For Immediate Release
August 27, 2021
Assemblymember Ash Kalra Releases Statement on Racial Justice Act for All, AB 256, Becoming a Two-Year Bill
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) released the following statement in response to Senate Appropriations Committee holding AB 256, the Racial Justice Act for All, and designating it a two-year bill:
“While I am incredibly disappointed that AB 256, the Racial Justice Act for All, is unable to move forward this year, I remain committed to ensuring all people have due process and equal protection under the law. Justice to those with past convictions and sentences tainted by racial bias while delayed today will not be left behind and I will continue to do the hard work to root out racism in our criminal justice system.
“I want to thank our sponsor coalition and supporters, whose tireless work and advocacy cannot be understated.”
AB 256, the Racial Justice Act for All follows the historic signing of AB 2542 last year, which prohibits the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin in sentencing and convictions. While AB 2542 (Kalra, Chapter 317, Statutes of 2020) made it possible for a person charged or convicted of a crime to challenge racial bias in their case, it excluded judgments rendered prior to Jan. 1, 2021. With the Racial Justice Act for All, Assemblymember Kalra and justice advocates are committed to making the law retroactive to ensure that everyone with unfair convictions and sentences has an opportunity to pursue justice.
The legislation is sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Friends Service Committee, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Initiate Justice, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the League of Women Voters of California, NextGen, and Silicon Valley De-Bug.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra represents the 27th District, which encompasses approximately half of San Jose and includes all of downtown. He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment and also serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees. For more information, visit https://a27.asmdc.org/.