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September 13, 2003

Don't Know What You've Got...

...Til It's Gone

Updated and moved to Today (Sat.): Not that Davis is a gem and he's signed bills largely to save his butt in the recall, but if Arnie comes in, California will be losing out on a lot of the kinds of bills being passed in this session that Davis will hopefully now sign. Such as:

Top Bills

Health care: Employers in all larger firms will now provide health insurance or pay into a state fund that will provide that care.

Drivers Licenses for Immigrants: A crucial bill for helping immigrant communities in surviving in all the areas requiring an ID.

Civil Unions: Legislation would give domestic partners, including lesbian and gay couples, many of the same legal rights as married couples.

Clean Air: Five bills to improve air quality in the state.

Immigrant Tuition: Students without legal immigration status will now be able to apply to have tuition waived like other in-state residents.

Other Key Labor Bills

Prevention of Discriminatory Harassment: Employers must take corrective action to prevent racial or other discriminatory harassment of any employee by
consumers or clients.

Living Wage Law: State employees and most contractors for the state will be required to pay at least $10 per hour with health benefits, or $12 per hour without.

Wage & Hour Law: would allow employees to file lawsuits over labor-code violations and, if successful, collect part of the penalty as well as reasonable attorney's fees and costs. This accompanies increases in labor law penalties passed a few weeks ago and protection of employees right to appeal administrative decisions.

Anti-Retaliation: Creates a rebuttable presumption that any adverse employment decision (i.e. firing) within 90 days of a worker filing a complaint for labor violations is an illegal retaliation.

Banning "Dead Peasant" Insurance: Employers are now prohibited from purchasing life insurance for their workers and naming themselves as the beneficiaries.

Fighting Underground Economy: Requires that companies must ensure that subcontractors have sufficient funds to comply with applicable state and federal laws regarding wages and working conditions.

UI Benefits for Locked Out Workers: A previous one-week waiting period for locked out workers will be eliminated and unemployment benefits will begin immediately.

And a whole bunch of anti-worker bills were killed.

Other Bills Passed

Cars for Food Stamps Recipients: Changes law to allow recipients of food stamps to own a car worth more than $4600- a rule that has not been adjusted for inflation since 1977.

Financial Privacy: The bill mandates that companies doing business in California must inform customers if they believe their personal information has been stolen.

Off-Shore Tax Havens: Law would bar the state from contracting with companies that have relocated to offshore tax havens where they have no substantial business activities.

Local Sales Taxes: Cash-strapped counties and cities would gain more freedom to raise sales taxes to cover services.

Clean Needles: In order to fight AIDS, pharmacies in California will be able to sell syringes without prescriptions.

Medical Marijuana: Bill would allow medical marijuana users to obtain a special identity card to protect them from arrest by state and local law enforcement officers.

Mexican Deporteee Rights: Californians of Mexican descent who were forcibly deported to Mexico during the Great Depression will have until 2007 to seek damages for losses to their families and homes under a bill headed to Gov. Gray Davis.

Posted by Nathan at September 13, 2003 07:39 AM