Transgender Student Law Survives Repeal Attempt

February 2014

The state law that provides transgender students with certain rights in California public schools remains in force after a petition to put the measure before voters this November failed to gather enough valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.  In a February 24 memorandum to all County Clerks/Registrars of Voters, the Secretary of State’s office announced that the number of valid signatures for the referendum to overturn Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1266 was not sufficient.  According to numbers released by the Secretary of State, the referendum fell approximately 17,000 signatures short of the 504,760 names required to put the issue on the ballot.

If the referendum had made the November ballot, enforcement of AB 1266 would have been put on hold until after the election.Now, however, schools must continue to comply with the provisions of the law, which went into effect on January 1.  The requirements of AB 1266 are summarized in F3’s NewsFlash 13-29 (“Public Schools Must Ensure Equal Access to Facilities and Programs Consistent with a Student's Gender Identity”).

It is not yet clear whether backers of the referendum will go to court to challenge signatures that were disqualified as invalid.

As we previously stated, AB 1266 does not offer any further information about the practical implications of the new law, such as how a student establishes his or her “gender identity” when it does not correspond with the gender listed in the student's record.  We anticipate that the California Department of Education will release regulations or further guidance to assist school districts.

In the interim, attorneys in any one of our six offices, along with our Client Services team, can assist your district team with questions, concerns, media response and community relations.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call one of our six offices.

F3 NewsFlash prepared by Melanie A. Petersen and John W. Norlin.
Melanie is Of Counsel  in the F3 San Diego office.
John is Special Counsel in the F3 San Diego office.

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