Bill to protect pregnant students advances, but your voice still needed

img AUGUST 18, 2014

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BY LORI ARNOLD, RESEARCH ANALYST

The final week of committee hearings for the 2013-14 legislative session ended Friday, with an encouraging victory in a year that has yielded little to celebrate for the pro-life community. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Assembly Bill (AB) 2350 (Bonilla D-Concord), which adds pregnancy discrimination to the state’s Equity in Higher Education Act.

If it passes the full Senate floor this week, AB 2350 would bar schools from punishing students who become pregnant while working on their post-graduate degrees.

This long overdue measure is critical to creating a vital, common sense pro-life option for pregnant graduate students who often feel they must choose between their child and their studies. The law also applies to non-pregnant parents.

This commonsense legislation is important to help build a culture of life in California. To register your support, please contact your state Senator here. To find your representative, click here. If approved by the full Senate, the bill will return to the Assembly for concurrence over the amendments, then advance to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
Sadly, the rest of Sacramento’s efforts were far less noble, as the Legislature continued its predictable march toward stripping parents of their rights.

As expected, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved AB 1444 (Buchanan D-San Ramon), a measure that forces all kids to enroll in kindergarten, whether parents believe their children are ready or not. Supported by the California Teacher’s Association, the bill—which now faces a floor vote this week—puts private school families at a financial disadvantage by requiring them to foot the bill for an extra year of tuition.

Despite the success of AB 1444, two other education expansion proposals, Senate Bill (SB) 192 and SB 1123, both authored by Carol Liu (D-Glendale), failed to advance out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and are dead for the session, saving taxpayers millions.

On the LGBT front, AB 1951 (Gomez D-Los Angeles), which undermines the traditional roles of mother and father by offering a generic “parent” option on birth certificates, was amended and approved in the Senate and now heads back to the Assembly for concurrence. Three other pro-LGBT bills awaiting floor votes last week faced no action, but could be heard this week in the Senate. They are:

  • AB 1577 (Atkins D-San Diego), allows officials to record a decedent’s gender preference on a death certificate, regardless of the person’s biological gender at birth.
  • AB 1678 (Gordon D-Los Altos) extends preferential contracting award criteria for public utility projects to gays, lesbians and transgender individuals
  • AB 2344 (Ammiano D-San Francisco), which sanitizes the roles of mother and father by nixing those titles for gender-neutral terms such as Parent 1 and Parent 2 in official paperwork for assisted reproduction.

There is still time for you to make a difference. You can officially oppose any of these bills by using the above links to contact your representative.

Along with raising your voice in support of AB 2350, please consider donating to California Family Council and California Family Alliance to help us continue working to restore the foundations of our state. Thank you as always for your support!

Actions, week of Aug. 11

AB 1444 (Buchanan D-San Ramon) Elementary education: kindergarten.
Passed Assembly, 54-24
Passed Senate Education Committee, 5-2
Passed Senate Appropriations Committee, 5-0

AB 1577 (Atkins D-San Diego) Certificates of death: gender identity
Passed Senate Health Committee, as amended, 7-1
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, 6-1
Senate third reading, no action

AB 1678 (Gordon D-Los Altos) Women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprise procurement.
Passed Assembly, 54-20
Passed Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, as amended, 9-1
Senate third reading, no action

AB 1951 (Gomez D-Los Angeles) Vital records: birth certificates.
Passed Assembly, 53-14
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, as amended, 6-0
Passed Senate, as amended, 26-4
To Assembly for concurrence

AB 2344 (Ammiano D-San Francisco) Family law: parentage.
Passed Assembly, 62-4
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, as amended, 6-0
Senate third reading, no action

AB 2350 (Bonilla D-Concord) Postsecondary education: Equity in Higher Education Act: prevention of pregnancy discrimination.
Passed Assembly 73-0
Senate Education Committee, as amended, 6-0
Passed Senate Appropriation Committee, as amended, 6-0

SB 192 (Liu, D-Glendale) Early childhood education: professional development.
Passed Senate, 32-5
Assembly Education Committee, as amended, 6-0
Assembly Appropriations Committee, held in committee

SB 838 (Beall D-Campbell) Crimes: Sex offenses: juvenile hearings.
Passed Senate, 35-0
Passed Assembly Public Safety Committee, as amended, 7-0
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee, as amended, 16-1

SB 1123 (Liu D-Glendale) Child care and development services
Passed Senate, 25-11
Passed Assembly Human Services Committee, as amended, 5-2
Passed Assembly Education Committee, as amended, 5-2
Assembly Appropriations Committee, held in committee

Key bills
To review other bills we are monitoring, click here.

Scheduled hearings: week of Aug. 18

On the floor

SB 838 (Beall D-Campbell) Crimes: Sex offenses: juvenile hearings.

CFA’s assessment: Support. Under existing law, juveniles who commit sex crimes against incapacitated victims are protected in private juvenile court hearings because of a lack of “force” in their crimes. In addition, this bill closes that loophole allowing the juveniles to be tried as adults, where all hearings are public. In addition to enhanced penalties, new amendments require minors to complete a sex offender program as determined by the court.

Summary: Allows juveniles to be tried as an adult when various sex offenses are perpetrated against a victim who was unable to resist due to being rendered unconscious by any intoxicating, anesthetizing, or controlled substance, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of a disability.

The bill also addresses cyberbullying by requiring additional penalties if a person convicted of specified sex offenses, who, with the intent to identify, intimidate, harass, humiliate, or bully the victim, uses social media, including, but not limited to, posting photos online or sharing cellular telephone photos of the incident that resulted in the conviction, or posting messages online or sharing cellular telephone messages pertaining to the incident that resulted in the conviction. The bill would provide for imposition of an additional year of incarceration, or a fine not exceeding $10,000, or both, if the sex offense conviction was for a felony, and would provide for imposition of an additional fine not exceeding $5,000 if the sex offense conviction was for a misdemeanor.

Passed Senate, 35-0
Passed Assembly Public Safety Committee, as amended, 7-0
Passed Assembly Appropriations Committee, as amended, 16-1
Assembly second reading, anytime

 

AB 1951 (Gomez D-Los Angeles) Vital records: birth certificates.

CFA’s assessment: Oppose. This bill takes yet another step toward undermining the traditional roles of mother and father by offering a generic “parent” option on birth certificates.

Summary: This bill would require the State Registrar, with regard to identification of the parents, to modify the certificate of live birth to contain 2 lines that both read “Name of Parent” and contain, next to each parent's name, 3 check boxes with the options of mother, father, and parent to describe the parent’s relationship to the child. The bill would also require that all local registrars, deputy registrars, and subregistrars use the modified certificate of live birth, update all forms to incorporate the modification, and discard all forms in use before the modification.

Passed Assembly, 53-14
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, as amended, 6-0
Passed Senate, as amended, 26-4
Assembly concurrence, anytime

 

AB 1432 (Gatto D-Burbank) Mandated child abuse reporting: school employees: training

CFA’s assessment: Support. Requires the state to develop and disseminate reporting guidelines for detecting child abuse and neglect to all schools, and further requires that all school employees be trained annually on the mandatory reporting requirements.

Summary: Similar in scope to AB 2560, this bill would require the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services, to develop and disseminate information to all school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, and their school personnel in California, regarding the detection and reporting of child abuse, to provide statewide guidelines on the reporting requirements for child abuse and the responsibilities of mandated reporters, and to develop appropriate means of instructing school personnel in the detection of child abuse and neglect and the proper action that school personnel should take in suspected cases of child abuse and neglect.

The bill would further require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to annually train school personnel on the mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect, as specified, and would require these employees to submit proof of completing this training to the applicable governing board or body of the school district, county office of education, or charter school within the first 6 weeks of each school year.

Passed Assembly, 66-5
Passed Senate Education Committee, 7-0
Passed Senate Public Safety Committee, 5-2
Passed Senate Appropriations Committee, 5-0
Senate second reading, anytime

 

AB 1444 (Buchanan D-San Ramon) Elementary education: kindergarten.

CFA’s assessment: Oppose. Originally introduced by Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), this bill would mandate kindergarten for all students in California by making it a requirement to enter first grade. We oppose this measure because it takes the decision-making process out of the hands of parents, who know what’s best for their child.

Summary: Under existing law, a person between the ages of 6 and 18 years who is not exempted by law is subject to compulsory full-time education. Existing law excludes a child under 6 years of age from the public schools, subject to specified exceptions.

Existing law requires a school district maintaining a kindergarten to admit a child who will have his or her 5th birthday on or before certain specified dates during that school year. Existing law also requires that a child who will have his or her 6th birthday on or before specified dates be admitted to the first grade of an elementary school.

This bill, beginning with the 2016-17 school year, would require a child to have completed one year of kindergarten before he or she may be admitted to the first grade, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program.

Passed Assembly, 54-24
Passed Senate Education Committee, 5-2
Passed Senate Appropriations Committee, 5-0
Senate second reading, anytime

 

AB 1585 (Alejo D-Salinas) Human trafficking.

CFA’s assessment: Support. Expunges prostitution records for victims whose convictions were related to human trafficking. We like the provision requiring that the defendant complete probation prior to being eligible because it shows a commitment to restoration.

Summary: Similar in scope to AB 1887 (Campos D-San Jose), which was held in committee, the bill now carries the name of Campos as a co-author. AB 1585 provides that if a defendant has been convicted of solicitation or prostitution and has completed any term of probation for that conviction, the defendant may petition the court for relief if the defendant can establish by clear and convincing evidence that the conviction was the result of his or her status as a victim of human trafficking, and would authorize a court to issue an order that (1) sets forth a finding that the defendant was a victim of human trafficking, as specified, (2) dismisses the accusation or information against the defendant, or orders other relief, and (3) notifies the department that the defendant was a victim of human trafficking when he or she committed the crime and the relief that has been ordered.

The bill would also exclude records of conviction for which the relief described above has been granted from the criminal records that may be disseminated for various purposes, including the full criminal record obtained in connection with an adoption application.

Passed Assembly, 79-0
Passed Senate Public Safety Committee, 5-0
Passed Senate Appropriations Committee, 6-0
Senate second reading, anytime

 

AB 2350 (Bonilla D-Concord) Postsecondary education: Equity in Higher Education Act: prevention of pregnancy discrimination.

CFA’s assessment: Support. Bonilla’s bill is long overdue legislation that provides vital protections for pregnant graduate students. The law provides for compassionate delays in coursework that allows expecting and new moms time to establish their households before continuing their post-graduate studies. Without such protections, students facing unplanned pregnancies could view abortion as the only avenue to continue with their schooling. This law eliminates that dilemma and should be expanded to include undergraduate students, including athletes on scholarship. The bill was recently amended to include the parent who did not give birth.

Summary: The bill would add pregnancy discrimination to the state’s Equity in Higher Education Act policy. Further, it would prohibit postsecondary educational institutions, including the faculty, staff, or other employees of these institutions, from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the graduate program, or limit his or her graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues, unless they choose to do so. Educators would also be required to reasonably accommodate pregnant graduate students so that they may complete their graduate courses of study and research and allows leaves of absence of at least one academic year, unless there is a medical reason for a longer absence.

Finally, the law bestows the same rights to the non-birth-giving parent.

Passed Assembly 73-0
Passed Assembly 73-0
Passed Senate Education Committee, as amended, 6-0
Passed Senate Appropriation Committee, as amended, 6-0
Senate second reading, anytime

 

AB 1577 (Atkins D-San Diego) Certificates of death: gender identity

CFA’s assessment: Oppose. Ignores biological gender at birth on official death documentation.

Summary: This bill would require a person completing the certificate of death to record the decedent’s gender as that reported by the informant, unless the person completing the certificate is presented with a legal document that memorializes the decedent’s gender transition, in which case the document would control. The bill would grant immunity from liability for costs or damages arising from any claims based upon a person entering a decedent’s gender as required by this bill.

Passed Assembly, 62-5
Passed Senate Health Committee, as amended, 7-1
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, 6-1
Senate third reading, anytime

 

AB 1678 (Gordon D-Los Altos) Women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business enterprise procurement.

CFA’s assessment: Oppose. Further expands protected-class status to homosexuals by adding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender business into a program that provides preferential contracting awards for public utility projects. The program already includes women-, minority- and disabled-veteran-owned businesses.

Summary: Existing law directs the Public Utilities Commission to require every electrical, gas, water, wireless telecommunications service provider, and telephone corporation with annual gross revenues exceeding $25 million, and their regulated subsidiaries and affiliates, to implement a program developed by the commission to encourage, recruit, and utilize minority-, women-, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises, as defined, in the procurement of contracts from those corporations or from their regulated subsidiaries and affiliates, and to require the reporting of certain information.

Existing law requires the commission to recommend a program and legislation for carrying out the policy of aiding the interests of women, minority, and disabled veteran business enterprises.

This bill would extend these provisions to LGBT business enterprises, as defined. Also provides for criminal penalties for anyone who falsely represents as a LGBT business enterprise.

Passed Assembly, 54-20
Passed Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, as amended, 9-1
Senate third reading, anytime

 

AB 2344 (Ammiano D-San Francisco) Family law: parentage.

CFA’s assessment: Oppose. Known as the Modern Family Act, this bill establishes three separate standardized forms to clarify parental intent for assisted reproduction: Married spouses or registered domestic partners using assisted reproduction to conceive a child; unmarried, intended parents using intended parent's sperm to conceive a child; and intended parents conceiving a child using eggs from one parent and the other parent will give birth, including the possibility of creating three-parent families by allowing sperm or ova donors to retain parental rights. The forms undermine the well-established roles of mother and father, by nixing those titles for gender-neutral terms Parent 1 and Parent 2.

Summary: Under existing law the donor of semen provided to a licensed physician and surgeon or to a licensed sperm bank for use in assisted reproduction of a woman other than the donor's spouse is treated at law as if he were not the natural parent of the child thereby conceived unless otherwise agreed to in writing and signed by the donor and the woman prior to the conception of the child.

This bill would establish three distinct statutory forms for assisted reproduction to provide clarity regarding a person's intent to be a legal parent if he or she is using assisted reproduction at the time of conception. The bill would state that the forms satisfy the writing requirement described above, but would state that use of the forms would not be required to satisfy that writing requirement.

The bill also streamlines the stipulated stepparent adoption process, under which the child of a marriage or domestic partnership may be adopted by the parties to that marriage or domestic partnership. It does so by eliminating examination by the court or any other court proceedings, or a background check, home study, or any related fees.

Passed Assembly, 62-4
Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, as amended, 6-0
Senate third reading, anytime

To review other bills we are monitoring, click here.

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