Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
Assembly, Senate Appropriations Committees Advance Pro-Equality Legislation
Bills to repeal a discriminatory law, expand contingency management programs, allow workers to care for chosen family and protect the privacy of trans and nonbinary Californians advance to floor votes.
May 20, 2021 at 12:57 pm

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2021

CONTACT: Joshua Stickney, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801/MOBILE: (405) 315-4151/EMAIL: press@eqca.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees advanced four pieces of pro-equality legislation sponsored by Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, Thursday during the Committees’ suspense file hearings. The bills would repeal the law that criminalizes loitering with intent to engage in sex work (SB 357), require Medi-Cal to cover contingency management programs (SB 110), allow workers to take family and sick leave for chosen family members (AB 1041) and protect the privacy of trans and nonbinary Californians when they update important identifying documents (AB 218). SB 217 by Sen. Brian Dahle, which would have undermined California’s comprehensive sexual health education law and Equality California strongly opposed, was held in committee and will not advance this year.

Equality California released the following statement from Executive Director-designate Tony Hoang:

“We are thrilled to see so many pieces of pro-equality legislation advance today. Each and every one of these bills represents a giant leap of progress for our LGBTQ+ community — specifically trans and nonbinary folks, chosen families, people struggling with addiction and sex workers. We are grateful to Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Senator Anthony Portantino and the members of the Appropriations committees for advancing these important priorities to our community.”

The following bills sponsored by Equality California were passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will now advance to the Assembly floor for a vote:

AB 218: Affirming Records by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego)
AB 218 will codify and streamline the process for transgender Californians to update their marriage certificates and the birth certificates of their children to accurately reflect their legal name and gender, while protecting their privacy. Accurate and affirming identity documents are critical to preventing discrimination when, for example, enrolling a child in school, applying for a loan, or making medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated spouse.

AB 1041: Job Protected Leave for Chosen Family by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland)
AB 1041 will expand the definition of “family member” for purposes of family and sick leave to allow covered workers to take time off to care for someone designated by the employee at the time of the request. The bill updates California law to account for households that depart from the ‘nuclear family’ model and increasingly include close loved ones who aren’t biologically or legally related. Gaps in current law disproportionately affect LGBTQI+ people, many of whom do not have accessible relationships with biological relatives or others covered by existing leave law and are more likely to turn to a close friend or chosen family member in an emergency.

The following bills sponsored by Equality California were passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and will now advance to the Senate floor for a vote:

SB 110: Confronting the Meth Crisis Through Contingency Management Intervention by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)
SB 110 (Wiener) will require Medi-Cal to cover contingency management (CM) programs, similar to how it covers other existing substance use disorder services. CM is a substance use disorder treatment that uses positive reinforcement to achieve behavioral change. CM has proven to be the most effective method of intervention for methamphetamine disorder. Because there is currently no form of medication-assisted treatment for methamphetamine use disorder, CM is a critical tool in addressing meth and other stimulant use. Meth use is a longstanding crisis in the LGBTQ+ community due to historical and ongoing stigma, shame, and marginalization. SB 110 is an important pillar in California’s response to this public health crisis.

SB 357: Safer Streets for All Act by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose)
Senate Bill 357 repeals California Penal Code Section 653.22, the law that criminalizes loitering with the intent to engage in sex work. SB 357 will also enable people who have been convicted of loitering with the intent to engage in sex work to seal their records. The law has contributed to discrimination on the basis of gender, race, class and perceived sex worker status – in particular, targeting Black women and members of the transgender community. By repealing § 653.22, Senate Bill 357 would protect vulnerable populations from discriminatory enforcement.

For a complete list of Equality California’s legislative priorities, visit eqca.org/legislation.

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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


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