Weekly News Roundup for Friday, June 28th, 2024

Two girls holding oars in front of a lake
Safety around water is important as people seek cool activities during hot weather, as demonstrated by these kayakers wearing life jackets at Kings Beach State Recreation Area (Photo courtesy of California State Parks, 2024.)

A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week…

Giant Panda Pair Heading from China to San Diego Zoo

On Wednesday, June 26, a delegation of representatives from the United States, including leaders of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, joined dignitaries and conservation leaders at the China Conservation & Research Center for Giant Pandas in Sichuan province for a farewell ceremony honoring the two giant pandas coming to the San Diego Zoo.

The panda pair Yun Chuan and Xin Bao, the first to enter the United States in 21 years, will travel to the San Diego Zoo soon after the farewell ceremony. After the pandas have safely arrived in San Diego, they will not be viewable to the public for several weeks while they acclimate to their new home. As soon as wildlife health and care teams confirm Yun Chuan and Xin Bao are ready to meet the public, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance will share a debut date and specific information about how to see the beloved pandas.

The multinational ceremony reflects the deep connections pandas have to San Diego Zoo, which was the first Zoo in the United States to have a cooperative panda conservation program. Yun Chuan, a nearly five-year-old male, is the son of Zhen Zhen, who was born at San Diego Zoo in 2007.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the conservation partnership between San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and China Wildlife Conservation Association. The collaboration has greatly advanced giant panda conservation, leading to the downgrading of the giant panda’s status from Endangered to Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2016. The ongoing collaboration aims to further enhance the health and resilience of giant panda populations, especially the most vulnerable and isolated groups.

Governor Newsom Delivers State of the State Address

Following the transmittal of the 2024 State of the State address to the Legislature on Tuesday, June 25, Governor Gavin Newsom released his address directly to the people of California in virtual remarks. 

The Governor’s address emphasized California’s commitment to strengthening democracy, civil rights and social progress in the face of consequential threats. It also highlighted the state’s innovative efforts to address issues including homelessness, mental health, and public safety.

Among the Governor’s remarks were, “There’s only one state in America with a dream – the California Dream. It’s a dream built on opportunity, a dream built on pushing boundaries and celebrating, not merely “tolerating,” diversity. That dream propelled us to the front of the pack in the world. Our values and our way of life are the antidote to the poisonous populism of the right, and to the fear and anxiety that so many people are feeling today. People across the globe look to California and see what’s possible, and how to live and advance together and prosper together across every conceivable difference.”

View the address here: Governor Newsom Delivers 2024 State of the State Address

California to Add Financial Literacy as a Requirement to Graduate High School

Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire (D-North Coast), Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), and a national financial literacy non-profit — NGPF Mission 2030, an affiliate of Next Gen Personal Finance — announced on Thursday, June 27, an agreement to make financial literacy required content to graduate high school.

Senate President pro Tempore Mike McGuire (D-North Coast): “Financial literacy is a critical tool that pays dividends for a lifetime. There’s a wealth of data about the benefits of learning these valuable lessons in high school, from improving credit scores and reducing default rates to increasing the likelihood that our future generations will maintain three months of savings for emergencies and have at least one kind of retirement account.”

This agreement is reflected in AB 2927, sponsored by NGPF Mission 2030, which the Governor will sign. The legislation will require a semester-long personal finance education course available for all California high school students by the 2027-28 school year and make personal finance a graduation requirement starting with the 2030-31 graduating class. 

The financial literacy bill aligns with state efforts to prepare students early on for a healthier financial future. California’s CalKIDS program invests $1.9 billion into accounts for low-income school-age children in grades 1-12 and for newborn children born on or after July 1, 2022 – indicating the need for early financial literacy. All families of low-income public school students – 3.4 million across the state – are able to access college savings accounts created in their children’s names.

Minimum Wage in LA County Increases July 1

On July 1, the minimum wage for workers in the unincorporated areas of LA County will increase to $17.27 per hour. If a worker believes they are not being paid the correct minimum wage or if they wish to report other possible worker protection issues, reach out to DCBA’s Office of Labor Equity at 800-593-8222 or send an email to [email protected].

California State Parks Encourages Visitors to Recreate Safely and Responsibly During Fourth of July Weekend

This Fourth of July weekend California State Parks invites all Californians and visitors from around the world to celebrate the holiday in its parks and to recreate responsibly.

California’s diverse landscape provides recreational activities for everyone, from swimming in lakes, rivers, and oceans to hiking among giant redwood or sequoia trees to off-highway vehicle riding in deserts and mountains to camping along the coastline. Following simple safety precautions, such as wearing a properly fitted life jacket or proper riding gear, avoiding alcohol, and knowing one’s limits while engaged in recreational activities, can help save lives.

Here are some helpful tips to stay safe during the Fourth of July weekend:

  • Wear a life jacket around water.
  • Prepare an itinerary to leave with a family member or friend. This will provide law enforcement personnel with essential information if an emergency response may be needed.
  • No fireworks – all fireworks are not allowed in state parks.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended and never leave children unattended around a fire. 
  • Check the weather, and plan activities, clothing, sun protection and hydration based on temperatures throughout the day. 
  • Protect your loved ones around water. Always supervise children by appointing a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults. Never assume someone is watching your children.
  • Avoid alcohol and check each specific park website to determine if there are local ordinances concerning alcohol.
  • Ocean rip currents: If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm and do not fight the current. Swim or float parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then swim toward the shore.
  • Learn the rules of recreating in boats and OHVs.
  • Leave No Trace: Leave areas better than you find them by packing out all trash. 

You can find additional safety tips and information on backpacking, biking, camping, horseback trails, and laws at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.

Read last week’s news roundup here.

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