SB 1300 Expands FEHA Litigation, But Employers and Lawyers Beware

Laura Curtis and Chris MIcheli
Laura Curtis is an attorney and Policy Advocate at the California Chamber of Commerce. Chris Micheli is an attorney and legislative advocate for the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1300 (Jackson) on September 30, 2018 as Chapter 955. Among other provisions, this comprehensive bill makes a number of statutory changes for litigating sexual harassment claims and prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign a release of claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act in exchange for a raise or as a condition of employment.

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Scott Wiener’s SB 50 is a WIMBY Bill

John Mirisch
Vice-Mayor, City of Beverly Hills

Zev Yaroslavsky, former LA County Supervisor and former LA City Councilmember, astutely noted that state senator Scott Wiener’s SB827, which would take away local zoning authority from cities and replace it with Sacramento-mandated levels of density in certain areas, was a “real estate bill, not a housing bill.”

The exact same assessment should apply to SB50, Wiener’s latest iteration of SB827.

And I can prove it.

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Despite Record Surplus, Gov. Newsom Wants New Water, Phone Taxes

Chris Reed
San Diego Union Tribune editorial writer and former host of KOGO Radio’s “Top Story” weeknight news talk show

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s has called for a first-ever water tax and an added fee on phone bills at a time when the state is enjoying what recently departed state Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor called “extraordinary” budget health. Newsom said last week that experts now forecast a $21.5 billion budget windfall in 2019Add New-20. Until recent years, the optics of asking the public to pay more with an overflowing budget would have seemed impossible to overcome.

Specific details have not yet emerged on Newsom’s plan, but it’s expected to be similar to a rejected 2018 proposal from state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, to tax residential customers 95 cents a month to help fund water improvements in rural farming communities in the Central Valley and throughout the state.

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California’s Presidential Primary Might Matter

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, and Doug Jeffe, Communications and Public Affairs Strategist

You may have heard this one before: California is going to be a difference-maker in the Presidential nominating process in 2020. Well, this time, that might be right.

By moving the California Presidential Primary to March 3, the Golden State has positioned itself to be a significant, if not determinative, battleground in the race to win the Democratic Presidential nomination and, presumably, to reestablish the party clout of the nation’s biggest and bluest state.

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UTLA Is Striking Against Itself

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

United Teachers Los Angeles is a strange teachers’ union. But it has never done anything stranger than its new strike, which is less an action against the Los Angeles Unified School District and more an attack on itself.

UTLA is strange because of its structure; it’s a rare teachers’ union that has long been affiliated with both national teachers’ unions, the AFT and the NEA. It also has a history of eccentric leadership that has seemed interest in global causes and social justice than on education. When I attended sessions of UTLA’s House of Representatives, its internal legislature, as a labor reporter for the LA Times, I was struck by how almost nothing on the agenda was actually about schools.

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What to Expect of Governor Newsom

Richard Rubin
Attorney Richard Rubin has taught public policy at USF, UC Berkeley and other institutions and is Chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Gov. Gavin Newsom has just submitted his first preliminary budget– a mind-boggling and very big $144 billion. But so is California.

It takes a lot to run the 5th largest economy in the world and satisfy a population which may already have passed 40 million!

It also requires judicious use of money so it does not prematurely run out—something which his famously thrifty predecessor made sure did not happen.

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Can Child Advocates Capitalize on Sacramento’s Rise in Parent-Lawmakers?

Gabriel Sanchez
Gabriel Sanchez is a 20-year veteran of California politics and public affairs who now serves as Director of Communications for First 5 LA, an independent County agency in Los Angeles that advocates for programs and polices benefiting young children.

Becoming a parent certainly changes your family dynamic and forever alters your perspective and priorities; but it’s not a requirement for caring deeply about children’s futures.

Making systems work better for children and families is gaining momentum in California – underscoring how the collective strength of parents, caregivers, lawmakers, stakeholders and advocates will drive brighter futures for all kids.

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Exporting California’s Redistricting Change

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

It is an old adage that California is a bellwether for the nation. Policy changes that happen here often flow eastward from tax revolts to climate strategies. Newly elected governor Gavin Newsom boldly predicted that recent California policies are the future for the rest of the country. Time will tell, but the idea that California political ideas will move the rest of the country is being tested currently, led by another of the Golden State’s governors.

Last week, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted a Terminate Gerrymandering Summit at his USC Schwarzenegger Institute. On hand were leaders of four states, Michigan, Utah, Colorado, and Missouri, that saw successful ballot propositions approved in recent elections to take the power of drawing districts from legislators and give it to independent committees.

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Gavin Goes Long and Strong on the Budget

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

I double checked. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget press conference has now finally ended.

OK, it took less than two hours, which isn’t that long when you consider the size of California and the complexity of state government. But Newsom’s extremely detailed presentation of his budget was a departure from the short and elliptical budget sessions of Jerry Brown, who believed that less is more.

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Newsom’s Budget is a Roadmap – with a Vision and the Right Next Steps

Jim Mayer
President and CEO of California Forward, a nonprofit government reform group.

Governor Newsom’s first budget is not only an early indicator of how he will govern, but Exhibit A in how California can be governed.

In a week when the nation’s capital is shrouded in hopeless rancor, Newsom’s budget proposes a responsible path forward.
Credit is the sweet dessert of politics, and Newsom gets credit for a plan that typically divergent interests (like the California Budget & Policy Center and the California Business Roundtable) have described as balanced and thoughtful. But the credit also goes to those interest groups, to lawmakers, to former Governor Brown and to the people of California who over the last decade have evolved their thinking and put in place rules and practices to better manage money, set priorities and improve results.

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