by Bob Barr
Apparently unconcerned about California’s population decline, which most observers attribute to the state’s high taxes and excessive regulation, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom last weekend signed into law a passel of new mandates, some of which appear crazy even by the Golden State’s liberal standards.
Based on a “finding” that having “Boys” and “Girls” toy aisles in large retail stores is “stigmatizing,” Newsom signed into law a requirement that, beginning in 2024, large retail stores in California must have “gender-neutral” toy sections. The LGBTQ lobby in the state lauded the move, claiming it will reduce “pressure [on] children to conform to gender stereotypes.”
Where such nonsense comes from remains a mystery to many of us not living inside California’s bubble, but it has come to infect virtually every aspect of life within the state. One of the strangest pieces of what the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday called “impactful” legislation signed by Newsom, is one that outlaws “stealthing.” Lest one make the same mistake I did when first seeing that term in the article, thinking it had to do with military stealth technology, it actually (in California, at least) has to do with … sexual intercourse.
With the stroke of a pen, however, Newsom may have solved the awful problem of sexual “stealthing.”
According to the Chronicle, AB453 “criminalizes the nonconsensual removal of condoms during sexual intercourse, an act known as ‘stealthing.’” This conduct apparently has become such a serious and widespread problem in the Golden States that it requires a state-level prohibition to correct. Indeed, according to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who hails from Los Angeles, if left ignored as a form of “sexual battery,” the practice would continue to “cause long-term physical harm and violate the dignity and autonomy of [its] victims.”
Yet another bill signed by Newsom in his never-ending quest to control virtually every facet of personal conduct his imaginative mind can conjure, was AB367, the “Menstrual Equity Act of 2021.” This forward-looking new law strengthens the “basic human right” of Californians to have free access in school restrooms to “menstrual products.”
Notwithstanding that such a normal bodily function as considered by this new law is by its nature personal and private, the legislation expressly concludes that its impact will “ensur[e] the health, dignity, and full participation of all Californians in public life” (my emphasis). California’s already over-taxed citizens henceforth will be able to rest easy, knowing that all public schools from grades 6 to 12, and all state colleges, community colleges and universities will be stocked with tampons.
Consistent with its commitment to gender neutrality in all things, the new law extends the tampon mandate not only to girls’ restrooms, but to boys’ and gender-neutral bathrooms as well. This presumably will ensure that California’s “gender equity” commitment extends to all manner of students, including those who may be “nonbinary” or “gender nonconforming,” and cradles them in a “safe, and welcoming” environment free from any “forms of bias.”
As if students in California’s public schools did not have their classroom time already filled with mandated subjects, including sex education touching on transgenderism, in the future, thanks to yet another piece of legislation signed into law by Newsom, students will be forced to take courses in “ethnic studies” in order to graduate.
Although Newsom last year vetoed a similar ethnic studies bill because it was considered “too politically correct” – even for California — and contained too much technical jargon, the new law does not disappoint. For example, its mandated provisions extend to “Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Studies.” It even includes “Armenian migration” among the “historically marginalized groups” to be studied. In a perhaps surprise blow to the ultra-liberals in the General Assembly, the new version of the legislation apparently is not quite as hard on “capitalism” as its predecessor.
With Newsom flexing his muscles after beating back the recent, quixotic recall effort against him, and with a General Assembly constantly pushing the envelope of liberalism to new extremes, it remains a safe bet that the next round of legislation reaching his desk will be even more nonsensical than this collection of mandated silliness.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.