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AB-2598 Lunar New Year’s Day.(2015-2016)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2598


Introduced by Assembly Members Ting, Bonta, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Low, and Williams
(Principal coauthor: Senator Pan)

February 19, 2016


An act to add Section 37222.19 to the Education Code, and to add Section 6726 to the Government Code, relating to public schools.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2598, as introduced, Ting. Lunar New Year’s Day.
Existing law requires the Governor to proclaim certain days each year for specified reasons. Existing law also designates particular days each year as having special significance in public schools and educational institutions and encourages those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on those dates.
This bill would require the Governor to annually proclaim the date corresponding with the start of the lunar calendar as Lunar New Year’s Day, would designate that date each year as having special significance in public schools and educational institutions, and would encourage those entities to observe that date by conducting culturally appropriate activities and exercises observing the Lunar New Year.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian communities around the world, including in the United States, and especially in California.
(b) San Francisco’s Chinese New Year celebration originated in the 1860s as a way for the Chinese, who flocked to San Francisco to work in the gold mines and on the railroad, to share their culture with others who perceived them as different. The San Francisco festival and parade have evolved into the largest celebration of its kind in North America and outside of China.
(c) California is now home to nearly six million Asian and Pacific Islander Americans of Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Indonesian, Iu-Mien, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Malaysian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese descent.
(d) The Asian and Pacific Islander American community has contributed to the social, cultural, civic, economic, and academic success of the state.
(e) The Lunar New Year is predominantly observed by over 2.5 million Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese residents of California.
(f) The Lunar New Year is universally celebrated by these communities as a time to renew family ties and to start the new year with a clean slate.
(g) The spirit of the Lunar New Year is especially significant for communities whose families have been forcibly kept separated, both historically through discriminatory and xenophobic laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1917 that barred Asian and Pacific Islander immigration into the United States, and currently in light of continued deportations and challenges to programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) that aim to keep families unified. It is estimated that 1.5 million California immigrants could be eligible for relief under DACA and DAPA.
(h) The Lunar New Year is also a celebration of prosperity, strength, good health, and long life. Policies like the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) and extensions of the Medi-Cal program to all children, including those who are undocumented, ensure access to comprehensive health insurance, instead of reliance on emergency care, so all members of the community can benefit from positive health outcomes.
(i) The celebration of the Lunar New Year in communities and schools throughout California illustrates the state’s rich cultural history and commitment to racial, religious, and cultural diversity.

SEC. 2.

 Section 37222.19 is added to the Education Code, to read:

37222.19.
 (a) The date corresponding with the start of the lunar calendar of each year is designated and set apart as Lunar New Year’s Day, a day having special significance pursuant to Section 37222.
(b) On Lunar New Year’s Day, all public schools and educational institutions are encouraged to conduct culturally appropriate activities and exercises observing the Lunar New Year.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6726 is added to the Government Code, to read:

6726.
 The Governor annually shall proclaim the date corresponding with the start of the lunar calendar as Lunar New Year’s Day.