Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Bill to codify Dynamex advances + Momentum for Medi-Cal expansion + Caregiver union rally

Ashely Hutton works on her laptop as an independent contractor as her daughters Piper, 7, and Stella, 5, sit with her at the table, Thursday Aug. 2, 2018 at their home in Fair Oaks.
Ashely Hutton works on her laptop as an independent contractor as her daughters Piper, 7, and Stella, 5, sit with her at the table, Thursday Aug. 2, 2018 at their home in Fair Oaks. rbyer@sacbee.com

Happy almost-weekend to you, California! One more day until #Houseoforigin deadline and the California Democratic Party convention starts.

Will you be in San Francisco this weekend for the three-day event? We will too. Follow along @sophiabollag and @hannahcwiley.

Both the Senate and Assembly are in at 9 a.m.

DYNAMEX

It’s been a year since the California Supreme Court issued its “Dynamex decision” that established an “ABC” test to classify workers as employees or independent contractors.

The Assembly moved to codify the classification rules in a 55-11 vote to approve AB 5 Wednesday, which its author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said will help protect California workers from corporate interests.

But it’s a work in progress, Gonzalez reiterated as she urged support from her legislative colleagues for her union-backed proposal.

Her bill helps “ensure that working Californians can retain all the rights and job protections afforded to employees under the California Labor Code.” AB 5 also exempts certain industry workers from the Dynamex ruling, namely those in insurance and real estate, physicians, salespeople, hair stylists and contract workers for professional services.

“Big businesses shouldn’t be able to pass their costs onto taxpayers while depriving workers of the labor law protections they are rightfully entitled to,” Gonzalez released in a statement. “This legislation is an important work-in-progress to provide certainty to California’s businesses, provide protections for California’s workers and guard the taxpayers from subsidizing unscrupulous corporations.”

Skeptics and opponents of AB 5 raised concern over the limited exemptions and whether the legislation would take way independent workers’ freedoms. Many asked Gonzalez to extend the exemptions beyond the limited list of professionals she included in her bill.

Lyft drivers overwhelmingly prefer the freedom of working where, when, and how much they want,” the ride-sharing company released in a statement following the vote. “Many are moms, students, seniors or veterans and 75 percent of them drive less than 10 hours a week. Lyft strongly opposes AB5 which would force ridesharing drivers into shift work, eliminating the control drivers currently have over their own schedules.”

MEDI-CAL MOVEMENT

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget included $260 million of wiggle room to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented young adults up to age 26. Two bills — one in the Senate and the other in the Assembly — would help deliver a signing opportunity for California’s new leader.

But Senate Bill 29 and Assembly Bill 4 carry expansion plans that extend far beyond Newsom’s proposal.

AB 4 would allow coverage for all eligible adults, while SB 29 now applies only to young adults (19-25) and seniors (65+).

California spends $360 million a year to cover undocumented minors. But SB 29 and AB 4, authored by state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, would hike the price tag by an estimated $2.3 billion.

It’s unclear where the governor and the legislators are in negotiations, even as the bills move closer to his desk. The Assembly passed AB 4 on Tuesday and the Senate approved SB 29 on Wednesday.

“(The) Senate vote of SB 29 reinforces the principle made clear in the Assembly floor — health care is a human right,” said Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center and co-chair of the #Health4All campaign. “We now turn to our legislators and governor to pass a budget that reflects inclusion and compassion in our health care system for all Californians who call this state home.”

Sophia Bollag contributed reporting.

CAREGIVER UNION RALLY

SEIU Local 2015 members are gathering at 10 this morning on the South Steps of the Capitol to bring attention to California’s aging population and the needs of the state’s elderly folk.

Union members said California needs to make long-term care a “priority,” and quickly. The senior population, they say, is supposed to grow to nine million by 2030.

“When we say ‘California for All,’ we must include the needs of seniors and people with disabilities,” the union said in a statement. “The clock is ticking as our population is growing older.”

TWEET OF THE DAY

Assembly lawmakers spoke one after the other in support of Assembly Bill 392 on Wednesday, eventually passing the use-of-force bill that restricts when officers can use deadly force.

But not everyone was an enthusiastic backer...

Best of The Bee:

  • ‘The time to do something is today:’ California police use-of-force bill wins bipartisan backing by Hannah Wiley
  • Turning poop into power: California dairies appeal for more state climate change money by Adam Ashton and Andrew Sheeler
  • Kamala Harris calls Mueller press conference ‘an impeachment referralby Emily Cadei
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.
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