The Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom, just signed a new law into effect on Saturday that mandates many large retail stores to offer toys in gender-neutral sections of their inventory. This is a move to encourage children to consider toys that do not take into account gender stereotypes.
The new bill affects retail department stores that are physically located in California and have a total of 500 or more employees across all California retail department store locations. These stores, which sell childcare items or toys, must now maintain a gender-neutral section or area, to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer. The bill says that there must be a reasonable selection of items and toys for children that it sells and they should be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.
It is not clear just how large the gender-neutral section needs to be to satisfy the “reasonable selection” requirements.
The initiative was the third time that Democrats in the state Legislature have tried to pass this law, with similar bills failing in 2019 and 2020. Republicans and some conservative groups fought against the legislation, arguing that the government should not tell parents how to shop for their children.
This new law will go into effect in 2024 and will contain a possible $250 fine for a first violation, and up to a $500 fine for each subsequent violation.
The state legislature of California believes that the law may keep consumers from “incorrectly” believing that a given toy may be “inappropriate” for one gender and not the other.
State Assemblyman Evan Low (D-CA) introduced the legislation according to The Los Angeles Times. He said that part of the rationale for the new bill is to make sure that a young girl can find a police car, a fire truck, a periodic table, or even a dinosaur. Low also noted, “And then similarly, if you’re a boy, if you’re more artistic and want to play with glitter, why not? Why should you feel the stigma of saying, ‘Oh, this should be shamed’ and going to a different location?”
Low, in an interview with The Sacramento Bee earlier this year, said he was inspired to introduce the bill after he learned of Target’s 2015 decision to abolish gendered children’s sections.
One of the most vocal opponents of the law was the conservative California Family Council. They said in a statement that the bill was a marketing scheme by Rob Smith, the proprietor of The Phluid Project, to sell his gender-neutral clothing.
California Family Council President Jonathan Keller said that activists and state legislators have no right to force retailers to espouse government-approved messages about gender. Keller said that it is a violation of free speech and it’s just plain wrong.
Governor Newsom, who just recently won a recall election, did not release a statement about the new bill after he signed it. He just announced that it had been signed along with dozens of other bills.
One of those bills signed into law was AB 1346. It will ban retailers from selling gas-powered lawnmowers as early as 2024. Andrew Bray of the National Association of Landscaping Professionals maintains that the zero-emissions versions currently cost more than twice as much as conventional gas versions, according to The Los Angeles Times.
State Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-CA) authored the legislation. He said that this law was a “pretty modest approach” to trying to limit the massive amounts of pollution that equipment like this emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly.
Obviously, California is hard at work with their progressive agendas…