A person wearing a blue shirt is signing papers. The photo is by Scott Graham on Unsplash. The photo is not of Governor Gavin Newsom.
Person in blue shirt signing papers by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Governor Gavin Newsom (Democrat) signed Senate Bill 272 into law on July 23, 2021. The title of this law is “State government: gender-neutral term: California Conservation Corps.” The purpose of this law is to update gender-specific references in various code sections to reflect gender-inclusive language.

Senate Bill 272 was authored by Senator John Laird (Democrat – District 27). It was sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (Democrat). Here is what Senate Bill 272 says:


SB 272, Laird. State government : gender-neutral terms: California Conservation Corps.

(1) Existing law establishes the California Conservation Corps in the Natural Resource Agency and requires the corps to implement and administer the conservation corps program. Under existing law, the California Conservation Corps is authorized to certify nonprofit conservation corps if they meet specified criteria, including, but not limited to, the requirement that the community conservation corps consists of an average annual enrollment of not less than 50 corpsmembers between 18 and 25 years of age.

This bill would instead require a community conservation corps to consist of corpsmembers who are between 18 and 26 years of age in order to be certified.

(2) Existing law regulates the business of insurance in this state. Existing law enacts provisions related to public resources, including forestry. Existing law places the Department of the California Highway Patrol under the control of a civil executive officer known as the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol who is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, as specified. Existing law directs the commissioner to take specified actions, including establishing a school for the training and education of members of the California Highway Patrol and creating districts for the administration and enforcement of laws regarding the use of highways, as specified.

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions to use gender-neutral language.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

What follows is a section of the law that involves the state’s Insurance Code. It is very long, and detailed, and much of it appears to be the contents of everything that was already in the law. There are minor changes, such as the change of age required to be a California Conservation Corps member (now up to age 26).

The easiest way to understand what else changed is to read the “Today’s Law As Amended” section.

Here are a few relevant changes:

SECTION 1. Section 1635 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

1635. No A license is not required under the provisions of this chapter for a person to act in the following capacities or to engage in the following activities, providing a no a commission is not paid or allowed, directly or indirectly, by the insurer, creditor, retailer, or other person for acting in those capacities or engaging in those activities….

The rest of the changes removes the gendered pronouns in the law and replaces them with wording that is gender-neutral. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to list portions of the law that were changed.

… As an officer or salaried representative of a life insurer if his or her activities the activities of the officer or salaried representative are limited to direct technical advice and assistance to a properly licensed person and his or her the officer or salaried representative’s activities and do not include effecting, soliciting, or negotiating insurance except as a part of and in connection with the business of a property broker-agent, casualty broker-agent, or life agent licensed under this chapter…

…The completion or delivery of a declaration or certificate of coverage under a running inland marine insurance contract evidencing thereunder and including only those negotiations as are necessary to the completion or delivery if the person performing those acts or his or her the person’s employer has an insurable interest in the risk covered by the certificate or declaration….

…That of a salesperson who devotes substantially all of his or her that salesperson’s activities to selling merchandise whose solicitation of insurance is limited only to the quoting of a premium for insurance to be included in the purchase price covering the interest retained in the merchandise by the seller…

SEC. 2. Section 1638 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

…A person is a resident of this state if either of the following applies:

(1) He or she A person occupies a dwelling in this state and intends this state to be his or her that person’s domicile.

(2) He or she maintains his or her A person maintains that person’s principal place of business in this state.

(b) A person licensed under this chapter may designate only one state as his or her that person’s resident state.

SEC. 3. Section 1638.5 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

1638.5 Unless denied licensure pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 1666), a nonresident person shall receive a production agency license if he or she that nonresident person meets the following requirements:

(a) The person is currently licensed and in good standing with the state, territory of the United States or province of Canada in which he or she the person is licensed as a resident producer…

SEC 4. Section 1639.1 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

1639.1 (a) The class or classes of insurance which a nonresident person is licensed to transact under his or her that nonresident person’s resident license shall be determined according to the definitions of classes of insurance in Sections 101 to 120, inclusive….

SEC. 5 Section 1651 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

1651. The commissioner shall at all times retain full property rights in any document evidencing any license issued pursuant to Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 of this part. He The commissioner may require the surrender of said document for any proper reason.

There are a few other sections where his or her is replaced by the commissioner or the commissoner’s.

SEC. 8 Section 1666.5 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

Any A deputy, agent, clerk, officer, or employee of the commissioner, or any former officer or employee or other individual individual, hereafter “employees,” who in the course of his or her the employees’ employment or duty has or has had access to the information required to be furnished under this section, shall not disclose or make known in any manner that information, except as provided in this section.

You probably get the idea of what the changes are to this law. Other parts swap out his or her with either the applicant’s or the commissioner’s. There are parts that remove he or she and replaces it with that licensee.

There’s a piece in SEC. 35 that says: (b) If any person sells or persons sell insurance in connection with, or incidental to, self-service storage rental agreements, or holds himself or herself or hold themselves or an organization out as a self-service storage agent without obtaining the license required by this article, the commissioner may issue a cease and desist order pursuant to Section 12921.8.

SEC. 39 includes the following paragraph:

737. (a) No A member of the board shall not participate in any a board action pursuant to Article 8 (commencing with Section 4601) or Article 9 (commencing with Section 4621 of Chapter 8 of Part 2 of Division 4 which involves himself or any person with which he that involves the board member or a person with whom the board member is connected as a director, officer, or employee, or in which he the board member has a direct personal financial interest within the meaning of Section 1120 of the Government Code.

SEC. 58 includes the following:

4165. Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who, at a forest fire, does any of the following:

(a) Disobeys the lawful orders of any a public officer or fireman. firefighter.

(b) Offers any resistance to, or interferes with the lawful efforts of any fireman a firefighter or company of firemen firefighters to extinguish the fire.

How did the California Legislature vote on this bill?

On July 12, 2021, the Assembly voted 75 AYES to 0 NOES. There were four Assembly members who voted NVR (which likely means “not voting”).

On July 15, 2021, the Senate voted 39 AYES to 0 NOE, with one Senator who voted NVR (“not voting”).

Senator John Laird posted a press release about these changes on his official website. The press release was titled: “Governor Newsom Signs Gender Neutral Legislation Updating Archaic References In State Law”. From the press release:

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 272, authored by State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). Senate Bil 272, Sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, will immediately update gender-specific references in various code sections to reflect gender-inclusive language. References pertaining to the CHP Commissioner, CALFIRE firefighters, insurance licensing, and California Conservation Corps members will now be gender neutral.

“California is at the forefront of efforts to promote inclusion and diversity of all people, no matter what their sex, social gender, or gender identity,” said State Senator Laird. “Our laws must reflect the diverse leadership of our state and promote the inclusion of all people. California leads by example and Governor Newsome’s [sic] signature today affirms the fact that our state welcomes and respects all Californians’ identities.”

“Language matters and it’s about time we update our laws to reflect the diversity of our state, and its current and future leaders,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Embracing gender-neutral language in our laws reflects the hard work that so many are doing for a better, more inclusive society.”

The introduction of Senate Bill 272 was originally inspired by the historic appointment and confirmation of CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray, the first woman and second African American to lead the agency in its 91-year history. Commissioner Ray’s distinguished career within the agency and appointment to the highest rank should not be lost in outdated code sections. Instead, the bill was introduced to reflect the current and future leader of the agency and values of California.

“With the Governor’s signature on SB 272, we as a state are continuing to make California for all,” stated Laird.

Senate Bill 272 takes effect immediately.

The changes to Senate Bill 272 are significant. Not only does this clean out the archaic language that the bill was written in, it also replaces it with updated non-gendered language. This is important because it sets a precedent in California law.

Other bills may need some updating as well. There will likely be more laws that were written at a time when it was assumed that a person who held a certain office or title would be a man. Today, that person could be of any gender. It’s nice to see the government of California recognizing that.

Governor Newsom Signs Gender Neutral Legislation is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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