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No Chong, No Problem: State Budget Funds $10M For Cheech Marin Cultural Center

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA/AP) — Coming soon to the Inland Empire: a cultural center devoted to all things Cheech.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a $139 billion general fund budget that includes $9.7 million to support the development of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry of the Riverside Art Museum, also known as "The Cheech."

The Cheech will reside in the city of Riverside and be a permanent home for Cheech Marin's more than 700 works of Chicano art, including paintings, sculptures, and photography, making up what organizers say is the most prominent collection of its kind in the U.S.

The funding from the state legislature -- championed by Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) -- pushes the fundraising effort known as "Reach for the Cheech" close to $13 million, which will be used to transform Riverside's existing Main Library into an arts facility.

The Riverside Art Museum already had raised about $3.2 million, including an initial $1 million allocation of state funds that was announced last year.

"For too long, the story of Latinos and their contributions to the arts have been overlooked," Medina said. "The Cheech will help bring the real stories and rich history of the Latino community to all Californians."

"I have dreamed for many years of finding a home for the hundreds of pieces of art that I have spent much of my life collecting, protecting, and showing, when possible, at major museums around the world," Marin said. "The Riverside community has made this dream come true and I am overjoyed that this incredible center will open in the heart of a community I have come to know and love."

The Pacific Standard Time LA/LA Opening Celebration at the Getty Museum
Cheech Marin attends the Pacific Standard Time LA/LA Opening Celebration at the Getty Museum on September 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ryan Miller/Wireimage)

Among the budgets other highlights for the fiscal year beginning July 1:

— $78 billion for K-12 schools and community colleges under Proposition 98, the funding guarantee approved by voters in 1988. School funding is up 66 percent since the 2011-12 fiscal year.

— $500 million for emergency homeless aid that counties and cities can use on a range of programs, including housing vouchers and shelter construction. Brown also approved a ballot measure that will let voters decide whether to authorize $2 billion in bonds to house people who are homeless

— $134 million for new voting equipment and money to create offices focused on election cybersecurity and risk management. It's California's largest investment in new voting systems in more than a decade.

— $755 million to renovate the aging office building attached to the historic state Capitol, which houses most offices for lawmakers and their staff

— $5 million to study ways to implement single-payer health care in California — a priority for many Democratic activists

— $90 million for efforts to boost participation in the 2020 census. The decennial count determines the size of the state's congressional delegation and its share of federal funding, so state officials want to make sure everyone is counted. Some fear that immigrants will be afraid to provide personal information to a federal government helmed by President Donald Trump.

—Starting in 2020, movies and television shows that receive tax breaks for filming in California will have to tell the state the number of women and people of color they employ. The latest iteration of the state's film tax credit program also includes measures to combat discrimination, including requirements about film sets' harassment policies and efforts to promote diverse hiring.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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