California transgender notification bill to head to Gov. Newsom's desk amid battle over parental, trans rights

The issue over parental rights and the privacy of trans students in California is brewing as lawmakers seek to limit the authority of public schools in the state. 

Legislators in Sacramento have sent a bill, AB 1955, to Gov. Gavin Newsom, which would bar school districts from notifying parents if their child uses different pronouns or identifies as a gender that’s different from what’s on school records.  

The bill is currently in the enrollment process, but Newsom will have 12 days to sign it into law once he receives it, his office told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. 

During an emotional June 27 hearing on the state Democratic-led Assembly floor, Assemblyman Bill Essayli, a Republican, vehemently opposed the legislation. Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Wood, a Democrat, repeatedly chastised Essayli for speaking off-topic and had his microphone cut off several times. 


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Office of the Governor shows California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing a bill into law.  (AP)

The bill passed by a 60-15 vote. 

“California is leading the nation in assaulting parental rights,” Essayli told Fox News Digital in a statement. “AB 1955 is dangerous and defies common sense by stripping parents of their constitutional and God-given right to raise their children.”

“It’s now up to Governor Gavin Newsom to decide whether he will sign this policy and make the erosion of parental rights one of the central issues in his presidential ambitions,” he added. 

Newsom has appeared to play to a national audience as speculations about a possible presidential bid refuse to go away. Last year, he vetoed a bill that would have required courts to consider whether a parent affirms their child’s gender identity when making rulings on custody and visitation.

A bill Essayli proposed last year, AB 1314, would have done the opposite of AB 1955 by requiring schools to notify parents of changes in their child’s gender identity. The proposal failed to advance from the education committee.

During last week’s debate, things almost got out of hand when Assemblyman Corey Jackson, who is part of the LGBTQ community, had to be restrained as he tried to move toward Essayli following his remarks. 


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California Assemblyman Bill Essayli seen speaking against a bill that would require schools to not tell parents when their child changes their gender identity. (California state Assembly)

There are things young people have a right to decide for themselves when it’s appropriate, Jackson said. 

“What we’ve seen is that we’re neglecting that right that they have,” he told Fox News Digital. “It’s a parent’s responsibility to build the type of relationship for a student to be willing to confide in them. We are not an extension of their parenting.” 

Before the vote, Assemblyman Chris Ward, author of AB 1955, said the bill will strengthen families and will allow people to have the “dignity of deciding when they are ready to share some of the most private information about themselves.”

“When you have a policy that requires teachers to do things that they know are not in the best interest of the kids, it causes trauma and damage that experts across the board tell us is true,” he said. 

Corey said he was confident that Newsom will sign AB 1955, while blaming Republicans for instilling “fear and hate.”

“This is politically driven,” he said. “These are not just parents out of nowhere saying this is an issue.”

James Gallagher, the California Assembly Republican Leader, said he has issues with the assumption that telling parents about their child’s gender identity puts students at risk. 

“One of the concerns that I’ve had from the beginning of this legislation is that I feel like it draws almost a default of: ‘School officials and teachers and counselors, they’re always safe and parents are not safe’,” he said last week. “I think we would probably agree on both sides that’s not true.”


A parents’ rights supporter holds up a sign during a Chino Valley Unified School District board meeting at Don Lugo High School in Chino on Thursday night, July 20, 2023. (Getty Images)


The bill came as school districts across California have enacted parent notification policies. Many of the policies have been tweaked after the state sued the Chino Valley Unified School District to halt the enforcement of its mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. 

In March, the district amended the policy and will only mention that a child has requested a change to their student records.

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