End-of-Season Legislative Wrap Up 2013

The 2013 legislative session has come to an end, and there are tremendous victories for working families to celebrate.

Highlights from the legislative year include:

Click here to download the Legislative Victories Infographic.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - SIGNED INTO LAW

Governor Brown and the legislative leadership negotiated a 25% increase in the state’s minimum wage, bringing CA to the highest in the country.

  • Increase from $8 to $9 an hour in July 2014;
  • Increase from $9 to $10 an hour in January 2016.

The Federation has long sought an increase for California’s low-wage workers and this was a significant victory for Labor. 

ENTERPRISE ZONE REFORM – SIGNED INTO LAW

Labor set out to eliminate this wasteful tax giveaway that not only rewarded low-wage work but also stole union jobs. We built a coalition with business and worked together with the Governor’s leadership to transform Enterprise Zones into a real job creation program that will help to rebuild our middle class, our economy and our state. AB 93 and SB 90 were signed into law and enact the following reforms:

  • Hiring Credit: Repurpose the broken enterprise zone program to more effectively create good new jobs in areas of the state with the highest levels of unemployment and poverty. The credit includes strong labor including:
    • Credits may only be claimed for new jobs, not for filling existing jobs.
    • Credit may only be claimed for full-time jobs that pay at least $12 an hour.
    • Any employer that relocates within the state must give workers an offer of transfer at the same rate of compensation.
    • Retention requirement of at least 3 years or the state may clawback the credit.
    • Creates a public database of companies that claim the credit and number of jobs.
    • Excludes retail, restaurants, temp agencies and strip clubs from the hiring credit.
  •  Manufacturing Equipment Sales Tax Exemption: Reinvests in manufacturing statewide, boosts California’s competiveness and stimulates a vital sector our state needs to rebuild the middle class.
  • CA Competes: Creates the CA Competes Fund to provide tools to the state to attract and retain good jobs.

PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANT WORKERS

The Federation’s organizing directors committee identified the threat of retaliation for immigrant workers as the greatest challenge to organizing. Every day, immigrant workers face the threat of wage theft and unsafe working conditions. We know that we cannot protect workers’ rights as long as employers can use immigration threats to silence and intimidate workers who speak out. The Federation sponsored a package of bills to crack down on employer retaliation to protect the rights of all workers, especially immigrant workers.

  • AB 263 (Hernández) prohibits employers from demanding new immigration documents, implementing e-verify, or threatening to call immigration authorities after workers have exercised protected labor rights. Employers who engage in retaliation may be subject to a new $10,000 penalty, as well as the suspension of a business license. Signed.
  • AB 524 (Mullin) makes it a crime to use immigration threats to get away with wage theft by adding those threats to the definition of extortion. Signed.
  • SB 666 (Steinberg) strengthens retaliation law with new penalties on employers and their lawyers when they engage in immigration-related threats and expanding whistleblower protection for all workers. Signed.

In addition to our sponsored bills, we supported bills to expand rights for all immigrants in our state:

  • AB 4 (Ammiano), the Trust Act, provides safeguards against the federal Secure Communities Act (S-Comm) by limiting the detention of immigrants by local law enforcement. Signed.
  • AB 60 (Alejo) grants drivers licenses to all Californians. The Federation played a crucial role in winning critical anti-discrimination, civil rights, and privacy protections for immigrant drivers. Signed.
  • AB 241 (Ammiano) is an historic bill that, for the first time, grants daily and weekly overtime pay to domestic workers excluded from federal and state law.Signed.
  • AB 1159 (Gonzalez) cracks down on immigration consultants and attorneys who take advantage of immigrants by promising to help them attain citizenship under future federal immigration reform law. Signed.

TAKING ON THE CONTINGENT, LOW-WAGE, PART-TIME ECONOMY

In response to the increase in sub-contracted, low-wage and part-time work, the Federation sponsored bills to increase protections, wages and benefits for this workforce.

  • AB 880 (Gomez) would impose a penalty on large employers who dump workers onto the state Medi-Cal program by cutting hours and eliminating benefits in response to the Affordable Care Act. Died on the Assembly Floor. 2/3rds vote required.

In addition to our sponsored bills, we also supported bills to strengthen workers’ rights, improve working conditions and support organizing.

  • AB 218 (Dickinson), “ban the box” bill, prohibits state and local government employers from screening job applicants for criminal conviction history until the agency determines potential hires' minimum qualifications. Signed.
  • AB 729 (Hernandez) would make confidential communications between union members and their representatives privileged and protected. Vetoed.
  • AB 1165 (Skinner) protects the health and safety of workers by not staying abatement dates for appeals when there are serious violations of workplace health and safety standards. Vetoed.
  • AB 1387 (Hernandez) removes the sunset on the car wash registry, making it a permanent program, and increases the surety bond requirement for car wash operators. Signed.
  • SB 770 (Jackson) expands the scope of the state disability program to include time off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law. Signed.

ELECTORAL REFORM

After defeating Proposition 32 on the 2012 ballot, the Federation sponsored legislation to ensure billionaires can’t buy elections in California.

  • AB 857 (Fong) requires that 10% of all signatures submitted to qualify statewide ballot measures be gathered by grassroots circulators. Vetoed.

We also supported legislation to bring more transparency to the electoral process.

  • SB 594 (Hill) requires transparency for “non-public funds” from taxpayer-financed non-profits used in campaigns and ensures that public dollars are not being diverted to political campaigns. (CPF bill) Signed.
  • AB 822 (Hall) requires local measures affecting employee pension plans to be on the General Election ballot and contain an actuarial analysis of the measure in the voter handbook. (CPF bill) Vetoed.
  • SB 311 (Padilla) requires charter city elections to be placed on general election ballots to maximize voter participation. (SBCTC bill) Signed.

AFFILIATE BILLS

  • SB 7 (Steinberg/Cannella) disqualifies cities that ban the prevailing wage from receiving state construction grants. (SBCTC bill) Signed.
  • SB 590 (De Leon) requires local education agencies to set aside a portion of state or federal funds for professional development for classified employees. (CSEA bill) Signed.
  • SB 615 (Galgiani) requires hospitals electing to receive tax-exempt conduit bond financing from a public agency to pay prevailing wage to construction workers. (SBCTC bill) Vetoed.
  • AB 375 (Buchanan) updates and streamlines the teacher dismissal process by establishing establishes clear and timely procedures for dismissal that reinforce the district’s responsibility and while protecting teachers’ rights. (CTA bill) Vetoed.
  • AB 537 (Bonta) makes changes to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) governing impasse procedures for local agencies and employee unions. (AFSCME, SEIU, CPF bill) Signed.
  • AB 566 (Wieckowski) requires rigorous performance and other standards are met before trial court services can be contracted out by the state. (SEIU, AFSCME bill) Vetoed.
  • AB 1140 (Daly) ensures the most recent prevailing wage determination applies on its effective date for all projects regardless of the bid date. (SBCTC bill) Vetoed.
  • AB 1217 (Lowenthal) creates a regulatory structure for private homecare to better protect consumers. (SEIU bill) Signed.
  • AB 1222 (Bloom) protects the state’s federal transit funding by exempting from PEPRA transit workers whose collective bargaining rights are subject to federal requirements. Signed.
  • AB 1336 (Frazier) assists the Labor Agency to combat the underground economy and the failure to pay prevailing wage. (SBCTC bill) Signed.
  • AB 1373 (Perez) extends the statute of limitations for dependents of public safety officers to file a workers’ compensation claim for death benefits. (CPF bill) Vetoed.

BAD BILL - OPPOSE

  • AB 1309 (Perea) limits access to the California workers' compensation system for professional athletes employed by out-of-state teams. Signed.

Material found on: calaborfed.org, 12-10-13

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