The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 1, 2010
Latest on state worker pay bill; post mortem on Steinberg's bill

Two bills that deserve follow up, AB 790 and SBX8 29:

AB 790: We reported a couple of weeks ago that AB 790 was poised for a Senate floor vote. It hasn't happened yet, for reasons we'll explain in a moment.

100331 Ed Hernandez.JPGThe measure, by Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, is of particular interest to state workers because it would make state payroll a continuous appropriation. That would negate any possibility of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or any future governor withholding state worker pay to the federal minimum in the absence of an on-time budget. For more details, click here.

Walter Hughes, Hernandez's chief of staff, said that because of language that wasn't supposed to be added but got into the bill-- "We still don't know how that happened," he said -- the bill had to go back to committee.

Hughes said he now expects AB 790 will come up for a Senate floor vote next week. "Maybe Monday, but probably Thursday," he said Wednesday afternoon.

There's little doubt, however, that Schwarzenegger will veto AB 790 if it reaches his desk. Still, the state employee unions supporting the measure -- which is all of them -- want a vote count.

Click the following link to read about the "special funds" furlough bill, SBX8 29.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 090903 Steinberg.jpgSBX8 29: The bill, authored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would have exempted some state workers from furloughs whose jobs were paid 95 percent or more with special fund dollars. As we reported last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

There's no chance for an override vote, Steinberg spokesman Nathan Barankin told us Wednesday afternoon.

Here's why: Lawmakers can't take an override vote on a extraordinary session bill (the ones with "X" in the bill number) once the extraordinary session shuts down. In this case, the session ended before Schwarzenegger's Mar. 24 veto.

Barankin noted that Schwarzenegger could withdraw his furlough order at any time "or issue a new one" consistent with Steinberg's bill.

"It would be a win-win-win," Barankin said, by saving taxpayers the ongoing litigation costs associated with several of the furlough lawsuits now in the courts, by restoring the Franchise Tax Board to full collecting power and by giving a "nice boost" to the state's economy recovery efforts.

Click here for a Mar. 25 State Worker post that includes an audio clip of the governor's recent comments about furloughs and the Steinberg bill a few hours before he vetoed it..

PHOTO CREDITS: Ed Hernandez (top) / www.assembly.ca.gov; Darrell Steinberg, Sept. 9, 2009 / Sacramento Bee, Hector Amezcua.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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