California bill — passed by the state senate and recommended for passage by an assembly committee — would authorize jail for nursing home staff who “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns”:

[Legislative Counsel’s analysis:] Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation by the State Department of Public Health of health facilities, including skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities. A violation of these provisions is a crime … Under existing law, a person who violates the act, or who willfully or repeatedly violates any rule or regulation adopted under the act, is guilty of a misdemeanor …

Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, including, among others, willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name and pronouns and or pronouns …

[Text:] (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), it shall be unlawful for a long-term care facility or facility staff to take any of the following actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status: …

(5) Willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns …

(b) This section shall not apply to the extent that it is incompatible with any professionally reasonable clinical judgment …

I should note that professional-client speech is subject to more government regulation than other speech, though how much more is unclear (see this general discussion and this post about the Florida “docs vs. glocks” law), and such traditional professional-client speech regulation is generally civil, not criminal. Still, this proposed statute would on its face extend beyond just speech to the client, and would also cover speech about the client (since the relevant pronouns, whether “he,” “she,” “ze” or anything else, are third-person pronouns that are generally used when talking to someone else about the person). And it strikes me as pretty unlikely that, if this law is enacted, such prohibitions would be limited just to this scenario (compare the official New York City Commission on Human Rights guidance, which says that “intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title” could lead to massive fines when done by any employer, landlord, or business or professional).

Thanks to Ed Driscoll at InstaPundit for the pointer.