Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Gov signs LGBT data bill

Assemblyman David Chiu. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Assemblyman David Chiu. Photo: Rick Gerharter

California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law Assembly Bill 677, which is meant to help ensure that public policy in the state meets the needs its LGBT residents.

In a news release, Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author, said, “I want to thank Governor Brown for understanding the obstacles facing LGBT communities and for helping to eliminate educational and employments disparities. Good information will move us closer to full equality.”

AB 677 builds on data collection best practices by requiring education and employment-related government agencies to collect voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data when collecting other demographic data.

Aggregated SOGI data collected pursuant to this bill will be reported to the Legislature and made publicly available.

Additionally, under the bill, schools that participate in the California Healthy Kids Survey will be prohibited from removing the question about sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the 2015-16 school year, the state’s Department of Education reported that 16 percent of participating school districts selectively removed the SOGI question. Last year, about 9 percent of school districts removed the same question.

LGBTs face disproportionately high rates of homelessness, poverty, suicide, and low rates of health insurance, among other problems, Chiu’s office said, and “These issues are more prevalent for youth and seniors, communities of color, and transgender and undocumented communities.”

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, which sponsored the bill, stated AB 677 “will help give us a better picture of California’s LGBTQ community, where we live and what our needs are. LGBTQ people are especially vulnerable in the workplace and in the classroom, and this bill will help us to continue to address the many disparities our community suffers compared to the general public.”

The bill takes effect January 1, 2018, and state agencies will be required to comply with its provisions no later than July 1, 2019.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 13, 2017 @ 4:20 pm PST
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