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.
Monkeypox and Covid in LA County
Dr. Barbara Ferrer updated the Board on hospitalization rates driven by the BA.5 subvariant of COVID-19, which have been rising but look to be flattening out. She suggested ways we can best protect public health moving forward, and also provided some clarity on the emerging monkeypox outbreak.
As of the July 26 Board Meeting, there have been 223 cases of monkeypox in LA County, with cases mainly among gay and bisexual men. The Department of Public Health will ramp up vaccination efforts for those most at risk as LA County receives additional vaccine doses, which have been limited by supply issues. To stay up to date on everything related to monkeypox and how to register for vaccines as they become available, people are encouraged to sign up for the Public Health newsletter at ph.lacounty.gov/MonkeypoxSignUp.
We also passed a motion, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn, formally requesting support from the federal government in our response to this crisis, asking that additional supplies of the JYNNEOS vaccine be sent to LA County and for President Biden to use all means at his disposal, including invoking the Defense Production Act, to increase the supply and manufacturing of the vaccine.
Veterans Marriage Recognition Act of 2022
When Roe v. Wade was overturned, the Supreme Court also hinted they were painting a target on marriage equality. We took steps toward protecting all those legally married at this week’s Board Meeting in support of LGBTQ veterans and their spouses.
We passed a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Kathryn Barger that formalized LA County’s support for the Veterans Marriage Recognition Act of 2022. The bill would address a portion of the VA code that has historically excluded LGBTQ spouses, changing language in the code to define a spouse as someone “who was lawfully married to a veteran, including a marriage between two persons of the same sex” and striking the outdated requirement “of the opposite sex.” It’s a simple change with a big impact, opening spousal benefits to a large population of spouses of veterans in the LGBTQ community.
County Signing onto an Amicus Brief in Support of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Law
Protected characteristics, including sexual orientation, should be just that: protected. That’s why the Board passed my motion to sign onto the San Francisco City Attorney’s amicus brief in support of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, which requires businesses to serve members of the public without regard to sexual orientation or other protected characteristics.
Injustice against marginalized people anywhere is a threat to marginalized people everywhere, so I’m glad LA County is continuing to lift its voice for equity.
Advancing Diversity on California Corporate Boards
In another move to support progressive legislation, the Board approved a motion I co-authored with Supervisor Hilda Solis directing County Counsel to file amicus briefs for two state laws (SB 826 & AB 979) that were struck down by the Superior Court.
Senate Bill (SB) 826 (Women on Boards) and Assembly Bill (AB) 979 (Underrepresented Communities on Boards) both advanced diversity on the Corporate Boards of publicly-held companies in California. Board diversity in corporate governance would not only open doors for people from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, but allow these companies to make decisions more accurately reflective of the society in which they operate.
New Board Policy – Inclusive Hiring
LA County is an incredibly diverse region, and more than a third of our population are immigrants, many of whom have not yet established citizenship. Historically County employment has not been open to non-citizens, closing us off from a significant talent pool.
This week, the Board approved our new Inclusive Hiring Policy, establishing universal standards for County departments to remove citizenship as a requirement for positions where it is not mandated by law. Moving forward, applicants for employment will be considered on merit fairly and equitably, regardless of their place on the pathway to citizenship.