BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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          45 (Chiu)

          As Amended  August 18, 2016

          Majority vote

          |ASSEMBLY:  |52-11 |(June 23,      |SENATE: |29-5  |(August 22,      |
          |           |      |2016)          |        |      |2016)            |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |

          Original Committee Reference:  JUD.

          SUMMARY:  Urges Congress to enact the 2015 Equality Act.   
          Specifically, this measure:

          1)Makes various findings and declarations relating to the Civil  
            Rights Act of 1964.

          2)Declares the necessity to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964  
            by detailing the lack of enumerated discrimination protections  
            for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

          3)Declares the 2015 Equality Act's comprehensive approach will:


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             a)   Protect LGBT Americans from employment, housing, public  
               accommodations, public education, access to federal  
               funding, and access to credit discrimination.

             b)   Give women equal access to public accommodation and  
               public funds while not using federal funds to encourage  

             c)   Update the definition of public accommodations to allow  
               all individuals, including people of color, full access and  
               utilization of social and public places.

             d)   Ensure religion cannot be used as a justification for  
               refusing service based on race, color, religion, sex,  
               nation original, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

          4)Resolves that the Assembly and the Senate of the State of  
            California, jointly, call upon the United States Congress to  
            pass the 2015 Equality Act. 

          5)Resolves that the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies  
            of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

          The Senate amendments add co-authors and make one technical  

          EXISTING LAW:  

           1) Federal law guarantees equal protection of the laws and  
             prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex,  
             or national origin.  (Public Law 88-352; 78 Statute 241.)

           2) Provides that no person in the State of California shall, on  


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             the basis of race, national origin, ethnic group  
             identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation,  
             color, genetic information, or disability, be unlawfully  
             denied full and equal access to the benefits of, or be  
             unlawfully subjected to discrimination under, any program or  
             activity that is conducted, operated, or administered by the  
             state or by any state agency, is funded directly by the  
             state, or receives any financial assistance from the state.   
             (California Government Code 11135.)

           3) Provides, under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, that all persons  
             within this state are free and equal, and no matter what  
             their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin,  
             disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital  
             status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or  
             immigration status, are entitled to the full and equal  
             accommodations, advantages, facilities, or services of all  
             business establishments of every kind whatsoever.  Defines  
             "sex" to include gender identity and gender expression.   
             (California Civil Code Section 51.)

           4) Provides, under the California Fair Employment and Housing  
             Act, that it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass  
             any person because of the race, color, religion, sex, gender,  
             gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation,  
             marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status,  
             source of income, disability, or genetic information of that  
             person.  (California Government Code 12955.)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  None

          COMMENTS:  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans segregation on the  
          basis of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin at  
          all places of public accommodation and prohibits discrimination  
          by employers and labor unions and the use of federal funds for  
          any discriminatory program.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a  
          monumental step for advancing the equal treatment of Americans.   
          After 52 years, however, the author believes that the law should  


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          be amended in order to become truly inclusive and to  
          specifically encompass LGBT Americans.  According to the author,  
          the 2015 Equality Act, introduced as H.R. 3185 by U.S.  
          Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, will provide a  
          much-needed update to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This  
          resolution urges Congress to pass the 2015 Equality Act. 

          Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws:  While the United States  
          Supreme Court gave all 50 states marriage equality in Obergefell  
          v. Hodges (2015) 135 S.Ct. 2071, LGBT Americans are still faced  
          with discrimination in employment, housing, public  
          accommodation, education, access to federal funds, access to  
          credit, and the right to serve on a jury.  Under current federal  
          law, there are no specific equal employment protections for LGBT  
          Americans; instead states are given the responsibly to pass  
          anti-discrimination laws and mostly fail to do so.  .  

          Religious Freedom Restoration Act:  The federal Religious  
          Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was passed in 1993 a response to  
          the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Employment Division v.  
          Smith (1990) 494 U.S. 872.  Prior to the Smith decision, the  
          Supreme Court had issued a number of decisions holding that,  
          under the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment,  
          government policies need to accommodate the rights of  
          religiously observant persons, unless there was a "compelling  
          state interest" for not accommodating religious concerns.   
          However, the Smith decision, written by the late Justice Scalia,  
          reversed this trend, holding that the state did not need to show  
          a compelling interest in order to discriminate on the basis of  
          religion.  As a response, Congress passed RFRA.  In essence,  
          RFRA provides that a state must show a compelling state interest  
          in order to infringe upon a religious practice.  Following the  
          passage of RFRA, the U.S. Supreme Court said RFRA did not apply  
          to some actions of several states.  (City of Boerne v. Flores  
          (1997) 521 U.S. 507.)  Subsequently, states began passing their  
          own RFRA laws.  Essentially, state RFRA laws go beyond the  
          federal RFRA law by offering more protection for religious  
          freedom, as they are entitled to do under the City of Boerne  
          decision, than the First Amendment requires.  In order to better  
          balance religious rights and the right to be free of  


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          discrimination, the 2015 Equality Act would stop organizations  
          from using state RFRAs or similar laws as a reason to  
          discriminate or refuse service on the basis of race, color,  
          religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender  

          California Anti-Discrimination Laws:  While recently some states  
          have been moving backwards in terms of protecting rights for the  
          LGBT community, California has been a consistent leader in  
          enacting legislation to ensure equal rights over the years.   
          California law is consistent with the 2015 Equality Act and  
          protects against discrimination in employment, housing, public  
          accommodations, funds, and services.  Most notably, California's  
          most important anti-discrimination laws, the Unruh Civil Rights  
          Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, have been amended  
          to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected  
          classes.  In light of California's historic commitments in this  
          area, it would seem entirely appropriate for California to urge  
          Congress to similarly update the federal Civil Rights Act of  

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Thomas Clark / JUD. / (916) 319-2334  FN: