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Monthly Highlights for April 2024

This month, the League stood true to its core values, defending democracy and advocating fiercely for justice and equity in our communities. Our League’s April activities resonated with the importance of defending democratic values, ensuring the rights of all Californians, preparing for a critical upcoming election, and making our voices heard in the halls of power.

Championing Democracy: A Spotlight on Advocacy and Insight

Sandra Fluke at event

This April, the spirit of democracy was vibrant at the League of Women Voters of California (LWVC). We were thrilled to host Sandra Fluke as the keynote speaker for our insightful virtual event, “Saving Democracy: California’s Important Role in 2024 and Beyond.” Spearheaded by our Development Committee Chair, Maya Paley, this session was a rallying cry for active participation and vigilance in defending our democratic values.

Sandra’s speech was a powerful reminder that the fight for democracy begins in our neighborhoods, our cities, and our state. California stands as a beacon against national assaults on our democratic foundations. Highlighting LWVC-supported legislation on crucial issues like voting access in jails, combating book bans, and protecting voters from intimidation, Sandra’s words reinforced that our advocacy does not just resonate within California’s borders but serves as a beacon for nationwide change. We extend our deepest gratitude to Sandra Fluke, whose fierce dedication inspires us all to continue this vital work.

Standing for Justice: LWVC’s Advocacy at the Supreme Court

Last month, we took our advocacy to the highest court in the nation. The LWVC joined forces with the League of Women Voters of San Francisco and a diverse coalition of San Francisco community groups to file an amicus brief in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, City of Grants Pass v. Johnson. This pivotal case addresses the civil rights of people who are homeless, marking a significant moment in the fight for human dignity.

US Supreme Court Building

Stephanie Doute, our Executive Director, emphasized our League’s commitment to justice and dignity as guiding principles in our approach to homelessness. “Criminalizing poverty only exacerbates the crisis,” Stephanie stated, advocating for compassionate, constitutional solutions. Our involvement underscores a deeper commitment to ensuring every Californian has access to affordable housing and the stability it provides. This case is a call to action for all levels of government to seek sustainable solutions that uphold our values of equality and justice. Read more about our stance here.

Legislative Updates: Voices for Change

CA Capitol building and California Republic flag

Our advocacy has been influencing policy decisions across California:

  • The California Freedom to Read Act (AB 1825, Muratsuchi) prohibits public libraries from banning books or other materials based on the topic or content. This critical legislation was supported by the League’s testimony and our powerful letter that was quoted in the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s analysis, highlighting the dangers of erasing diverse voices through censorship. The bill has successfully passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee and moves to the Appropriations Committee.
  • Clarifying Candidacy (AB 1784, Pellerin) aims to ensure that candidates cannot run for multiple offices on the same ballot. This legislation was prompted by a court ruling that permitted dual candidacies, undermining electoral clarity. LWVC Deputy Director, Dora Rose delivered compelling testimony supporting this bill at its first hearing, influencing its advancement through the Assembly Elections Committee and progress in the legislative process.
  • Fair Redistricting (AB 1807, Cervantes) requires the Riverside Citizens Redistricting Commission to adjust district boundaries in accordance with California’s local redistricting law and the FAIR Maps Act of 2023. The League supports a redistricting process and standards that promote fair and effective representation with maximum opportunity for public engagement. We are excited to see AB 1807 pass through the Assembly Committee on Elections and will lend our support again as the bill moves to review by the Assembly Committee on Local Government. Take a look at our letter of support.
  • Empowering Young Voters (AB 2627, Pellerin) addresses the disproportionately low voter registration and civic participation rates among Californians aged 18 to 34. This bill proposes the Civic Learning, Outreach, and Engagement Fund to enhance civic engagement among young voters. The LWVC supports programs that bring more people into the democratic process and amplify the collective voices of the youth and underrepresented voters. We are working with Assemblymember Pellerin to amend the bill to encourage counties to collaborate with community-based organizations to assist in designing and implementing programs aimed at reaching students from communities that have been historically underrepresented in voter registration and voting. 

Each legislative victory is a step toward a more inclusive and democratic society. Our efforts demonstrate the League’s unwavering commitment to empowering voters and defending democracy, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued.

Join us in celebrating these achievements and continue to stand with us as we forge paths toward a more equitable and engaged California.  We are in a critical election year and we continue to fight to make sure ever Californian has the right, the desire, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate in our democracy.