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State Senate OKs bills on transgender students, broken parking meters

California Senate approves allowing students to be on sports teams corresponding to their gender identity and limits cities on ticketing cars parked at broken meters.

July 03, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said the transgender measure is aimed at reducing the bullying of transgender students and helping them fit in better at school.
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said the transgender measure is… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

SACRAMENTO — State lawmakers sent the governor measures Wednesday that would ban tickets for drivers who park at broken meters; allow transgender students to play on sports teams and use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity rather than their sex; and would bar the state from providing employment tax credits to sexually oriented businesses.

The Senate gave final legislative approval to a bill that would prohibit local governments from issuing parking tickets to motorists who park at broken meters for the period of time allowed when the meter is working.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) said he introduced the measure in response to media reports about widespread ticketing at nonfunctioning meters in Los Angeles.

"Taxpayers already pay for street maintenance, meter installation and meter upkeep," Gatto said. "Local governments should take responsibility and keep parking meters in good working order, not squeeze a double penalty out of cash-strapped citizens

The Senate passed his bill, AB 61, on a 36-1 vote.

Under the transgender measure, schools would have to permit pupils to participate in sex-segregated school programs and use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, regardless of the sex listed on the students' records.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said the measure is aimed at reducing the bullying of transgender students and helping them fit in better at school.

"We know that kids that are different suffer abuse," Leno said, citing the case of Lawrence King, a gay student who was shot to death at an Oxnard middle school by a classmate in 2008.

Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber was among the Republicans who opposed the bill. He said it would violate the privacy of students who don't want share restrooms with members of the opposite sex.

"Think of all of the parents and all of the students that would be uncomfortable in this situation, and that a student has no burden but to declare that 'I want to be in the boys' shower or the girls' shower,' " Nielsen said during the floor debate.

Sen. Stephen Knight (R-Palmdale) asked what was to prevent a large boy from deciding to compete on — and dominate — the girls' swim team.

Schools could discipline students who try to game the system, responded Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). He noted that the Los Angeles Unified School District has had a similar policy in place for eight years.

"To date, there has not been a single reported incident of any misconduct," Lara told his colleagues.

The Senate passed the measure, AB 1266 by Sen. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), by a vote of 21 to 9.

The Senate and Assembly both acted Wednesday to prohibit the state from giving tax credits to nightclubs featuring topless or nude dancers in a program to encourage hiring in blighted areas.

The state has provided $750 million annually in tax breaks to businesses that hire workers in 40 locally controlled "enterprise zones" in economically distressed parts of California. State officials were embarrassed by recent media reports that some of the tax credits went to two strip clubs in Sacramento County.

Last week, state officials overhauled the program to provide broader business incentives.

The bill that was sent to the governor Wednesday adds that tax credits for hiring cannot go to businesses that provide live nude entertainment.

"Unfortunately, there were examples of glaring issues where taxpayer money was not used wisely," Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), co-author of the bill, said during the floor debate.

The measure, SB 90, passed 37 to 0.

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