Newsletter: Essential Politics: Will Jerry Brown give farmworkers what they want?


Is it time to rethink how much is paid to California’s farmworkers for overtime labor? That’s the question now facing Gov. Jerry Brown.

Good morning from the the state capital. I’m Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, and Brown has some big decisions coming for bills that will be sent to his desk by midweek.

By law, the Legislature must finish its regular business for this two-year session by the end of Wednesday night. That means scores of bills are getting one last vote — some leading to intense and emotional debates.


Monday’s vote on expanding overtime regulations for California farmworkers was the second time in 88 days the state Assembly had weighed the proposal. The first time, it was narrowly defeated, when a group of Democrats refused to support the plan.

This time, as Jazmine Ulloa and Sophia Bollag report, several Democratic assembly members changed their minds. The plan calls for a four-year phase-in of new overtime rules beginning in 2019, ultimately resulting in overtime pay for more than eight hours of work in the fields in 2022.


So what will the governor do? As with most bills, he’s been silent on the issue. It’s worth remembering, though, another confrontation between Brown and the influential United Farm Workers in 2011 — in which the governor vetoed a closely watched bill that would have made it easier for farmworkers to organize. And the history goes back much further, given it was Brown who joined with the late UFW leader Cesar Chavez to allow farmworkers to join a union in 1975.

The governor has until late September to act on the bill. As always, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for the very latest.


No, it’s not a trick question. On Monday, Donald Trump unveiled a TV ad with a catchphrase that is awfully familiar to political junkies: “Two Americas.”

Sound familiar? It’s the same mantra used by Democrat John Edwards during the 2004 presidential campaign. Of course, Trump has his own unique version that’s he invoked in a new TV ad focusing on what he claims will happen to the economy if Hillary Clinton wins in November.


Clinton, meantime, faces a brand-new challenge: Deflecting any liability brought about by the turmoil surrounding her closest aide, Huma Abedin.

Abedin was already a favorite target of Clinton critics during the on-again, off-again email saga. Now, as Evan Halper reports, the top advisor’s marriage is front and center. Again. On Monday, Abedin announced she and husband Anthony Weiner have separated after a tabloid report that Weiner was again sending suggestive photos to a woman he met online.

And yes, there’s another New York City angle: Trump may have called Weiner a “sleazeball” but he made donations to the Democrat’s political campaigns in years past.

As for Clinton, she was heard by reporters talking to donors about the unpredictable nature of debating Trump in less than a month.


Beyond the farmworker bill, Monday was a busy day in the Capitol, with a number of notable proposals either going to the governor’s desk or crashing in flames for the year.

— Lawmakers sent Brown a bill to require prison time in certain sexual assault cases, inspired by a six-month jail sentence meted out in June to a Stanford University student who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman.

— Also now on his desk: A bill to make it easier for homeowners to add an additional residential unit within their existing homes; an effort to prevent California employers from paying women less than men based on prior salary; and a requirement that county jails allow in-person visits from the families of inmates.

— Two election bills worth noting are also poised to become law with a gubernatorial signature: a major revamping of the state’s voting process, where more ballots would be mailed and polling places would be phased out; and a bill to make sure you’re told whether your vote was actually counted.

— There were also several bills killed by lawmakers on Monday, including an effort to prevent utility companies from charging ratepayers for natural gas that’s leaked into the atmosphere instead of being delivered to customers. And the Senate rejected an effort to impose new campaign contributions on races for local office.


— Gov. Brown signed a law Monday banning the use of bullhooks to control elephants, the same kind of proposal he vetoed just one year ago.

— Officials at California’s secretary of State’s office report there’s no indication that the state’s voter registration databases were breached by foreign hackers. Illinois and Arizona weren’t as lucky, according to reports.

— A major milestone was expected to have been hit on Monday: 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States.

— What would a mass deportation of people without legal status in the U.S. look like? We’ve got a quick Q&A to catch you up to speed.

— The state’s plan to build an initial stretch of high-speed rail line from San Jose to a map point in the midst of the Central Valley came under renewed attack at an oversight hearing Monday.

— Given that Californians have an open U.S. Senate seat to fill for the first time in more than two and a half decades, we want you to weigh in: What questions do you have for Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez? Tweet your best ones to @LATpoliticsCA by the end of the week, and we’ll select some of the best ones to include in our candidate questionnaire.

— Who will win the Nov. 8 presidential election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.

— The Times’ entertainment team has the details on Trump campaign chief Stephen Bannon’s ties to Hollywood — and how he manages to collect royalties from “Seinfeld.”


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