Capitol Alert

Bill banning ‘gender tax’ clears California Senate

Pink scooters that cost double their red counterparts. “Boyfriend”-style clothing far more expensive than the men’s fashion it mimics.

These are the scenarios that California legislators aim to outlaw with Senate Bill 899, a prohibition on “gender price discrimination” that often sees women charged more for similar goods. The equal-price-for-equal-products measure by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, passed the state Senate on Thursday by a vote of 22-12.

“I don’t know any women who do not want to pay their fair share,” Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, said. “But we do not want to pay our share and someone else’s share.”

Opposed by retailers and the California Chamber of Commerce, SB 899 struggled for enough support on the Senate floor. Four Democrats – Steve Glazer of Orinda, Cathleen Galgiani of Manteca, Ben Allen of Santa Monica and Bob Wieckowski of Fremont – voted no or abstained. Republicans were uniformly against the proposal.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he spoke with his wife and she confirmed that there are issues, but he felt the market could correct itself.

“I don’t think we need to have a pricing police going into retail shops,” he said. “If there’s a retailer that is really abusing this pricing, this gender pricing, the gals can just get on Facebook and just knock the retailer right off the shelf.”

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff