In response to an overwhelming voter backlash against SB 1146 for harming minority students and religious schools, its sponsor was forced to pull the primary provisions of his bill a week before it had been predicted to pass, admitting it would have "unintended" consequences.
This is a huge win for California voters, for minority students who would have had their college dreams crushed by SB 1146, and for religious freedom.
Even a week before Sen. Lara was forced to gut his bill, many were predicting it would pass easily. But then voters began to learn about how SB 1146 would target lower income minority students, taking away the Cal Grants they depended on to pay for school in an effort to punish religious colleges that did not share Sen. Lara's beliefs.
The response from voters was swift and forceful. In less than a week, over 100,000 California voters signed a petition calling for SB 1146 to be blocked and students who were victimized by SB 1146 spoke out publicly, putting a face on the bill's many potential victims.
As sponsors started to drop off the bill and it became clear California legislators would not vote for a bill that victimized minority college students, no matter how that harm was justified, the Cal Grant provisions in the bill were pulled.
“My parents originally came here because they were farm workers. It was only because I received a Cal Grant … that school became an option for me,” says Jorge Cubillos, who was the first in his family to attend college.