LGBT Bill of Rights Legislation Being Heard

On April 18, legislation that would create a Lesbian, Gay, and Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Bill of Rights for long-term care facility residents will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 219 (Weiner, D-San Francisco) aims to address the rights of LGBT residents in long-term care facilities, and prohibits the facility from taking specified actions based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status.

SB 219 was heard in Senate Human Services Committee on March 28, passing out of the committee on a 3-1 vote, with one member of the committee abstaining.

While LeadingAge California was pleased that the bill was amended in committee to remove the provision that would have made a violation of the bill subjected to an unfair business claim, we are still concerned that the legislation includes a private right of action for current and former residents to seek legal remedies outside of the current regulatory processes. By including a private right of action in the legislation this bill will only increase litigation against long-term care facilities, as well drive up liability insurance premiums for our member communities.

LeadingAge California has been working diligently with the author’s office to secure an amendment that would eliminate the private right of action from the legislation. Our organization has long championed the right of freedom of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but we remain concerned about the legal impacts this bill may create for our members. At this time, we are opposed to SB 219 unless it is amended to remove the private right of action.

If the legislation gets out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.