SACRAMENTO—A measure to grant state Judicial Branch employees the first-ever paid state holiday on California Native American Day will head to Gov. Gavin Newson after the Assembly concurred today in Senate amendments on a 73-0 bipartisan vote. The bill, AB 855, was introduced by Assembly James C. Ramos (D-Highland).
Ramos, a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe, is the first California Native American lawmaker elected in the state’s almost 171-year history. He has labored to enact a California Native American Day since 1998.
“I was a San Manuel council member when I started working toward this goal with then-Assemblymember Joe Baca Sr. This is one more step forward in recognizing and building knowledge about the history, culture and contributions of California’s Native Americans,” Ramos said.
Judiciary employee holidays are set in the Code of Civil Procedure and a change requires legislation. Other state employees are covered in the Government Code. AB 855 would amend the Code of Civil Procedure to recognize California Native American Day as a judicial holiday to provide proper recognition for the state’s First People and celebrate their history. It would not create an additional paid holiday for court personnel because Columbus Day would be exchanged for another state holiday, California Native American Day which is celebrated on the fourth Friday in September. Court personnel are currently the only state workers receiving the existing October 12 holiday as a paid day off.
The Judicial Council, a sponsor of the proposal, voted in January to seek authority to ensure California Native American Day is designated as a paid holiday for court employees.
“The Judicial Council is proud to sponsor AB 855, and thanks Assemblymember Ramos for authoring this historic bill. The judicial branch recognizes that access to justice is served by ensuring all Californians feel seen by the justice system, and this bill recognizes and celebrates the important contributions of Native Americans to this state. The Judicial Council extends its gratitude to the members of the Senate for their support of AB 855.”
“Our state Judicial Council brought the idea for this bill forward, and I thank them for their initiative,” Ramos added. “For more than 20 years, I have worked to help create a day recognizing California’s First People and their history. California has the greatest number of Native Americans residing within its boundaries, and it is fitting that we begin to expand our commemoration of this holiday.”
AB 855 is sponsored by the Judicial Council of California. It is also supported by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, California Tribal Business Alliance and the Nashville-Enterprise Miwok-Maidu-Nishinam Tribal Council.
Legislative co-authors are Assemblymembers Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Ash Karla (D-San Jose), Elosise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) and Senators Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.