SACRAMENTO – On Native American Day, Sept. 23, Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills to support California Native communities and build on the Administration’s work to promote equity, inclusion and accountability throughout the state.
In a ceremony joined by leaders of Native American tribes from across California, the Governor signed AB 1314 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) to help address the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Native people from communities across the country.
Under AB 1314, local law enforcement will be able to request that the California Highway Patrol activate an emergency Feather Alert, similar to an Amber or Silver alert, to assist in search efforts for a Native person who has been reported missing under suspicious circumstances.
“As we lift up the rich history and contributions of California’s diverse tribal communities today, the state recommits to building on the strides we have made to redress historical wrongs and help empower Native communities,” said Governor Newsom. “Today’s measures continue to move these efforts forward, including a new emergency alert system that will provide us with additional critical tools needed to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. I thank all the legislators and tribal partners whose leadership and advocacy help light the path forward in our work to build a better, stronger and more just state together.”
“AB 1314 will help us get the word out sooner when an individual is missing or endangered, enlisting the help of the public for tips and leads as soon as possible when quick action is critical,” said Assemblymember Ramos. “I thank the Governor for signing this vital measure – creating an alert system was a top recommendation from tribal leaders for addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.”
The state budget this year invests $12 million over three years to fund tribally led programs to help address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People on tribal lands. This investment built on last year’s investment of $5 million to fund training and guidance for law enforcement agencies and tribal governments to improve public safety on tribal lands and study challenges related to the reporting and identification of missing and murdered Native peoples, particularly women and girls.
Governor Newsom also signed AB 1936 by Assemblymember Ramos, which re-designates the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law as the College of the Law, San Francisco and advances restorative justice efforts for Round Valley Indian Tribes and Yuki people whose ancestors suffered mass killings and other atrocities funded and supported by college founder Serranus Hastings in the mid-19th century.
AB 1936 also outlines several restorative justice initiatives that the College intends to pursue, such as renaming the law library with a Native language name, annually reading a statement of the atrocities Hastings committed against the Yuki people and providing collaborative opportunities for Round Valley tribal students to gain debate and writing experience, among other efforts.
Under AB 2022 by Assemblymember Ramos, the racist and sexist term "squaw” will be removed from all geographic features and place names in the state, and a process to review petitions to change offensive or derogatory place names will be created. This comes on the heels of federal action this month to complete the removal of this slur from nearly 650 geographic features across the country, including several name changes advanced by California based on extensive tribal engagement. The Newsom Administration has launched a series of ongoing actions to identify and redress discriminatory names of features attached to the State Parks and transportation systems.
Governor Newsom also signed AB 1703 by Assemblymember Ramos, the California Indian Education Act. The measure encourages local educational agencies and charter schools to form California Indian Education Task Forces in partnership with local tribes to develop curricular materials that highlight the unique history, culture and government of tribes in their region.
A full list of legislative priorities for California Native American communities the Governor announced signing today can be found below:
AB 923 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) – Government-to-Government Consultation Act: state-tribal consultation: training.
AB 1314 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) – Emergency notification: Feather Alert: endangered indigenous people.
AB 1703 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) – California Indian Education Act: California Indian Education Task Forces.
AB 1936 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) – University of California: Hastings College of the Law.
AB 2022 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) – State government.
AB 2081 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) – Municipal water districts: water service: Indian lands.
AB 2877 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) – Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund: tribes.
For full text of the bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.