Every one of the 90 delegations in California Youth and Government comes up with two bills that they hope will pass in Sacramento and will eventually be part of California Law. These bills reflect the passions of delegates who hope to make change in areas they think need reform. Gold Legislature is one of the the program areas in which these bills are proposed, argued on, and voted on. With so many bills presented, delegates Charmae Wang, Leanne Rahamim, and Sierra Muehlhauser have picked a few favorites.
The favorite bill of Wang, a sophomore from Diablo Valley YMCA, was one that sought to help victims of sexual harassment in their cases. Charmae said, “[In this bill,] lawyers aren’t allowed to ask what the victim was wearing or if the victim led the attacker on- questions that aren’t really relevant to the case but are more manipulating the jury into thinking [the victim was at fault,]” she says.
She feels that bills like these help to reverse the common ideology that rape is the fault of the victim, not the attacker, because they prohibit lawyers from influencing the jury’s opinion on blame in the event of sexual harassment, especially considering recent events. “I thought that was really interesting because that sort of thing happens a lot, like in the Brock Turner one. So I like how it’s going to help to fight the ideology of putting the blame on the victim instead of the actual attacker because rape is rape, no matter what the victim’s wearing.”
Sophomore Leanne Rahamim of Triunfo YMCA, on the other hand, preferred a bill prohibiting the ownership of dogs and cats who are not spayed or neutered. Rahamim felt that the bill was debatable; with sessions that are several hours long and dozens of bills to consider, Gold Legislatures enjoy bills that are unique and have room to debate on both sides. “I was against this bill because I don’t think local jurisdiction or programs would be able to hunt down every cat or dog and I thought it was unnecessary. Plus, I feel like their owners should make that decision.” Though she had her own personal beliefs on the bill, she thought it was fun to debate and enjoyed hearing both sides.
Senior Sierra Muehlhauser from Newport-Corona Del Mar YMCA also found debatable bills more interesting. Her favorite, if passed, would let children who are twelve or older make decisions about sex reassignment surgery without parents consent. Muehlhauser enjoyed hearing the bill because she had strong opinions on the topic herself, but she also liked hearing opinions from the other side. “It provided a lot of good discussion and we debated on it for a really long time. There were some really good arguments and it was great to hear all the different perspectives.”