Governor Newsom Signs Assemblymember Low’s Bill Making Lunar New Year Day a California State Holiday
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
October 3, 2022
SACRAMENTO – On September 29th 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB 2596 (Low) into legislation. This bill authored by Assemblymember Evan Low, known as the Lunar New Year Holiday, recognizes Lunar New Year as a California state holiday and authorizes eligible state employees to receive eight hours of holiday credit, similar to “Native American Day” under existing law.
Before Assemblymember Low’s introduction of AB 2596, in January 2022, Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, announced her introduction of new legislation that credits a federal holiday for Lunar New Year.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar determines the exact day of the Lunar New Year, which ranges from January 21st to February 20th. AB 2596 (Low) adds the date corresponding with the second new moon following the winter solstice, or the third new moon following the winter solstice should an interclay month intervene, is known as “Lunar New Year”. The holiday is considered a chance to leave behind the troubles of the past year and invite prosperity and good luck. The celebration in communities throughout California reflect the rich cultural history and commitment to racial, religious, and cultural diversity.
Prior to the Governor’s signature and in support of the bill, the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs wrote, “AB 2596 aligns with the Commission’s mission to recognize the Asian American Californian experience to the forefront of California legislation. AB 2596 is an inclusive bill as it allows all Californians to recognize and celebrate the Lunar New Year as a holiday. Nearly two-thirds of all Asian Americans, mainly of Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese descent, celebrate Lunar New Year. As a societal action in the continued rise in anti-Asian American sentiment, both in hate crime and incident reporting, the CA Legislature can indeed send a powerful message of equity, unity, and solidarity with its Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”
Since then, AB 2596 (Low) received support from over 25 AAPI organizations, including AAPI Equity Alliance, The Greenlining Institute, Asian American Bar Association, Asian Law
Alliance, APABA, Asian Pacific Fund, SwAA, and Asian Health Services Asian Resources, Inc. to carry this bill across the finish line with the Governor’s signature last week.
Executive Director Justin Zhu of Stand with Asian Americans (SwAA) shares, “Today we celebrate this moment of recognition for our communities, while acknowledging that we are just at the start when it comes to investing and uplifting Asian American communities in California and across the country. We look forward to working with Governor Newsom, Assemblymember Evan Low and state leaders to ensure our communities are protected.”
“We applaud Governor Newsom for signing this legislation and Assemblymember Evan Low’s leadership in the creation of this important bill. Passage of this legislation marks an important time of recognition for our AAPI community – one that will not only uplift the culture and heritage of our diverse communities but also magnify awareness and celebration of Asian American contributions,” said Julia Liou, CEO, Asian Health Services.
“Thank you Governor Newsom for signing AB 2596 and acknowledging the over 6 million Asian American Californians and all individuals who celebrate this significant occasion,” said Assemblymember Evan Low, bill author and Vice Chair of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus (AAPILC). “The establishment of Lunar New Year as a holiday is another accomplishment by the AAPILC for our community.”
AB 2596 (Low) includes sponsorship, support, and assistance from Assembly Members Carrillo, Chen, Choi, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Mike Fong, Gipson, Kalra, Lee, McCarty, Nguyen, Quirk-Silva, Ting, Wicks, Berman, Mia Bonta, Irwin, Maienschein, Mullin, Petrie-Norris, Blanca Rubio, and Santiago, and Senators Min, Pan, Newman, Portantino, Rubio, Wiener, and Umberg.
Assemblymember Evan Low represents California’s 28th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and the areas of West San Jose, Willow Glen, Cambrian, and Almaden Valley in San Jose.
Assemblymember Low’s website: https://a28.asmdc.org/