ASSEMBLY |Assemblymember Rob Bonta introduced his first two bills last week, AB 59 and AB 123, with the former focusing on ensuring that school districts assess parcel taxes in accordance with uniform property classifications and the latter on Filipino’s role in the farm labor movement.

AB 59 bill clarifies law that already exists by stating that school districts are “allowed to assess parcel taxes in accordance with rational classifications among taxpayers or types of property within a district, as long as the taxes are applied to uniformly within those classifications.”

“While Proposition 30 has temporarily slowed our state’s financial bleeding, local school districts are still suffering from years of cuts, and we must ensure all opportunities are available to them. Our state and our school districts are not in a position to wait,” said Bonta in a press release.

Bonta says this measure is the first of more to come that help the fight for schools to be funded and ensure that “every option is available to them (schools) to educate the children of California.”

Bonta’s second bill, AB 123, pushes for Filipino American history in public schools concerning a “rich farm worker history with the contributions of the Filipinos and the Filipino American community.” Bonta says that despite Filipinos being the second largest Asian community in California their contribution to the farm labor movement is still largely untold.

“The names and historical significance of vastly influential leaders in the farm labor movement – such as Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz – are unknown to the general public. California residents need to learn about the pioneering efforts of Filipino farm laborers and leaders in instigating the 1965-1970 Delano Grape Strike, which helped launch the American farm labor movement,” said Bonta in a press release. The bill, he says, will help students gain a more complete understanding of the farm labor movement.

Bonta’s push for Filipino recognition comes off the heels of a racist letter that claimed to be an official state document directed at the Filipino American community in American Canyon, Calif. Bonta deplored this letter calling it out right racist and that there is still a lot of work to be done to deal with racism.

Bonta has only been in office for a few weeks but has thrown himself out in the spotlight by co-sponsoring a gun control bill with Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and Bonta has not wasted time since then with two bills now poised to be discussed in the assembly.