'Day of significance' would be May 22

On the heels of winning an Oscar for his role in “Milk,” Sean Penn has joined a push to get the state of California to officially recognize Harvey Milk’s birthday on May 22.

Penn will appear at a news conference today in San Francisco with state Sen. Mark Leno, who’s announcing plans to reintroduce a bill designating Milk’s birthday a “day of significance” encouraging schools to conduct commemorative exercises on Milk’s life and contributions.

“Given California’s fiscal crisis, the bill was written to have no cost to the state, and state workers and school employees would not get the day off from work,” Leno said.

Activist Cleve Jones, a key character in “Milk” and a consultant to the film, is also scheduled to appear at the news conference, as are Assembly member Tom Ammiano, Geoff Kors of Equality California and Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the same bill last year, introduced by Leno as an Assembly member. The governor said at the time that Milk should be honored in San Francisco but not statewide.

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