Employers, under legislation moving through the Assembly, would be prohibited from hassling workers who take advantage of California's family-leave law -- a law that's already on the books and is supposed to be followed.
From the AP's Judy Lin: "The legislation would protect workers who use the California Paid Family Leave insurance program, which allows qualified employees to take up to six weeks off with partial pay. Supporters say nearly 37 percent of workers who needed the leave did not apply for the benefit for fear of being fired, angering their employers or hurting their chances at promotion. They cited a 2011 study by the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research based in Washington, D.C..."
"The leave is part of the State Disability Insurance program, which is funded through employee paycheck deductions."
"Employer groups including the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association oppose the bill. It would transform an employee-paid insurance program meant to replace lost wages into a protected leave of absence, a move that increases costs to all employers, especially small businesses, said Jennifer Barrera, a lobbyist for the chamber."
It's Election Day in Los Angeles, and a two-year campaign is finally coming to an end, with Eric Garcetti ending the race with a shrinking lead over Wendy Greuel. So far the big winner, though, is apathy.
From the LAT Seema Mehta: "The frenzy of activity occurred as spending passed the $33-million mark on Saturday, breaking previous records as unlimited outlays by independent donors and "super PACs" continued to play a dominant role in Tuesday’s contest. In the campaign’s final days, Garcetti vastly outspent Greuel on the airwaves and other campaign efforts, but Greuel had far more support from the outside groups."
"A new poll by the Los Angeles Times and USC showed Garcetti’s lead over Greuel narrowing, and Greuel struggling to secure her San Fernando Valley base, which is viewed as critical to her chances on Tuesday."
"The Los Angeles Times visited mid-Wilshire, the only city neighborhood that has consistently picked a winner in the last six primary and runoff mayoral elections. Greuel and Garcetti both have their supporters there, but many voiced an indifference about the race that has been evident citywide."
Speaking of elections, it's early days yet, but the political landscape in Berkeley already reflects the 2014 elections, as an array of contenders eye Nancy Skinner's seat.
From Capitol Weekly's Nik Bonovich: "Among the candidates, two are African-American, two are women, two are gay and one is Asian and each comes from different communities in the district. Each candidate will try to appeal to their base of voters, but with such a strong field of candidates with crossover bases it will be an all-out battle on campaign tactics, messages, themes and who is best able to represent and deliver to these voters."
“This district one of the handful of districts in the state that are truly progressive,” said potential candidate Sam Kang. “The member must carry the responsibility to push the progressive consciousness in Sacramento. Without that person pushing, the rest of the state will suffer. That’s how influential and critical this district is. People here not only know they are progressive, but love that they are progressive. Whoever is elected here must know how to translate that and have the skills and experience to push that progressive agenda in Sacramento.”
"The likely contenders represent various genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations. All are determined political activists who are proud of the legacy of the district. “If anything, this district is looking for the most progressive candidate and one who is pushing the envelope,” said Parke Skelton, who is currently not involved in the race but was the consultant that elected Nancy Skinner in 2008."
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway, the target of coup rumours just weeks ago, appears firmly in the saddle.
From Capitol Weekly's Jim Cameron: "Two days after Democrats secured 54 of 80 seats in last November’s election, Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway was re-elected in a unanimous caucus vote and appeared to be secure in her position."
"But whispers of her possible demise as leader surfaced last month as a result of the party’s loss of seats in the election, reportedly coming from the ranks of 10 freshman additions to the Assembly."
"In a lengthy interview, Conway appeared confident as she spoke about her role and future. If she was concerned about a possible coup, it was not apparent."
Newton Russell, an amiable, by-the-book lawmaker who served three decades in the Legislature, has died at the age of 85.
From the Bee's Dan Walters: "Russell, a Republican, was dubbed the "conscience of the Senate" for his frequent admonitions to colleagues about following procedural rules and understanding the details and potential consequences of legislation. He was particularly critical of expanding "peace officer" status to additional blocs of state and local employees that would qualify them for higher pension benefits."
"Russell, an insurance agent by profession, was first elected to the Assembly in 1964 from a Glendale-centered district, and a decade later won a special state Senate election. He retired in 1996. The area he represented was dependably Republican during his career but after his retirement became dominated by Democratic voters and legislators."
"Russell's brother, John, who preceded him in death, was best known as the star of a popular television series, "The Lawman," in the 1960s. Both brothers served in World War II, John in the Marine Corps and Newt in the Navy."
And from our "I've Got That Sinking Feeling" file comes word that a man was swallowed by a sinkhole inside the building where he worked. This is when you need your sense of humor.
"A sinkhole in East Rutherford, N.J., popped up inside a warehouse around 12:30 p.m. Monday and consumed a man and his forklift entirely."
"The forklift operator, identified by The Record as Bronx resident Danny Rodriguez, was taken to a local hospital and treated for a back injury. Emergency personel were on scene to contain the incident, evacuating the building."
"Assistant Fire Chief John Giancaspro told NJ.com that officials are still trying to determine the cause of the estimated 40-by-40-foot sinkhole."
Only in New Jersey ....