Governor Newsom Signs Gender Neutral Legislation Updating Archaic References in State Law

Contact: Samantha Samuelsen

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 272, authored by State Senator John Laird (D – Santa Cruz). Senate Bill 272, Sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, will immediately update gender-specific references in various code sections to reflect gender-inclusive language. References pertaining to the CHP Commissioner, CALFIRE firefighters, insurance licensing, and California Conservation Corps members will now be gender neutral.

“California is at the forefront of efforts to promote inclusion and diversity of all people, no matter their sex, social gender, or gender identity,” said State Senator Laird. “Our laws must reflect the diverse leadership of our state and promote the inclusion of all people. California leads by example and Governor Newsom’s signature today affirms the fact that our state welcomes and respects all Californians’ identities.”

“Language matters and it’s about time we update our laws to reflect the diversity of our state, and its current and future leaders,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Embracing gender-neutral language in our laws reflects the hard work that so many are doing for a better, more inclusive society.”

The introduction of Senate Bill 272 was originally inspired by the historic appointment and confirmation of CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray, the first woman and second African American to lead the agency in its 91-year history. Commissioner Ray’s distinguished career within the agency and appointment to the highest rank should not be lost in outdated code sections. Instead, the bill was introduced to reflect the current and future leader of the agency and values of California.

“With the Governor’s signature on SB 272, we as a state are continuing to make California for all,” stated Laird.

Senate Bill 272 takes effect immediately.


Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.