FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2005
Contact: Eddie Gutiérrez, Director of Communications
Phone: (323) 217-8875 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DOMESTIC PARTNER PENSION BILL PASSES SENATE AND HEADS TO THE ASSEMBLY
Sacramento, CA – Senate Bill (SB) 973 by LGBT Caucus Chair Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) passed the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee on a 24-15 vote. Sponsored by Equality California, SB 973 would allow the domestic partner of a public employee who retired prior to January 1, 2005, when Assembly Bill (AB) 205, California’s comprehensive domestic partnership law went into effect, to choose a death benefit if the retiree dies before their partner. The bill now heads to the Assembly.
“I’m very pleased that my colleagues supported this bill, which simply provides fairness for retired domestic partners,” said Senator Sheila Kuehl.
“This is a major victory for all retired public employees with domestic partners who today are one step closer to having the same opportunities to secure financial stability for their families as any other state employee,” said Executive Director Geoffrey Kors of Equality California. “We thank Senator Kuehl for addressing the needs of retired workers in public service and we are very hopeful that Assembly will pass this bill and that the Governor will sign it.”
Signed into law in 2003, EQCA sponsored AB 205: the Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act authored by Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles), significantly expands the rights and responsibilities provided to registered domestic partners and their families to include nearly all state legal rights, duties, benefits, responsibilities and obligations currently available only to married couples. AB 205 currently grants many rights, including pensions, which are now considered community property. For public employees who retired prior to January 1, 2005, SB 973 would provide a mechanism whereby retired employees could prove that they were in a domestic partnership when they retired allowing them to elect the death benefit for their partner.
STATE SENATE VOTE:
AYES: Alarcon, Alquist, Bowen, Cedillo, Chesbro, Ducheny, Dunn, Escutia, Figueroa, Kehoe, Kuehl, Lowenthal, Machado, Migden, Murray, Ortiz, Perata, Romero, Scott, Simitian, Soto, Speier, Torlakson, and Vincent
ANOES: Aanestad, Ackerman, Ashburn, Battin, Campbell, Cox, Denham, Dutton, Florez, Hollingsworth, Maldonado, Margett, McClintock, Poochigian, Runner
ABSTAINING OR NOT VOTING: Morrow
Founded in 1998, Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure the dignity, safety, equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. Equality California is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide LGBT organizations in the country. We can be contacted through our website at www.eqca.org.