California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 264 on Oct. 8, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that gives the community colleges the flexibility to observe Lunar New Year.
“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,” Ting said in a news release.
“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.”
The bill does not enable community colleges to give students an extra day off for Lunar New Year. Instead, they can combine two holidays and add Lunar New Year to the calendar.
Last year, Newsom signed a bill which made Lunar New Year an optional state holiday.
But a separate bill was necessary to amend the California Community College Education Code to allow Lunar New Year observance.
AB 264 was spearheaded by City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees President Alan Wong.
“At City College of San Francisco, one out of every three students is of Asian descent. For the Asian community, this new law acknowledges the diversity of our community,” Wong said.
Just last month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation to declare Asian Lunar New Year a public school holiday across New York state.