Boy Scouts and youth groups safe from CA lawmakers… for now

Boy Scouts and youth groups safe from CA lawmakers… for now

SACRAMENTO — A bill to strip the Boy Scouts of their tax exemption has been shelved… for now. Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, decided Thursday to sideline his bill to eliminate the tax-exempt status of nonprofit youth groups that do not allow gay members.

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The “Youth Equality Bill,” SB323 by Lara, targeted Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League, YMCA, YWCA, Future Farmers of America, 4-H and Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs are all listed in Lara’s bill, in addition to the Boy Scouts. Even Special Olympics, American Youth Soccer and Pop Warner football were included.

Despite claiming SB 323 was “alive and well,” the bill stalled on the Assembly floor during voting, and was transferred to the Legislature’s inactive file, which is usually a signal the bill was dead in the water.

However, the inactive file will allow Lara to bring SB 323 back next year.

“As session reconvenes in January, the passage of this bill and fighting against the discrimination of California’s LGBT community continues to be of paramount importance,” Lara said.

Youth organizations are substitute parentsPop-warner-little-scholars-logo

Throughout the year, Lara never once acknowledged the harm SB 323 would do to all of the targeted youth organizations.

It’s ironic a lawmaker from Bell Gardens in Los Angeles was targeting youth organizations, which are often the only parental influence some inner city kids have.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and YMCA offer important after school programs for kids whose parents work. The opportunities kids have in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are endless — camping, hiking, building, survival skills, fellowship, the importance of charity and giving, and morals and ethics.

Youth programs aren’t just tax-exempt babysitters.

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