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Why Did California Gov. Gavin Newsom Veto Pro-LGBTQ+ Bills...Again?

Why Did California Gov. Gavin Newsom Veto Pro-LGBTQ+ Bills...Again?

California Governor Gavin Newsom Vetoes Pro LGBTQ Bills
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The Democrat is known as a strong LGBTQ+ ally, but he objected to some aspects of the legislation.

trudestress

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, usually a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, has vetoed three pro-LGBTQ+ bills, saying he appreciates their intent but had concerns.

Over the weekend, the Democratic governor vetoed Assembly Bill 524, which would have banned employment discrimination based on family caregiver status. LGBTQ+ groups had supported the bill because many in the community care for “chosen family” members, as those people may be estranged from their families of origin.

In his veto message, Newsom said the bill was unclear about what would be considered illegal discrimination. “During my tenure as Governor I have consistently advanced policies to help parents and families, including expanding paid family leave and increasing the state’s investment in childcare,” he wrote. “While I appreciate the intent of this bill, I am concerned about the large burden it will place on employers, particularly small businesses, especially given the ambiguous nature of the language.

“Although the bill does not require employers to provide ‘special accommodations’ based on ‘family caregiver status,’ it is not clear what types of acts would constitute unlawful discrimination and what types of acts would be lawful denials of ‘special accommodations.’ Given this ambiguity, this bill would be difficult to implement and lead to costly litigation for employers in California.”

Last Friday, Newsom vetoed AB 1645, authored by gay Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, which would have barred insurers from imposing co-pays or other cost-sharing arrangements on certain preventive services and screenings. It would have included drugs used for HIV prevention, a.k.a. pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Some far-right individuals and businesses in Texas have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for coverage of preventive services, arguing that PrEP coverage interferes with their religious freedom because it facilitates behavior they find immoral. A judge has ruled in their favor, but the case is on appeal.

Newsom said Zbur’s bill goes beyond existing law and would raise costs that would be passed on to policyholders. “I appreciate the author’s efforts to increase access to preventive health care, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and STI testing, colorectal screening, and other services,” he wrote in his veto message. “However, components of this proposal depart from structures in federal and state law, such as the existing policies for reimbursement to non-contracted providers. Further, because this bill exceeds the cost-sharing provisions under the Affordable Care Act, it would result in increased costs to health plans passed on to consumers through premiums. The State must weigh the potential benefits of all new mandates with the comprehensive costs to the entire delivery system.”

Also Friday, he vetoed AB 1432, which would have required out-of-state insurers providing plans for Californians to cover abortion and related services, plus gender-affirming care. He said the bill reflected good intentions but could invite lawsuits, and he noted that it may be unnecessary.

“I commend the author for working to provide additional assurances that California residents can access abortion services and gender-affirming care,” he commented in the veto message. “It is a priority of my Administration to ensure that abortion and gender-affirming care are safe, legal, and accessible. However, it is not evident that out-of-state health insurance plans serving Californians do not already cover this care. Further, though well intentioned, this bill could invite litigation where an adverse ruling would outweigh a potential benefit.”

Newsom has recently signed nine LGBTQ-supportive bills into law, while vetoing one other, which would have required judges in custody cases to take into account whether a parent affirms a child’s gender identity.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.