The bill, AB 624, would affect private, corporate and public operating foundations, as well as charitable trusts, which have assets in excess of $250 million. The bill appears designed to pressure large charities such as the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and many others to hire more minorities and homosexuals, and to steer grants toward entities controlled by such individuals. According to an Assembly committee report, the bill reflects its author's beliefs that charities need to be more diverse, and mandating the submission of data on the race, gender and sexual orientation of their board members, employees and grantees would be "an important tool" in achieving that goal. AB 624 passed the Assembly last week and is now headed for a vote in the state Senate.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, stated, "AB 624 is a poorly-written, thinly-veiled power grab by the state. It not only raises serious privacy concerns, but it also appears to ignore the Commerce Clause, which prohibits states from over-regulating national organizations. Californians across the ideological spectrum should immediately contact their State Senators and Governor Schwarzenegger to enlist their opposition to this insidious bill."
Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for PJI ally Capitol Resource Family Impact, stated, "This invasive measure promotes sexual orientation and transgender persons as a protected class will have a horrible impact on organizations supporting traditional values."
AB 624 was officially supported in Assembly committee hearings by the Greenlining Institute of Berkeley, the AFSCME union and La Raza, among others. It was officially opposed by the California Family Council and the Nonprofit and Unincorporated Organizations Committee of the State Bar. Employees and organizations who are uncomfortable divulging information about their sexuality to the government should contact PJI for legal assistance.