state and in the nation. Under AB 180, the City of Oakland would have the authority to regulate the registration of firearms and licensing of gun owners---areas that are currently pre-empted by state law. AB 180 is a smart and sensible bill that empowers Oakland and provides local control in addressing gun violence---where it is needed most.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Efforts to combine the operations of struggling Alameda and San Leandro hospitals with the public Alameda Health System cleared what proponents called a critical hurdle on Friday when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that addresses workers’ pensions.

The bill, co-authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, eliminates the requirement that full-time workers from the two hospitals become eligible for a county pension when the deals close and they become employees of Alameda Health System. It also allows employees of the two community hospitals who work half time or more and are enrolled in pension plans now to maintain a pension benefit.

Friday, September 13, 2013

(Oakland, CA)—Governor Brown today signed AB 1008, jointly authored by Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), which keeps San Leandro Hospital and Alameda Hospital open by allowing Alameda Health System (AHS) to retain the current workforce and ensure continuity in retirement and other employment benefits. AB 1008 ensures that AHS negotiates with physicians on staff prior to any decision to contract out medical services. Assemblymember Bonta made the following statement after hearing that the measure was signed by Governor Brown:

"I’m happy that Governor Brown understands the need to maintain the robust, high quality health care services that San Leandro Hospital provides. AB 1008 represents a strong collaboration and culmination of efforts to keep San Leandro Hospital open, protect the jobs and benefits of hard-working nurses and health employees, and prevent unnecessary contracting out within the new Alameda Health System. Without AB 1008, AHS would be unable to offer new contracts to employees at San Leandro Hospital that maintain parity with their current benefits structure, which would lead to the closure of San Leandro Hospital,” said Assemblymember Bonta.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

AB 999 Expands Statewide Successful Public Health Prison Condom Distribution Program

(OAKLAND, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is proud to announce that his bill to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STDs in California’s prisons and throughout California passed both houses of the Legislature this week and is now before Governor Brown for consideration.

“Sexually transmitted disease is a tragic reality of life in prison. The HIV/AIDS infection rate in prison is 8 to 10 times higher than among the general population. Our state must address this unsettling and sometimes disturbing topic head-on and realize that the long-term benefits to vulnerable communities, and to the budget, are well-worth the modest state investment,” said Assemblymember Bonta.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

(Oakland, CA)—Today the California State Assembly approved AB 1008, authored by Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), which keeps San Leandro Hospital and Alameda Hospital open by allowing Alameda Health System (AHS) to retain the current workforce and ensure continuity in retirement and other employment benefits. Additionally, AB 1008 ensures that AHS negotiates with physicians on staff prior to any decision to contract out the medical services. Assemblymember Bonta made the following statement after the measure passed:

"AB 1008 is the culmination of a strong effort by my office, in conjunction with Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, to keep San Leandro Hospital open, protect the jobs and benefits of hard-working nurses and health employees, and prevent unnecessary contracting out  within the new Alameda Health System. Without AB 1008, AHS would be unable to offer new contracts to employees at San Leandro Hospital that maintain parity with their current benefits structure, which would lead to the closure of San Leandro Hospital. It is absolutely essential to maintain the robust, high quality health care services that San Leandro Hospital provides," Bonta concluded.