Capitol Roundup: Minimum Wage, Athlete Workers Comp Developments



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

 

Steinberg Supports Minimum Wage Increase; Critics Question Bill's Changes

A bid to raise California’s minimum wage has won support from a key Democratic legislative leader.  But opponents still call the bill a “job killer” and are pushing for a smaller increase than currently proposed.

The minimum wage bill has already passed the Assembly – and has the support of Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “Our effort ought to always be towards helping more people enter the middle class,” he told reporters Wednesday.

The bill’s author dropped an annual cost-of-living increase in order to get the measure through the Assembly.  But he also amended it to add extra raises in future years beyond his original proposal – to $10 an hour by 2018.

Jennifer Barrera with the California Chamber of Commerce acknowledges that Steinberg’s support will help – but thinks the raises will have to be limited to win passage. “I think there is support for the idea of increasing the minimum wage.  But increasing the minimum wage in the current form that it’s in – I don’t know that there’s across-the-board support for that,” Barrerra says.

The bill’s next hearing is in mid-August.

Deal Speeds Athletes Workers' Comp Bill Through Capitol Committee

A workers’ compensation bill that’s provoked a high-stakes lobbying fight between professional sports teams and players unions has passed a key hurdle in the California legislature.

The bill would prevent out-of-state athletes from filing claims in California’s workers’ comp system.  Under a deal reached to move the measure forward, athletes who spend part of their career in the state would be eligible only if they play a certain amount of time for California teams.

The deal strikes a strong balance “between protecting California’s employees and closing what we believe is a very egregious loophole that allows out-of-state claims to be filed here in California.” says Ed Lamb, the Chief Financial Officer of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers.

But critics say they still can’t support the measure. “We don’t understand why professional athletes are being singled out for disparate treatment as opposed to that for any other employee in the state of California,” says NFL Players Association Associate General Counsel Ned Ehrlich.

The bill still faces votes in both legislative chambers before it can reach the governor’s desk.

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