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    In the News—April 7, 2016

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    BT 4.7.16 1-32_Page_07_Image_0001

    Legislation Declaring State of Emergency on Homelessness Passes

    Supervisor David Campos’ legislation declaring a state of emergency on homelessness passed with a veto proof majority of 8–3. The ordinance allows the city to invoke a rarely used provision in state law usually reserved for floods and earthquakes that enables the City to declare a shelter crisis. The legislation will allow the city to circumvent red tape and therefore shorten the process to be able to quickly turn a building or site into a shelter space. “This legislation is a tool that will help us more nimbly respond to homelessness,” said Supervisor Campos. “It will help us more quickly put together temporary shelters—such as Navigation Centers, to address the specific issues of encampments and people living in our streets.”


    Governor Brown Signs Bill into Law Raising Minimum Wage

    On Monday, Governor Brown signed landmark legislation, Senate Bill 3, which will gradually raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. A similar bill was signed in New York. Other states are expected to follow. CA State Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who co-authored SB 3 with Connie Leyva and Kevin de León, issued the following statement: “Today’s signing of the minimum wage bill is a tremendous victory for California workers whose tireless efforts, courage, conviction and determination made this possible. They are the heroes we celebrate today. SB 3 respects and rewards work, reduces turnover, and increases productivity and consumer spending, thereby stimulating economic growth while helping low-wage workers end their dependence on public assistance. The legislation will lift up 2.2 million minimum wage workers, about 60% of whom are women. I applaud Governor Brown for taking action on this critical economic justice issue.”


    All Gender Restroom Bill Passes First Vote in CA Legislature

    Legislation authored by San Francisco Bay Times columnist and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to establish the nation’s most progressive restroom access law among the states passed with unanimous support in the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions. Ting’s AB 1732 passed 14–0, with bipartisan support. It would require single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and public spaces to be identified as “all gender.” Ting said, “The unanimous support for this bill shows California is ready to lead the nation in change. Restrooms access influences our ability to participate in public life. It defies common sense to restrict access to single-user restrooms by gender. ‘All gender’ signs will ensure that everyone’s rights are protected by ending problems of convenience, fairness, and safety.” Sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California NOW, AB 1732 would align state law with similar restroom access laws emerging in the cities of Berkeley, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

    San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City to Require Fully Paid Parental Leave for Workers

    On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation making San Francisco the first city in the country to require fully paid parental leave for workers. Under current California law, employees taking parental leave receive up to 55% of their wages for six weeks through state disability. Supervisor Wiener’s ordinance requires that employers pay their employees the remaining balance of their income (45%), so that for up to six weeks of leave the employee will receive his or her full wages. The legislation applies to both parents and to both births and adoptions. “Our country’s parental leave policies are woefully behind the rest of the world, and today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers,” said Supervisor Wiener. “We shouldn’t be forcing new mothers and fathers to choose between spending precious bonding time with their children and putting food on the table.”

    World’s Largest Psychiatric Association Condemns Conversion Therapy

    The world’s largest organization of mental health professionals, World Psychiatric Association, has called for an end to the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which is linked to serious harms, including depression, substance abuse and suicide. The announcement comes less than a year after the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a groundbreaking report calling for all member countries to end conversion therapy.

    Research Provides Insight into Lives of Transgender People Living with HIV/AIDS

    San Francisco based Transgender Law Center released the first report of findings from the “Positively Trans” survey, a first-of-its-kind community-led project focused on the lives and experiences of transgender people in the U.S. living with HIV/AIDS. Some of the starkest findings outlined in the report concern income, education and history of incarceration. While 64 percent of respondents had at least some college experience, a full 43 percent earn less than $12,000 a year. Additionally, 41 percent had some history of incarceration, and of those who had experienced incarceration, more than one in two had gone at least 6 months without medical care since their diagnosis. In addition to providing a richer picture of the realities of life for transgender people living with HIV, the research indicated paths for action.

    AHF Honors Patty Duke as Heroic AIDS Advocate

    AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) mourned the passing of Academy Award-winning actress Patty Duke, remembering her as an early and forceful advocate against discrimination toward people living with HIV/AIDS. Duke was among the first public figures to speak out—and show up—to protests against California’s Prop 64, a divisive 1986 ballot measure instigated by political activist and gadfly Lyndon LaRouche that could have required California to quarantine people with AIDS. California voters soundly defeated the ballot measure by a margin of 71% to 29% in November 1986. Duke was the only celebrity to attend and speak at the first major public demonstration against the ballot measure in front of LaRouche’s headquarters in Los Angeles on September 15, 1986. One of the groups organizing the protest, the ‘Stop the AIDS Quarantine Committee,’ was instrumental in the defeat of Prop. 64 and later gave rise to the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Committee. This eventually led to the creation of the AIDS Hospice Foundation, the predecessor organization to today’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

    GLBT Historical Society Archives Will be Temporarily Closed

    As of May 1, the GLBT Historical Society Archives will be temporarily closed in preparation for their move to a new location at 989 Market Street in San Francisco. As a result, researchers and guests will be unable to visit the archives, but can still access their online catalog as well as select research guides and digitized materials through their website, the Online Archive of California, and Calisphere. During this time, telephone and email responses will be extremely limited. Patron services, including reproduction requests, will also be suspended during this time. Watch their website for the reopening date and new contact information.

    Openhouse Board and Executive Director Announce Leadership Transition

    Openhouse, San Francisco’s leading nonprofit agency serving LGBT seniors, announced that Seth Kilbourn is leaving the organization at the end of May after eight successful years as Executive Director. The Board will launch a national search for Kilbourn’s replacement. During Kilbourn’s tenure, the agency’s operating budget increased from $500,000 to $1.8 million. He led the Board and staff through a comprehensive strategic planning process in 2013, resulting in a five-year plan that continues to guide the agency’s growth and measure its progress. As a result of his commitment to the seniors of San Francisco, Openhouse served nearly 2,000 LGBT older adults in 2015—a 300% increase since completing the strategic plan.

    San Francisco Coach Jennifer Azzi Comes Out as Gay

    University of San Francisco coach and former Stanford and U.S. star Jennifer Azzi has come out as gay, announcing she is married to her top assistant, Blair Hardiek. Azzi made the announcement when she introduced Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts at the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award ceremony in San Francisco. In 2011, Welts—then president and chief executive of the Phoenix Suns—became the first senior sports executive to openly acknowledge he was gay.