News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.
Supporting Affirming Care and Inclusion for LGBTQ+ Youth and Their Families
This week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis implementing a travel ban on all travel to the States of Texas and Florida for County business until the suspension of their discriminatory and shameful laws.
The State of Texas recently passed a law saying that gender-affirming care for transgender youth will be prosecuted as child abuse, and encouraging family members and neighbors to report such actions to the police. This is a backward and patently cruel action designed to deny transgender youth the care they need and causing tremendous fear among parents and caregivers who are just trying to support their children. Transgender and queer youth are greatly overrepresented in the foster care system due to family rejection and are much more likely to attempt suicide than teens in the general population. The absolute last thing these families need is bigoted legislation threatening their ability to allow their children to receive the care they need.
Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is an equally abhorrent concept, a law banning not only “instruction” around gender identity and sexual orientation but also any “classroom discussion” of these topics. This law will perpetuate a culture of bullying, secrecy, shame, and fear for LGBTQ+ students, something I spent a great deal of time trying to prevent during throughout my years in the California legislature.
These bills send a purposefully false message to LGBTQ+ children that something is wrong with them, rather than admitting something is very wrong with the Florida and Texas legislatures. LA County condemns these appalling attempts to persecute and erase LGBTQ+ youth and their allies, and we have no interest in spending taxpayer money traveling to national conferences and meetings in states perpetuating discrimination.
Establishing a Rental Housing Habitability and Rent Escrow Account Program
In a continuing attempt to protect our vulnerable tenants, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell to proactively monitor and cite unsafe or substandard living conditions in rental units within the unincorporated areas of LA County.
Our current enforcement structure needs more cohesiveness and efficiency, and the motion develops a new case management framework under which the Department of Public Health oversees inspections, both complaint-based inspections and regular compliance inspections of each unit every four years. In addition, the Department will work closely with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to resolve complaints and protect the safety and welfare of tenants in the unincorporated areas.
Phasing out Plastics in LA County
I’m so happy that the Board took the first steps to approve an ordinance to phase out the distribution of disposable food service ware that is not compostable or recyclable. The regulation applies to the County’s unincorporated areas, home to one million County residents. In its scale, the County’s ordinance is among the country’s most ambitious efforts to reduce the use of plastics that poison marine ecosystems, damage human health, and contribute to global warming and environmental pollution.
The ordinance will require that full-service restaurants use reusable food service ware for dine-in customers, require that single-use items be compostable or recyclable, and phase out the sale or rental of expanded polystyrene products such as single-use food service ware, coolers, packaging and peanuts, and pool toys.
We also approved a motion by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis that ensure our local businesses are well-supported in making this transition by providing educational outreach and financial assistance where needed.
Hygiene Products at County Facilities
Across the nation, there is a growing recognition of the high cost of sanitary products and the inconvenience and financial burden this places on women. That’s why I’m pleased that the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis initiating a one-year pilot program that would provide free feminine hygiene products, diapers, and other personal care items at certain County facilities.
By providing these products cost-free at venues where many parents, women, and children visit, we can eliminate a common worry and alleviate some of the disparate impact “period poverty” has on our low-income residents.
Advancing Equity in Grant Funding for Cultural Organizations
LA County is committed to prioritizing equity in our support for the arts and our beloved cultural institutions, so this week, the Board passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Holly Mitchell to double available funding through our Organizational Grant Program over the next few years.
April is Arts Month, making this the perfect time to recognize LA County’s arts organizations and take this action to help them amplify their impact across our region.