Breaking with tradition, Governor Brown has signaled (through Chief of Staff Nancy McFadden) that he intends to sign an equal pay bill that is making its way through the l;gislature: SB 358, the California Fair Pay Act, by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). Once signed, the bill will be the “toughest equal pay law in the country and become what supporters hope will be a model for the rest of the country…”
Ben Adler, has the story for Capital Public Radio:
“Brown’s top aide tweeted the news Wednesday to mark Women’s Equality Day, the 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment that granted women the right to vote.
“The measure is up for a vote in the California Assembly Thursday. It would prohibit employers from paying any employee less than a co-worker of the opposite gender for substantially similar work. It would also allow co-workers to discuss their wages with each other.”
As expected, the governor signed a bipartisan bill exempting thousands of high school students from a requirement to take an exit exam – that the state no longer offers – to graduate. Jill Tucker and Melody Gutierrez, San Francisco Chronicle:
“Thousands of frustrated California students instantly became high school graduates Wednesday afternoon after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that exempted them from having to pass the state’s Exit Exam, a test the state had stopped offering.
“The measure was pushed through the Legislature at lightning speed after state education and elected officials discovered earlier this month that the students were stuck in a Kafkaesque limbo. They hadn’t passed the required High School Exit Exam, and the state Department of Education stopped offering it in June while legislators considered a separate measure that would suspend the testing requirement.
Speaking of tests… as California prepares to release the first wave of Common Core test results, the Department of Education deleted old test scores going back 15 years from their website “to avoid confusion,” with the new Common Core scores. John Fensterwald, Edsource:
“Earlier this month, as the department got ready to send parents the initial student scores on the new tests sometime over the next few weeks, department officials deleted old test results going back more than 15 years from the most accessible part of the department’s website, impeding the public’s ability to make those comparisons….
“On Monday, the department said it removed the data in order to comply with the 2013 state law that set the timetable for ending tests measuring performance under the old state standards and starting new Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts aligned with the Common Core.”
A new Field Poll released yesterday finds that a two-thirds majority of Californians are amenable to a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes and favor raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Christopher Cadelago, Sacramento Bee:
“The poll found 50 percent of voters strongly back a $2-a-pack increase while 17 percent somewhat favor such an increase. Thirty percent are opposed.
Despite garnering early support in polls, previous ballot measures have faltered and lost on Election Day under heavy spending by tobacco companies…
“The poll also found 68 percent support incrementally raising the base wage by $1 per hour every year over the next five years.
“Unlike the tobacco tax, proponents of raising the minimum wage have enjoyed more success of late. A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown two years ago lifted the state minimum to $9 an hour from $8 an hour last July. It is scheduled to rise again to $10 an hour on Jan. 1.”
Good timing on the poll since the legislature has revived a proposal to tax cigarettes at $2 per pack – but would the governor sign it? Maybe.
The Field Poll also revealed Californian’s support for Obamacare- with surprising levels of respect for the implementation of the law even among Republicans. Tracy Seipel and Jessica Calefati, San Jose Mercury News:
“Less than two years after the nation's new health care law kicked into gear, more than six in 10 California voters are embracing its reforms, and an overwhelming majority are also tipping their hats to the way it's been implemented in the Golden State, according to a new Field Poll.
“And while most California Republicans continue to oppose the Affordable Care Act, nearly half of GOP voters say the law they deride as "Obamacare" has met several of its key goals here -- from encouraging more previously uninsured people to get coverage to providing health insurance buyers with better consumer protections.
"’Even a plurality of Republicans are willing to grant that the state has been successful in many of these areas,’ said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.
“For the first time, he said, the new survey shows majorities of California voters in all major regions of the state, all races and ethnicities, and all age groups back the law.”
Under a bill on the governor’s desk, Victims of domestic violence could have their cellphone accounts transferred from their abusers’ accounts. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune:
“Assembly Bill 1407 by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would authorize family-law courts to issue orders requiring wireless telephone service providers to transfer the billing responsibility and telephone number to the victim.
“’Allowing victims to use their wireless phones is important to their safety and for emotional support,’ Atkins said in a statement. ‘This bill lets judges and service providers help individuals who’ve endured particularly difficult situations maintain a lifeline to life-saving resources and their support network.’
“The bill also would provide immunity to a wireless telephone service provider, its officers, employees or agents for transferring the cellphone number and billing authority.”
And, to end, uncharacteristically, on a note of bad news… longtime Arnold Schwarzenegger Press Secretary Julie Soderlund, who has been living and working happily in Switzerland since 2012, has announced that she has cancer.
From her blog, mydetourdeforce.com:
“I have stage IV malignant melanoma. It has metastasized to my liver, and one small spot in my brain.
“It sounds serious. It is. But, as I am quickly learning these things are all relative.
“If I had been diagnosed with any other kind of cancer (colon, breast, etc.), besides lymphoma (which would be the best possible type of cancer to have, if there is such as thing), I would have zero hope of survival.
“If this were 2010, I would have zero hope of survival.
“Lucky for me, and for Jimmy Carter, while there is no cure, with advancements made in treatment for melanoma in recent years, there is about a 20% survival rate with the latest and greatest treatments and there is a lot of research ongoing. My plan, my intention, my desire, is to become one of the people in that 20%.”
We wish Julie the best and know that if anyone can beat this, it will be her.