California could soon become a refuge for trans youth from some conservative states.
Democatic state lawmakers announced new legislation Thursday that would make the Golden State a safe haven for transgender children being targeted in states like Texas.
"If you need a place to go, if it's not safe for you in the state that you are in – you are welcome in California, you are welcome in Palm Springs," said Mayor of Palm Springs Lisa Middleton.
Middleton said the city is already working with hotels and tourism organizations to be prepared to shelter people in Palm Springs.
"We will be here to greet you and welcome you into our community," she said. "We are stronger community because of the diversity we have in this state. We are committed to diversity and inclusion."
The bill is co-sponsored by Equality California, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the state. Legislative Directo Tami Martin said it's in response to anti-trans legislation like in Texas where Governor Greg Abbott is taking measures to put transgender children in foster care, or threatening criminal prosecution for giving trans kids access to gender-affirming
"To the extent other states pass laws that are anti-trans, anti-gender affirming care – those are contrary to the public policy of California and won't be applied or enforced here," Martin said.
"It's a matter of life or death for these children. We know that also parents are terrified that their kids will be taken away from them, and its going to have a chilling effect on doctors being legally allowed and comfortable to provide that care," she said.
The bill must now pass a vote by a state senate committee, then a senate floor vote, before moving to the state assembly and finally receive Gov. Newsom's signature.