California Senate, Assembly Appropriations Committees Advance Pro-Equality Legislation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Aug. 17, 2018 The California Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees advanced key pro-equality legislation sponsored by Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, Thursday afternoon. The bills include legislation to combat California’s homelessness crisis, to provide California teachers and school staff with the resources they need to support LGBTQ students and to provide law enforcement officers with critical cultural competency training, among others.

“Today the California Legislature took key steps toward creating a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people — providing an alternative vision for the future to the hate and division we see in Washington, DC,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “As the Trump-Pence Administration and their allies in Congress work overtime to roll back our civil rights and gut programs that LGBTQ people depend on for our health and well-being, California continues to lead the way as a beacon of hope to LGBTQ people across the country.”

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SB 918: Establishing Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness – Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Blanca Rubio
 (D-Baldwin Park)
The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed SB 918, which will increase access to housing, services and supports for youth experiencing homelessness and task the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (Council) to oversee them. Four out of ten young people experiencing homelessness in California’s major cities identify as LGBTQ. SB 918 also requires that participating programs be safe, inclusive, non-stigmatizing, and culturally competent to address the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness.

AB 2490: Increasing Access to Identification for People Experiencing Homelessness – Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 2490, which will eliminate fees charged to people experiencing homelessness seeking to obtain certified birth certificates directly from the state. Many Californians experiencing homelessness live in counties that are not the county of their birth, and some may be unsure of their county of birth. LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness, in particular, often travel to major California cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles to find acceptance, which could be a long distance from their county of birth.

AB 2153: LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Teachers and School Staff –  Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond)
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 2153, which 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 — and want — 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.

AB 2291: Online Anti-Bullying Training for Teachers and School Staff – Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 2291, which will require public schools to provide online training annually on the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying to teachers and school staff. It will also require the California Department of Education to post this online training module along with other available online trainings to its internet website.

AB 2639: Suicide Prevention Training for Teachers and School Staff – Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) & Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach)
This bill requires schools to review and, if necessary, update their student suicide prevention policies at a minimum of every five years. These policies already need to include a focus on high-risk populations, including LGBTQ youth, under existing law. AB 2639 will ensure that these policies are reviewed regularly and kept up-to-date.

AB 2663: Property Tax Equity for Same-Sex Partners – Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale)
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 2663, which will 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.

AB 2684: LGBTQ Family Law Modernization Act of 2018 – Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica)
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 2684, which will modernize and eliminate significant inequalities in California family law to ensure that LGBTQ parents and their children have access to the same protections as any other families.

SB 990: Dignity and Opportunity Act – Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)
The Assembly Appropriations Committee held SB 990, which would have required jail and prison employees to refer to transgender individuals by their preferred gender pronouns and names, and ensured that transgender people placed in solitary confinement for their own protection have access to programming, services and work opportunities despite being in solitary confinement.

“No one deserves to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment — that’s a fundamental American value and one enshrined in the Constitution,” said Rick Zbur. “We’re disappointed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s decision to effectively kill this critical legislation, which received bipartisan support in the California Senate, but we remain committed to eliminating harassment and abuse in our prisons and ensuring that all inmates are treated with human dignity and respect.”

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