SACRAMENTO, CA- Assembly Bill 931 (AB 931) was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 12, 2019. This bill increases the representation of women on local appointed boards and commissions. AB 931 seeks to remedy historical gender disparities in appointments to public, non-elected, non-salaried boards and commissions by requiring fair representation among men and women.
“While women have made considerable advances in the workforce in recent years, they still face inequities that often prevent them from being part of the decision-making process and reaching their full potential. Depending on the board or commission on which they serve, appointees have the responsibility of making recommendations on issues pertaining to permitting, planning, traffic, public safety, parks and recreation, and environmental quality and standards. These are the nuts and bolts of the daily lives of Californians, and women’s voices need to be equitably heard,” said Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, whose own experience on a local planning commission served as a catalyst for this bill.
While the policy of the State is that the general public be represented within the composition of state boards and commissions, there has previously been no law that required such representation to be implemented at the local level. Women, who make up 52 percent of California’s population, have struggled to achieve fair representation on the various boards and commissions that govern much of their daily lives. AB 931 requires that local boards and commissions with five or more members have both genders represented, with no gender representing more than 60% of the membership. This bill also prohibits local boards or commissions with four or fewer members from being comprised exclusively of people with the same gender identity. AB 931 applies to cities with a population of over 50,000 people.
“Fund Her, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in public service, is proud to stand with Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath in strong support of AB 931. This is a big step forward for California. By ensuring that women have access to gaining local government experience and using a public platform to serve in leadership roles at every level of government, we are empowering the next generation of women to serve this great state,” said Valerie T. McGinty, Founder and President of Fund Her.
AB 931 is supported by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Consumer Attorneys of California, Equal Rights Advocates, Fund Her, National Organization for Women (Hollywood Chapter), National Women’s + Political Caucus of California, and Women Serve on Boards.
AB 931 will take effect on January 1, 2030 to give cities a decade to recruit qualified women for their local appointed boards and commissions.
Contact: Alex Kiwan at (760) 434-7605