Capitol Alert

Is LGBT community moving forward or falling back?

Todd Elmer, center, and, Rachel Payne, left, march during the San Francisco Gay Pride parade Sunday, June 26, 2016, in San Francisco.
Todd Elmer, center, and, Rachel Payne, left, march during the San Francisco Gay Pride parade Sunday, June 26, 2016, in San Francisco. AP

State Sen. Scott Wiener will be in San Francisco’s LGBT Pride parade this Sunday with a message: “We must gather our strength for the battle ahead.”

Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, said under President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, he considers the rights of LGBT people under direct attack.

“We’ve seen it before in this country. In the 1970s, we were starting to make some progress, then there was terrible backlash in the 1980s and we lost ground,” Wiener said. “I’m concerned that we are experiencing that backlash again. I’m concerned we’ll start losing ground with what the Supreme Court might do around marriage equality and also around so-called religious freedom as a pretext to discriminate.”

Wiener is part of a group of California lawmakers planning to participate in this weekend’s San Francisco Pride festivities. The city will be filled with what could amount to hundreds of thousands of people – more than 125,000 are expected to participate in Sunday’s parade alone, according to organizers. Wiener said this year is a chance for one of the largest gatherings of LGBT people to send a message to the country.

“It’s a time for us to celebrate the strength and richness of our community, while also recommitting ourselves to fight for true equality and justice,” Wiener said. “You can still be fired in many states for being LGBT. You can still be evicted in many states for being LGBT ... now we are seeing attacks in state legislatures and by the federal administration.”

He mentioned laws to restrict restroom access for transgender people, increases in LGBT hate crimes and the apparent pullback of a Census Bureau proposal earlier this year to include sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2020 Census questionnaire. Following criticism from gay and transgender rights advocates, Census Bureau Director John Thompson penned a response in late March saying “inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity” occurred “due to an error in the appendix of the report.”

“The history of the LGBT community is a history of fighting against this. For many many years we were largely invisible and expected to remain in the closet, and there was a risk of physical violence and death if you came out,” Wiener said. “We are facing an administration that is trying to make us invisible.”

The parade kicks off Sunday at 10:30 a.m. A “resistance contingent” will lead 25,000 people expected to march down Market Street. Organizers are expecting up to 100,000 spectators. Other Bay Area lawmakers expected to participate include Assemblymen Evan Low, D-Campbell, David Chiu, D-San Francisco, Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, and Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.

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WORTH REPEATING: “Trumpcare 2.0 has the same stench – and effect – as the bill House Republicans and the White House slapped together last month: Millions will lose health care coverage, while millionaires profit. The American people deserve better.” – Gov. Jerry Brown on the health care bill released by Senate Republicans this week.

OROVILLE DAM: Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, and Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, will be in Yuba City this afternoon to press for state resources to repair damage to flood-control levees caused during the Oroville Dam disaster.

“We must continue to show the governor and Sacramento legislators the devastation that will result from their ill-conceived decision not to fund the necessary repairs to these critical levees in the state budget,” Nielsen said in a statement. “There’s still hope so we must continue the fight.”

The state’s proposed 2017-18 budget includes $111 million from Proposition 1 for flood control infrastructure throughout the state, according to Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer. Some of that could be used for Oroville Dam flood control and levee repair but that has not yet been decided, Palmer said.

Late Thursday, the state signed off on redirecting an additional $30 million from the current budget year for flood control and levee repair. That’s in addition to $50 million allocated earlier this year, after winter storms ravaged the region. Funds will be divvied up based on priorities set by the Department of Water Resources, which includes damage to levees and other infrastructure in the Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region.

“We anticipate, based on the way that DWR has set its priorities, these additional funds will go to that,” Palmer said.

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Proposed legislation to change California’s criminal justice system is headed to the governor’s desk.

“Under current criminal law, a low-income, homeless or impoverished person who is accused of a crime that they did not commit can still be ordered to pay the court for the costs of a court-appointed attorney,” said state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who authored Senate Bill 355 with Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, that would reverse the practice.

Other bills are included in the Mitchell-Atkins package of criminal justice proposals. They would bar the state from prosecuting children under age 12, make it state law that juveniles can’t be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, require people under 18 to consult with legal counsel before waiving constitutional rights during interrogations and seal arrest records for those arrested but not convicted of a crime.

MUST READ: A second Republican has entered California’s 2018 race for governor. Could it split the Republican vote and send two Democrats to next year’s primary?