DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS: Legislature First to Offer
The California Legislature last week "quietly" became the first in the country to grant domestic partner health benefits to all of its employees, prompting Republicans to "fear the action means passage is all but assured for much wider-reaching" coverage for all California state employees, the Washington Times reports. The move extends health benefits to the partners of 2,000 Capitol employees, offering them access to state medical, dental and vision care benefits. The state will pay between $170 and $340 per month for each domestic partner in a "close and exclusive relationship in which each is responsible for the common welfare." Employees taking the benefit will see their costs climb $65 a month. The "party-line action" pushed through by the Legislature's rules committee immediately came under fire from GOP leaders who "demanded a public hearing, even though they realize they have no realistic chance of rescinding the move." Assembly Minority Leader Scott Baugh (R) said, "This (legislation) will further the goals of those who want the state government to officially recognize the relationship of heterosexual couples who live together and homosexual couples" (Elias, 5/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.