Assembly Approves Bills To Expand Health Benefits for Registered Domestic Partners
The Assembly last week approved two bills that would expand legal, financial, employment and health benefits to registered domestic partners, the AP/San Mateo County Times reports. Summaries of the legislation appear below:
- One measure (AB 205), sponsored by Assembly member Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) and approved by a 41-29 vote, would expand to same-sex, registered domestic partners a law enacted in 2000 that guarantees certain benefits to heterosexual, registered domestic partners. These include health coverage under a partner's insurance plan and the authority to consent to an autopsy or organ donation in the event of a partner's death (Leff, AP/San Mateo County Times, 6/5). The bill now goes to the Senate; supporters say it "has a good chance" of passing there and winning the approval of Gov. Gray Davis (D) (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/5). However, Davis has not indicated an official position on the bill (AP/San Mateo County Times, 6/5).
- The second bill (AB 17), sponsored by Assembly member Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), would require companies contracting with the state to offer benefits -- including health benefits and family medical leave -- to their employees' domestic partners. The measure, which passed by a 42-30 vote, allows the requirement to be waived during emergencies and in the event that there is only one bidder for a state project (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/5). If enacted, the law would lead to less competition among fewer bidders and cost the state "millions of additional dollars" on the approximately $6 billion current yearly cost of contracts, the AP/Times reports (AP/San Mateo County Times, 6/5).