U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Tuesday took to Twitter to voice his support for a California bill that would expand overtime pay for thousands of farmworkers across the state.
Assembly Bill 1066, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown after it was approved Monday in a historic vote on the state Assembly floor. Brown has made no indication as to whether he will sign the legislation, and his office said Tuesday he generally does not comment on pending proposals. A spokesman also said he would not comment on Perez's support for the bill.
Farmworkers that put food on our table deserve same protections that other industries have had for years. CA bill would ensure fairness.
The proposal would roll out new rules for farmworker overtime in 2019, lowering the current 10-hour-day threshold for overtime by half an hour each year until it reaches the standard eight-hour day by 2022. It also would phase in a 40-hour standard workweek for the first time. The governor would be able to suspend any part of the process for a year depending on economic conditions.
Californians who purchase lead-acid batteries like those used to start cars and trucks would pay a new $1 fee under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown early Thursday morning, with the funds earmarked for cleaning up contaminated sites such as the former Exide battery plant in Los Angeles County.
The fee charged to battery buyers would rise to $2 in 2022. Lawmakers would direct the revenues — estimated to be as much as $40 million a year — to deal with contamination sites as needed.
"For four decades, our community has been waiting for something," said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), the author of AB 2153.
After 10 bills over eight years failed to legalize Internet poker in California, the latest plan also died Wednesday in the Legislature amid continued squabbling by competing factions of the gambling industry.
A bill that would have allowed Californians to legally play poker online lacked support from two-thirds of Assembly members and was not brought up for a vote on the last day of the legislative session.
Lawmakers cried, sang, recited limericks and confessed crushes on departing colleagues this week in their farewell speeches for California legislators whose terms are up.
For 14 Assembly members and six state senators, Wednesday likely marked their last day arguing on the floors of their respective chambers. In an end-of-session tradition, lawmakers said goodbye to their termed-out colleagues between voting on bills.
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino) revealed he might have a legislative crush on outgoing Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose).
State lawmakers defeated a measure late Wednesday that would have given retail and grocery store employees who work on Thanksgiving double pay.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the bill’s author, said it was needed as more and more retailers were extending Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving Day.
“I narrowed and narrowed and narrowed this bill so it only affects the things that concern us the most: the larger retailers who continue to open up on Thanksgiving rather than allowing people to stay home with their families,” Gonzalez said.
In potentially a major change to California’s taxi business, state lawmakers passed legislation late Wednesday to centralize control over the industry, an effort supporters said would allow cabs to better compete with Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services.
The bill, AB 650, would prohibit local governments from setting taxi rates or limit the number of taxis on the road as well as allowing cabs to pick up and drop off passengers outside specific local jurisdictions. Ride-hailing companies have looser regulations in those areas and have made significant inroads into the taxi business.
“The laws and regulations governing the provisions of transportation services are many decades old and have evolved slowly,” said the bill’s author, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell). “As with many new technologies, the rapid growth of [ride-hailing] companies has created a disruption in taxis' archaic model of transportation.”
In the last few hours before the end of session, lawmakers passed a measure to advance the California bullet train project.
Voters approved nearly $10 billion in bonds for the high-speed rail project in 2008, but it has since stalled. The bill passed Wednesday would clarify wording in the 2008 measure and allow some of the money for the project to upgrade existing rail lines.
"It's a critical investment in our infrastructure," the bill's author, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), said.