By Doug Porter
After two years and more than five thousand proposed laws, resolutions, and constitutional amendments, the current version of the California Legislature wrapped up its session in frenzied fashion. Wednesday, August 31st saw more than one hundred bills up for consideration. Now it’s up to the Governor to say yea or nay on legislation affecting all aspects of life in California.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who successfully shepherded 19 of 20 bills through the legislature this year, is leaving nothing up to chance with her hard-fought victory on AB 1066, gradually phasing in standards for farmerworker overtime.
She’s started a petition drive for voters to let the Governor know they want this bill signed. Its message is short and sweet:
I stand with thousands of farm workers throughout California in urging Governor Brown to provide full consideration of AB 1066. Every day, men and women harvest our food by working in extremely harsh weather conditions; however, they are the only hourly employees in the state that do not receive overtime pay until having worked a 10-hour work day. This treatment is not only unfair, but can lead to dangerous working conditions as farm workers overwork themselves to make ends meet. AB 1066 would change this by ensuring that farm workers are treated like any other hourly employee. I strongly encourage the Governor to consider for this very important measure.
Marco Breton at the Sacramento Bee explained the reasons for the push by Gonzalez:
It’s not over yet. Gov. Jerry Brown still has to sign overtime pay for farmworkers into law, and there is no guarantee that he will. This particular issue is just that divisive.
Simply getting a farmworker overtime bill to Brown’s desk has been an ideological war reflecting the ascension of some Latino legislators, the weaknesses of the state Republican Party, and the years of political failure surrounding this issue. The unspoken driver of this battle has been a lack of federal immigration reform, which has prevented the establishment of a larger, legalized workforce in California. As a result, there has been growing pressure to more fairly compensate those working long hours in California’s fields – and here we are…
…all eyes now to turn to Brown – who is entirely unpredictable. Brown has shown a tendency to worry about business interests, and at more than $50 billion in annual revenues, agriculture is among the most influential in California.
Brown has thirty days to make a decision.
Some possible insight on the horse trading involving AB 1066 (legislation under a different name presumed to be dead in the water just a few months ago) come via a Facebook posting by labor activist Brian Polejes.
No legislator will admit it, but the price for passage of AB 1066, the farmworker overtime bill, was support for AB 2844, which would ban the state from doing business with any entity that honors the boycott with the apartheid state Israel. Gov. Brown should sign the worthwhile AB 1066 and veto AB 2844.
Cap and Trade: Let’s Make a Deal
Last minute negotiations between Gov Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon,, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon paved the way for ending a two-year impasse on the allocation of funds collected under California’s cap and trade system.
Just hours after the agreement was announced, the Legislature passed AB1613, which included provisions of the deal.
From the Associated Press:
The deal, reached as lawmakers pressed to finish the two-year legislative session, includes $363 million for clean vehicle incentives and hundreds of millions for urban plants and efforts to create cleaner air in disadvantaged communities. It also includes $50 million to reduce emissions of methane and other climate-changing gases associated with landfills and dairy production.
Among the other bills passed on Wednesday:
- A mandate for the installation of water sub-meters in new apartment and condo buildings
- Creating a state-run retirement program for private-sector workers.
- A measure curbing short-lived climate pollutants like methane.
- Legislation, sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, making it illegal to record and publish private healthcare conversations.
- A bill requiring Bartenders and others who serve alcohol to take a safety course every three years
- An end to the ban on publicly-financed campaigns, allowing local governments to set up a fund, which would be available to all qualified candidates in an election.
- Eliminating surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers.
- Expansion of job-protected leave for new parents to include companies as small as 20 employees (Down from 50)
Legislation not making the final cut included:
- Reorganization of the Public Utility Commission.
- Restricting conversations between Coastal Commissioners and interest groups
- Doubling the hourly pay rate for large grocery and retail store employees working on Thanksgiving.
Donald Trump won the day on Wednesday by getting the most attention. In order to avoid the several thousand word denunciation and fact check I’d be inclined to write, I’ll just share some social media reactions.
Mexico will pay for the wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2016
Trump says he didn’t talk about his border wall — but Peña Nieto said he told Trump Mexico wouldn’t pay for it https://t.co/yUp4rSWK93
— POLITICO (@politico) September 1, 2016
Donald Trump: Maybe We should Deport Hillary Clinton – Republican nominee Donald Trump left no doubt in Phoenix… https://t.co/AatP4v5YtP
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 1, 2016
Great comparison of Trump on immigration: like “a kid running for class president saying we’ll extend recess & won’t have homework anymore”
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) September 1, 2016
White Nationalists give Trump’s speech the thumb’s up. https://t.co/g6PwDstARE
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) September 1, 2016
— POLITICO (@politico) September 1, 2016
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) September 1, 2016
On This Day: 1894 – Congress declared Labor Day a national holiday. 1939 – World War II began when Germany invaded Poland. 1995 – In Cleveland, OH, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum ribbon cutting ceremony took place. The museum officially opened the next day.
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