Off to a Fast Start
Business lobbyists who expected to ease their way into the start of the 1996-97 legislative session had to change plans in a hurry Monday after the new crop of legislators flooded the Capitol with 128 measures on the first day. By Thursday, close to 200 bills had been introduced.
Since hearings on new bills won't begin until next month, the deluge didn't mean holiday plans will be canceled, but it did signal that the heavy workload of sizing up the proposals, handicapping their chances and weighing the potential effects on business and industry had to begin in earnest.
Some measures will seem all too familiar--the omnibus gambling package has been put forth again by Senate leader Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward), which, among many things, attempts to create a gaming enforcement unit within the state attorney general's office and regulate business at Indian casinos.
Lobbyists for the insurance and health-care industries are busy studying at least four bills calling for improved health care for women and longer hospital stays for those giving birth or undergoing mastectomies. Another bill by Assemblyman Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) would provide workers' compensation death benefits to health workers who contract AIDS in connection with their jobs.
Some industries made sure their interests were well represented in the legislative flurry. Sen. Ken Maddy (R-Fresno) introduced five bills on behalf of the state's horse racing interests.
These appointments were made in November by the governor to the state Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Board members receive no salary. No Senate confirmation is required.
* Vincent A. DiTomaso of Encino. DiTomaso, 68, is an electrical engineer with Dalan Engineering of Northridge. He is a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California.
* Marilyn S. Lyon of Rancho Palos Verdes. Lyon, 46, is the mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes. She is also owner of Lyon & Associates, a marketing and business development firm in Long Beach.
* Quang D. Vu of Mission Viejo has been reappointed to the board. Vu, 39, is president of Dahl, Taylor & Associates, a mechanical and electrical engineering consulting firm in Newport Beach.
Here's a quick look at some of the business-related bills introduced this week.
* Sweatshop Cleanup (SB 46)
Holds garment manufacturers liable for wage, safety and other workplace violations committed by their contractors. Sponsored by the garment workers union, UNITE, this bill likely will face opposition from the fashion industry and manufacturing groups. Author: Hilda Solis (D-El Monte).
* Workweek Flexibility (AB 15)
Grants employers limited flexibility to create alternative work schedules without paying overtime. Allows employees to work as many as 10 hours a day without overtime, provided the employees consent and work no more than 40 hours a week. Manufacturing groups likely will oppose, since last session they pushed, unsuccessfully, a much more ambitious measure, which would have eliminated the eight-hour workday standard for purposes of overtime. Author: Wally Knox (D-Los Angeles).
* Mobile-Home Rent Control (SCA 2)
Seeks legislative approval for a statewide ballot measure to let cities and counties impose rent controls on mobile-home parks. Requires approval from two-thirds of the Legislature before the matter can go to the voters. Mobile-home owners are likely supporters, while mobile-home-park owners are likely to oppose. Author: Jack O'Connell (D-Carpinteria)
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