Capitol Alert

California keeps gender-based pricing for retail goods

Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, enters the Senate floor on Aug. 25, 2014.
Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, enters the Senate floor on Aug. 25, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

A bill that sought to ban the practice of charging men and women different prices for similar goods is finished for the year.

Facing opposition from business groups, Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, pulled Senate Bill 899 from consideration on Tuesday, ahead of a Friday deadline to advance measures out of policy committees.

Based on a 1995 law that prohibited gender-based pricing for services like haircuts and dry cleaning, SB 899 would have expanded the principle to retailers. Dubbing it “gender price discrimination,” Hueso pointed to examples like pink razors that cost several dollars more than the same model in blue and “boyfriend”-style women’s clothing far more expensive than the men’s fashion it mimics.

The measure stalled in the Assembly Judiciary Committee last week amid concerns that it would subject businesses to costly lawsuits. The California Chamber of Commerce had placed SB 899 on its list of “job killers.”

Hueso’s office said he would consider reviving the proposal next session.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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