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CA Legislative Leader Still Refuses to Allow Hearing on Parent Notification

California Assembly Education Committee Chair Al Muratsuchi is still blocking public debate at the state capitol over parent notification in schools despite polls showing the voters overwhelmingly support it. Last year, Assemblyman Bill Essayli introduced AB 1314, a bill requiring public schools to notify parents if a child starts identifying at school as a gender that does not align with the sex listed on his or her birth certificate. 

The legislation was assigned to the Assembly Committee on Education, but Muratsuchi refused to set the bill for a hearing. This week there is an opportunity for him to change his mind before Friday’s deadline. But Muratsuchi is still refusing.

“Nothing good comes out of keeping secrets from parents,” Essayli told a crowd gathered outside the state capitol last week. “Nobody loves their children more than their parents. If children are struggling with their identity; if they are struggling with anything at school, they need their parents. To isolate them from their parents is to do them harm.”

“Unfortunately, this legislature is so arrogant, they are so pompous, they refuse to even give my bill a hearing,” he complained. “They don’t even want to take a vote. That’s how little regard they have for the people of this state.”

Muratsuchi explained the justification for his decision in a press release last April. “As Chair of the Education Committee, I will not be setting AB 1314 for a hearing, not only because the bill is proposing bad policy, but also because a hearing would potentially provide a forum for increasingly hateful rhetoric targeting LGBTQ youth.” 

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi

Greg Burt, vice president of the California Family Council, says this decision reveals the contempt some lawmakers have for the Constitutional rights of parents to guide and oversee the upbringing of their children. “Why is a discussion about keeping parents informed about the struggles of their children seen as threat towards LGBTQ-identified youth?” Burt asks. “Parents, keen to protect their children, always want to be informed about their kids’ lives. This is true for parents no matter what their political or religious affiliation.”  

A recent California poll confirms this contention. A SPRY Strategies poll from last November shows liberal and conservative voters agree on parent notification. The poll asks the following question: 

A school board voted to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender or the opposite sex. The Attorney General is suing that school district. Do you agree parents should be notified if their child identifies as transgender in school?”

58.1 percent of the respondents said they “strongly agree” with this statement. An additional 14 percent said they “somewhat agree.” Another Rasmussen poll from last May yielded similar results.  

After Essayli’s bill was refused a hearing last year, he joined with a group of parental rights organizations (Coalition for Parental Rights) to promote parent notification policies in local school districts. (read more here) So far 10 California School Districts have implemented a notification policy of their own, even though California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit against one of the school districts over the policy. (read more here

In an effort to bypass the legislature altogether, another parental rights group, Protect Kids California, is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that will mandate AB 1314-style notification for public schools. The initiative also aims to protect girl sports and bathrooms from trans-identified male players and bans sterilizing gender-transitioning drugs and mutilating surgeries for minors. Protect Kids California representative Erin Friday held a press conference on the steps of the California capitol on the opening day of the legislative session last Wednesday to promote their initiative and to announce a lawsuit against Attorney General Rob Bonta for the biased way he titled the measure. 

The California election code requires the attorney general to give state initiatives “a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure in such language that the ballot title shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure and summary shall neither be and argument or likely to creat prejudice for or against the proposed measure.” Bonta titled the initiative, “Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth.” 

“Mr. Bonta’s title and summary is pregidicial, paritial and inaccurate,” Friday said. Bonta’s title “is designed to influence and interfere with the democratic process and to push the agenda to harm children, women, and girls.” (Watch press conference below)


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