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Escape from Cali: California Passes Bills Raising Gun Taxes, Mandating Gender-Neutral School Bathrooms During Extremist Session


The California Legislature passed several major bills this week as it debates nearly 1,000 bills during its last two weeks in session for 2023.

Four of the pieces of legislation focused on gender-neutral bathrooms for kids, a massive excise tax for guns and rezoning church parking lots for affordable housing, according to The Washington Times. The bills will solidify California’s move to the left on LGBTQ issues and gun legislation.

The Legislature passed a bill Thursday mandating all elementary, middle and high schools with multiple restrooms have at least one gender-neutral bathroom available. The bill will go into effect by July 2026, and will apply to all grades levels except kindergarten and pre-k.

“Schools should be a welcoming, safe place for all students – this includes access to bathrooms,” Tony Thurmond, a supporter of the gender-neutral bathroom bill and the California state superintendent of public instruction, wrote in an assembly analysis. “This legislation is a critical step toward preparing California students to succeed by ensuring the necessary steps of having a safe foundation to rely on: having a safe and inclusive place to use the restroom.”

Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman claimed that having a dedicated gender-neutral bathroom would make those students who believe they are non-binary and transgender feel comfortable, according to KTLA5, a Los Angeles-based outlet. California law currently requires schools to let students use the bathroom that fits their gender identity regardless of whether they are male or female.

The California Assembly also passed a bill Wednesday designating August as the state’s official Transgender History Month. The state will begin commemorating the month in 2024 with special attention given to the contribution of the trans community to California, and will be the first state in the nation to do so, Fox News reported.

“Supporting the transgender community by designating August as Transgender History Month will create a culture led by research, education, and scholarly recognition of the contributions of transgender Californians to our great state’s history,” Democratic Assemblymember Josh Haney wrote in the bill.

The California Legislature also established a new 11% excise tax on all gun-related purchases in the state. The bill will take effect in July 2024 and is projected to generate $159 million in annual revenue, and would be used to fund “violence-reduction” programs in the state, according to the Associated Press.

“This tax is a modest and reasonable excise tax on sellers whose lawful and legitimate commercial activity still imposes enormous harmful externalities on California’s families, communities, and taxpayers,” the Family Violence Law Center wrote in support of the measure. “This bill is not intended to penalize firearm sellers or otherwise discourage lawful firearm sales and commerce whatsoever. . . It would stop shootings, save lives, and make California a better, safer place.”

The California Assembly passed a bill that would rezone land owned by religious organizations and nonprofit colleges to allow those groups to build affordable housing on unused land without having to go through the local government’s environmental review and permitting laws, according to The Washington Times.

Democratic State Senator Scott Weiner created the legislation to help combat the ongoing homelessness crisis in California, which hosts roughly 30% of all homeless people in the U.S., The Washington Times reported.

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom will have one month to sign the senate-passed bills into law.

The California Governor’s Office declined to comment on the pending legislation.

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