EQCA Releases 2013 Legislative Scorecard Rating Lawmakers on LGBT Votes

Equality California today released its annual Legislative Scorecard, rating lawmakers for their 2013 votes on legislation that advances equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians.

“Every Californian should know whether their elected representatives stood for equality, or if they stood in the way,” said John O’Connor, EQCA executive director. “Our annual scorecard is a resource for voters who demand full equality and nothing less and it showcases the breadth of work that we continue to address.ä

The rating of elected officials was based on EQCA-sponsored bills in both the Senate and Assembly, but the scorecard also includes information on votes on other EQCA-supported bills that advance equality for the LGBT community.

The 2013 EQCA sponsored bills include:
School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266, Ammiano)
Every student ÷ including transgender students ÷ should have a fair chance to fully participate and succeed in school. AB 1266 addresses the exclusion of transgender students from classes and activities, and clarifies existing anti-discrimination law to provide clear protections for transgender students.

Transgender Name Changes and Birth Certificates (AB 1121, Atkins)
California procedures to change a personâs name and/or gender are extremely costly and burdensome, particularly for low-income transgender individuals who may not meet the very low income limits to be eligible for court fee waivers. AB 1121 simplifies the process required for name changes and ensures that a transgender personâs gender identity is reflected accurately on important identity documents.

LGBT Cultural Competency Training for Administrators in Senior Care Facilities (AB 663, Gomez)
Older LGBT Californians often opt to go back in the closet when they enter senior care facilities for fear of discrimination. AB 663 ensures that administrators of residential care facilities have additional training in cultural competency and sensitivity in aging LGBT issues.

LGBT Health Insurance Tax Parity (AB 362, Ting)
Although DOMA has been struck down, according to the Franchise Tax Board, the compensation provided to employees by their employers in the 2013 taxable year to make up for unfair federal taxes they had to pay in order to cover a partner or spouse on health insurance is still subject to state income taxes. AB 362 will provide relief from state taxes for employees who receive this compensation from their employer in fiscal year 2013. AB 362 also covers employees with a same-sex registered domestic partner to give these couples up to five years to transition to marriage without incurring this state tax on their employer-provided reimbursements for unfair federal tax payments.

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 1208, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection bill, authored by Assemblymembmer Dr. Richard Pan, which would have ensured that the LGBT community is counted by including voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on the application Californians complete for insurance affordability programs such as Medi-Cal and Covered California. Governor Brown earned an 80% rating for signing 4 out of 5 EQCA sponsored bills. Including this year, EQCA has passed a total of 96 pieces of legislation that were also signed into law.
For the full list of legislation sponsored and supported by EQCA, please see the full scorecard.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org