Newsom signs anti-bias, LGBTQ data bills

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022
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Governor Gavin Newsom signed bills Tuesday aimed at addressing anti-bias incidents and expanding the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data. Photo: Courtesy AP
Governor Gavin Newsom signed bills Tuesday aimed at addressing anti-bias incidents and expanding the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data. Photo: Courtesy AP

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law several bills aimed at addressing anti-bias incidents, particularly those targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and expanding the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data in several policy arenas.

The bill signings Tuesday come as California establishes a Commission on the State of Hate, to which Newsom appointed as a member a well-known transgender advocate from Los Angeles. Newsom also issued an executive order that establishes the state's first Racial Equity Commission, which was developed with state Senator Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and a number of racial equity organizations.

According to the governor's office, the commission will create a Racial Equity Framework consisting of resources and tools to promote racial equity and address structural racism. In conjunction, Newsom ordered state agencies and departments to take additional actions to embed equity analysis and considerations in their mission, policies and practices.

Meanwhile, Newsom announced September 12 that he had named Los Angeles resident Bamby Salcedo, 53, president and chief executive officer of the TransLatin@ Coalition, to the state of hate commission. He also appointed San Francisco resident Cynthia Choi, 56, co-director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, to the advisory body along with Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism Founding Director Brian Levin, 58, of Orange County; Stanford Law School professor Shirin Sinnar, 45, of Palo Alto; and University of Southern California associate senior vice president of safety and risk assurance Erroll G. Southers, 65, of Los Angeles.

"Our state has made great strides in redressing historic wrongs and stubborn disparities, but we know that much work remains to tackle the barriers that hold back too many Californians and undermine our collective prosperity," stated Newsom.

Anti-bias bills

Choi, as a co-founder of the group Stop AAPI Hate, had lobbied Newsom to sign the two anti-bias bills collectively called the No Place for Hate Campaign.

The first, authored by state Senator Dave Min (D-Costa Mesa), is Senate Bill 1161. Called "Improving Public Transit Ridership Safety" it aims to protect LGBTQ+ people, cisgender women, and other vulnerable public transit riders. It requires the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University to create a community survey for California transit operators to strengthen and promote passenger safety.

The legislation was amended from its original version, which would have required California's 10 largest transit agencies, including LA Metro, BART, and Orange County Transportation Authority, to recognize street harassment as a rider safety concern, gather data, and create non-carceral solutions to prevent hate and harassment that occurs in their vehicles or at transit stops.

The second is Assembly Bill 2448 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and is titled "Expanding Civil Rights Protections at Businesses." It directs the state's Civil Rights Department to create a first-of-its-kind pilot program that incentivizes businesses to create safe and welcoming environments. It was watered down from its initial version that would have required large businesses to train their employees on how to protect, report, and respond to hate crimes for the safety of their customers.

As Ting told the B.A.R. in mid-July when asked why the pair of bills is needed, "Hate crimes, unfortunately, have been on the rise." In a tweet Tuesday after Newsom signed his bill, Ting noted, "Businesses can lead in the fight against hate."

Chinese for Affirmative Action advocacy manager Shanti Elise Prasad, a queer feminist DesiPinoyChicanx who was a strategist for the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition, also tweeted out praise for Newsom, state lawmakers, and the coalition's members for helping to pass the pair of bills.

"I'm proud to work on these bills & of California's commitment to addressing street harassment so that all people, no matter your identity or background, feel safe," wrote Prasad.

LGBTQ data bills

Newsom Tuesday also signed AB 2873 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr. (D-Los Angeles), which supports supplier diversity in the affordable housing industry by requiring project developers that receive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to report on their contractor and supplier demographic data, including use of women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT businesses.

He also enacted SB 1058 by Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), which requires the Employment Development Department to collect demographic data for individuals participating in the State Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave programs to inform outreach efforts. As the governor's office noted, the information collected by the state agency will include not only race and ethnicity data but also sexual orientation and gender identity data.

Newsom still has another 11 LGBTQ-related bills awaiting his signature. He has until September 30 to decide to either sign them into law or veto the legislation.

UPDATED 9/15/22 to reflect amendments made to the two anti-bias bills since they were first introduced.

The State of California offers help for victims or witnesses to a hate crime or hate incident. This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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