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Judge Leans Toward Keeping Title of California Ballot Initiative on Trans Kids

Judge Leans Toward Keeping Title of California Ballot Initiative on Trans Kids

Parents protest outside the Davis Joint Unified School District offices over a talk featuring Rachel Pepper, co-author of “The Transgender Child,” in Davis, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2023. (Courtesy of Our Duty)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

4/23/2024

Updated: 4/25/2024

Proponents of a parental notification ballot initiative potentially lost a round in court last week when a judge initially sided with the state of California regarding its title of the measure as well as its description.
The group, called Protect Kids California, submitted a ballot measure in September called the “Protect Kids of California Act of 2024,” which would ask the state’s voters if schools must notify parents if their child identifies as transgender.
As part of his duties, state Attorney General Rob Bonta is required to provide a neutral and accurate title and summary for the ballot measure. In November, Mr. Bonta re-titled it the “Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth Initiative.”
Mr. Bonta also changed part of the ballot summary, adding that the parent notification rule would inform parents of their child’s transition “without exception for student safety,” and that it “prohibits gender-affirming healthcare” for children under 18.
The group sued Mr. Bonta in February, saying his changes were “a highly biased,” “factually inaccurate” and “misleading” that have “prejudiced the initiative.” They requested he rescind the title and description and provide “neutral” ones in their place.
But Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Stephen Acquisto tentatively ruled April 19 that Mr. Bonta’s title is a fair description of the initiative, and that he did not restrict the group’s free speech rights when changing the title since doing so is part of his duties as attorney general.
According to attorneys representing the group, the judge’s ruling is tentative, and he said he would issue a final ruling at a later date.
“The hearing went well,” said attorney Erin Friday in an April 19 statement. “It bodes well for us that the judge did not adopt his tentative ruling from the bench but took the matter under submission after listening to the arguments from both sides.”
The judge has not yet given a deadline for his final ruling.
The group must meet a May 28 deadline to collect 550,000 signatures to qualify for placement on the November ballot. Currently it has raised just over 200,000 signatures, according to organizers.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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