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When it comes to efforts to increase gender-neutral options at retailers, toy stores have come into play.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law into effect Saturday mandating that larger retailers offer gender-neutral toy aisles, the latest in a string of liberal measures passed into law in the state. Under Assembly Bill 1084, department stores that have 500 employees or more are required to have devoted gender-neutral aisles for children's toys by 2024, according to multiple outlets. Retail stores that fail to comply with the mandate risk being penalized with $250 fines for initial violations and $500 fines for all subsequent violations, according to the bill.
The bill argues that separating children's toys by gender makes it harder for consumers to compare prices while subtly implying that the use of the toys by the opposite gender is "inappropriate."
Democratic politicians such as state Sen. Scott Wiener said that this bill allows children to feel safe without pushing them to "conform," according to multiple outlets.
While the bill was met with support from Democrats, Republicans opposed the measure, describing it as governmental overreach.
"Unlike the author, I actually have children, five of them to be exact, and I can tell you it is very convenient for parents," explained Republican California Sen. Melissa Melendez. "I don't think parents need the government to step in and tell them how they should shop for their children."
State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who challenged Newsom during the recent gubernatorial recall, mocked the legislation, saying, "The big problems facing California are now solved."
Newsom closed out the current legislative session by signing a burst of bills over the weekend, such as a bill that prohibits the sale of gas-powered motors, including lawnmowers, chainsaws, pressure washers, and golf carts. Another bill signed by Newsom requires schools and college campuses to insert dispensers containing menstrual products for grades six to 12, while another bill requires students starting high school in 2026 to pass an ethnic studies course prior to graduation.
Larger companies have begun attempts to make their products and stores more gender-inclusive in recent years. Target announced in 2015 that it would begin moving away from using some gender-based signs in stores, and Hasbro announced in February that it would be dropping the "Mr." from the brand name and logo for the company's Mr. Potato Head toys. Lego followed suit, announcing on Oct. 11 that it would be removing any supposed gender bias from its toys in order to make them more appealing to girls following the results of a study commissioned by the Lego Group which showed that gender bias in childhood has ramifications for adults' careers.
Representatives for Newsom did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
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Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis