Governor Newsom’s administration appears to be pressuring California Senator Steve Bradford to trim his anti-discrimination bill, SB 788.
SB 788 would prohibit discrimination in apportionment due to factors of race, creed, national origin, gender, marital status, sex, and sexual identity or orientation. Originally the bill included factors of age and genetics, but those were dropped from the bill in a June 17, 2021 amendment. The bill was originally approved by the California Senate on June 2 by a 37-0 vote, and that was before the age and genetics language was dropped.
Worker advocates were not happy that age and genetics were dropped, but still believe the remaining anti-discrimination bill is in the interests of fairness and justice.
On July 1 the bill was approved by the California Assembly by a 77-0 vote. The bill is currently back on the Senate side which must concur now that the age and genetics language was removed.
The July 1, 2021 Senate Analysis indicates that no formal stakeholder opposition had been registered. Sponsors include the California Labor Federation, UFCW, Teamsters, Firefighters and law enforcement groups.
But despite the universal legislative approval, Workcompcentral reporter Mark Powell filed a story this week indicating that representatives from the Newsom Administration had approached Senator Bradford about further watering down the bill.
Whether Bradford will agree to amendments to water down the bill isn’t clear.
It seems quite surprising that at a time when Governor Newsom is on very shaky political ground, his appointees are attempting to weaken this bill. Clearly there are DWC and DIR staffers still willing to sway to the tunes of the employer-insurer coalition that was so dominant under Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown.
Recent polls on the recall have tightened. California workers’ comp has not been a recent prominent political issue, and is unlikely to be one in the near future. However, the Governor needs to motivate his base to get out to the polls on the recall.
Does his administration really want to cross the unions and workers of California who “brung him to the dance”?
Here is a link to the California Legislative Information site, where you can track SB 788, the legislative analysis and votes on the bill: