Two major pro-life, pro-parental rights victories in California

img OCTOBER 1, 2014

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BY LORI ARNOLD, RESEARCH ANALYST

In California’s progressive legislative environment, it can sometimes feel like we are Chicken Little, with a never-ending cry of “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

Today, the sky is bright and sunny after pro-family conservatives won two major victories at the hands of our Democrat Governor Jerry Brown.

On Friday, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 2350, which prohibits universities from discriminating against pregnant graduate students. The bill, authored by Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) does so by adding pregnancy discrimination into the existing Equity in Higher Education Act. The act declares, among other things, that it is the policy of the state of California that all persons, regardless of their sex, should enjoy freedom from discrimination of any kind in the postsecondary educational institutions of the state.

California Family Alliance has lobbied for this legislation since it was first introduced in February because it is a common-sense measure that essentially allows pregnant students to take maternity leave without jeopardizing their standing in graduate school. The law is needed to protect graduate students from the travesty of having to choose between continuing their education or terminating their pregnancy.

As we have previously shared through This Week Inside the Capitol, the NCAA re-evaluated its own policies several years ago after reports surfaced that student athletes were being pressured to abort their babies by “win-at-all-cost” coaches and school advisers. In several cases, university staff threatened to cancel women’s scholarships if they refused to submit to an unwanted abortion.

As elated as we are to see such legislation win bi-partisan support, we believe such protections are also vital for undergraduates as well. Looking toward the next legislative cycle, we urge lawmakers to consider expanding AB 2350 protections to all institutes of higher learning.

The biggest surprise, however, came by way of Governor Brown’s veto yesterday of AB 1444 (Buchanan D-San Ramon), an egregious education measure that would have put job security for teachers ahead of the rights of parents.

Buchanan’s plan, sponsored by the California Teachers Association, would have forced all parents to enroll their children in kindergarten, regardless of whether they are ready. Currently, kindergarten enrollment in California is voluntary. Solid research has shown that early childhood education is not the academic salve it is often argued to be by educators.

The veto came despite strong support from the CTA, the California State PTA, Association of California School Administrators, California Child Development Administrators Association and the County Welfare Directors Association of California.

Even more refreshing than the veto, though, was its accompanying veto message.

“Most children already attend kindergarten, and those that don’t may be enrolled in other educational or developmental programs that are deemed more appropriate for them by their families,” Governor Brown wrote. “I would prefer to let parents determine what is best for their children, rather than mandate an entirely new grade level.”

While we are often quick to stand up for what we are against, it is equally important for us to take time when one of our elected officials takes a stand that undergirds the rights of parents. Please take a quick moment to send the governor an email thanking him for responding to the hearts of parents who believe compulsory education is not in the best interest of all children.

It is our fervent prayer that Governor Brown will one day use similar rationale—letting parents determine what is best for their children—when it comes to minors and their access to abortion without parental notification.

In other action, Governor Brown also signed three pro-homosexual bills AB 1577, AB 1678 and AB 2344, plus several targeting human trafficking and sex crimes. Their summaries are listed below.

Finally, if you’re anywhere near the Fresno area Monday (October 6), please join us for “An Evening with Rafael Cruz!”. Pastor Cruz is the father of the U.S. Senator from Texas Ted Cruz. After escaping Cuba in 1957, Cruz fled to America where he developed a deep love of the faith, family, and freedom and California Family Council and California Family Alliance were founded to defend.

To purchase tickets, simply visit www.CaliforniaFamily.org/RafaelCruz or call 559-300-5433.

 

“Bad” bills signed by the governor

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, 26-6
Passed Assembly concurrence, as amended, 67-4
Signed by governor

 

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, as amended, 22-9
Passed Assembly concurrence, 54-22
Signed by governor

 

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, 28-3
Passed Assembly concurrence, 65-5
Signed by governor

“Good” bills signed by the governor

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, 31-3
Passed Assembly concurrence, 61-13
Signed by governor

 

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, as amended, 35-0
Passed Assembly concurrence, 79-0
Signed by governor

 

AB 1791 (Maienschein R-San Diego) Prostitution: minors.

CFA’s assessment: Support. Originally introduced as a human trafficking bill, AB 1791, has been amended to the more narrow focus of engaging minors in prostitution. The bill would double both the jail time and fines—up to one year and/or $2,000—for solicitation or prostitution involving a minor.
Summary: Existing law makes it a crime to engage in specified forms of disorderly conduct, including soliciting or agreeing to engage in, or engaging in, any act of prostitution and makes that crime a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

This bill would make that crime punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding $2,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment, if the person who was solicited by, or who agreed to engage in or engaged in any act of prostitution with, the person who committed that crime was a minor at the time of the offense.

Passed Assembly, 75-0
Passed Senate, 36-0
Signed by governor

 

SB 838 (Beall D-Campbell) Juveniles: Sex Offenses.

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.

Passed Senate, 35-0
Passed Assembly, 79-0
Passed Senate concurrence, as amended, 36-0
Signed by governor

 

SB 1177 (Steinberg D-Sacramento) Privacy: students.

CFA’s assessment: Support. Closes loopholes that allow online vendors to data mine information collected on children through online services provided for students.

Summary: This bill would prohibit an operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application with actual knowledge that the site, service, or application is used for K-12 school purposes and was designed and marketed for K-12 school purposes from using, sharing, disclosing, or compiling personal information about a K-12 student for commercial purposes.

This bill would prohibit an operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application with actual knowledge that the site, service, or application is used for K-12 school purposes, as defined, and was designed and marketed for K-12 school purposes from using, sharing, disclosing, or compiling personal information about a K-12 student for commercial purposes. This bill would require an operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application with actual knowledge that the site, service, or application is used for K-12 school purposes and was designed and marketed for K-12 school purposes to ensure that specified encryption processes are used and to delete a student’s personal information under specified circumstances.

Passed Senate, 35-0
Passed Assembly, as amended, 79-0
Passed Senate concurrence, 36-0
Signed by governor

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