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California Expose

Capitol Punishment: Nine Good Bills the Cal Chamber Wanted Killed




1. “Buy American” Law. AB 1543, introduced by Luis A. Alejo (D-Salinas), would have created a billion-dollar market for goods manufactured in California by requiring that, starting in 2014, at least 70 percent of state and local agency procurement be spent on manufactured goods made in the United States. Failed 04/27/12 deadline to move to fiscal committee.

2. Minimum Wage COLA Law. AB 10, introduced by Luis A. Alejo (D-Watsonville), would have automatically indexed state minimum wage increases to inflation. Held in Assembly Appropriations 5/27/11; failed deadline. (Subsequently, AB 10, raising minimum wage to $10 by 2016, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year.)

3. Wage Theft Lien Law. AB 2517, or the California Wage Lien Bill, introduced by Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), would have expanded the Mechanics Lien Law to allow workers from all industries to file a lien without an attorney for unpaid labor against the property where the work was done. Failed passage in Assembly.

4. The Farm Workers Safety Act of 2012. AB 2346, introduced by Betsy Butler (D-Torrance), would have given teeth to Cal/OSHA’s otherwise lax enforcement of regulations designed to protect farm workers from dangerously hot field conditions by allowing the families of stricken workers to sue contractors and growers when Cal/OSHA fails to take action. Vetoed.

5. Minimum Wage COLA Law. AB 1439, introduced by Luis A. Alejo (D-Watsonville), would have adjusted the state minimum wage on an annual basis according to the rate of inflation. In years of negative inflation, the minimum wage would remain the same. Held on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File, 05/25/12.

6. Corporate Property Tax Loophole Law. AB 448, introduced by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would have tightened Proposition 13’s legal definition of change of ownership so that it would be more difficult for corporations to escape reassessments when they transfer properties — a loophole that has cost the state an estimated $2 billion annually. Died January, 2012 in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.

7. Single Payer Universal Health Care. SB 810, introduced by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would have replaced California’s system of private, for-profit health care insurance with a private-public partnership that substitutes corporate windfall with universal coverage for all of California’s residents. Failed passage in Senate.

8. Bereavement Leave Law. AB 325 Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), would have prohibited an employer from refusing to grant an employee’s request to take up to three days off work upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or domestic partner. Vetoed.

9. Language Rights Law. SB 111, introduced by Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), would have prohibited businesses from denying service to a patron because of the language he or she speaks by outlawing policies that require, limit or prohibit the use of any language within a business establishment. Amended to remove opposition. Vetoed.

Read Gary Cohn’s DOA: Behind the Chamber of Commerce’s “Job Killers” List.

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