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California’s Assembly Speaker On The Big Debates Facing Lawmakers Over The Session's Final Weeks


As children head back to school, California lawmakers are back in session for five final weeks of work before adjourning next month. They’ve got more than 1,000 active bills on their plates — including some big issues like housing, charter schools and employee status.

CapRadio’s Ben Adler discussed many of those issues and more Monday afternoon with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles). Here are some of the interview highlights:

On the charter school bills that would shift oversight and authorization to local and county offices, and restrict charter schools’ operation to the geographic boundaries of its authorizing office:

It’s important, particularly with respect to new charter schools, we want to make sure that we have a lot of the oversight in place that I think is necessary. There’ve been schools chartered in certain parts of the state that are chartered in other parts of the state, which I don’t think really makes a lot of sense. So I think those are the types of things we want to see.

On AB 5, which would change the definition of who is an employee in California and codify a state Supreme Court case, known as the “Dynamex” ruling:

What I want to see get through is something that’s going to protect workers. I think we’ve seen, particularly at the federal government level, we’ve seen workers get stripped of so many of their rights. ... So I think it’s important for us to make sure that we make exceptions where exceptions are appropriate. But for the most part, I think this is really an opportunity for us to protect workers’ rights in this state.

On whether there should be some sort of middle ground between employee and contractor for gig economy companies like Lyft and Uber:

Will there be middle ground? Will there be some exceptions made? Likely. And (the bill’s author is) having those conversations. But with respect to particular companies or particular industries, it’s not something I want to talk about. It’ll be part of the process.

On the perception that the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom haven't done enough to address California’s housing crisis this year:

Have we done enough? No. We know we have a crisis in California. That being said, a couple of years ago, we had some significant efforts. And it’s important to make sure we allow those to take root. I’m not saying we’re out of the woods. I’m saying, we made some efforts. And it took a generation to get into this housing crisis, and it’ll take some time for us to get out of it.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire interview.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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