Capitol Alert

LGBTQ leaders unite + Gun violence rally + Protecting California’s students

“This is the best position we’ve been in in years,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, of the state’s budget agreement.
“This is the best position we’ve been in in years,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, of the state’s budget agreement. AP file

Good Monday morning to you alerters! Now that there are officially more Democrats running for president than I have shoes in my closet (and I love shoes), let’s get started.

The Assembly begins session at 1 p.m., Senate starts at 2 p.m.

#CALLGBTQSUMMIT

More than 180 elected and appointed LGBTQ officials met on Friday in Sacramento for the first California LGBTQ Leadership Summit. The one-day event was organized by Equality California and the California Legislative LGBT Caucus to establish partnerships across the state and “breathe life into the policies” that lawmakers tackle in Sacramento and D.C.

Alice Kessler, Equality California’s outside legislative director, said the event left California’s LGBTQ leaders with a clear vision on how to implement laws in their community. Officials also talked strategies that would help get more LGBTQ representatives elected.

“When we have that seat at the table, we are going to be our best advocates,” Kessler said. “Because we have the best experience of living through schools that might be hostile, or going through a healthcare system that might not know our needs, or the criminal justice system that may at times target members of our community or mistreat members of our community.”

State officials talked about partnering with agencies, including law enforcement and school districts, to help them enforce California anti-discrimination laws.

“As we develop the next generation of leaders, leadership means standing up and speaking out for those who can’t,” Senate pro Tem and LGBT Caucus member Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said. “We can’t rest until America is a place where everyone can live their lives openly, safely and with dignity.”

“I STOPPED FEELING SAFE”

Everytown for Gun Safety and its member organizations are gathering at the Capitol this morning to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom for $39 million to help fight against gun violence.

As part of its annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action are spearheading the initiative to increase funding for the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program. CalVIP, a state-funded program, provides grants to address violence in Los Angeles and other cities. Seventeen programs receiving funding last year and 120 applied.

Ellen Ginsberg, co-chair of Advocacy Day and a member of Moms Demand Action, said the annual event is an opportunity to highlight legislation that will help advance prevention initiatives and raise awareness on everyday gun incidents such as suicide and domestic violence.

“A few years ago I stopped feeling safe in places where I should feel safe. At a movie theater, at a crowded restaurant,” Ginsberg told The Bee. “Gun violence is an epidemic in this country and we shouldn’t have to live this way.”

Ginsberg said members of the organizations will be meeting with Newsom’s staff today, as well as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assemblymen Anthony Portantino, Jesse Gabriel and Todd Gloria.

The legislative members will join the gun violence survivors, group members and victims’ families at 10 a.m. on the South Lawn.

MORE EDUCATION NEWS

The Senate Education and Business, Professions and Economic Development committees are meeting today to hear testimony from some of California’s leading higher education experts.

The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the panelists are scheduled to offer greater insight into whether California’s higher education institutions are providing quality education and appropriately protecting students across the state.

A growing concern for California is reining in the financial hold for-profit institutions have over the students who enroll in expensive programs. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rescinded rules against the institutions last year, a move that pleased for-profit colleges that argued the Obama administration went too far in regulating the industry,

“Our new approach will aid students across all sectors of higher education and improve accountability,” Devos said, when she announced a plan to repeal a rule that allowed the government to sanction schools that did not prepare students for “gainful employment,” according to CNN.

A group of state lawmakers announced a package of bills that would hold for-profit colleges financially accountable to students who graduate without jobs or with a mountain of debt.

“The Trump administration has proposed rolling back key federal regulations to keep colleges in check and make sure students aren’t being deceived and left with debts they can’t repay,” said Debbie Cochrane, executive vice president of the The Institute for College Access and Success. “The rules are literally being rewritten.”

For your radar — U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier will be at the The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco tonight to speak about her new book, “Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back.”

The congresswoman, who represents San Francisco, survived the Jonestown, Guyana massacre in 1978. Speier was shot five times by cult members during an attack on a U.S. delegation that traveled to Guyana to learn more about Jim Jones’ commune in the jungle.

After killing five people, including Speier’s boss Rep. Leo Ryan, Jones ordered his followers to drink a cyanide-laced fruit drink. More than 900 people died.

The event begins at 8 p.m. and you can read a Roll Call profile of Speier here.

TWEET OF THE DAY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

March 16 — Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita

March 18 — Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield

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