2020 to usher in new CA LGBT laws

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Monday December 23, 2019
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Assemblyman Todd Gloria. Photo: Courtesy Todd Gloria
Assemblyman Todd Gloria. Photo: Courtesy Todd Gloria

Legislation aimed at assisting transgender youth, LGBT-owned small businesses, same-sex parents, and efforts to end the transmission of HIV in California is set to take effect in 2020. LGBT advocates in the coming months will be tracking the implementation of nine bills in particular.

Several laws should benefit transgender youth, especially those in the Golden State's foster care system. Assembly Bill 2119, authored by gay Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), is first-of-its-kind legislation that requires transgender foster youth receive health care services consistent with their gender identity. It includes interventions to align a patient's physical appearance with the patient's gender identity and interventions to alleviate symptoms of gender dysphoria.

The bill, which was adopted in 2018, instructed the California Department of Social Services, in consultation with the California Department of Healthcare Services, to develop guidelines by January 1, 2020 on how to identify, coordinate, and support foster youth who wish to access gender-affirming health care.

Assemblyman David Chiu. Photo: Courtesy Flickr  

AB 711, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and adopted in 2019, ensures that transgender students can obtain their school records and diplomas with their preferred name and gender pronoun.

Gloria's AB 493, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act of 2019, calls on public schools to provide training on LGBT cultural competency and how to address LGBT-based bullying to teachers and other certificated staff members. While the bill takes effect in 2020, it gives the California Department of Education, overseen by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, until July 1, 2021 to develop and update its resources and training materials so they incorporate the LGBT topics.

At the request of Governor Gavin Newsom, lawmakers removed from the bill the requirement that the training be mandatory as it was estimated to cost the state's 343 school districts a combined $3.25 million. In exchange, he promised to work with LGBT lawmakers and advocates on providing funding for school districts to train their teachers in his 2020 budget proposal.

Parental rights
Parental rights of LGBT people are addressed by several pieces of legislation taking effect next month. Senate Bill 495, authored by Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), codifies into state law that a person's sexual orientation or gender identity can't be used to disqualify them as being an adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child.

AB 2684, the LGBTQ Family Law Modernization Act of 2018 authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), takes effect January 1. It ensures that the parentage provisions of the state Family Code treat same-sex parents equally.

A companion bill from Bloom passed in 2019, AB 785, the Uniform Parentage Act Updates, will assist LGBT couples and others who use gamete banks when wanting to have children. It requires gamete banks receiving donors' gametes to maintain the contact information of the gamete bank from which the samples were received. The measure also clarifies health code regulations to include oocyte and embryo donors.

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke. Photo: Courtesy Autumn Burke  

AB 962, co-authored by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), requires California hospitals to publicly disclose how much they are contracting with LGBT-owned businesses. The reports must also include businesses owned by women, minorities, and other disadvantaged groups.

SB 534, by state Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), requires the state's $310 billion insurance industry biennially report how much it is contracting with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, and LGBT individuals. Gay Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara co-sponsored the legislation, as it revives the state agency's Insurance Diversity Initiative, which aims to see insurers have diverse suppliers and governing boards, and expands its scope to include LGBT- and veteran-owned businesses.

"California's long experience with the utility companies shows that simply requiring firms to report their levels of contracting with businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans and LGBT people leads to big increases in contracting with diverse businesses," stated Greenlining Institute Health Equity Program Manager Kelsey Lyles. "We're delighted to see that level of transparency brought to the hospital and insurance industries through AB 962 and SB 534. Thanks to SB 534, we'll also learn more about the diversity of insurance companies' governing boards."

Lastly, starting next summer Californians will be able to obtain a two-month supply of an HIV prevention medicine known as PrEP from their local pharmacy without having a prescription from their primary care doctor. SB 159, authored by Gloria and gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), authorizes pharmacies to furnish at least 30 days worth, and up to 60 days, of pre-exposure prophylaxis pills that have proved to be effective at preventing the transmission of HIV.

Pharmacies will also be able to supply customers with a 28-day regimen of drugs for PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, that has proved to be effective at keeping someone HIV-negative if they have been exposed to HIV through sex.

The legislation also prohibits insurance companies from requiring patients to obtain prior authorization before using their insurance benefits to obtain PrEP or PEP from a pharmacy.

The Board of Pharmacy has until July 1 to adopt the emergency regulations needed in order for SB 159 to be implemented.