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Ten months ago Pablo Espinoza sat in a Los Angeles hospital and filled out a birth certificate form for his newborn son, Nicolás.
But due to the interpretation of a three decades-old law, his son is officially Nicolas to the state of California. Diacritical marks on names are not allowed in the Golden State.
Espinoza and others trace the ban back to Proposition 63 in 1986, which established English as the official state language. They say the language in the law doesn’t specifically preclude diacritical marks, defined as marks, points or signs attached to a letter to give it a particular phonetic value, but was interpreted that way. As a result, accents, umlauts and other marks aren’t often recognized by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
Espinosa, a special projects media consultant for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, said he was shocked to learn of the quirky rule.
Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, in particular felt so moved that he introduced Assembly Bill 82, which expressly requires the diacritical marks be included on vital records such as birth, death and marriage licenses. The bill follows similar legislation from Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, that failed in 2014.
“I was always taught by my parents, since I was a little kid, that if you don’t like something, don’t just sit on the sidelines complaining and moaning about it,” Espinoza said. “Do something about it. Hopefully, one day I can tell little Nicolás that’s what I did.”
AB 82 goes before the Assembly Health committee at 1:30 p.m. in room 4202 of the state Capitol.
WORTH REPEATING: “Teachers will tell you that they need more than two years to develop and to earn tenure.”
– Lester Vasquez, former teacher of the year in L.A., on bill to extend teachers tenure period up to five years
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BIPARTISAN TOWN HALL: As Republicans come under fire at town halls across the state, two California legislators are teaming up to co-host a bipartisan gathering of constituents in Walnut Creek. Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dubin, and Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, will be at the Lesher Center for the Arts at 6:30 p.m. tonight to give a Capitol update and hear from Californians on both sides of the aisle.
BILL WATCH: Assembly Republicans are pushing a package of bills aimed at helping the middle class this year as part of an ongoing effort to reshape the party’s image in deep-blue California. One bill in the package, Assembly Bill 227 from Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes, would increase financial incentives for CalWORKS recipients that are advancing their education. The measure will go before the Assembly Human Services Committee at 1:30 p.m.
IT’S ON: Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, is officially running for insurance commissioner. The Los Angeles legislator, who introduced a bill earlier this year to establish a single-payer health care system in California, filed a statement of organization for his campaign fundraising committee this month. Lara is “a longtime advocate for consumers and healthcare for all” and “wants to ensure that Californians have a proven, progressive champion fighting to safeguard their way of life,” said Dave Jacobson, a campaign consultant for Lara. Jacobson said Lara will formally announce his plans in the days ahead. The Senator is hosting a campaign fundraiser at Ella tonight at 5:30 p.m.
Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna