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State Legislative Update: Will Gov. Brown Sign These Bills?

As Chaucer said, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

Even if you’re the governor of California.

Gov. Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto bills sent to him by the state legislature. This date marks the end of a two-year legislative session which reflects a number of significant wins for children and families, as well as some disappointments.

While most First 5 LA-supported bills were not ultimately passed by the legislature this year, a few bills supported by the First 5 Association of California are currently sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his action.

A sample includes:

“We are involved in the legislative process because this, along with advocating for increased state budget investments, can result in substantive change for youngsters" -Tessa Charnofsky

SB 654 (formally SB 1166) by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), the Parental Leave Act. This bill, if signed into law, becomes effective January 1, 2018, and would require an employer of 20 or more employees to allow an eligible employee to take up to six weeks of job protected parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption or foster care placement. This bill also prohibits an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for the employee's continued group health coverage during the duration of the leave. This bill follows the successful enactment of legislation authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) last year, AB 908, which increased the wage replacement rate for workers on Family Leave, with higher percentages for the workers earning the least.

Another bill on the Association’s list still in play is AB 1847 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay). Called the State Earned Income Tax Credit, this bill would require employers currently required to notify employees who may be eligible for the federal earned income tax credit to also notify those same employees that they may be eligible for the State Earned Income Tax Credit (SEITC) under the same conditions. Low income workers eligible for the SEITC will benefit from the financial boost this tax credit will provide.

“First 5 LA is focused on strengthening policies and systems that positively impact children,” said Tessa Charnofsky, Government Affairs Manager at First 5 LA. “We are involved in the legislative process because this, along with advocating for increased state budget investments, can result in substantive change for youngsters. Through the First 5 Association, we are pleased to support the early childhood related bills currently sitting on the Governor’s desk.”

For a copy of the First 5 Association 2015-16 Legislative Agenda, click here.

One bill on First 5 LA’s legislative agenda is on the Governor’s desk: AB 2770 by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks). The bill, the Cigarette and Tobacco Product Licensing: Fees/Funding, pertains to licensing of tobacco retail locations and the appropriation of revenues derived from tobacco taxes. First 5 LA is interested in this bill because it helps ensure that funds earmarked for children through Prop 10 are not redirected to the Board of Equalization for the administration and licensing of tobacco products and businesses. A number of tobacco related bills were signed into law earlier this year, including a measure that increased smoking age to 21 and that classified e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. 

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