Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Low-wage workers strike as California minimum wage debate deepens

Hundreds of Sacramento fast-food workers walked out of their jobs and marched down Broadway Street on Sept. 4, 2014, to join a national movement to lift wages to $15-an-hour and gain union rights.
Hundreds of Sacramento fast-food workers walked out of their jobs and marched down Broadway Street on Sept. 4, 2014, to join a national movement to lift wages to $15-an-hour and gain union rights. aseng@sacbee.com

California lawmakers will once again debate this session whether or not to raise the minimum wage, a divisive policy that is receiving growing support nationwide. This week, state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill to hike the state’s minimum wage by $3 over the next two years, similar to a bill he carried last year that failed in the Assembly.

Labor unions pushing to organize low-wage fast-food workers and Wal-Mart employees have been at the forefront of the movement. In recent months, they’ve led worker strikes across the country calling for $15-an-hour wages and the right to unionize.

Another is planned in Sacramento today, with demonstrations throughout the morning outside fast food restaurants and bargain stores. Mayor Kevin Johnson recently said he would explore raising the city’s minimum wage above the state’s $9 rate, following increases in San Francisco and Oakland.

VIDEO: Changes to California’s legislative term limits will mean less rapid turnover at the Capitol, Dan Walters says, whether or not that’s a good thing.

INSIDE SCOOP: The State Information Officers Council gets an exclusive with Evan Westrup, press secretary for Gov. Jerry Brown, who will discuss the major political events of 2014 and what he expects will dominate next year, 11:30 a.m. at Cafeteria 15L on 15th Street.

PENSION FIGHT: Unfunded pension liabilities remain a contentious issue in California, with many more pitched battles sure to come. Sarah Anzia, an assistant professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, discusses her research on the politics of public pension crises at the state and local level, noon at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

WHITE HOUSE VISIT: California State University Chancellor Timothy White is in Washington, D.C., today to discuss degree completion among low-income and minority students at the White House’s College Opportunity Day of Action. The summit brings together higher education, business and political leaders in support of President Barack Obama’s efforts to boost U.S. college graduation rates. Presidents from CSU’s Long Beach and Dominguez Hills campuses will also be in attendance to participate in panels.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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