Two months after losing his congressional bid in an upset, former state Sen. Isadore Hall has found his way back into California politics.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday appointed the Compton Democrat to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, which oversees collective bargaining rights for farmworkers in the state. The position on the five-member board, which pays $142,095 annually, requires Senate confirmation.
Hall served for eight years in the Legislature, including in the Assembly from 2008 to 2014, until last November, when he gave up his safe Senate seat to run for the House of Representatives. Despite an endorsement from Brown, he lost to Hermosa Beach City Councilwoman Nanette Barragán by 4 percentage points.
As longtime chair of the governmental organization committees in both houses, Hall oversaw gambling and alcohol policy, and he repeatedly pursued legislation to require porn performers to wear condoms. He was not was a leader on agricultural issues at the Capitol; only about half a percent of the workers in his former Senate district worked in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining, according to the U.S. Census.
His selection is unlikely to appease farmers and their allies, who have long accused the agricultural labor board of being aligned with the influential United Farm Workers union.
Last year, Hall voted for a controversial bill to extend overtime pay to farmworkers that UFW had long sought and farmers vehemently opposed as potentially ruinous. He also supported a 2015 legislative deal on back payments to farmworkers that two Central Valley fruit growers have sued over, claiming they were excluded as retribution for an ongoing labor dispute with UFW.
Earlier in the day, board Chairman William Gould resigned in frustration, claiming the state has stalled his effort to send educators to farms to inform workers of their rights. Brown announced that he would be replaced by Genevieve Shiroma, a longtime member of the board whose reappointment Senate Republicans tried to block last August.