Thursday, December 10, 2020
|Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
|2021-22 Legislative Session
The California Legislature launched its 2021-22 session Monday with most of the State Assembly’s 80 members taking their oaths of office at individual tables spaced six feet apart in Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, while most of the 40 State Senators took theirs in the Capitol building. Eight legislators were sworn in remotely.
Composition of the Legislature
There are 60 Democrats, 19 Republicans and 1 New Patriotic Party member in the Assembly. In the Senate, there are 30 Democrats, 9 Republicans and 1 vacant seat.
There are 24 women and 56 men in the Assembly, compared to 14 women and 25 men in the Senate. At the start of the last session, California tied Georgia for 20th place nationwide in terms of legislative female representation.
The Assembly is composed of 39 white, 20 Latino, 12 Asian/Pacific Islander, 8 Black and 1 Native American members.
The Senate is composed of 26 white, 10 Latino, 2 Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 Black member/s.
Following the swearing-in and organizational sessions of both houses, legislators began introducing bills for the 2021-22 Legislative Session. There were 68 bills introduced in the State Senate and 96 in the State Assembly. In the Senate, there were three legislative constitutional amendments introduced, while in the Assembly there were two.
The legislative session begins in earnest on January 4 and will be defined by its response to a pandemic that has left many Californians clinging to the edges of a rapidly fraying safety net. Here’s a look at some key proposals lawmakers introduced Monday:
· A bill forbidding landlords from evicting pandemic-affected renters through Dec. 31, 2021.
· A bill requiring public schools to reopen under most circumstances when infection rates drop.
· A bill providing a tax credit for businesses complying with COVID regulations.
· A bill allowing local jurisdictions to enable more outdoor dining.
· A bill requiring the unemployment department to cross check claims against state prison rosters.
· A bill requiring a direct deposit option for unemployment benefits.
· A $1 billion “broadband for all” bill to bridge California’s digital divide.
· A bill to expand Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible Californians, including undocumented immigrants.
· A bill requiring the state to address racism as a public health crisis.
· A bill requiring every active registered voter be mailed a ballot for all future elections.
· A bill that would implement a “cradle to grave” database that would integrate data from state entities responsible for elementary and secondary education data, entities responsible for early learning data, segments of public higher education, private colleges and universities, state entities responsible for student financial aid, childcare providers, state labor and workforce development agencies, and state departments administering health and human services programs. This database would be used to evaluate the outcomes of California’s educational systems. I can’t foresee any problems with implementing this system or entrusting the State with this data!
Hunger Games (Sacramento edition)
With Kamala Harris leaving the US Senate to become Vice President, Governor Newsom gets to pick a replacement. That replacement is required to run in the next state-wide election in 2022. Three top contenders are:
· Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles)
· Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
· Secretary of State Alex Padilla
Newsom is under pressure from various interest groups to pick one person or another – mostly upon racial grounds. But the Democrats’ slim majority in the House could doom the chances of Bass or Lee. As Politico has reported, “now that Joe Biden has tapped two House members to join his administration, concern is growing among congressional Democrats about their slim majority growing even thinner next year before special elections occur to fill those seats. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters he is ‘certainly concerned’ and has warned Biden’s team to be ‘very careful in terms of the members that they appointed from Congress.’ And Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said point blank: ‘I think we better bring that to a halt.’ That doesn’t bode well for any House Dems, such as Rep. Deb Haaland, who are still vying to serve in Biden’s Cabinet. And it could also destroy the hopes of any California House lawmakers who are hoping Gov. Gavin Newsom appoints them to the Senate seat being vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”
Secretary of State
If Newsom picks Padilla for the Senate – he then gets to appoint Padilla’s replacement as Secretary of State. Leading contenders are:
· State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)
· Assembly Member Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto)
· Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) - declared 2022 candidate
· Assembly Member Evan Low (D-Campbell) - declared 2022 candidate
· Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco)
· State Senator Tom Umberg
California Attorney General
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has been “picked” by the Biden team as Health and Human Services Secretary. If he is confirmed – Governor Newsom gets to pick a new AG (as Becerra was tabbed by Jerry Brown after VP-Elect Harris became a Senator, before she ran for President, then Vice-President). Top contenders are:
· Contra Costa DA (and former superior court judge) Diana Becton
· Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
· State Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas)
· Former State Treasurer John Chiang
· Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
· SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera
· State Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys)
· Former insurance commissioner Dave Jones
· Former supervising deputy AG Maggy Krell (currently, chief counsel of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA)
· Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
· State Senator Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)
· Rick Zbur, executive director, Equality California
Other News and Views
Lawyers say, contractors can require COVID-19 vaccinations for jobsite workers Attorneys from a prominent workforce law firm told contractors that it is within their legal rights to compel workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, during a webinar hosted Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America. WECA has asked their corporate counsel if they agree with this interpretation. Story
Public Works Bid Protests – Who Is Responsible? Who Is Responsive? The process for awarding public works projects in California is controlled by the Public Contract Code. Generally, regardless of whether the public agency is the State, a county, a city or a local district, the project is awarded to the contractor who is "responsible" and submits the least expensive "responsive" bid. This is generally known as a "low bid" contract. In the context of public works, the terms responsible and responsive have very important meanings. As a result, State and local governments have gotten into very expensive trouble for not following the law. So, to understand how to best present a bid protest on a low bid solicitation, you, as a contractor should have a good understanding of the meaning of these terms.... Story
Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Webinar DOSH will be conducting a ZOOM webinar on Friday, December 18, 2020 from noon to 5:00. You can participate via Zoom Meeting. Click here for the meeting agenda. And, please see the information below on how to participate in the Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 964 9344 6100
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Happy Holidays! Who would have thought, in their wildest imagination, a year ago at this time what a year 2020 would be? Much of the State has just entered a three-week shutdown because of reduced ICU capacity. Here’s hoping the positive results from the vaccines that are now being distributed that 2021 will be a return to more normalcy. I’ll be taking a break for my political reporting for the rest of December – and see you back here on January 7, 2021. Thanks for reading and your continued support of WECA, journey workers and particularly apprenticeship!
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
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