September 20, 2011
The Governor has signed into law SB 559 (Padilla), expanding prohibited discrimination under the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The new law adds discrimination based on genetic information. Of interest to title companies the new law also amends the existing law governing the removal of racial restrictions to allow a property owner to seek the removal of any unlawful restrictive covenant that discriminates on the basis of genetic information. SB 559 uses the current process permitting the recording of a document entitled “Restrictive Covenant Modification”. Prior to recording the document it continues to be required that it is submitted to county counsel for a determination of whether the restriction is prohibited. In practice the more immediate impact is that the cover page or stamp on any deed, restriction or governing document provided to a person must add genetic information to the list of unlawful restrictions. The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2012. (See Section 18 of the bill).
Another bill, AB 887 (Atkins), is on the Governors desk and would expand prohibited discriminations due to gender identity and gender expression. If the bill is signed, the restrictive covenant modification would be amended to reflect these new provisions as well.