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California

SEIU to Hold Black History Events in San Francisco

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The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021 will have 2 Black History Month events in February. The first event will be held on Feb. 27 at the SEIU 1021 office. The event will include food, music and a presentation on the challenges facing San Francisco residents and members.

The organization will also hold an event on March 29, "Wealth and disparities in the Black Community What's Next?".

The event will: Raise awareness of wealth gaps in the Black community, discuss problem solving ideas concerning violence, mass incarceration, workers rights in the workplace, Out-migration report, living wages, create a dialogue and partnership with SEIU 1021 leaders and much more. Board of Supervisors Malia Cohen and David Campos will also be on panels.

This event is open to everyone. RSVP at 1-877-687-1021 or by email brendabarros@rocketmail.com or hopereservation@yahoo.com.

More than 440 Events Planned Throughout California in Honor of "School Choice Week"

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This week is School Choice Week in California and across the country. More than 440 events are planned across the Golden State, in addition to 5,500 events nationwide.

The Week, which is the nation’s largest-ever celebration of educational opportunity, gives students, parents, and teachers in California a chance to raise awareness of the different types of educational options available to families in advance of the 2014-2015 school year. Events across the state will include rallies, school fairs, roundtable discussions, open houses, and parent information sessions.

National School Choice Week spotlights all types of education options for families, including traditional public schools, public magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling.

In addition to raising awareness of school choice options in California, the Week also provides students, parents and teachers with an opportunity to call on leaders in Sacramento to expand access to high-quality education environments for children.

“California families know that when parents have the freedom to choose the best schools for their children, great things happen,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. “Student achievement increases, graduation rates rise, and children are better prepared for real life.”

Said Campanella: “We hope families across the state will use National School Choice Week as an opportunity to learn more about the educational options available to their children, and to begin researching schools for the 2014-2015 school year. If families want to switch schools, January is the time to start the search process.”

The Week officially kicked off at a major rally Saturday night in Houston, Texas. Today, students wearing National School Choice Week’s signature yellow scarves will ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange.

Children's Defense Fund-California Recognizes Students

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Summer vacation is fast coming to a close and colleges and universities throughout California are gearing up for the fall semester — and 2012 Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds® Scholarship and Leadership Program alumni will make the transition from high school to college! These outstanding students will be attending some of the state’s premier universities, including University of Southern California, UCLA, and Mount St. Mary's College.

The 2012 CDF Beat the Odds honorees are the embodiment of strength, determination, and resilience. These young people have faced tremendous hardships on the road to college, and survived childhoods marked by periods of homelessness, abuse, abandonment, and loss. Yet each of these incredible students have achieved academic excellence and personal success despite their difficult upbringings, with many going on to become class valedictorians, student body presidents, all-star athletes, and role models in their communities. Read more about our 2012 CDF Beat the Odds honorees and watch their inspiring documentaries.

For more than two decades, the CDF Beat the Odds Scholarship Program has recognized outstanding high school students who have overcome adversity to excel in school and as leaders in their communities. The college prep program awards $55,000 in scholarships annually, as well as provides awardees with intensive SAT preparation, one-on-one college counseling, leadership development, college tours, career counseling, and other services to support them through their college career.

The application for the 2014 CDF Beat the Odds program will become available next month. For information on the program or how to nominate a student, contact program associate Joanna Flores at jflores@childrensdefense.org.

Assemblymember Isadore Hall Issues Statement on Adult Film Industry's Lifting Moratorium

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Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement in response to the adult film industry’s decision to lift their self-imposed moratorium on production due to a confirmed HIV transmission of an adult film actress.

“Today’s move by the Free Speech Coalition to lift their self-imposed moratorium on adult film production without requiring condoms is dangerous and irresponsible. The Free Speech Coalition is great at putting out a press release, but sadly, they are horrible at understanding science. The fact is it can take up to three months for a person with HIV to test positive. For those with HIV, use of current HIV medication can also bring viral loads below detectable levels, leaving fellow actors and the public susceptible to this deadly disease.

The industry’s testing only policy has failed. The fact is a voluntary testing only policy is as effective at preventing the spread of STDs as a pregnancy test is at preventing pregnancy. Short of requiring condoms in all adult films, STD transmission in the adult film industry will continue and California workers will continue to be exposed to injury, harm and potentially death.

I call upon to Free Speech Coalition and the adult film industry to join adult film actors, responsible adult film producers, medical professionals and the public in supporting my AB 640, which would require condoms in all adult films produced in California. No more stalling, no more excuses, no more lies. Too much time has been wasted while California workers have been harmed. The time to act is now.”

Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III, represents California’s 64th Assembly District that includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor Gateway, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, South Los Angeles, Torrance, Watts/Willowbrook and Wilmington in Los Angeles County.

California State Assembly Appropriations Passes Yee Bills on Foster Youth, Hospital Safety, Transparency

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SACRAMENTO – The state's Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to pass Senator Leland Yee’s (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) Senate Bills 3, 342, 528 and 718 today, which is intended to bring increased transparency to the lobbying process and modernize filing practices under campaign finance law, provide assistance to foster youth, and protect hospital employees.

SB 3 would set a statutory deadline for the Secretary of State and the Fair Political Practices Commission to create a modern online database for campaign disclosures. In 2011, the Cal-Access system went offline for a month due to technical difficulties, affecting the public's ability to track lobbyist activity in Sacramento, according to a press release from Yee's office.

“The public has a right to know who has influence in Sacramento,” said Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). “This information must be easily accessible through a modern online system."

SB 3 is part of the Sunshine in Campaigns Act, along with SB 2, authored by Senator Ted Lieu, which could strengthen disclosure requirements, including requiring campaign ads to disclose the top four campaign donors within the ad. SB 2 was also passed by the Appropriations Committee Aug. 30.

In addition, two of Yee’s foster care bills were passed by the Committee. SB 342 will require that social worker visits to foster youth will take place in the home, to assure the child is living in an adequate home environment. SB 528 would prioritize access to subsidized child care, as pregnant and parenting youth are 200% more likely to drop out of high school than to graduate. In addition, it expands access to pregnant and parenting teen conferences to assist parents in utilizing all the resources available, directs the Department of Social Services to start collecting data on parenting and pregnant youth, and provide age appropriate reproductive health education.

“These bills are common sense measures to protect and assist foster youth so that they can succeed and flourish,” said Yee.

The Committee also voted in favor of SB 718, which would require hospitals to craft plans for how to respond to workplace violence and protects survivors of workplace violence from retaliation for seeking necessary evaluation and treatment.

“Hospital employees should be able to go to work without fear of violence,” said Yee. “This bill will give them the protections they deserve so they can do their jobs with the confidence that they are protected from danger.”

Not all of Yee’s bills made it out of committee. SB 343, which would have ensured that foster youth who are at least 16 years old be provided with critical documents, such as their social security card and copy of their birth certificate was held, as was SB 327, which offered legal protections to survivors of human trafficking.

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