Date: Apr 25, 2013

The California Legislative session is in full swing in Sacramento and bills are beginning to snake their way through the process.  Western Growers staff has been actively advocating for our members against several labor bills.

Assembly Bill 10, the bill by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) to increase the minimum wage and tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index, passed out of the Assembly Labor Committee on an expected 5-2 vote late Wednesday afternoon.  The bill now heads for a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Western Growers opposes the bill along with a lengthy list of other groups. This bill would raise the minimum wage by $1.25 over the next three years and would index future increases based on inflation.

Assembly Bill 729, by Assemblymember Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), is scheduled to be heard on April 30 in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  The bill would create a new evidentiary privilege between a union agent and a represented employee.  This privilege would protect disclosure of certain information in civil and criminal cases.  Therefore, employees who may want to provide testimony about a discussion between themselves and a union representative will be precluded from doing so.

Assembly Bill 1164 is another highly problematic bill for our members.  Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) introduced this bill to authorize employees to record and enforce a wage lien on an employer’s personal or real property.  The bill was heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and passed on a 6-3 vote.  There was a substantial amount of testimony provided against the bill and members of the committee from both sides of the isle raised several concerns with the bill. Assemblymember Lowenthal accepted an amendment that slightly narrows the bill but not enough to alleviate the concerns of our industry or the greater business community.

Senate Bill 626, by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), was scheduled to be heard Wednesday in the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.  The bill was pulled from the hearing file yesterday and indications are that it has died.  The bill would have undone many of the employer cost-saving provisions that were included in last year’s workers’ compensation reform package.  Senate Bill 626 was opposed by both business and labor groups.  Western Growers will continue to advocate on your behalf as the Legislative season continues.  Please contact Matthew Allen in WG’s Sacramento office for more information.

WG Staff Contact

Matthew Allen
Vice President, State Government Affairs

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