BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AJR 13

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          13 (Ridley-Thomas)

          As Introduced  April 7, 2015

          Majority vote

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |Elections       |6-0  |Ridley-Thomas, Grove, |                    |
          |                |     |Gatto, Gordon,        |                    |
          |                |     |Mullin, Perea         |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |

          SUMMARY:  Recognizes August 6, 2015, as the 50th anniversary of  
          the signing of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) and  
          urges the Congress and President of the United States (U.S.) to  
          continue to secure citizens' rights to vote and remedy any  
          racial discrimination in voting.  Specifically, this resolution:  

          1)Recognizes August 6, 2015, as the 50th Anniversary of the  
            signing of the VRA, and recognizes the significant progress  
            made by the VRA to protect every citizen's right to vote.
          2)Honors and remembers those who struggled and died for this  


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          3)Urges the Congress and President of the U.S. to continue to  
            secure citizens' rights to vote and remedy any racial  
            discrimination in voting.

          4)Makes the following findings and declarations:

             a)   Signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon  
               B. Johnson, the VRA is a landmark piece of federal  
               legislation in the U.S.;
             b)   One hundred and forty-five years ago, in 1870, Congress  
               ratified the 15th Amendment, which declared that the right  
               to vote shall not be denied or abridged on the basis of  
               race, color, or previous condition of servitude;

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

             d)   Native American, Latino, and Asian American/Pacific  
               Islander communities experienced similar attempts to  
               disenfranchise citizens in their communities throughout the  

             e)   Between 1870 and 1965, voters faced "first-generation  
               barriers," such as poll taxes, literacy tests, vouchers of  
               "good character," disqualification for "crimes of moral  
               turpitude," and other tactics intended to keep African  
               Americans from the polls on election day; 


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             f)   During the 1920s, African Americans in Selma, Alabama  
               formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL).  During the  
               1960s in partnership with organizers from the Student  
               Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the DCVL held  
               registration drives and classes to help African Americans  
               in Dallas County pass the literacy tests required to  
               register to vote.  On March 7, 1965, the first march from  
               Selma to Montgomery took place.  The march, nicknamed  
               "Bloody Sunday" for the horrific attack on unarmed marchers  
               by armed police, was broadcast nationwide and led to a  
               national outcry for the passage of the VRA;

             g)   Often regarded as one of the most effective civil rights  
               laws, the VRA was passed with the intent to ban  
               discriminatory voting policies at all levels of government;

             h)   The VRA is credited for the enfranchisement of millions  
               of minority voters as well as the diversification of the  
               electorate and legislative bodies throughout all levels of  

             i)   Before Section 203 of the VRA was added in 1975,  
               language minorities were disenfranchised from the electoral  
               process.  Section 203 required certain jurisdictions to  
               provide registration or voting notices, forms,  
               instructions, assistance, or other materials and  
               information regarding the electoral process in the language  
               of the applicable minority group;

             j)   In June of 2013, the Supreme Court struck down key  
               sections of the VRA that were designed to prevent  
               discriminatory voting policies that can disenfranchise  
               minority voters; 


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             aa)  Despite 50 years of progress, racial minorities continue  
               to face voting barriers in jurisdictions with a history of  

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

             cc)  We must continue to educate the next generation about  
               the importance of civic engagement in our communities now.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  None.  This resolution is keyed non-fiscal by  
          the Legislative Counsel.

          COMMENTS:  According to the author, "Fifty years ago, civil  
          rights activists from all over Alabama faced an angry mob of  
          state and local lawmen at the foot of the Edmund Pettis bridge  
          in Selma, Alabama.  Over 600 peaceful marchers led by Reverend  
          Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference  
          and John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,  
          suffered horrific attacks from the lawmen to demonstrate their  
          demand for equal protection under the law guaranteeing all  
          minorities the right to vote. In this resolution, I recognize  
          the 'Bloody Sunday' march for the important role the  
          demonstration played in sparking a national outcry leading to  
          the passage of the Voting Rights Act..."

          Please see the policy committee analysis for a full discussion  
          of this bill.


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          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Nichole Becker / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094  FN: