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Bill Allowing California Community Colleges to Observe Lunar New Year as a State Holiday Signed By The Governor

Ting’s Hate Crimes Bill Also Enacted

For immediate release:
Lunar New Year Holiday Can Now Be Observed As A State Holiday in CA

With the Governor’s signature last night on AB 264 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), California Community Colleges will now have the flexibility to observe Lunar New Year (LNY) as a state holiday. The legislation gives campuses some leeway without increasing the number of days they’re closed. They can, for instance, combine Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays into one holiday, then add LNY as another. 

“Lunar New Year has been celebrated around the world for thousands of years. It is a key holiday in several countries and celebrations in the United States help strengthen cultural identity. I’m grateful the Governor saw its importance to the Asian community and signed my bill,” said Ting. “When a larger community, such as college students, celebrates LNY, we open doors to acceptance and understanding. Though hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are on the decline, we still must create opportunities for people to learn about each other and have a better understanding of different cultures.”

AB 264 was introduced after the approval of a resolution last year spearheaded by City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees President Alan Wong, urging the state Legislature to amend the California Community College Education Code to allow the LNY observance. 

“Recognition of Lunar New Year at our community colleges is about celebrating the large Asian student body and staff that we have,” said Wong. “At City College of San Francisco, one out of every three students is of Asian descent, and many have to decide between taking care of their families, cooking and preparing for the celebration with their community, or doing homework and going to class instead. For the Asian community, this new law acknowledges the diversity of our community.” 

Ting has been a leader in helping to meet the needs of California Asian Pacific Islanders (API) Americans. As hate crimes against Asians increased because of COVID, it became increasingly clear that government has not invested enough in these communities. As Assembly Budget Chair, he led efforts to support programs and services, resulting in nearly $250 million over the last three years under the API Equity Budget, plus additional investments for his district to strengthen cultural resources. 

Ting has additionally carried several bills to address hate, including AB 449, which the Governor also signed last night. It requires all California law enforcement agencies to have a hate crimes policy and to follow specific guidelines when responding to such incidents.

AB 264 takes effect January 1, 2024, while AB 449 takes effect July 1, 2024.