This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Wednesday that he intends to open a satellite attorney general's office in Washington, D.C., as he prepares to fight the Trump administration.
- The results from California's latest cap-and-trade auction are in, and revenue from the sale of pollution credits was weak.
- A bill that would set up a state-funded legal aid system for immigrants will be amended by its author to allow those with criminal records to apply for assistance.
Uber drivers will be allowed to receive tips from passengers through the company's credit-card-based app through new state legislation introduced Friday.
Assembly Bill 1099 from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) would force companies, such as Uber, that accept payments with credit cards to allow users of the service to tip workers with credit cards as well. Currently, Uber only allows its drivers to receive tips in cash .
"To only accept tips by cash is tough on the driver," Gonzalez Fletcher said in an interview.
The legislation wouldn't only apply to the ride-hailing industry — Uber's rival Lyft already allows drivers to receive tips through its app — but also nail salons, spas and all other businesses accepting credit card payments.
Gonzalez Fletcher said her measure was the first step in what could ultimately be a broader bill that would allow workers in the so-called gig economy to organize. Negotiations between the ride-hailing industry and labor unions were ongoing, she said, and she hoped an agreement could be reached on issues such as workers compensation, unemployment and Social Security benefits.
Last year, Gonzalez Fletcher pulled a bill that would have allowed gig economy workers to collectively bargain, saying the matter needed more study . She still plans to advance collective bargaining rules to Gov. Jerry Brown prior to his leaving office in 2018.
"It’s one hurdle at a time," she said.