LGBTQ foster youth + Bonta defends California law + Fentanyl bill gets second chance

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Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!


According to Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, one in three foster youths in California identify as LGBTQ. Wiener is the author of a bill, SB 407, which would among other things require foster families demonstrate an understanding of the unique needs of an LGBTQ youth.

“These youth are at greater risk for homelessness, criminal justice involvement, and mental health challenges, and we must do everything in our power to ensure they have a safe home in the state of California,” Wiener said in a statement of support for the bill.

On Tuesday, the bill goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, having already passed out of the Senate Human Services Committee last week.

A committee analysis of the bill notes that it doesn’t mandate foster parent beliefs, only behavior.

The bill follows up a 2019 law, AB 175, which expanded the foster youth bill of rights to include being referred to by their chosen name and that their pronouns are respected.

“However, while the foster youth bill of rights is strong, it has not translated into the (foster family approval) process or into considerations made when approving caregivers. LGBTQ+ foster youth are still being placed in homes with families that discriminate against or are hostile toward them based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity,” according to the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, a co-sponsor of the bill along with Equality California.

The bill is opposed by California Catholic Policy and the Pacific Justice Institute - Center for Public Policy, the latter of which argued that SB 407 is contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, where the nation’s highest court in 2020 ruled against the city for barring Catholic Social Services from placing children in foster homes because of its policy of not licensing same-sex families.

“This framework is not applicable to this bill. This bill is not directed at the beliefs of potential resource families, religious or otherwise. This bill is directed at conduct, namely, the ability of potential resource families to care for the children entrusted to their care, regardless of a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to the Senate Judiciary Committee analysis of the bill.


As the trade group NetChoice, which represents social media giants including Google, Meta, Twitter and TikTok, sues in federal court to block a 2022 California law, AB 2273, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has filed a motion in defense of the law.that seeks to hold those companies accountable for protecting the privacy of minors who use their services.

The tech industry has argued that AB 2273 violates its First Amendment rights.

“By abandoning the First Amendment and forcing all websites to track and store information on both children and adults, California risks closing the internet and putting the digital safety of all Americans, and especially children, in jeopardy,” the group argued in statement announcing their lawsuit.

Bonta disagreed.

“Businesses do not have a right to children’s data. This is not about free speech: the companies challenging this law are doing so because they want to continue to make money from our kids’ online activity,” he said in a statement announcing his filing.


A proposed law requiring that people convicted of fentanyl trafficking be read an admonishment that they could face a future murder charge if a person suffers a fatal overdose as a result of their trafficking is receiving a second chance at the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.

SB 44 previously was heard by the committee in March, but failed passage after receiving only one vote (from co-author Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Yucaipa) while no vote was recorded from Sens. Steven Bradford, Nancy Skinner, Aisha Wahab or Scott Wiener. Committee Chair Wahab granted the bill reconsideration at the time.

Bill co-author Sen. Thomas Umberg, D-Santa Ana, wrote in a statement of support for the bill that “taken as a piece of numerous reforms to battle this crisis, SB 44 will implement a tempered approach to fentanyl poisonings that first warns and then punishes drug dealers who traffic in fentanyl in a manner that results in death.”

SB 44 mirrors the admonishment given to people convicted of driving under the influence.

Why is the bill controversial?

According to the California Public Defenders Association, the advisory would be used in future cases to establish a mental state of malice, a legal term required in order to prove a murder charge, resulting in more people going to prison.

They argue that California has moved away from a model of draconian punishment for those people who never intended to kill another person.

“From our experience as public defenders we know that many of those who engage in the illegal drug trade are often low-level users of drugs themselves. To punish them for the unintended consequences of engaging in illegal narcotic sales and for outcomes that they never intended is contrary to sound public policy and humane treatment in our criminal justice system,” the group argued.


“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the tactics of trying to intimidate or bully my staff to try to lobby me on a particular bill are VERY counterproductive.”

- Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, via Twitter.

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