By SHANE A. GUSMAN
Broad & Gusman LLP
The Legislature is enjoying its now annual summer recess thanks to Prop 25 and a majority vote budget. Gone are the days of holdout minority party votes and long, hot summer months with no budget. This year’s fiscal plan was adopted on time and even restored some of the cuts from years past. The courts got a little more money, public transit received a boost in funding from new cap and trade rules, and local governments got an increase for things like street repair, housing, and law enforcement.
Pensions remain a hot topic with anti-public employee legislators, though nothing of substance has moved through this year thankfully. All eyes are on Stockton where the bankruptcy judge is considering whether CalPERS should be treated like any other creditor, thereby giving the court the ability to reduce or eliminate pension payments as any other debt. A wrong decision on that issue could be disastrous.
Meanwhile, unions here have been pushing to make progress on issues that have been percolating for some time now. Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez has been moving legislation to require employers to provide their employees with accrued sick leave. Her bill, AB 1522, does not require what is in most union contracts, but nonetheless is a great first step toward restoring a little humanity in the workplace. Assembly Member Roger Hernandez, the Assembly Labor Committee Chairman, is trying to address another vexing issue, the growing use of temporary workers to escape accountability. His bill, AB 1897, provides that both the temporary agency and the host employer would be jointly liable for serious labor law violations. Both of these bills are universally opposed by business groups but have continued to move through the process with all of our collective efforts.
Finally, we have two newly elected leaders in the Assembly and Senate. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego took over from former Speaker John Perez in May. Senator Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles was elected leader of the Senate in June. He will officially take the reins from Senator Darrell Steinberg sometime before the end of session. This change of leadership is significant because for the first time in decades both leaders will be from one region in the state.
This article is part of the Summer edition of the Local 21 Quarterly Magazine. Click here to download the complete magazine.