A Coachella Valley lawmaker said Wednesday he wants to reinstate funding for a state program aimed at preventing gang violence and is co-sponsoring a measure aimed at offering increased protections for victims of gang violence.

Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, submitted a formal budget letter along with Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, to reinstate more than $9 million in funding for the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention program, or CalGRIP, which offers outreach and education for kids on the risks and impacts of gang behavior.

Garcia said Gov. Jerry Brown’s office proposed eliminating allotments for the program. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the governor’s office on the CalGRIP funding.

According to Garcia, CalGRIP “has accumulated a proven track record of deterring and reducing youth violence and gang activity. Communities across our state have been able to tap into these resources and forge collaborative, strategic partnerships with local organizations to address root causes and create healthy sustainable systems.”

The assemblymen are also collaborating on AB 2013, which would increase privacy protections for victims of gang-related crimes.

“Victim confidentiality is paramount to building positive rapport with public safety officials and ensuring that victims feel safe bringing forward testimony in gang-related cases,” Garcia said.

Another Garcia-authored measure, AB 1262, would expand the scope of the California Gang, Crime, and Violence Prevention Partnership program to include several additional cities, including the desert municipalities of Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio. The program provides funding for community-based organizations and nonprofits aimed at deterring at-risk youth from gang participation.

The program is intended for cities with an at-risk youth population, with a juvenile arrest rate significantly disproportionate to the community’s youth population and with significant gang problems or gang-affiliated acts of violence, according to the language of the bill.

“These additional cities have been identified as having significant juvenile gang problems and gang-related acts of violence,” Garcia said. “The inclusion of these communities into this prevention program will help reduce gangs, criminal activity and youth violence.”

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