Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Assembly committee considers minimum wage increase

Participants of a rally The Fight for $15, a nationwide campaign for raising the minimum wage, in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
Participants of a rally The Fight for $15, a nationwide campaign for raising the minimum wage, in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

California’s effort to raise the state minimum wage – again – could take another step today in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.

Current law is set to hike the wage from $9 an hour to $10 an hour this Jan. 1.

Senate Bill 3 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would make it $11 an hour on Jan. 1 and then move it to $13 an hour after July 1, 2017. Current law is set to hike the wage $9 to $10 this Jan. 1. Increases tied to inflation would kick in on Jan. 2019. Supporters hope that an increased minimum wage tied to inflation will lower the poverty rate and reduce state health care spending. Business groups say the increase could cost jobs, and that tying the wage to inflation without regard to future economic and regulatory conditions will hurt business.

The hearing is at 1:30 p.m. in Capitol, Room 447, .

SMOKING LAWS: Two major pieces of tobacco regulation are up for a critical hearing in the Assembly Governmental Organization committee.

Senate Bill 140 would regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as traditional tobacco products. Senate Bill 51 raises the smoking age to 21.

The Cigar Association of America argues SB 151 might decrease the state’s tax revenue. The Board of Equalization projects about a $70 million loss from excise and sales tax as a result of the bill. Proponents say that by delaying the age someone first uses tobacco, the state can reduce the number of people who go on to become regular users.

THE OTHER CA: Gov. Jerry Brown is in Toronto headlining a climate change conference for North and South American leaders. Former Vice President Al Gore and former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón are also speaking.

Earlier this year, Brown led a group of 11 other states and provinces from the Americas in signing a plan that aimed to cap further increase in the global average temperature at two degrees. In a statement, the Democratic governor said he hopes the Toronto event will help prepare for this year's United Nations conference on climate change. He will speak at 10 a.m. California time.

SCHOOL BILLS: Two bills to watch in the Senate Education Committee: Assembly Bill 101, which used to require, but now only authorizes, schools to implement ethnic studies courses, and Assembly Bill 827, which requires school districts to explain resources for LGBT students to staff.

The hearing is at 9 a.m. in room 4203.

CYBERSECURITY: The Assembly’s Select Committee on Cybersecurity will hear from national agencies and large industries on how best to avoid a devastating cyberattack. Davis Hake, former cybersecurity director at the White House and current director of cybersecurity strategy at Palo Alto Networks, will testify.

The hearing is at 3 p.m. in room 437.

RAISING FUNDS, AND EYEBROWS: The LGBT Caucus Leadership Fund is hosting a “Clambake and Sausage Fest” tonight at Low Brau. Tickets were $1,000 apiece.