Sacramento—Today, Equality California announced its 2018 sponsored legislative package, including seven Assembly bills and one Senate bill. The proposed legislation focuses on the most vulnerable among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, addressing disparities in health and well-being that stem from longstanding discrimination and lack of acceptance towards the LGBTQ community.
“California must continue to serve as a beacon of hope for the rest of the nation,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. “In Washington and across the country, the LGBTQ community faces attempts to roll back civil rights and cut programs that LGBTQ people depend on for their health and well-being. Now more than ever, our state must continue to make progress toward our goal of creating a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.”
Equality California is sponsoring the following legislation in 2018 with additional bills anticipated to be announced in coming weeks:
So-Called “Conversion Therapy” is Consumer Fraud – AB 2943 by Assemblymember Evan Low
For far too long, LGBTQ people have suffered psychological abuse by those who are entrusted to care for their emotional and psychological well-being. These dangerous practices, often referred to as “conversion therapy,” have no sound scientific basis and can cause lifelong damage. This bill would make clear that claiming to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is a fraudulent business practice that misleads consumers and exposes LGBTQ people to damaging psychological abuse.
Gender Health in Foster Care – AB 2119 by Assemblymember Todd Gloria
Child welfare agencies are required to assess the health needs of all young people in foster care, and to ensure they receive appropriate and timely care to address the needs identified by qualified professionals. This bill makes clear that, to meet this obligation for transgender and gender nonconforming youth, child welfare agencies must ensure access to clinicians who provide gender-affirming treatment consistent with established standards of care. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill along with the ACLU of California, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Teachers and School Staff – AB 2153 by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
This bill will provide California schools with resources to support LGBTQ students and create safer school environments. LGBTQ students have higher dropout rates than their non-LGBTQ peers and continue to report missing school because of safety concerns at higher rates than non-LGBTQ students. This legislation will give teachers and school staff the training they need to provide culturally competent support for students who may be facing harassment or lack of acceptance at school, rejection at home, or discrimination in the broader community. Schools are on the front line of providing a safety net against the effects of discrimination and lack of acceptance for the LGBTQ community, which can result in higher dropout rates, lower economic success, higher rates of homelessness, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and all the disparities in health and well-being that LGBTQ people face. If LGBTQ students have support in school, their likelihood of overcoming these disparities and succeeding later in life increases significantly.
Establishing Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness – SB 918 by Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Blanca Rubio
Four out of ten young people experiencing homelessness in California’s major cities identify as LGBTQ. SB 918 will establish $60 million in grants for housing, services and supports for youth experiencing homelessness and create the Office of Homeless Youth within the California Department of Housing and Community Development to oversee them. This bill will invest in low-barrier and diverse housing opportunities so each county can have an array of options for youth to escape homelessness. SB 918 also requires that participating programs be safe, inclusive, non-stigmatizing, and culturally competent to address the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with California Coalition for Youth, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Housing California, John Burton Advocates for Youth, and Tipping Point.
Recognizing the Needs of LGBTQ Older Adults – AB 2719 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin
This bill will ensure that LGBTQ older adults are recognized as a population in need of special attention, and that they can access the services and support they need to maintain their health and live their lives with dignity.
Suicide Prevention Training for Teachers and School Staff – AB 2639 by Assemblymembers Marc Berman & Patrick O’Donnell
This bill will establish standards for online training on suicide prevention for teachers and school staff to prepare them to assist young people when they need support most. The training must include a focus on high-risk populations, including LGBTQ youth.
Property Tax Equity for Same-Sex Partners – AB 2663 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman
This bill would provide retroactive relief to individuals who were registered as domestic partners in municipal jurisdictions and may have had their property taxes increased due to the death of a partner. AB 2663 seeks to bring equity to locally registered domestic partners who may not have registered with the state during a certain time period and ensure they can continue to afford their homes.
Updating Local Hate Crimes Policies – AB 1985 by Assemblymember Phil Ting
AB 1985 will help empower local communities to reduce rates of hate crimes. This bill provides guidance for local law enforcement agencies to update and strengthen their policies on hate crimes, focusing on recognizing hate crimes when they have occurred, engaging in appropriate response given the targeted community and the broader community, and fostering a community environment that prevents future hate crimes and incidents from occurring. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org