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Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath Introduces Bill Requiring Sports Prize Equity

For immediate release:

ENCINITAS, CA – Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), at a press conference today overlooking Cardiff State Beach, announced the introduction of AB 467, a bill that would require sports prize equity for both male and female participants in all sporting competitions held on public lands. Also called the “Equal Pay for Equal Play” measure, AB 467 is aimed at addressing long-standing gender pay disparities in competitive sports.

“I do not want my daughter, or my son for that matter, growing up in a world where we value the contributions of one gender more than the other,” said Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath. “That does not represent California’s values, and we have an opportunity to craft a brighter, more equal future with this bill.”

AB 467 would require equal prize compensation for all athletes, regardless of gender, as a condition for approving a lease or permit request for any sporting event held on public land. Event organizers would have to affirm equal pay prizes for both men and women at each participant level before the competition could move forward.

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, a joint author on the legislation, also spoke at the press conference.

“Women in all industries are fighting for equal pay in the workplace, including in the world of sports,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “These incredible athletes are competing on the same level as men – they deserve equity in their prize winnings on our public lands.”

The genesis for the bill came from recent events in the surfing world, California’s official sport. Organizers of The Mavericks Challenge, a world-class professional surfing event held in Half Moon Bay since 1999, had failed to include a women’s division or offer equitable prize compensation until recent actions by the California Coastal Commission and the California State Lands Commission in 2018 required both inclusion and prize compensation equity as conditions for permits and leasing for the event.

Sabrina Brennan, representing the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, helped provide some of the historical context for the legislation and voiced her organizations support for the bill.

“The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing is pleased to support AB 467,” said Brennan. “Events offering equal prize money is one meaningful way to achieve equity in competitive surfing.”

While the bill specifically addresses sporting events held on public lands, it is also tackling a larger issue of inequality that has long plagued the sports industry. Pay disparities exist in almost every major sport, and change has been slow to come.

“We’ve fought for years to end this kind of inequality in the workplace and these competitions are where these athletes work,” added Assemblymember Boerner Horvath “I am humbled and honored to advance the historic efforts of so many athletes and advocates standing up for equality.”

AB 467 was introduced on February 11, 2019 and will begin the committee hearing process next month in the California State Assembly.