It has been nearly seven years since then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have established a day honoring gay rights icon Harvey Milk, saying that it would be better for the slain San Francisco politician and activist to be honored locally.
How times have changed. The next year, Schwarzenegger signed legislation creating a special day for Milk and encouraging schools to commemorate May 22. Proposition 8’s passage dealt LGBT advocates a significant blow not long after, but they prevailed in the end thanks to the Supreme Court, and the Legislature has worked to pass bills that require schools to teach gay history and to allow kids to use bathrooms matching their gender.
Today, per official gubernatorial declaration, Californians will mark Harvey Milk day, both in schools that choose to honor it and in legislator-attended events. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, the second consecutive openly gay speaker and the first lesbian, will receive a Harvey Milk Day Community Award this evening in recognition of her work for the LGBT community during a 7 p.m. event at Capitol Dime, which will be followed by an until-close afterparty at Faces (what, no love for the Mercantile?).
BILLING DEPARTMENT: The Legislature meets today in a rare Friday session to make up for the Monday Memorial Day holiday (and ensure that lawmakers will keep getting per diem payments through the weekend). A few notable bills are expected to come up. In the Assembly, debate is expected on a measure phasing out plastic microbeads in cosmetics and a bill allowing transportation companies like Lyft and Uber to carpool. In the Senate, we could see a vote on a bill banning the use of bullhooks on elephants.
COMMENCING: The newest wave of bright-eyed college grads will hear some inspirational words from California pols in the next few days. Representing the new guard, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will talk at the San Francisco State commencement today. On behalf of the old guard, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, will be at San Jose State tomorrow.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, who turns 46 today.