Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Evaluating California’s Asian Pacific Islander community

Sociology majors Karen Ung, left, and Sam Diaz just prior to the Sacramento State University graduation ceremony on Dec. 20, 2013. A new bill from Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, seeks to illuminate college completion disparities among Asian Pacific Islander subgroups.
Sociology majors Karen Ung, left, and Sam Diaz just prior to the Sacramento State University graduation ceremony on Dec. 20, 2013. A new bill from Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, seeks to illuminate college completion disparities among Asian Pacific Islander subgroups. RBenton@sacbee.com

California’s rapidly growing Asian Pacific Islander community, now more than 15 percent of the population, has attracted attention around the Capitol as it produces more lawmakers and flexes its political muscle on controversial legislation. The Asian American Education Institute will host a panel on API voters and what lessons the 2014 election offers about their priorities and how they will vote in the future, 3:30 p.m. at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

But that Asian Pacific Islander label encompasses a wide swath of culturally diverse ethnic groups – Chinese, Korean, Hmong, Filipino, Native Hawaiian, among others – which can obscure disparities in poverty, cancer rates and college completion that exist between them.

That was one of the messages of a report last week on the policy priorities of California’s often-overlooked Pacific Islander populations. Now Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, is introducing a bill that would require the state’s higher education and health agencies to collect and release disaggregated data on the API subgroups – a first step in addressing those disparities.

Bonta will be joined by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, and others, 10 a.m. on the north steps of the Capitol, to unveil the legislation.

VIDEO: Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa may be the only person left who can make California's Senate race a real contest, Dan Walters says.

CALI <3 INDIA: State Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, will honor the contributions of India and Indian Americans to California with a resolution declaring “India Republic Day.” A reception featuring Indian Consul General Venkatesan Ashok and other special guests, 1 p.m. in Room 211 of the Capitol, will be followed by a presentation at 2 p.m. in the Senate chambers.

WHO’S ON FIRST: Who will voters in the 7th Senate District special election see listed first on their March 17 ballots? Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and former Brown adviser Steve Glazer are among those running, and ballot order has been known to make a difference. The Secretary of State’s office will hold a random alphabet drawing at 11 a.m. to determine the order of candidates’ names in that race as well as special elections in the 21st and 37th Senate districts. Former Sens. Mark DeSaulnier, Steve Knight and Mimi Walters were all elected to Congress in November.

WWW.PARTY.COM: The Internet Association, expected to be a big lobbying player this year as more tech battles reach the Capitol, hosts a session kickoff party for lawmakers, 5 p.m. at Mayahuel on K Street. The event will honor Assembly members Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, and Henry Perea, D-Fresno, as 2014’s “internet champions.” No word on whether attendees plan to get buckwild.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who turns the big 5-0 today, and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, who turns 57.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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