You already know that California governor Jerry Brown signed off on the historic FAIR Education Act which includes LGBT figures into public school social studies classes, but what about the nine other pro-LGBT bills he recently signed into law? Let’s quickly recap them and celebrate this momentous year for west coast queers.
The Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Act – Asks the state university board to create and enforce campus policies protecting LGBTs from harassment while appointing an employee contact person to address all LGBT-related matters on campus. The law includes community colleges.
The Domestic Partnership Equality Act – Corrects nine key inequalities between domestic partnerships and heterosexual marriages including the requirement that domestic partners live together before getting hitched and the inability for domestic partners to share health benefits.
The Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Act – Allows courts to consider the relationship between a child and a non-biological parent when considering child rights cases involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and other presumed guardians.
The Gender Non-Discrimination Act – Because “gender identity and expression” don’t always appear as categories within each individual non-discrimination law, this law makes sure they’re explicitly included so that everyone who has to follow those laws knows for certain.
Gender Non-Discrimination Act – Provides public accommodations and protections in school, housing and employment for “gender identity and expression.”
The Vital Statistics Modernization Act – Makes it easier for trans people to get a court petition to change their gender on official documents also ensuring better statistics for trans citizens and their needs.
The Equal Benefits Bill – Requires any employer with a state contract worth more than $100,000 to have non-discrimination policies in place for LGBT workers and their partners.
The Judicial Applicant and Appointment Demographics Inclusion Act – Includes gender identity and sexual orientation of potential judges into the state’s Judicial Applicant Data Report to ensure that state courts remain diverse.
“Seth’s Law” – Named after bullycide victim Seth Walsh, this law requires schools to establish clear anti-bullying guidelines for all students (including LGBTs) and requires schools to respond to bullying within a prompt time frame.
Props to Governor Brown for signing these laws, Equality California for backing them, and to the legislators that sponsored the bills all the way to passage. You’re making the West Coast seem an even brighter place to live.
Image via Neon Tommy
As goes California, so goes the nation.
Hell yes! Can’t wait to move there.
@Shannon1981: where exactly are you moving to?
@ewe: She said she can’t wait to move here (California), which means she’s in another state and can’t wait to move to California.
@Sythan: I think he/she was asking which city.
Way to go, Jerry! Love it.
Secure Straight Men Aren't Homophobes
“The Equal Benefits Bill – Requires any employer with a state contract worth more than $100,000 to have non-discrimination policies in place for LGBT workers and their partners.”
So if you have a $99,999 or less contract with the state you can discriminate legally against LGBT employees in California? That sounds like bullshit. Does this new rule apply also to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and every other vulnerable group as well — or just to the LGBT community?
How about zero discrimination regardless of how much money you make in your contract with the state? Otherwise this sends the wrong message that discrimination is acceptable — for a price.
@Secure Straight Men Aren’t Homophobes: I believe the purpose is to protect small business from overburdsome regulation. If you are a sole proprietor or small business do you really want to add more extraneous paperwork on top of the rest of the load. Hiring lawyers to draw up all sorts of paperwork can end up being a substantial percentage of a small business income making it even more difficult to compete with cash rich corporations. The small time tolerant caterer making 30 k a year may end up getting excluded even though they could do a better job.
Nice to see a politician doing something positive for the LGBT community instead of working against it.
Now if they can actually rid themselves of Prop 8 we’ll finally have a massive leap forward in Equality that’ll likely push neighboring states to begin shifting more towards Equality as well.
Practically the entire NE corner of the US is a bastion of Equality (barring Rhode Island and even that might begin to move more in our favor) at least in part due to neighboring states getting a front row seat to the proof that NOM is full of sh*t.
California being the state that begins that process across the west coast (eventually moving inland) is definitely appropriate.
Its great to see real positive change occurring, yet frustrating at the glacial speed it tends to take.
@ewe: San Francisco! I graduate in December. Looking to work for Google( I am in IT), but the dream is to work for a gay rights organization.
Robert in NYC
And if the governor were a republican, be it a tea partyer or civil libertarian, none of this would have been signed into law and still some gays vote republicans into office to discriminate against them and their own interests.
SAN FRAN HAS A COOL GLBT NEIGHBORHOOD YOU WILL LOVE!
@TASTEY GOODIES: I hung out there for about 2 1/2-3 months before I had to come home(broke). I love the Castro!
Wonderful absolutely marvelous!
But Meg Whitman would have made such a better Gov’nor. She ran EBay! She knows small businesses. She understands that we need laws to protect us 1%. She understands how to control illegal immigration. Jerry Brown is a socialist, Marxist and union lover. Meg would have fired those pesky unionized teachers, nurses and EMTs and understood that private school, private police and private security is the new future. Only big corporations deserve civil rights. Vote Meg Whitman in 2016!!
@Shannon1981: good luck to you. Enjoy.
Queerty Sucks McCain's Balls
When Queerty is done ass-kissing the Democrats, perhaps they should do some basic fact checks.
Why do you fags insist on turning a blind eye to the Democratic Party’s attacks on our community?
Brown attacks those in need
Ian Steinman examines what Gov. Jerry Brown has in mind for Californians.
A WASHED-UP Republican movie star is replaced by a Democratic governor who proposes a budget-cutting program at least as harsh as his right-wing predecessor. He gains a reputation as a fiscal conservative and is applauded by the right wing–while those hoping for progressive change are sorely disappointed.
The year was 1975, and the aging movie star was a man named Ronald Reagan, who had just been replaced by a Democrat named Jerry Brown.
Karl Marx’s famous quip that history repeats itself “first as tragedy, then as farce” has never seemed more prescient than in California today, as the same Jerry Brown, 36 years later, has replaced Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governor’s mansion, and is moving to implement on austerity on an even more catastrophic scale.
In his previous tenure as governor, Brown managed to be more conservative than Ronald Reagan when judged on spending levels. Whereas Reagan actually boosted spending an average of 12.2 percent a year, Brown cut the increase to 4.6 percent in his first year–less than the rate of inflation, thus effectively imposing cuts on California.
Although Brown was initially opposed to Proposition 13–the 1978 measure that capped property taxes and required a two-thirds vote to raise taxes or adopt a state budget–after it passed, he spearheaded its implementation, declared himself a “born-again tax cutter” and won the praise and votes of the Republicans who sponsored the act.
Polls showed that by the end of his term, most Californians actually believed Brown had supported Prop 13. This fervent commitment to cutting taxes paid off for him in his re-election when he managed to carry Orange County, the state’s bastion of wealthy Republicanism.
Brown’s economic policies have been to the right of even mainstream American politics. During his 1980 presidential campaign, he called for a constitutional convention to support a balanced budget amendment.
Later, during his 1992 presidential campaign, he went so far as to call for and support the institution of a flat income tax and flat sales tax–one which forces poor people barely getting by to pay the same percentage of their income as billionaires, an idea which is considered beyond the pale by even most of today’s Republicans.
Brown’s more recent reign as mayor of Oakland is well described by a glowing review he received from American Conservative magazine:
As mayor, Brown allied himself with cops and developers. He shooed away citizens who fretted that a new condo would disturb some ducks, aggravated labor activists by courting investment from The Gap, allowed the Marines to conduct urban-warfare training maneuvers in the city, and pushed through public funding for the Oakland Military Institute, a prep school for members of the California Cadet Corps.
Finally, as attorney general, he buried one of his few redeeming features, opposition to the death penalty, and pushed for the resumption of executions in California. Ending the death penalty in California, a solution conspicuously absent from budget discussions in Sacramento, could easily save the state as much as $1 billion over five years.
It should be clear from this that working-class Californians don’t have a friend in the governor, and that Jerry Brown’s résumé as an “ally of cops and developers” places him front and center as an opponent of California’s working class–a reputation that has reinforced by spearheading the latest round of austerity measures.
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WHILE BUDGET cuts have been an aspect of life for all Californians who suffered through Schwarzenegger’s tenure, the new assault by Brown will mean nothing less than devastation for working-class people and cut off lifelines for the most vulnerable. The proposal includes:
— $1.4 billion in cuts from higher education, including $500 million each from the University of California and California State University systems and $400 million from the community college system. The result will be slashed services, slashed wages for workers and the acceleration of the privatization of education.
— $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal, including vastly increased co-pays that will drive poor Californians to put off medical care to the last minute or not seek medical care at all.
— $1.5 billion from California’s welfare-to-work program, a massive attack on one of the few programs to provide work and help to the unemployed. As the real level of unemployment in California reaches over 20 percent, this will be a devastating blow to the state’s poor.
— $750 million in cuts to child care, eliminating services for 11- and 12-year-olds and decreasing eligibility from 75 percent to 60 percent of median income. In a state where the median family income of $56,000 is already considered less than what’s needed to get by, the costs of the crisis will be pushed on to families already struggling to raise their children.
— $580 million from state operations and employee compensation, and a new round of pay cuts for workers who already suffered through furloughs and cuts the last few years. Expect continued assaults on state workers’ pension funds.
— $200 million in cuts to the court system. People arrested who don’t have the money to make bail should expect to spend months, if not years, awaiting trial.
— Although K-12 education is being left as is in the current proposal, Brown’s budget will take $1 billion in funds from Prop 10, which helps fund children’s programs and prepares younger kids to be able to go to school.
— Slashing almost all state funding for libraries.
— An end to housing aid for those transitioning out of foster care.
Many of the most devastating cuts however are going to be directed toward the mentally and physically disabled–in other words, those less able to fight back against an unprecedented assault on services that are already insufficient. These include:
— Supplemental Security Income, which provides benefits for those affected by disabilities or mental illness, will be cut to the bare minimum of $830 a month.
— An 8.4 percent reduction in the hours that in-home supportive services workers care for elderly and disabled residents.
— $750 million in cuts to regional centers overseeing care to the developmentally disabled.
— $861 million will be “borrowed,” which is to say stolen, from funding set aside by voters for mental health services.
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THE ONLY taxes Jerry Brown is considering putting through are regressive taxes on the working class. Brown is pushing for an extension of increases in the sales tax and vehicle registration fees, both of which will disproportionately affect poor and working-class Californians.
These tax hikes were the same ones presented by Schwarzenegger as ballot measures in 2009 and rejected as the regressive taxes they were. Interestingly enough, and quite revealing about California politics, one of the biggest donors behind the 2009 initiative were California oil corporations hoping to avoid any of the taxes they’d face to in every other state, including and especially Alaska.
California is currently the third-largest oil producer in the U.S., yet it is the only major oil-producing state to give companies like Chevron a free ride. A mere 6 percent tax on oil extraction could raise $1 billion; if the tax were the same as Alaska’s, 25 percent, that would be more than $4 billion.
Since all oil companies are doing is essentially pumping money out of California and into their profit margins, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to demand a much higher rate of 50 percent or even full control of California’s own oil resources–something which would more than cover the cost of the cuts being proposed this year.
Yet even the subject of taxing oil in California leaves out the most obvious solution to the problem and the one that any working-class citizen should demand–taxing the rich.
According to the California Labor Federation, the state gives away more than $50 billion in tax waivers and loopholes for the rich and corporations. The four richest Californians alone have a net worth of $69 billion, more than three times the budget deficit.
In fact, the combined wealth of only those billionaires wealthy enough to make the Forbes 400 list in 2010 is $250.9 billion, 10 percent of which would provide enough to close the deficit and even expand services without a single budget cut or tax on the working class.
And it’s not like the wealthy have been hurting over the past year. Not long ago, Merrill Lynch unveiled its World Wealth Report, which charts the finances of the world’s super-rich. This year, the wealth of those with over $1 million in liquid assets grew by 18 percent, with the numbers even higher among those in wealthier brackets.
This is all wealth that has overwhelmingly come from stock market speculation and the dividends that the super-wealthy received from the bank bailouts financed by the country’s poor and working class.
Yet taking back even a slice of this wealth won’t be on the table under California’s Democratic Gov. Brown and the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Instead, workers, students, the unemployed, families and the mentally disabled have become the target of some of the most vicious budget-cutting in California history.
The necessity of building mass resistance independent of the Democratic Party is about to become not only an urgent political need, but for Californians about to be thrown off aid, cut off from services and left stranded without help, it will become a prerequisite to survival.
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