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What they’re saying about the Prop. 8 ruling

My esteemed colleague Howard Mintz has the full story on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, and you can read the opinion yourself (assuming the court’s website doesn’t get overloaded again) by clicking here.

Meanwhile, here’s a treasury of quotes from elected officials.

From House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“Today’s decision is a victory for civil rights and for progress for the LGBT community and for all Californians.

“By declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the Ninth Circuit made a strong statement that laws must not target the LGBT community for discrimination and all of our state’s families deserve to enjoy fair and equal treatment under the law.

“As this battle moves through the appeals process, we must, and will, continue the fight for the fundamental rights of LGBT couples and every American. We will keep up the charge for change and equality in state legislatures and in the courts, and work in Congress to repeal and overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Together, we will make every discriminatory marriage amendment and law a thing of the past.”

From Gov. Jerry Brown:

“The court has rendered a powerful affirmation of the right of same-sex couples to marry. I applaud the wisdom and courage of this decision.”

From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

“Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stands as a victory for the fundamental American principle that all people are equal, and deserve equal rights and treatment under the law. This is the biggest step that the American judicial system has taken to end the grievous discrimination against men and women in same-sex relationships and should be highly praised.

“Proposition 8 has done nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that same-sex couples are inferior to heterosexual couples. These men and women are our firefighters, our paramedics, our law enforcement, our service-members, and to treat their relationships differently is unfair, unlawful, and violates the basic principle of who we are as a nation.

“Today however, it has been made clear that this type of discrimination will not be tolerated—there is no state power or law that can claim one type of love is more deserving of status and benefits than another. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has fulfilled its obligation to all Americans by protecting the fundamental right of all people to marry those whom they love. It has upheld the overall integrity of the American judicial system by placing individual characteristics of judges and justices secondary to their duty and commitment to true justice and equality.

“Although countless people have worked tirelessly to achieve this ruling, I would like to recognize the inspiring dedication demonstrated by the American Foundation for Equal Rights. They have never relented in their mission for equal marriage rights and should be highly commended for these efforts.

“While today marks a historic milestone towards equality for all Americans, our journey is not over until the highest court in the United States reaches the same decision that the Court of Appeals did today. It is on that day that the struggle for equality will be over and the dream on which this great nation was founded will become a reality.”

From state Attorney General Kamala Harris:

“Today’s ruling is a victory for fairness, a victory for equality and a victory for justice. Proposition 8 denied to gay and lesbian couples the equal protection to which all Americans are entitled. By striking this unconstitutional law from our books, the court has restored dignity, equality and respect to all Californians.”

For some counterpoint (although he’s not an elected official), here’s SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson:

“God created a man and a woman to fit together in marriage. The People of California have twice affirmed this beautiful, natural, and exclusive pro-family institution between a husband and wife, a man and a woman. The Ninth Circuit ruling to strike down man-woman marriage, by a Carter judge and a Clinton judge, is unfair to the voters, against our republic, against our democratic system, against the United States Constitution, against Nature, and against God and His beneficial design of family.

“It’s illogical and unconstitutional to claim that natural, unchangeable race and ethnicity is the same as sexual behavior. That’s not fair or true. Race and ethnicity are inherited, but science has never found homosexuality, bisexuality, or transsexuality to be inherited or unchangeable. Neither is this about commitment. As the divorce of leading anti-Prop. 8 lesbians Robin Tyler and Diane Olson demonstrates, the notion of homosexual ‘marriage’ is not really about ‘commitment,’ but is a political agenda forcing acceptance of homosexuality upon the children of America. Yet nothing is equal to marriage between a man and a woman. If you don’t have a man and a woman, you don’t have marriage.

‘Judicial activists like Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins need to be reined in like Newt Gingrich has been saying about judicial activists. Marriage is not in the United States Constitution, so this case should never have gone to federal court. Now it will be appealed to the nation’s high court, with Anthony Kennedy being the deciding vote. Fortunately, in past rulings favoring homosexuality, Kennedy has written against redefining marriage, making it likely that he will affirm California’s right to reserve marriage licenses for ‘a man and a woman.’”

Lots more, after the jump…
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Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Under: Anna Eshoo, Assembly, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Gavin Newsom, Gov. Jerry Brown, Jackie Speier, Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, Leland Yee, Mark Leno, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Skinner, same-sex marriage, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Zoe Lofgren | 1 Comment »

What they’re saying about the budget forecast

The Legislative Analyst’s Office today issued a fiscal forecast showing California’s state budget deficit for the fiscal year starting next July 1 will be almost $13 billion.

If the state Finance Department concurs next month, this could mean $2 billion in mid-year “trigger cuts” this year, mostly in the K-12 and higher education budgets.

From Gil Duran, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown:

“California’s budget gap is the result of a decade of poor fiscal choices and a global recession. This year, we cut the problem in half. Next year, we’ll continue to make the tough choices necessary until the problem is solved.”

From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

“Today’s announcement by the LAO is indicative, but not determinative of the final decision on whether the budget triggers will be pulled next month and we must wait until the Department of Finance December forecast, which will have up to date information and certainly may alter the trigger calculation to lessen the level of trigger cuts.

“Given the uncertainty in the global economy, we included these triggers as a mechanism to ensure California’s fiscal solvency through this budget year. We approved budget solutions that eliminated seventy five percent of the ongoing structural deficit over time, and we have more work to do to accelerate the elimination of the remainder of that deficit.

“Ultimately, we all know that the best long-term solutions to our budget challenges are rebuilding our economy and putting Californians back to work, and we will continue working to build on the progress we’ve made with respect to job creation in the coming year.”

From state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro:

“I am deeply troubled by this forecast and the prospect of making another round of deep cuts to public schools and higher education. The Legislature and governor should explore all of our available options, and do everything we can, to prevent mid-year cuts.

“The bottom line is our public schools and institutions of higher education are woefully underfunded, and we must find a way to reverse this trend of cutting their support if we are serious about providing Californians and their children with a bright future.”

From Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chairman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber:

“The Legislative Analyst’s Office report indicates, as predicted, that the budget passed by Democrats with only a majority vote was overly optimistic and based on shaky assumptions. In this budget, state spending is predicted to increase by 12 percent by 2012-2013. It is clear that state spending has not been brought under control, and that’s not even factoring in the enormous cost of the federal healthcare mandates.

“It indicates that a lot more needs to be done to get California’s budget under control, and that does not happen through tax increases. Government has changed very little in how it conducts its business in the last three years.”

From state Controller John Chiang:

“Today’s news is no surprise. Our economy’s sluggish growth means a tax windfall is unlikely, and not a penny of the estimated $4 billion has been collected to date. The Governor and lawmakers were smart to backstop their hopeful budget projections with mid-year cuts, but they may not have gone far enough. Today’s report tracks with the troublesome pattern we have seen in the State’s receipts and spending, which could mean a cash-flow problem in California’s near future.”

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“Today’s numbers make it clear that the state’s first priority must be to get to the ballot in November and raise needed revenues to avoid any more damage to Californians. The notion of cutting deeper into education, public safety and services for those in need is unthinkable. I imagine an overwhelming majority of Californians agree.

“We’ve cut to the point that the results are being felt like never before. The cupboard of easy solutions is bare. Just ask the students in our higher education systems; the more than one million elderly, blind, or disabled living in poverty; the families who see their kids go to school where the classrooms are more crowded and the resources are dwindling. We’ve hit a crossroads where the time has come to turn things around.

“Democrats have tackled more than half of the reoccurring deficit problem we’ve been plagued with ever since Governor Schwarzenegger cut the Vehicle Licensing Fee. As the LAO points out, last year’s budget actions have put our ongoing deficits at the lowest we’ve seen since the recession began. By building on that foundation, new revenue will finally allow the state to recover and reinvest.”

Read more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Under: Assembly, Bob Dutton, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Ellen Corbett, Jerry Brown, John Chiang, John Perez, Mark Leno, state budget | 2 Comments »

Civil libertarians blast two of Brown’s vetoes

Civil libertarians are hopping mad over Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes of two bills Sunday: one that would’ve required police to get a warrant before searching mobile devices of arrestees, and another that would’ve limited the shackling of pregnant women inmates.

The search-warrant bill, SB 914 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, was supported by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the First Amendment Coalition and the California Newspaper Publishers Association (of which, in the interests of full disclosure, my employer is a member). The bill would have limited searches of mobile devices to cases in which an officer has probable cause to believe a suspect’s device contains evidence of a crime; it would’ve allowed for exceptions in emergency circumstances.

“This measure would overturn a California Supreme Court decision that held that police officers can lawfully search the cell phones of people they arrest,” Brown – who served four years as attorney general, the state’s “top cop” – wrote in his veto message. “The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections.”

But ACLU of Northern California attorney Linda Lye said today that the courts and Brown aren’t keeping up with the technological times.

“No one would think that it’s okay for police to search a person’s financial documents, photo albums, address books, or the entire contents of their laptop without a warrant,” Lye said. “But mobile phones can hold all that information and more. We deserve the same privacy protection for our digital lives as we have offline.”

Leno said the bill “would have reinforced critical privacy protections in California law. In a rare showing of consensus, legislators and editorial boards from vastly different parts of the state and political spectrum have expressed support for this bill. Together with business owners, journalists and civil rights advocates, they believe privacy is not a partisan issue. It’s good public policy.”

Brown also vetoed AB 568 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which would’ve created statewide standards for how pregnant women in correctional facilities are restrained; the Assembly and state Senate both passed the bill unanimously. State law already bars use of shackles during labor unless deemed necessary, but the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have supported efforts to limit shackling during pregnancy due to the health risks it creates.

Dr. Phillip Diamond of Chula Vista, chair of ACOG’s ninth district, said the veto was disheartening.

“It is clear the law prohibiting shackling during labor does not go far enough,” he said. “There are many other circumstances where restraints impede the ability of the physician to provide timely and critical care, including for life-threatening conditions. Failure to sign not only fails women and the pregnancies, but leaves the state vulnerable to lawsuits for cruel and unusual punishment.”

Karen Shain, policy director at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, said her organization has accounts of pregnant women falling and endangering their pregnancies due to the excessive use of shackles. “The standards created by AB 568 would have ensured pregnant women are restrained safely. These standards are sorely needed.”

Brown wrote in his veto message that he had been inclined to sign AB 568 at first blush “because it certainly seems inappropriate to shackle a pregnant inmate unless absolutely necessary.”

“However, the language of this measure goes to far, prohibiting not only shackling but also the use of handcuffs or restraints of any kind except under ill-defined circumstances,” the governor wrote. “Let’s be clear. Inmates, whether pregnant or not, need to be transported in a manner that is safe for them and others. The restrictive criteria set forth in this bill go beyond what is necessary to protect the health and dignity of pregnant inmates and will only serve to sow confusion and invite lawsuits.”

The bill’s advocates said they’d met repeatedly with law enforcement officials in an effort to accommodate their demands, but the California State Sheriffs’ Association voiced concerns only after the bill had reached Brown’s desk, too late for further amendments.

“The CSSA was concerned that officers could not use handcuffs under AB 568, but it explicitly states that handcuffs in front are permissible if needed for safety and security reasons,” the ACLU of Northern California’s Alicia Walters said. “Last session law enforcement was concerned that officers could not use their discretion, so this year we drafted language to ensure they could put their hours of training to use under some much-needed standards.”

Posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Civil liberties, Jerry Brown, Mark Leno, Nancy Skinner, Public safety | 2 Comments »

Drive to repeal LGBT education law is faltering

Backers of a proposed measure to roll back California’s new LGBT-inclusive education law “would need a miracle” to get enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot, an organizer said this morning.

Gov. Jerry Brown in July signed into law SB 48, the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, requiring that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as the disabled be accurately and fairly portrayed in school curriculums. The law added these groups to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already included in the state’s inclusionary education requirements.

Conservatives immediately launched a ballot-measure petition signature drive to overturn the law. The committee backing the measure has until tomorrow, Oct. 12, to provide valid signatures from at least 504,760 registered California voters in order to get the measure on next year’s ballot.

Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus sent out an e-mail this morning saying “the news is not good:”

Finally with two days in a row of no mail delivery, collection points around the State were able to get a good estimate of how many signatures we have in hand. While we expect to have a large amount arrive today and even Wednesday (the day we need to turn petitions in) it is doubtful we will get the number of signatures we need to qualify.

Unfortunately, the last several deliveries of mail have not been what was expected and a large number of petitions have been pulled out because of errors.

From all appearances, we would need a miracle to qualify this referendum.

But many of those close to the referendum campaign believe in miracles and want to fight until the very last minute. Are you in?

The only possible scenario for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is a 24 hour petition marathon. But we need more than just 10 people or even a hundred. We need a thousand people or even more that will start this morning and gather every signature they can. 50 signatures. 100. Even more.

We have petition centers around the State and we will be delivering petitions where we can. We will set up delivery points around the State for Tuesday and up until 10:30 am on Wednesday morning for completed petitions.

But we need volunteers to gather signatures and volunteers to gather more volunteers. And we need you to start as soon as you get done reading this.

Posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Under: California State Senate, Jerry Brown, Mark Leno | No Comments »

Brown pleases gun advocates and foes

As with many other bills Gov. Jerry Brown handled this session, he seemed to split the baby Sunday when deciding on bills dealing with how, where and when firearms can be carried in California, and by whom.

As I reported here earlier today, Brown signed AB 144, banning the “open carry” of unloaded handguns in public places – a bill supported by gun-control groups and law enforcement by opposed by gun-rights advocates. But he also signed SB 610 to streamline, speed and cheapen the process to seek a permit to carry a concealed handgun, something gun-rights advocates supported.

Brown also signed a bill letting the state Justice Department use an existing fee to fund its program tracking and seizing firearms from people who aren’t legally allowed to have them, and a bill requiring the state to preserve buyer information on rifles and shotguns sold or transferred in the state, just as it already does for handguns – both opposed by gun-rights advocates. But he pleased those same advocates by vetoing a bill on handgun ammunition sales, saying it’s something the courts should work out first.

AB 144, by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, makes it a misdemeanor to openly carry an unloaded handgun in any public place or street. Violations are punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Law enforcement personnel are exempt as are security guards, hunters and others carrying unloaded weapons under certain conditions.

“The right to Open Carry has been legal in the State of California since its inception, and there has never been a single case of an Open Carry advocate ever committing a violent crime in the Golden State’s entire 160-year history,” said Responsible Citizens of California President Adnan Shahab of Fremont, adding his group will work with others to challenge the new law in court. “Since no problem has ever existed that needs to be addressed or fixed, there was no reason for AB 144 in the first place.”

But California Police Chiefs Association President David Maggard Jr. said today that open carry was “a threat to the safety of the communities we police and the safety of our officers. The Governor’s leadership in signing this legislation will help assure that felons and gang members cannot openly carry an unloaded gun with impunity, all the while carrying the ammunitions for the weapon on their person, because with open carry, officers were prohibited from conducting any further investigation to determine if the individual is legally in possession of the weapon.”

SB 610 by state Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, requires that a person need not pay for handgun training before the county sheriff has decided whether that person has good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon. If the sheriff finds no good cause, the bill requires that he or she inform the person why. One way or the other, the sheriff must give notice within 90 days of the application or 30 days after receiving the applicant’s criminal background check from the Justice Department, whichever is later.

The bill was supported by the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the National Rifle Association.

Lots more, after the jump…
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Posted on Monday, October 10th, 2011
Under: Anthony Portantino, Assembly, California State Senate, gun control, Mark Leno, Public safety | 7 Comments »

California bellies up to the bar for infused liquor

Cocktail lovers can rejoice, as California Jerry Brown today signed a bill ending the state’s ban on infused alcoholic beverages.

SB 32, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, updates state law to recognize the widespread artisanal practice of infusing small amounts of alcohol with fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices for use in cocktails. The fight for the bill dates back to early last year, when state liquor regulators started cracking down on Bay Area bars.

Leno said today he’s pleased Brown saw the need to change the regulations. “In San Francisco and other cities where tourism is critical to the local economy, restaurant owners have been asked to stop serving infused cocktails in the name of an outdated law written decades ago,” he said. “This Prohibition-era statute did nothing more than punish California restaurants and small businesses that are using culinary innovations to survive in this difficult economy.”

The bill was supported by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, California Chamber of Commerce, Family Winemakers of California, California Music and Culture Association, California Restaurant Association, San Francisco Small Business Commission, Small Business California and various individual small businesses.

In this age of hyper-partisanship, apparently nothing unites lawmakers like a threat to their booze. The state Senate had passed SB 32 in June on a 39-0 vote, and the Assembly passed it in August on a 78-0 vote. The bill contains an urgency clause, so it becomes law immediately.

Posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Under: California State Senate, Jerry Brown, Mark Leno | 2 Comments »

Gov. gets bill to take prohibited guns off streets

The Assembly today passed a Bay Area lawmaker’s bill that would provide more resources to find and confiscate guns belonging to convicted felons and the mentally ill.

SB 819 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, passed on a 48-23 vote; the state Senate had approved it June 1 on a 22-16 vote, so it now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

SB 819 – sponsored by state Attorney General Kamala Harris – would let the state Justice Department use money from the $19 Dealer Record of Sale fee that’s collected on each firearm sale to enforce the existing Armed Prohibited Persons System program. APPS, launched in 2007, identifies prohibited persons so law enforcement can go collect the illegally possessed weapons.

The state Justice Department’s Bureau of Firearms has identified more than 18,000 Californians who illegally own tens of thousands of firearms, a list that grows by 15 to 20 per day. But state and local officials say they lack the resources to confiscate this enormous backlog of weapons, much less keep up with new additions to the list.

Leno calls that “a troubling blind spot in our current enforcement of firearms laws.”

“Thousands of gun owners who once obtained their weapons legally still possess firearms despite subsequent issues, including criminal activities, that disqualify them from owning weapons,” he said in a news release today. “Innocent lives have been lost because we allow guns to be in the hands of known criminals, gang members and people who have serious mental illnesses. SB 819 helps remedy this troubling threat to public safety.”

To be clear: It’s not raising any more money for the state, just authorizing another purpose for which the DROS fee money can be used. The Justice Department has estimated it wouyld draw about $1 million per year from the DROS fund for this; the fund currently holds about $5.5 million.

The California Association of Firearms Retailers has argued that the DROS fee is supposed to pay for the costs of a criminal and mental background check to determine a buyer’s eligibility to lawfully own a firearm, and so redirecting some of it to another, more general purpose effectively turns it into a tax.

Posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011
Under: Assembly, Attorney General, California State Senate, gun control, Kamala Harris, Mark Leno, Public safety | 6 Comments »

Bill to curb wrongful convictions signed into law

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a Bay Area lawmaker’s bill to curtail wrongful criminal convictions.

SB 687, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, ensures no California judge or jury convicts a defendant, or approves an aggravating factor in a crime that allows for a stricter penalty, based solely a jailhouse informant’s uncorroborated testimony.

Leno issued a statement saying he’s pleased to see the bill signed into law.

“We know that when used properly, jailhouse informants can be a good investigative tool for prosecutors, but they can also be destructive, crime-producing and corrupting,” Leno said. “SB 687 ensures that in-custody informant testimony is supported by corroborating evidence that connects the accused with the crime that was committed. Without the safeguards created in this legislation, the potential for the miscarriage of justice when informant testimony is involved is just too high.”

The bipartisan California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice recommended this in 2006 as a means of avoiding wrongful convictions; it was supported by the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys, among others, but the California District Attorneys Association opposed it. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed similar bills. The state Senate passed it in May on a 23-15 vote, and the Assembly passed it in July on a 47-26 vote.

Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011
Under: California State Senate, Jerry Brown, Mark Leno, Public safety | No Comments »

Will Jerry Brown sign them or not?

The Legislature has adjourned for a month, and now we sit with bated breath, waiting to see which of the slew of bills it sent Gov. Jerry Brown this week – including some interesting ones from the Bay Area delegation – will actually get his signature.

signature gatheringFor example, SB 168, by state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, forbids paying ballot measure petition signature gatherers on a per-signature basis, which she says will reduce fraud by reducing the temptation to pad out petitions with bogus names. Opponents say there’s little evidence of such fraud, and outlawing per-signature payment will make it prohibitively expensive to wage ballot-measure campaigns. Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer, is among those who have endorsed the bill. The state Senate passed SB 168 in May on a 23-15 vote, and the Assembly passed it yesterday on a 48-28 vote.

National Popular VoteAB 459, by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would ratify a national “National Popular Vote” plan by agreeing that California would award its Electoral College votes to the presidential ticket that gets the most popular votes nationwide. Similar bills already have passed in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington plus the District of Columbia, but approval by California – with its 55 electoral votes – would push considerably closer to the goal of reaching the 270 out of 538 needed to activate the plan. Proponents say the bill would boost California’s stature in the presidential election process. The Legislature approved similar bills in 2006 and 2008 but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed them. The state Senate approved it yesterday on a 23-15 vote, and the Assembly passed it later yesterday on a 49-5 vote.

jailhouse informantsAnd SB 687, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would ensure that no judge or jury convicts a defendant, or approves an aggravating factor in a crime that allows for a stricter penalty, based solely on the uncorroborated testimony of a jailhouse informant. The bipartisan California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice recommended this in 2006 as a means of avoiding wrongful convictions; it’s supported by the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys, among others, but the California District Attorneys Association opposes it. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed similar bills. The state Senate passed it in May on a 23-15 vote, and the Assembly passed it yesterday on a 47-26 vote.

Posted on Friday, July 15th, 2011
Under: 2012 presidential election, Assembly, ballot measures, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Jerry Brown, Jerry Hill, Mark Leno, Public safety | No Comments »

Brown signs LGBT inclusive education law

Gov. Jerry Brown this morning signed into law a Bay Area lawmaker’s bill requiring that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as the disabled are accurately and fairly portrayed in school curriculums.

SB 48, the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, adds these groups to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already included in the state’s inclusionary education requirements.

“Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans,” Leno said in a statement issued moments after Brown announced the signing. “Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them. I am pleased Governor Brown signed the FAIR Education Act and I thank him for recognizing that the LGBT community, its accomplishments and its ongoing efforts for first-class citizenship are important components of California’s history.”

Leno said research shows that students who learn about LGBT people find their school environments more accepting of LGBT youth. Students are also more likely to report that their LGBT peers are treated fairly at school – and that other types of peer-to-peer disrespect also declines – when LGBT people and issues are included in instructional materials.

Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia, in Leno’s release, called the signing “a monumental victory” for LGBT equality.. “Thanks to the FAIR Education Act, California students, particularly LGBT youth, will find new hope and inspiration and experience a more welcoming learning environment.”

Some conservative organizations had opposed the bill and urged Brown not to sign it.

“May this brash attack upon children’s innocence finally motivate parents to remove their children from the government school system, and get them into the safe havens of church schooling and homeschooling,” SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson said last week. “This sexual brainwashing bill would mandate that children as young as 6 years old be told falsehoods — that homosexuality is biological, when it isn’t, or healthy, when it’s not.”

The state Senate approved SB 48 in April on a 23-14 vote; the Assembly passed it last week on a 50-26 vote.

Posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Under: California State Senate, Jerry Brown, Mark Leno | 12 Comments »