BILL NUMBER: AB 205	CHAPTERED
	BILL TEXT

	CHAPTER  421
	FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE  SEPTEMBER 22, 2003
	APPROVED BY GOVERNOR  SEPTEMBER 19, 2003
	PASSED THE ASSEMBLY  SEPTEMBER 3, 2003
	PASSED THE SENATE  AUGUST 28, 2003
	AMENDED IN SENATE  AUGUST 21, 2003
	AMENDED IN SENATE  AUGUST 18, 2003
	AMENDED IN SENATE  JULY 16, 2003
	AMENDED IN SENATE  JULY 3, 2003
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  JUNE 3, 2003
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  JUNE 2, 2003
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MARCH 25, 2003
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MARCH 24, 2003

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Members Goldberg, Kehoe, Koretz, Laird, and
Leno
   (Principal coauthor:  Assembly Member Wesson)
   (Principal coauthor:  Senator Kuehl)
   (Coauthors:  Assembly Members Berg, Bermudez, Chan, Chu, Diaz,
Dymally, Firebaugh, Frommer, Hancock, Levine, Lieber, Longville,
Lowenthal, Montanez, Nation, Nunez, Oropeza, Pavley, Simitian,
Steinberg, Vargas, and Yee)
   (Coauthors:  Senators Burton, Cedillo, Romero, and Vasconcellos)

                        JANUARY 28, 2003

   An act to amend Sections 297, 298, and 298.5 of, to add Sections
297.5, 299.2, and 299.3 to, to repeal Section 299.5 of, and to repeal
and add Section 299 of, the Family Code, to amend Section 14771 of
the Government Code, and to amend Section 3 of Chapter 447 of the
Statutes of 2002, relating to domestic partnerships.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 205, Goldberg.  Domestic partners.
   Existing law provides for the issuance of a marriage license and
specifies the rights and obligations of married persons.
   Existing law also provides for the establishment and the
termination of domestic partnerships.  Existing law requires the
Secretary of State to prepare and distribute forms for creating and
terminating domestic partnerships.  Existing law specifies the
requirements for completing the form necessary to create a domestic
partnership and provides that a violation of this provision is a
misdemeanor.
   This bill would enact the California Domestic Partner Rights and
Responsibilities Act of 2003.  The bill would modify the procedure
and the accompanying form for terminating domestic partnerships, and
require additional duties of the Secretary of State in relation, as
specified.  The bill would also revise the requirements for entering
into a domestic partnership to require each person to consent to the
jurisdiction of the superior courts of this state for the purpose of
a proceeding to obtain a judgment of dissolution or nullity of the
domestic partnership.  The bill would revise the provision described
above making it a misdemeanor to violate the provision specifying the
requirements for completing the form necessary to create a domestic
partnership.  The bill would instead specifically provide that filing
an intentionally and materially false Declaration of Domestic
Partnership would be punishable as a misdemeanor, thereby creating a
new crime.  By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a
state-mandated local program.
   This bill would extend the rights and duties of marriage to
persons registered as domestic partners on and after January 1, 2005.
  The bill would provide that the superior courts shall have
jurisdiction over all proceedings governing the dissolution of
domestic partnerships, nullity of domestic partnerships, and legal
separation of partners in domestic partnerships.  These proceedings
would follow the same procedures as the equivalent proceedings with
respect to marriage.  The bill would provide that a legal union
validly formed in another jurisdiction that is substantially
equivalent to a domestic partnership would be recognized as a valid
domestic partnership in this state.  The bill would require the
Secretary of State to send a letter on 3 separate, specified
occasions to the mailing address of registered domestic partners
informing them of these changes, as specified.  The bill would also
require the Director of General Services, through the forms
management center, to provide notice to state agencies, among others,
that in reviewing and revising all public-use forms that refer to or
use the terms spouse, husband, wife, father, mother, marriage, or
marital status, that appropriate references to domestic partner,
parent, or domestic partnership be included.  The bill would also
make related and conforming changes.  The bill would further make
specified provisions operative on January 1, 2005. The bill would
impose a state-mandated local program by adding to the duties of
county clerks.
  The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement, including the creation of a State Mandates Claims Fund
to pay the costs of mandates that do not exceed $1,000,000 statewide
and other procedures for claims whose statewide costs exceed
$1,000,000.
   This bill would provide that with regard to certain mandates no
reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
   With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that,
if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains
costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall
be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


  SECTION 1.  (a) This act is intended to help California move closer
to fulfilling the promises of inalienable rights, liberty, and
equality contained in Sections 1 and 7 of Article 1 of the California
Constitution by providing all caring and committed couples,
regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, the opportunity to
obtain essential rights, protections, and benefits and to assume
corresponding responsibilities, obligations, and duties and to
further the state's interests in promoting stable and lasting family
relationships, and protecting Californians from the economic and
social consequences of abandonment, separation, the death of loved
ones, and other life crises.
   (b) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that despite
longstanding social and economic discrimination, many lesbian, gay,
and bisexual Californians have formed lasting, committed, and caring
relationships with persons of the same sex.  These couples share
lives together, participate in their communities together, and many
raise children and care for other dependent family members together.
Many of these couples have sought to protect each other and their
family members by registering as domestic partners with the State of
California and, as a result, have received certain basic legal
rights.  Expanding the rights and creating responsibilities of
registered domestic partners would further California's interests in
promoting family relationships and protecting family members during
life crises, and would reduce discrimination on the bases of sex and
sexual orientation in a manner consistent with the requirements of
the California Constitution.
   (c) This act is not intended to repeal or adversely affect any
other ways in which relationships between adults may be recognized or
given effect in California, or the legal consequences of those
relationships, including, among other things, civil marriage,
enforcement of palimony agreements, enforcement of powers of
attorney, appointment of conservators or guardians, and petitions for
second parent or limited consent adoption.
  SEC. 2.  This act shall be known and may be cited as "The
California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003."

  SEC. 3.  Section 297 of the Family Code is amended to read:
   297.  (a) Domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to
share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship
of mutual caring.
   (b) A domestic partnership shall be established in California when
both persons file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the
Secretary of State pursuant to this division, and, at the time of
filing, all of the following requirements are met:
   (1) Both persons have a common residence.
   (2) Neither person is married  to someone else or is a member of
another domestic partnership with someone else that has not been
terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity.
   (3) The two persons are not related by blood in a way that would
prevent them from being married to each other in this state.
   (4) Both persons are at least 18 years of age.
   (5) Either of the following:
   (A) Both persons are members of the same sex.
   (B) One or both of the persons meet the eligibility criteria under
Title II of the Social Security Act as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section
402(a) for old-age insurance benefits or Title XVI of the Social
Security Act as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 1381 for aged
individuals.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this section,
persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership
unless one or both of the persons are over the age of 62.
   (6) Both persons are capable of consenting to the domestic
partnership.
   (c) "Have a common residence" means that both domestic partners
share the same residence.  It is not necessary that the legal right
to possess the common residence be in both of their names.  Two
people have a common residence even if one or both have additional
residences.  Domestic partners do not cease to have a common
residence if one leaves the common residence but intends to return.

  SEC. 4.  Section 297.5 is added to the Family Code, to read:
   297.5.  (a) Registered domestic partners shall have the same
rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same
responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they
derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules,
government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources
of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.
   (b) Former registered domestic partners shall have the same
rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same
responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they
derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules,
government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources
of law, as are granted to and imposed upon former spouses.
   (c) A surviving registered domestic partner, following the death
of the other partner, shall have the same rights, protections, and
benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities,
obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes,
administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common
law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to
and imposed upon a widow or a widower.
   (d) The rights and obligations of registered domestic partners
with respect to a child of either of them shall be the same as those
of spouses. The rights and obligations of former or surviving
registered domestic partners with respect to a child of either of
them shall be the same as those of former or surviving spouses.
   (e) To the extent that provisions of California law adopt, refer
to, or rely upon, provisions of federal law in a way that otherwise
would cause registered domestic partners to be treated differently
than spouses, registered domestic partners shall be treated by
California law as if federal law recognized a domestic partnership in
the same manner as California law.
   (f) Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights
regarding nondiscrimination as those provided to spouses.
   (g) Notwithstanding this section, in filing their state income tax
returns, domestic partners shall use the same filing status as is
used on their federal income tax returns, or that would have been
used had they filed federal income tax returns.  Earned income may
not be treated as community property for state income tax purposes.
   (h) No public agency in this state may discriminate against any
person or couple on the ground that the person is a registered
domestic partner rather than a spouse or that the couple are
registered domestic partners rather than spouses, except that nothing
in this  section applies to modify eligibility for long-term care
plans pursuant to Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 21660) of Part
3 of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
   (i) This act does not preclude any state or local agency from
exercising its regulatory authority to implement statutes providing
rights to, or imposing responsibilities upon, domestic partners.
   (j)  This section does not amend or modify any provision of the
California Constitution or any provision of any statute that was
adopted by initiative.
   (k) This section does not amend or modify federal laws or the
benefits, protections, and responsibilities provided by those laws.
   (l) Where necessary to implement the rights of domestic partners
under this act, gender-specific terms referring to spouses shall be
construed to include domestic partners.
  SEC. 5.  Section 298 of the Family Code is amended to read:
   298.  (a) The Secretary of State shall prepare forms entitled
"Declaration of Domestic Partnership" and "Notice of Termination of
Domestic Partnership" to meet the requirements of this division.
These forms shall require the signature and seal of an acknowledgment
by a notary public to be binding and valid.
   (b) (1) The Secretary of State shall distribute these forms to
each county clerk.  These forms shall be available to the public at
the office of the Secretary of State and each county clerk.
   (2) The Secretary of State shall, by regulation, establish fees
for the actual costs of processing each of these forms, and the cost
for preparing and sending the mailings and notices required pursuant
to Section 299.3, and shall charge these fees to persons filing the
forms.
   (c) The Declaration of Domestic Partnership shall require each
person who wants to become a domestic partner to (1) state that he or
she meets the requirements of Section 297 at the time the form is
signed, (2) provide a mailing address, (3) state that he or she
consents to the jurisdiction of the Superior Courts of California for
the purpose of a proceeding to obtain a judgment of dissolution or
nullity of the domestic partnership or for legal separation of
partners in the domestic partnership, or for any other proceeding
related to the partners' rights and obligations, even if one or both
partners ceases to be a resident of, or to maintain a domicile in,
this state, (4) sign the form with a declaration that representations
made therein are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of
fact to the best knowledge and belief of the applicant, and (5) have
a notary public acknowledge his or her signature.  Both partners'
signatures shall be affixed to one Declaration of Domestic
Partnership form, which form shall then be transmitted to the
Secretary of State according to the instructions provided on the
form.  Filing an intentionally and materially false Declaration of
Domestic Partnership shall be punishable as a misdemeanor.
  SEC. 6.  Section 298.5 of the Family Code is amended to read:
   298.5.  (a) Two persons desiring to become domestic partners may
complete and file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the
Secretary of State.
   (b) The Secretary of State shall register the Declaration of
Domestic Partnership in a registry for those partnerships, and shall
return a copy of the registered form and a Certificate of Registered
Domestic Partnership to the domestic partners at the mailing address
provided by the domestic partners.
   (c) No person who has filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership
may file a new Declaration of Domestic Partnership or enter a civil
marriage with someone other than their registered domestic partner
unless the most recent domestic partnership has been terminated or a
final judgment of dissolution or nullity of the most recent domestic
partnership has been entered.  This prohibition does not apply if the
previous domestic partnership ended because one of the partners
died.
  SEC. 7.  Section 299 of the Family Code is repealed.
  SEC. 8.  Section 299 is added to the Family Code, to read:
   299.  (a) A domestic partnership may be terminated without filing
a proceeding for dissolution of domestic partnership by the filing of
a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary
of State pursuant to this section, provided that all of the following
conditions exist at the time of the filing:
   (1) The Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership is signed by
both domestic partners.
   (2) There are no children of the relationship of the parties born
before or after registration of the domestic partnership or adopted
by the parties after registration of the domestic partnership, and
neither of the domestic partners, to their knowledge, is pregnant.
   (3) The domestic partnership is not more than five years in
duration.
   (4) Neither party has any interest in real property wherever
situated, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by
either party which satisfies the following requirements:
   (A) The lease does not include an option to purchase.
   (B) The lease terminates within one year from the date of filing
of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
   (5) There are no unpaid obligations in excess of the amount
described in paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 2400, as
adjusted by subdivision (b) of Section 2400, incurred by either or
both of the parties after registration of the domestic partnership,
excluding the amount of any unpaid obligation with respect to an
automobile.
   (6) The total fair market value of community property assets,
excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, including any deferred
compensation or retirement plan, is less than the amount described in
paragraph (7) of subdivision (a) of Section 2400, as adjusted by
subdivision (b) of Section 2400, and neither party has separate
property assets, excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, in
excess of that amount.
   (7) The parties have executed an agreement setting forth the
division of assets and the assumption of liabilities of the community
property, and have executed any documents, title certificates, bills
of sale, or other evidence of transfer necessary to effectuate the
agreement.
   (8) The parties waive any rights to support by the other domestic
partner.
   (9) The parties have read and understand a brochure prepared by
the Secretary of State describing the requirements, nature, and
effect of terminating a domestic partnership.
   (10) Both parties desire that the domestic partnership be
terminated.
   (b) The domestic partnership shall be terminated effective six
months after the date of filing of the Notice of Termination of
Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State pursuant to this
section, provided that neither party has, before that date, filed
with the Secretary of State a notice of revocation of the termination
of domestic partnership, in the form and content as shall be
prescribed by the Secretary of State, and sent to the other party a
copy of the notice of revocation by first-class mail, postage
prepaid, at the other party's last known address.  The effect of
termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to this section shall
be the same as, and shall be treated for all purposes as, the entry
of a judgment of dissolution of a domestic partnership.
   (c) The termination of a domestic partnership pursuant to
subdivision (b) does not prejudice nor bar the rights of either of
the parties to institute an action in the superior court to set aside
the termination for fraud, duress, mistake, or any other ground
recognized at law or in equity.  A court may set aside the
termination of domestic partnership and declare the termination of
the domestic partnership null and void upon proof that the parties
did not meet the requirements of subdivision (a) at the time of the
filing of the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the
Secretary of State.
   (d) The superior courts shall have jurisdiction over all
proceedings relating to the dissolution of domestic partnerships,
nullity of domestic partnerships, and legal separation of partners in
a domestic partnership.  The dissolution of a domestic partnership,
nullity of a domestic partnership, and legal separation of partners
in a domestic partnership shall follow the same procedures, and the
partners shall possess the same rights, protections, and benefits,
and be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties,
as apply to the dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, and
legal separation of spouses in a marriage, respectively, except as
provided in subdivision (a), and except that, in accordance with the
consent acknowledged by domestic partners in the Declaration of
Domestic Partnership form, proceedings for dissolution, nullity, or
legal separation of a domestic partnership registered in this state
may be filed in the superior courts of this state even if neither
domestic partner is a resident of, or maintains a domicile in, the
state at the time the proceedings are filed.
  SEC. 9.  Section 299.2 is added to the Family Code, to read:
   299.2.  A legal union of two persons of the same sex, other than a
marriage, that was validly formed in another jurisdiction, and that
is substantially equivalent to a domestic partnership as defined in
this part, shall be recognized as a valid domestic partnership in
this state regardless of whether it bears the name domestic
partnership.
  SEC. 10.  Section 299.3 is added to the Family Code, to read:
   299.3.  (a) On or before June 30, 2004, and again on or before
December 1, 2004, and again on or before January 31, 2005, the
Secretary of State shall send the following letter to the mailing
address on file of each registered domestic partner who registered
more than one month prior to each of those dates:
"Dear Registered Domestic Partner:

   This letter is being sent to all persons who have registered with
the Secretary of State as a domestic partner.
   Effective January 1, 2005, California's law related to the rights
and responsibilities of registered domestic partners will change (or,
if you are receiving this letter after that date, the law has
changed, as of January 1, 2005).  With this new legislation, for
purposes of California law, domestic partners will have a great many
new rights and responsibilities, including laws governing community
property, those governing property transfer, those regarding duties
of mutual financial support and mutual responsibilities for certain
debts to third parties, and many others.  The way domestic
partnerships are terminated is also changing.   After January 1,
2005, under certain circumstances, it will be necessary to
participate in a dissolution proceeding in court to end a domestic
partnership.
   Domestic partners who do not wish to be subject to these new
rights and responsibilities MUST terminate their domestic partnership
before January 1, 2005.  Under the law in effect until January 1,
2005, your domestic partnership is automatically terminated if you or
your partner marry or die while you are registered as domestic
partners.  It is also terminated if you send to your partner or your
partner sends to you, by certified mail, a notice terminating the
domestic partnership, or if you and your partner no longer share a
common residence.  In all cases, you are required to file a Notice of
Termination of Domestic Partnership.
   If you do not terminate your domestic partnership before January
1, 2005, as provided above, you will be subject to these new rights
and responsibilities and, under certain circumstances, you will only
be able to terminate your domestic partnership, other than as a
result of domestic partner's death, by the filing of a court action.

   If you have any questions about any of these changes, please
consult an attorney.  If you cannot find an attorney in your locale,
please contact your county bar association for a referral.
Sincerely,
The Secretary of State"

   (b) From January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2004, inclusive, the
Secretary of State shall provide the following notice with all
requests for the Declaration of Domestic Partnership form.  The
Secretary of State also shall attach the Notice to the Declaration of
Domestic Partnership form that is provided to the general public on
the Secretary of State's Web site:
      "NOTICE TO POTENTIAL DOMESTIC PARTNER REGISTRANTS

   As of January 1, 2005, California's law of domestic partnership
will change.
   Beginning at that time, for purposes of California law, domestic
partners will have a great many new rights and responsibilities,
including laws governing community property, those governing property
transfer, those regarding duties of mutual financial support and
mutual responsibilities for certain debts to third parties, and many
others.  The way domestic partnerships are terminated will also
change.  Unlike current law, which allows partners to end their
partnership simply by filing a "Termination of Domestic Partnership"
form with the Secretary of State, after January 1, 2005, it will be
necessary under certain circumstances to participate in a dissolution
proceeding in court to end a domestic partnership.
   If you have questions about these changes, please consult an
attorney.  If you cannot find an attorney in your area, please
contact your county bar association for a referral."

  SEC. 11.  Section 299.5 of the Family Code is repealed.
  SEC. 12.  Section 14771 of the Government Code is amended to read:

   14771.  (a) The director, through the forms management center,
shall do all of the following:
   (1) Establish a State Forms Management Program for all state
agencies, and provide assistance in establishing internal forms
management capabilities.
   (2) Study, develop, coordinate and initiate forms of interagency
and common administrative usage, and establish basic state design and
specification criteria to effect the standardization of public-use
forms.
   (3) Provide assistance to state agencies for economical forms
design and forms art work composition and establish and supervise
control procedures to prevent the undue creation and reproduction of
public-use forms.
   (4) Provide assistance, training, and instruction in forms
management techniques to state agencies, forms management
representatives, and departmental forms coordinators, and provide
direct administrative and forms management assistance to new state
organizations as they are created.
   (5) Maintain a central cross index of public-use forms to
facilitate the standardization of these forms, to eliminate redundant
forms, and to provide a central source of information on the usage
and availability of forms.
   (6) Utilize appropriate procurement techniques to take advantage
of competitive bidding, consolidated orders, and contract procurement
of forms, and work directly with the Office of State Publishing
toward more efficient, economical and timely procurement, receipt,
storage, and distribution of state forms.
   (7) Coordinate the forms management program with the existing
state archives and records management program to ensure timely
disposition of outdated forms and related records.
   (8) Conduct periodic evaluations of the effectiveness of the
overall forms management program and the forms management practices
of the individual state agencies, and maintain records which indicate
net dollar savings which have been realized through centralized
forms management.
   (9) Develop and promulgate rules and standards to implement the
overall purposes of this section.
   (10) Create and maintain by July 1, 1986, a complete and
comprehensive inventory of public-use forms in current use by the
state.
   (11) Establish and maintain, by July 1, 1986, an index of all
public-use forms in current use by the state.
   (12) Assign, by January 1, 1987, a control number to all
public-use forms in current use by the state.
   (13) Establish a goal to reduce the existing burden of state
collections of public information by 30 percent by July 1, 1987, and
to reduce that burden by an additional 15 percent by July 1, 1988.
   (14) Provide notice to state agencies, forms management
representatives, and departmental forms coordinators, that in the
usual course of reviewing and revising all public-use forms that
refer to or use the terms spouse, husband, wife, father, mother,
marriage, or marital status, that appropriate references to domestic
partner, parent, or domestic partnership are to be included.
   (15) Delegate implementing authority to state agencies where the
delegation will result in the most timely and economical method of
accomplishing the responsibilities set forth in this section.
   The director, through the forms management center, may require any
agency to revise any public-use form which the director determines
is inefficient.
   (b) Due to the need for tax forms to be available to the public on
a timely basis, all tax forms, including returns, schedules,
notices, and instructions prepared by the Franchise Tax Board for
public use in connection with its administration of the Personal
Income Tax Law, Senior Citizens Property Tax Assistance and
Postponement Law, Bank and Corporation Tax Law, and the Political
Reform Act of 1974 and the State Board of Equalization's
administration of county assessment standards, state-assessed
property, timber tax, sales and use tax, hazardous substances tax,
alcoholic beverage tax, cigarette tax, motor vehicle fuel license
tax, use fuel tax, energy resources surcharge, emergency telephone
users surcharge, insurance tax, and universal telephone service tax
shall be exempt from subdivision (a), and, instead, each board shall
do all of the following:
   (1) Establish a goal to standardize, consolidate, simplify,
efficiently manage, and, where possible, reduce the number of tax
forms.
   (2) Create and maintain, by July 1, 1986, a complete and
comprehensive inventory of tax forms in current use by the board.
   (3) Establish and maintain, by July 1, 1986, an index of all tax
forms in current use by the board.
   (4) Report to the Legislature, by January 1, 1987, on its progress
to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all tax forms.
   (c) The director, through the forms management center, shall
develop and maintain, by December 31, 1995, an ongoing master
inventory of all nontax reporting forms required of businesses by
state agencies, including a schedule for notifying each state agency
of the impending expiration of certain report review requirements
pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 14775.
  SEC. 13.  Section 3 of Chapter 447 of the Statutes of 2002 is
amended to read:
   Sec. 3.  On or before March 1, 2003, the Secretary of State shall
send the following letter to the mailing address on file of each
registered domestic partner who registered prior to January 1, 2003:
"Dear Registered Domestic Partner:
   This letter is being sent to all persons who have registered with
the Secretary of State as a domestic partner.
   As of July 1, 2003, California's law of intestate succession will
change.  The intestate succession law specifies what happens to a
person's property when that person dies without a will, trust, or
other estate plan.
   Under existing law, if a domestic partner dies without a will,
trust, or other estate plan, a surviving domestic partner cannot
inherit any of the deceased partner's separate property.  Instead,
surviving relatives, including, for example, children, brothers,
sisters, nieces, nephews, or parents may inherit the deceased partner'
s separate property.
   Under the law to take effect July 1, 2003, if a domestic partner
dies without a will, trust, or other estate plan, the surviving
domestic partner will inherit the deceased partner's separate
property in the same manner as a surviving spouse.  This change will
mean that the surviving domestic partner would inherit a third, a
half,                                           or all of the
deceased partner's separate property, depending on whether the
deceased domestic partner has surviving children or other relatives.
This change does not affect any community or quasi-community
property that the deceased partner may have had.
   This change in the intestate succession law will not affect you if
you have a will, trust, or other estate plan.
   If you do not have a will, trust, or other estate plan and you do
not wish to have your domestic partner inherit your separate property
in the manner provided by the revised law, you may prepare a will,
trust, or other estate plan, or terminate your domestic partnership.

   Under existing law, your domestic partnership is automatically
terminated if you or your partner married or died while you were
registered as domestic partners.  It is also terminated by you
sending your partner or your partner sending to you by certified mail
a notice terminating the domestic partnership, or by you and your
partner no longer sharing a common residence.  In all cases, you are
required to file a Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership with
the Secretary of State in order to establish the actual date of
termination of the domestic partnership.  You can obtain a Notice of
Termination of Domestic Partnership from the Secretary of State's
office.
   If your domestic partnership has terminated because you sent your
partner or your partner sent to you a notice of termination of your
domestic partnership, you must immediately file a Notice of
Termination of Domestic Partnership.  If you do not file that notice,
your former domestic partner may inherit under the new law.
However, if your domestic partnership has terminated because you or
your partner married or you and your partner no longer share a common
residence, neither you nor your former partner may inherit from the
other under this new law.
   If you have any questions about this change, please consult an
estate planning attorney.  If you cannot find an estate planning
attorney in your locale, please contact your county bar association
for a referral.
Sincerely,
The Secretary of State"

  SEC. 14.  The provisions of Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 of
this act shall become operative on January 1, 2005.
  SEC. 15.  This act shall be construed liberally in order to secure
to eligible couples who register as domestic partners the full range
of legal rights, protections and benefits, as well as all of the
responsibilities, obligations, and duties to each other, to their
children, to third parties and to the state, as the laws of
California extend to and impose upon spouses.
  SEC. 16.  The provisions of this act are severable.  If any
provision of this act is held to be invalid, or if any application
thereof to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid, the
invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that may
be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
  SEC. 17.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for
certain costs  that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district because in that regard this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the
Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
Constitution.
   However, notwithstanding Section 17610 of the Government Code, if
the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains
other costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies
and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7
(commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the
Government Code.  If the statewide cost of the claim for
reimbursement does not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000),
reimbursement shall be made from the State Mandates Claims Fund.