Gov't tries again to get in businesses' business

Gov't tries again to get in businesses' business

Gov't tries again to get in businesses' business

A conservative family advocate doesn't think it's the government's place to tell businesses how to market their products.

Greg Burt of the California Family Council tells American Family News his organization opposes a bill that has been proposed in California that could force large department stores to display some child products in gender-neutral terms.

"A bill like this simply opens the door to a never-ending number of complaints from activist groups who don't like the way stores are marketing their products to selling it to one sex or another," he warns. "You can imagine what's going to happen once a bill like this passes. Next year it'll be something else."

This is at least the third time California lawmakers have tried to pass this bill, with previous versions failing to pass in 2019 and 2020. It started out as a ban on separate boys' and girls' clothing and toys sections and has been whittled down to requiring a gender-neutral section for toys and childcare items in stores with 500 or more employees.

"No one individual or legislator has the right to tell another company owner what messages about gender they can use to sell their products," says Burt. "If you disagree with how a store is selling its products, start your own store."

In California, a governor can choose not to sign something the legislature approves, and it will still become law. So should the measure reach the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), it does not have to be signed to take effect. Newsom would, however, have the opportunity to veto the measure, though Burt does not see that happening.

If it becomes law, California would become the first state to require these sections in stores. While the law will require large department stores to comply, penalties for not doing so would be light. Starting in 2024, prosecutors could seek fines of up to $250 for first offenses and up to $500 for second offenses.