October 10, 2011 - In the past few days, Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills enhancing the rights of LGBTQ Californians, including bills enhancing bullying and discrimination protections, easing the process of obtaining an accurate birth certificate, and closing a number of loopholes regarding domestic partnerships. Though none are specific to the needs or rights of foster youth, LGBTQ youth are over-represented in California's foster care system.
Bills signed in the last few days include the following:
Assembly Bill 433 (Lowenthal), the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, simplifies the process of obtaining a new birth certificate that accurately represents gender.
Assembly Bill 887 (Atkins), the Gender Non-Discrimination Act, strengthens employment, housing and other civil rights protections, particularly for those Californians who face discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
Assembly Bill 9 (Ammiano), Seth's Law, tightens anti-bullying policies in California schools by requiring clear and consistent policies, instituting better training, and establishing shorter timelines for investigating claims of bullying.
AB 620 (Block), Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education, requests that higher education trustees establish clear policies on harassment, intimidation and bullying, and designate a point person at each campus to address the needs of LGBTQ students.
Earlier in the session, the Governor signed several other important bills:
AB 1349 (Hill), the Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Act, provides that courts may consider a child's relationship with both biological and non-biological parents when ruling on who a child's legal parents are.
SB 49 (Leno), the FAIR Eduction Act, received a lot of attention in the press, and provides for the inclusion of the contributions of LGBTQ individuals in school curricula.
SB 651 (Leno), the Domestic Partnership Equality Act, bring the legal rights of Californians in domestic partnerships closer to those of married couples in nine important ways, including residency requirements, age of consent to marry, and the exclusion of domestic partners from long term insurance benefits.
SB 117 (Kehoe), the Equal Benefits Bill prohibits the state from entering into large contracts with discriminatory companies.
AB 673 (Speaker Pérez) Office of Multicultural Health, expands the scope of the Office of Multicultural Health to include the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community. OMH’s mission is to close the gap in health status and access to care among the state’s diverse racial and ethnic communities.
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