Governor Brown Signs Assemblymember David Chiu LGBT Data Collection Bill
AB 677 ensures schools and government agencies collect voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity data when collecting other demographic data
SACRAMENTO--Governor Brown today signed Assembly Bill 677 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), which will help ensure that California public policy meets the needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities.
“I want to thank Governor Brown for understanding the obstacles facing LGBT communities and for helping to eliminate educational and employments disparities,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Good information will move us closer to full equality.”
Assembly Bill 677 builds on data collection best practices by requiring education and employment-related government agencies to collect voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data when collecting other demographic data. Aggregated SOGI data collected pursuant to this bill will be reported to the Legislature and made publicly available.
The bill also prohibits schools that participate in the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) from removing the question about sexual orientation and gender identity. In the 2015-16 school year, the California Department of Education reported that 16 percent of participating school districts chose to selectively remove one core demographic data question from the CHKS, the SOGI question. In the 2016-2017 school year, about 9 percent of school districts removed the same question.
LGBT communities face disproportionately high rates of poverty, suicide, homelessness, isolation, substance abuse, and violence, and low rates of health insurance. These issues are more prevalent for youth and seniors, communities of color, and transgender and undocumented communities.
"This bill will help give us a better picture of California’s LGBTQ community, where we live and what our needs are,” said Rick Zbur, Equality California executive director. "LGBTQ people are especially vulnerable in the workplace and in the classroom, and this bill will help us to continue to address the many disparities our community suffers compared to the general public.”
In 2015 the Legislature passed and the Governor signed AB 959, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Disparities Reduction Act, also authored by Asm. Chiu. This law requires state agencies that provide health and human services to collect voluntarily provided information about SOGI in the regular course of collecting other types of demographic data.
An existing but limited pool of SOGI-related data has identified significant problems within the LGBT community, including educational attainment and workplace discrimination.
“In recent years, with little fanfare, school districts and other entities have begun collecting LGBT data along with other standard demographic information,” said Lisa Cisneros, LGBT Program Director for California Rural Legal Assistance, during a legislative hearing earlier this year. “Not all school districts or government agencies collect LGBT data, but where it exists the information has been incredibly helpful in informing policies and practices to foster LGBT equality. Codifying LGBT-inclusive data collection in the education and other contexts will help us detect and address disparities, while also identifying communities that are models for ensuring equal opportunity for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The bill takes effect on January 1, 2018 and state agencies will be required to comply with its provisions as early as possible but no later than July 1, 2019.
Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Chair of the Housing & Community Development Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco and the historic LGBT neighborhoods in the City.