Amended in Assembly August 17, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly Joint ResolutionNo. 13

Introduced by Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas

begin insert

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Atkins, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dahle, Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Gallagher, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon, Grove, Hadley, Roger Hernández, Holden, Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low, Maienschein, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin, Nazarian, Obernolte, O’Donnell, Olsen, Perea, Quirk, Rendon, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk, Williams, and Wood)

end insert

April 7, 2015

Assembly Joint Resolution No. 13—Relative to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


AJR 13, as amended, Ridley-Thomas. The Voting Rights Act of 1965

This measure would recognize August 6, 2015, as the 50th anniversary of the signing of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. This measure would also urge the Congress and President of the United states to continue to secure citizens’ right to vote and remedy any racial discrimination in voting.

Fiscal committee: no.

P2    1WHEREAS, Signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President
2Lyndon B. Johnson, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark
3piece of federal legislation in the United States; and

4WHEREAS, One hundred and forty-five years ago, in 1870,
5Congress ratified the 15th Amendment, which declared that the
6right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on the basis of race,
7color, or previous condition of servitude; and

8WHEREAS, By 1910, violence and intimidation resulted in
9nearly all black citizens being disenfranchised and removed from
10the voter rolls in the former Confederate States, undermining the
11promise of equal protection under the law; and

12WHEREAS, Native American, Latino, and Asian
13American/Pacific Islander communities experienced similar
14attempts to disenfranchise citizens in their communities throughout
15the United States; and

16WHEREAS, Between 1870 and 1965, voters faced,
17“first-generation barriers,” such as poll taxes, literacy tests,
18vouchers of “good character,” disqualification for “crimes of moral
19turpitude”, and other tactics intended to keep African Americans
20from the polls on Election Day; and

21WHEREAS, During the 1920s, African Americans in Selma,
22Alabama formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL).
23During the 1960s in partnership with organizers from the Student
24Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the DCVL held registration
25drives and classes to help African Americans in Dallas County
26pass the literacy tests required to register to vote. On March 7th,
271965, the first march from Selma to Montgomery took place. The
28march, nicknamed “Bloody Sunday” for the horrific attack on
29unarmed marchers by armed police, was broadcast nationwide and
30led to a national outcry for the passage of the Voting Rights Act;

32WHEREAS, Often regarded as one of the most effective civil
33rights laws, the Voting Rights Act was passed with the intent to
34ban discriminatory voting policies at all levels of government; and

35WHEREAS, The Voting Rights Act is credited for the
36enfranchisement of millions of minority voters as well as the
37diversification of the electorate and legislative bodies throughout
38all levels of government; and

39WHEREAS, Before Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act was
40added in 1975, language minorities were disenfranchised from the
P3    1electoral process. Section 203 required certain jurisdictions to
2provide registration or voting notices, forms, instructions,
3assistance, or other materials and information regarding the
4electoral precess in the language of the applicable minority group;

6WHEREAS, In June of 2013, the Supreme Court struck down
7key sections of the Voting Rights Act that were designed to prevent
8discriminatory voting policies that can disenfranchise minority
9voters; and

10WHEREAS, Despite 50 years of progress, racial minorities
11continue to face voting barriers in jurisdictions with a history of
12discrimination; and

13WHEREAS, To build a stronger and more cohesive state and
14nation, we must continue to help advance the cause of voter
15equality and equal access to the political process for all people in
16order to protect the rights of every American; and

17WHEREAS, We must continue to educate the next generation
18about the importance of civic engagement in our communities;
19now, therefore, be it

20Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of
21California, jointly,
That the Legislature recognizes August 6, 2015,
22as the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act
23of 1965, and recognizes the significant progress made by the
24Voting Rights Act to protect every citizen’s right to vote; and be
25it further

26Resolved, That the Legislature honors and remembers those who
27struggled and died for this freedom; and be it further

28Resolved, That the Legislature urges the Congress and the
29President of the United States to continue to secure citizens’ right
30to vote and remedy any racial discrimination in voting; and be it

32Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies
33of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United
34States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the
35Majority Leader of the United States Senate, and to each Senator
36and Representative from California in the Congress of the United