BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 2900|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                         |
          |1020 N Street, Suite 524          |                         |
          |(916) 445-6614         Fax: (916) |                         |
          |327-4478                          |                         |
                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 2900
          Author:   Laird (D)
          Amended:  4/1/04 in Assembly
          Vote:     21

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  4-2, 6/22/04
          AYES:  Escutia, Cedillo, Kuehl, Sher
          NOES:  Morrow, Ackerman
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Ducheny

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-4, 8/4/04
          AYES:  Alpert, Bowen, Escutia, Karnette, Machado, Murray,  
          NOES:  Battin, Aanestad, Ashburn, Poochigian
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Burton, Johnson

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  48-32, 5/17/04 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Employment discrimination

           SOURCE  :     Equality California

           DIGEST :    This bill changes employment antidiscrimination  
          provisions in various codes to conform with the Fair  
          Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and to prohibit  
          discrimination on the same bases as those found in FEHA.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law, scattered among several codes,  
          prohibit discrimination in employment on different bases,  
          such as race, color, sex, religion and marital status.



                                                               AB 2900

          Existing law, FEHA, prohibits discrimination on the basis  
          of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry,  
          physical disability, mental disability, medical condition,  
          marital status, sex, age, or sexual orientation. 

          This bill incorporates, in various code provisions that  
          prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of  
          specified characteristics, a reference to the bases  
          enumerated in FEHA, as those bases may be defined under  
          that act.

          This bill requires the Agricultural Labor Relations Board  
          (ALRB) to decertify a labor organization based on a finding  
          by the State Department of Fair Employment and Housing that  
          the organization discriminated on the basis of membership  
          in the protected classes enumerated in FEHA.  Section  
          1156.3 of the Labor Code requires the ALRB to decertify a  
          labor organization on the basis of the United States Equal  
          Employment Opportunity Commission finding that the labor  
          organization engaged in discrimination on the basis of  
          race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or any other  
          arbitrary or invidious classification in violation of Title  
          42 of the United States Code during the labor  
          organization's present certification.

          According to the Senate Judiciary Committee analysis, this  
          bill is consistent with California's longstanding policy of  
          protecting its workers, even more so than federal laws and  
          regulations.  Because Section 12940's list of protected  
          classes is more expansive in scope and less restrictive in  
          qualifiers than federal law, allowing the ALRB to decertify  
          a labor organization that discriminates on the basis of  
          membership in one of California's list of protected classes  
          makes sense. 

          This bill applies the non-discrimination policy to the  
          protected classes enumerated in FEHA, relating to service  
          in the California State Military Reserve in positions that  
          do not require federal recognition.

           AB 2889 codifies the court's holding in Holmes v.  
          California National Guard, 90 Cal.App.4th, 297
          Holmes involved the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of the  


                                                               AB 2900

          United States Military, that requires self-acknowledged  
          homosexuals to separate from federal military service.   
          Holmes was an officer in the California State Military  
          Reserve who was placed into service in the United States  
          Army National Guard of California.  When he acknowledged  
          his homosexuality, his federal recognition was withdrawn  
          (he was given an honorable discharge).  The state statute  
          governing state military reserve officers commissioned into  
          federal service allows them to return to former reserve  
          status and to remain as a state commissioned officer of the  
          California State Military Reserve.  The court held that the  
          state effectively discriminated against Holmes when it did  
          not allow Holmes to return to active duty in the California  
          State Military Reserve in a position that did not require  
          federal recognition.

          Section 130 of the Military and Veterans Code prohibits  
          segregation of the state militia or discrimination on the  
          basis of race, national origin, ancestry, or color.  This  
          bill cross-references this section to Section 12940 of the  
          Government Code (FEHA) instead.  

          Section 130 also declares the state policy that there be  
          equality of treatment and opportunity to all members of the  
          state militia without regard to race, national origin,  
          ancestry or color.  Again, this bill cross-references  
          Section 12940 to include all of the other protected classes  
          under this policy.  

          Additionally, Section 130 requires the Governor to put this  
          policy into effect in the militia, with due regard to the  
          powers of the federal government that may be exercised over  
          all the militia of the state.  This bill qualifies this  
          statement to refer to the federal government's powers over  
          the militia with regards to positions requiring federal  

          This change preserves the rights of California military  
          personnel when they are not serving in the United States  
          military as part of the National Guard, and tie those  
          rights to the protections provided by FEHA.  AB 2889  
          (Laird) incorporates language in the court's decision in  
          Holmes, which refers to the federal government's power over  
          the state's rules with regards to the military as being  


                                                               AB 2900

          limited to those positions that require federal  

          This bill makes other conforming changes to those  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee analysis,  
          costs to various state agencies for enforcement of the  
          expanded provisions is unknown, but likely less than  
          $150,000 annually.  Costs to local law enforcement agencies  
          resulting from the expansion of a misdemeanor would be  
          minor and offset by fine revenues.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/5/04)

          Equality California (source)
          Office of the State Attorney General
          American Civil Liberties Union
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal  
          Employees, AFL-CIO Anti-Defamation League
          California Independent Public Employees Legislative Council
          California Labor Federation
          California National Organization for Women
          California State Conference of the National Association for  
            the Advancement of Colored People
          Congress of California Seniors
          Human Rights/Fair Housing Commission of the City and County  
            of Sacramento
          Lambda Letters Project
          The Legal Aid Society
          Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles
          Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
          National Center for Lesbian Rights
          Our Family Coalition
          Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays,  
          Ventura County
          Pride at Work, Southern California
          Protection and Advocacy, Inc.
          San Francisco Aids Foundation
          The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender  
          Community Center


                                                               AB 2900

          Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento
          Transgender Law Center

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/5/04)

          Associated Builders and Contractors of California
          Capitol Resource Institute
          Responsible Citizens, Inc.
          Traditional Values Coalition

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author contends that this bill  
          is needed "[i]n order to remedy the lack of protection for  
          many Californians and the confusion that exists for  
          implementation and compliance" with the varied  
          anti-discrimination-in-employment laws scattered in the  

          In support of this bill, the California State Conference of  
          the National Association for the Advancement of Colored  
          People (NAACP) writes, "[a]s the nation's oldest civil  
          rights organization, the NAACP [supports] this measure to  
          create a consistent non-discrimination statutory scheme  
          that also would give California the most comprehensive  
          civil rights protections of any state in the country for  
          workers and employers."

          Another supporter, the Mexican American Legal Defense and  
          Educational Fund (MALDEF) states, "[w]e firmly believe that  
          the citizens of California, including protected classes,  
          would benefit greatly from the removal of discrepancies  
          among protected classes in the statutes.  Creating  
          uniformity in the definition of protected classes will  
          remove any deficiencies in protection as well as any  
          current confusion in the application and compliance of the  
          relevant statutes."

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    The opponents, however, believe  
          that, "[w]hile consistency in the law is usually  
          beneficial, we believe existing law is harmful and that  
          this bill, therefore, makes a bad situation even worse."  
          Responsible Citizens, Inc., letter dated June 17, 2004.   
          Another opponent contends that passage of this bill forces  
          state agencies not only "to keep records showing they are  
          hiring certain percentages of sexual and other minorities,  


                                                               AB 2900

          but will force them to actively seek out sexual and other  
          minorities for recruitment."

          Finally, the Associated Builders and Contractors of  
          California argues that the application of FEHA to all of  
          those employment-related statutes "make the construction  
          industry vulnerable to predatory lawsuits resulting from SB  
          796 (Dunn, 2003)."  SB 796 allows employees to bring civil  
          action to collect penalties from employers in violation of  
          Labor Code provisions, and allows attorneys' fees and costs  
          if the prosecution is successful.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Berg, Bermudez, Calderon, Canciamilla, Chan, Chavez,  
            Chu, Cohn, Corbett, Correa, Diaz, Dutra, Dymally,  
            Firebaugh, Frommer, Goldberg, Hancock, Jerome Horton,  
            Jackson, Kehoe, Koretz, Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Liu,  
            Longville, Lowenthal, Matthews, Montanez, Mullin, Nakano,  
            Nation, Negrete McLeod, Oropeza, Parra, Pavley, Reyes,  
            Ridley-Thomas, Salinas, Simitian, Steinberg, Vargas,  
            Wesson, Wiggins, Wolk, Yee, Nunez
          NOES:  Aghazarian, Bates, Benoit, Bogh, Campbell, Cogdill,  
            Cox, Daucher, Dutton, Garcia, Harman, Haynes, Shirley  
            Horton, Houston, Keene, La Malfa, La Suer, Leslie,  
            Maddox, Maldonado, Maze, McCarthy, Mountjoy, Nakanishi,  
            Pacheco, Plescia, Richman, Runner, Samuelian, Spitzer,  
            Strickland, Wyland

          DLW:mel  8/9/04   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

                                ****  END  ****