State lawmakers stay up late to pass paid sick days measure

Ricardo Lara, Kevin de Leon, Lorena Gonzalez
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said the sick-leave bill “would expand workers rights in a way that is unprecedented in this state or in this nation.” Above, Gonzalez with state Sens. Kevin de Leon, center, and Ricardo Lara at a June news conference.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

In one of the final acts of the 2014 lawmaking year, the Legislature early Saturday morning voted to significantly expand working Californians’ access to paid time off for illness.

The lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would require most employers in the state to give workers at least three paid sick days a year. Supporters say it would help about 6.5 million Californians.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who authored the bill, AB 1522, said her measure would protect workers from being laid off for being sick or for caring for a loved one who is ill.

Under the proposal, employers would be required to provide the sick leave to employees who work 30 or more days within a year of being hired. Leave time would accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked.


“Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hard-working Californians,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement after the bill passed.

The action followed passage of what would be the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags and lawmakers’ approval, for the first time, of a measure to regulate underground water withdrawals in drought-ravaged California.

Other measures headed to the governor would:

• Provide an additional $50 million each to the University of California and California State University systems. The money is intended for projects such as overdue maintenance work. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) was the primary proponent of the bill, SB 872 by the Senate Budget Committee.


• Prohibit elected officials from soliciting contributions to a nonprofit that they, or a family member, run. They would also be barred from dipping into their own campaign accounts to send money to those nonprofits. The bill, SB 831, is by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).

• Require the state to develop a new, publicly accessible Internet campaign reporting system and require that candidates use it to electronically file their campaign finances every calendar quarter, rather than semi-annually. The bill, SB 1442, is by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

• Require people who construct their own guns to have such weapons assigned a serial number by the state and to require a background check on the owner. Sen. Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles), who introduced SB 808, said these “ghost guns” currently are untraceable.

Legislation aimed at identifying criminals and others who are improperly buying ammunition in California failed in the wee hours Saturday. Opponents viewed that bill, SB 53 by De Léon, as, in effect, an infringement on gun-ownership rights.
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Times staff writers Chris Megerian and Phil Willon contributed to this report.

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