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Repeal of CA Transgender Law Moves Closer to 2014 Ballot

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January 8, 2014

By Brittany Clingen

California
Another contentious California measure moved one step closer to the 2014 ballot today when the secretary of state announced supporters of the referendum on AB 1266 did, in fact, garner enough signatures by the prescribed deadline to move the proposition forward. A group of people opposed to AB 1266 - better known as the law that allows students to participate in activities and use bathrooms based on their gender identity - are attempting to repeal the law by putting it to a vote of the people.[1]

In order to advance the proposition, supporters were required to submit at least 504,760 valid signatures by November 10, 2013. In two counties, supporters of the repeal effort submitted approximately 5,000 signatures on November 12, 2013, two days after the deadline. Initially, Secretary of State Debra Bowen threw out the signatures, saying the deadline had passed. However, after proponents of the referendum filed a lawsuit challenging Bowen, Sacramento County Superior Court judge Allen Sumner ruled against her, saying the signatures must be accepted. He explained his reasoning, citing the fact that November 10 was a Sunday, and November 11 was Veteran's Day, a holiday; therefore, the election offices in both counties were closed. The judge wrote, "Ever since the voters enacted the referendum power in 1911, courts have liberally construed its provisions to protect the voters' power. The fact the deadline for submitting petitions falls on a weekend preceding a holiday, or the county registrar closes at noon on Friday, should not prevent Petitioner from having her petition signatures accepted."[2]

A spot check of the submitted signatures, which ultimately totaled 619,244, showed that supporters obtained 95.6 percent of the 504,760 required signatures. The next step in the process, which will likely take over a month, is reviewing each submitted signature to verify it is that of a registered voter. County election officials must confirm exactly how many signatures are valid by February 24, 2014.[1]

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