INTRODUCED BY   Senator Leno
   (Principal coauthor: Senator Kehoe)
   (Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Ammiano and John A. Perez)
   (Coauthors: Senators Alquist, Florez,  Hancock,  Oropeza,
Padilla,  Price,  Romero, Wiggins, and Yee)
   (Coauthors: Assembly Members Block,  Brownley,  De Leon,
Hayashi, Huffman,  Jones,   Ma,  Monning, 
Nava,  Portantino,  Price,  Skinner, and

                        FEBRUARY 27, 2009

   An act to amend Section 37222 of the Education Code, and to add
Section 6721 to the Government Code, relating to Harvey Milk Day.


   SB 572, as amended, Leno. Harvey Milk Day: official designation.
   Existing law requires the Governor to proclaim certain days each
year for specified reasons. Existing law also designates particular
days each year as having special significance in public schools and
educational institutions and encourages those entities to conduct
suitable commemorative exercises on those dates.
   This bill would provide that the Governor proclaim May 22 of each
year as Harvey Milk Day, and would designate that date as having
special significance in public schools and educational institutions
and would encourage those entities to conduct suitable commemorative
exercises on that date.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


  SECTION 1.  The Legislature hereby finds and declares the
   (a) Harvey Bernard Milk was born on May 22, 1930, in Woodmere, New
York. He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office
in a major city of the United States. He was assassinated in 1978 at
San Francisco's City Hall by a political rival. Perhaps more than
any other modern figure, Harvey Milk's life and political career
embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)
civil rights movement in California, across the nation, and
throughout the world.
   (b) Harvey Milk graduated from the State University of New York at
Albany, in Albany, New York in 1951. Thereafter, he served for a
short time in the United States Navy.
   (c) During the 1960s, Harvey Milk lived in New York City, first
working on Wall Street as an investment banker and later as a theater
   (d) In 1972, Harvey Milk moved with his partner, Scott Smith, to
San Francisco, California and opened a camera shop called "Castro
   (e) Harvey Milk soon emerged as a community leader in the Castro
neighborhood of San Francisco, founding the Castro Valley Association
of Local Merchants, and representing that association's interests
before city government.
   (f) Harvey Milk unsuccessfully ran for the Board of Supervisors of
the City and County of San Francisco in 1973, and unsuccessfully ran
for the Assembly in 1975. With each race, he gained more prominence
and eventually became known endearingly by his neighbors as the
"Mayor of Castro Street."
   (g) After San Francisco adopted a district election system in
1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the Board of Supervisors of the City
and County of San Francisco representing District 5. It was the
first time in the history of the United States that an openly gay man
was elected to a prominent political office.
   (h) During his term on the board of supervisors, Harvey Milk
sponsored and successfully passed a gay rights ordinance.
   (i) Harvey Milk was instrumental in defeating Proposition 6,
commonly known as the Briggs Initiative, at the General Election on
November 7, 1978, that would have banned gays and lesbians from
teaching in the public schools of this state.
   (j) As an openly gay leader, Harvey Milk encouraged LGBT
individuals to be visible in society. During the Gay Freedom Day
Parade of June 25, 1978, he told the crowd, "Gay people, we will not
win their rights by staying quietly in our closets."
   (k) Harvey Milk was also successful in forging coalitions with San
Francisco's other minority leaders. His message was one of unity
against oppression in all its forms. In the same Gay Freedom Day
speech, he said, "I call upon all minorities and especially the
millions of lesbians and gay men to wake up from their dreams ... to
gather on Washington and tell ... their nation: "Wake up ... wake up,
America ... no more racism, no more sexism, no more ageism, no more
hatred ... no more!"
   (l) In 1978, Dan White, who represented District 8 on the Board of
Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco, resigned from
his seat due to financial hardship, thus allowing the Mayor of San
Francisco, George Moscone, to appoint a successor.
   (m) Dan White later asked Mayor Moscone to be reappointed to his
seat. Mayor Moscone declined after having been lobbied by several
city leaders, including Harvey Milk, who often clashed with Dan White
due to their political differences.
   (n) On November 27, 1978, Dan White went to San Francisco City
Hall to meet with Mayor Moscone and make a final plea for
reappointment. When the mayor declined the request, Dan White shot
and killed Mayor Moscone, then went to Harvey Milk's office and also
shot and killed him.
   (o) Dan White subsequently surrendered to the authorities. Though
he had carried a gun, 10 extra rounds, and crawled through a window
to avoid metal detectors, Dan White denied that the shootings were
   (p) Thousands attended a spontaneous candlelight memorial vigil
the night of Harvey Milk's funeral.
   (q) Harvey Milk had anticipated the possibility of assassination
and had recorded several audio tapes to be played in that event. One
of the tapes included his now famous quote, "If a bullet should enter
my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
   (r) Dan White's trial, which began four months after the killings,
was one of the most closely watched trials in California at that
time. The prosecution claimed that Dan White's motive was revenge.
But Dan White's attorney, Douglas Schmidt, claimed that Dan White was
a victim of pressure and had been depressed, a state exacerbated by
his consuming a large quantity of junk food before the murders, which
became known as the "Twinkie Defense."
   (s) During the trial, the jury also heard Dan White's confession,
which was tape recorded the day after the murders. During the
confession, Dan White tearfully talked of how Mayor Moscone and
Harvey Milk had refused to give him his supervisor's job back.
   (t) Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter on the
grounds of diminished capacity and sentenced to seven years and eight
months in prison, a sentence widely denounced as lenient and
motivated by homophobia. During the jury selection process in the
criminal trial, defense attorneys had excluded candidates they deemed
   (u) In protest of the lenient sentence, San Francisco's gay
community erupted in what came to be known as the "White Night Riots."
It began as a peaceful march from the Castro District to city hall,
but turned into a riot when marchers clashed with the police force
outside of city hall.
   (v) Harvey Milk's legacy as a civil rights leader is still felt
today. He was named one of TIME Magazine's most influential people of
the 20th century. Many institutions and organizations are named for
Harvey Milk, including the Harvey Milk Recreational Arts Center, the
Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, the Harvey Milk Institute, the
Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, and the Harvey
Milk Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Democratic Club in San
   (w) Outside of San Francisco, a number of alternative schools in
the United States are named for Harvey Milk, including Harvey Milk
High School in New York City, and Oakes College at the University of
California, Santa Cruz has an oncampus apartment building named for
Harvey Milk.
   (x) In February 2007, the City of San Francisco agreed to erect a
bust of Harvey Milk in city hall in tribute to his service and to
memorialize his life's work. A lengthy process to choose a design
took place, and a gala installation event took place in May 2008, to
coincide with Harvey Milk's birthday.
   (y) Harvey Milk's story as California's first openly gay elected
official is the topic of a major motion picture released in 2008,
which is educating audiences worldwide about Milk's place in history
as a trailblazer and civil rights pioneer.
   (z) Harvey Milk's life and social contributions have left an
indelible mark on the history of our nation and hold a special
meaning for the people of California.
  SEC. 2.  Section 37222 of the Education Code is amended to read:
   37222.  (a) The following days in each year are designated and set
apart as days having special significance:
   (1) The second Wednesday in May as the Day of the Teacher.
   (2) April 21 of each year as John Muir Day.
   (3) April 6 of each year as California Poppy Day.
   (4) May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day.
   (b) On each of the days designated in subdivision (a), all public
schools and educational institutions are encouraged to observe those
days and to conduct suitable commemorative exercises as follows:
   (1) On the Day of the Teacher, exercises commemorating and
directing attention to teachers and the teaching profession.
   (2) On John Muir Day, exercises stressing the importance that an
ecologically sound natural environment plays in the quality of life
for all of us, and emphasizing John Muir's significant contributions
to the fostering of that awareness and the indelible mark he left on
the State of California.
   (3) On California Poppy Day, exercises honoring the California
Poppy, including instruction about native plants, particularly the
California Poppy, and the economic and aesthetic value of
wildflowers; promoting responsible behavior toward our natural
resources and a spirit of protection toward them; and emphasizing the
value of natural resources and conservation of natural resources.
   (4) On Harvey Milk Day, exercises remembering the life of Harvey
Milk  and   ,  recognizing his
accomplishments  as well as   , and
familiarizing pupils with  the contributions he made to this
   (c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the exercises
encouraged in this section be integrated into the regular school
program, and be conducted by the school or institution within the
amount otherwise budgeted for educational programs.
  SEC. 3.  Section 6721 is added to the Government Code, to read:
   6721.  The Governor shall annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk