Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Gender tax bill + First Partner celebrates child literacy + Housing bill faces first test

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, center, joined by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, left, and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, launches a campaign to narrow the gender pay gap in California on the east steps of the state Capitol on Monday, April 1, 2019.
First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, center, joined by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, left, and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, launches a campaign to narrow the gender pay gap in California on the east steps of the state Capitol on Monday, April 1, 2019.

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State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, is reviving an attempt to eliminate pricing discrimination on the basis of gender — charging women more than what men pay on similar products.

According to Jackson’s office, California women earn 88 cents on every dollar a man earns. Crunch the calculator, and women’s salaries lag behind men’s by more than $7,000 a year.

Meanwhile, past studies estimate that California women pay sometimes pay more money for than men for the same products.

In 1995, when the state adopted the Gender Tax Repeal Act, a study estimated California women paid $1,351 more than man every year for similar goods and services. That law prohibited businesses from charging different prices for similar services on the basis of gender. It focused on salons, tailors and dry cleaners.

Jackson’s bill would go further, banning gender-based pricing for consumer products.

“Women not only earn less on average than their male peers, they also pay more for similar products,” Jackson said. “This discrimination is unfair, unethical, and harms women and families everywhere. When women are held back financially, we all suffer.”

A similar proposal, Senate Bill 899, failed in 2016. Jackson’s is opposed by chambers of commerce from all over California.

Jackson’s Senate Bill 320 is up in the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in room 112.


It’s story time at the Capitol, kids. Today marks Día de los Niños, a Mexican holiday that honors children and promotes youth literacy initiatives. To celebrate, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom will host a bilingual story reading on the North Lawn with First 5, a child advocacy organization.

The event, jam-packed with every kid’s dream day activities, is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. On the fun agenda: yoga, art activities, posing for snapshots in a a photo booth, karaoke and music. The adults will make make the rounds in state lawmakers’ offices to talk about First 5’s work advocating for young children.

“Here in California, we know that investments in our children are investments in our future,” Siebel Newsom said. “We will only achieve our vision of a California for all when we truly put children and families first.”

The organization will also present Siebel Newsom with the Champion for Children award after she finishes reading to the kids.


Members of the California Fuels and Convenience Alliance aren’t happy with lawmakers. During their two-day advocacy event at the Capitol — which begins this afternoon at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel — they plan to express their frustration to state legislators whom the organization says offer “endless soundbites” that “demonize these small, minority- and family-owned businesses that are a part of every community.”

The alliance identified 16 bills and statewide initiatives that members believe negatively impact their businesses. They include a gas tax bill, the recently pulled soda tax measure and legislation that regulates vehicle emissions.

“Anyone looking into why California’s gas prices continue to rise need only look into the capitol to see the endless wave of bills and regulations aimed at increasing the cost of doing business in California,” the alliance said in a press release. “CFCA companies are community members, volunteers, sponsors, and any time there is a wildfire, they are on the front lines supporting first-responders, all while striving to meet the highest standards on the planet for their business to be successful.”

For your radar — The final of three connected housing bills is up in the Assembly Committee on Judiciary this morning at 9 a.m. Assembly Bill 1481 would prohibit landlords from evicting their tenants without “just cause.” The bill addresses a growing eviction crisis that deepens health and poverty issues, reduces the right to due process, racially segregates communities and advances homelessness, the bill analysis reads.

Landlords and property owners are sure to oppose the bill, and will likely argue that the measure makes it harder to throw out dangerous individuals or bad tenants.

AB 1481 accompanies Assembly Bill 1482, which imposes a maximum rent increase cap, as well as the since-pulled Assembly Bill 36, which would have reformed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and authorized rent control on certain buildings in the state.

Catch up — The bills face skepticism from lawmakers who’d rather focus on legislation that authorizes building rather than rent control they say confines property owners and destabilizes the market.


Best of The Bee:

Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.