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Capitol Roundup: Transgender Referendum, Glove Law, Fake Service Dogs
Calif. Transgender Student Rights Referendum Fails
(Listen to the audio story above)
The law signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year provoked one of the most contentious debates at the Capitol. It allows transgender students at California schools to choose which bathrooms and locker rooms to use – and which sports and extracurricular activities they participate in – based on their gender identity, not their physical characteristics.
Opponents immediately began gathering signatures hoping to give voters a chance to reject the law this fall. But after county election officials checked each of the nearly 620,000 signatures referendum backers turned in, the effort fell about 17,000 valid signatures short of the roughly 500,000 it needed to qualify.
The law is now fully in effect. The California School Boards Association issued guidelines for districts on how to implement the new law earlier this month.
New "Glove Law" at Bars, Restaurants Prompts Backlash
A new California law that prohibits bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food at bars and restaurants just took effect in January – but it’s already drawing complaints and legislation to repeal the regulation.
United States Bartenders Guild Executive Director Aaron Gregory Smith, who owns a restaurant and bar in San Francisco, says the law requiring employees to wear gloves has far too many unintended consequences – to the environment and to small businesses’ bottom lines.
“How many gloves is that on a daily basis? I can tell you it’s 175 pairs of gloves in my establishment on one average business day, and that adds up quickly,” Smith told reporters at a news conference at a Sacramento bar Monday morning.
Last year’s legislation passed without any opposition. Democratic Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan says the measure included a lot of provisions – and this one wasn’t adequately vetted. So he’s carrying a new bill that would repeal the glove-wearing requirement.
Fines for violating the new law will begin in July unless Pan’s urgency legislation passes before then.
Use of Fake Service Dogs Draws Complaints from State Board
Guide dog advocates say there’s a growing problem in California of dog owners dressing their pets up as fake “service dogs” to take them places they wouldn’t otherwise be allowed.
State Guide Dogs for the Blind Board President Eric Holm, who relies on his yellow Lab “Ford” to help him live his life, says the state doesn’t have the legal authority – or money from the budget – to combat service dog fraud.
“When people violate that trust, it violates both health and public safety, it confuses consumers, it confuses vendors and it frankly undermines what we’re trying to accomplish,” Holm told a Senate committee hearing Monday.
Holm says service dog harnesses, badges and vests are all available online, so they’re easy for unscrupulous pet owners to obtain.
At the hearing, representatives of the guide dog community, advocates for the disabled and business groups asked for legislation to address the problem.
Fair Political Practices Commission chairperson Jodi Remke announced Tuesday that she will step down on Friday. It follows months of acrimony with other commissioners.
California Senator Tony Mendoza Resigns After Sexual Harassment Investigation, But Says He'll Run For Re-ElectionFebruary 22, 2018
His resignation followed an outside investigation, which found that Mendoza likely engaged in "flirtatious or sexually suggestive" behavior with six different women, including former staffers and fellows. The allegations date back to 2007.
Report: California Senator Tony Mendoza ‘More Likely Than Not’ Made Sexual Advances Toward Six WomenFebruary 20, 2018
A summary of the Senate’s outside investigation comes after the chamber’s Rules Committee met in closed session to discuss Mendoza’s fate for the second weekday in a row.
New legislative efforts supporting the “Me Too” anti-harassment movement could change the reporting process for victims filing complaints.
Women in California politics, protesting sexual harassment and abuse at the Capitol, distrust the response from legislative leaders.
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