Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Heads to Governor Brown's Desk
A great victory! The California senate has passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and it now heads to Governor Brown's desk. Watch this video below and see why this is badly needed! Then add your name to the petition and tell Brown to sign!
Nannies, housekeepers and other domestic employees would be entitled to overtime pay, meal breaks and other rights already afforded to most California workers under a landmark bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday.
The so-called Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is one of hundreds of bills lawmakers were rushing to pass Thursday, prior to Friday's midnight legislative deadline. Authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, it would require the Department of Industrial Relations to create regulations by January 1, 2014 that mandate overtime, meal and rest breaks and uninterrupted sleep periods for all domestic workers in California.
It exempts babysitters under the age of 18, as well as family members, and if signed by Brown, would make California one of only two states that afford these in-home workers such rights. The Assembly approved it Thursday, 42-27. Earlier this week it passed the Senate, 21-13, without a vote to spare.
"For too long, worker exploitation in this industry has been invisible," said Ammiano, who has been trying to get the bill to the governor's desk for two years, and said it would put the "hard working" population "on the radar for labor protections."
He said a number of amendments were made to ensure that families may still employ casual babysitters and other part-time employees without coming under the law's purview, and noted that the department will work with both employers and workers to develop the regulations.
Opponents were still wary. Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore (Riverside County) said it would create "overzealous" rules that will hurt families.
"Many of us have hired the daughter of a neighbor, put them to work for several years. This will ensnare those families ... even if it's not intended," Jeffries said.
Also Thursday, the Assembly sent Brown AB45, which would make bus companies, drivers and chaperones responsible for underage drinking on so-called party buses. Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said he was moved to introduce the bill after a 19-year-old Burlingame man, Brett Studebaker, died in a car crash in 2010 after drinking on a bus as part of a birthday celebration.
Hill said it closed a loophole that made limousine drivers and companies, but not bus drivers and companies, responsible for underage drinking.
Lawmakers also unanimously passed AB578 by Hill, which was inspired by the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. The bill would require the state Public Utilities Commission to formally respond within 90 days when federal regulators make gas pipeline safety recommendations and issue advisory bulletins.
The Legislature also sent several mortgage and property-related bills to Brown this week, which were part of a package of legislation known as the Homeowners Bill of Rights and pushed by state Attorney General Kamala Harris in response to the mortgage crisis.
SB1474 would give the attorney general the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict people who commit financial crimes in more than one county; AB1950, would extend the current one year statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes to three years; and AB2610 would require people who purchase foreclosed homes to give tenants 90 days before they can start eviction proceedings.
The bill package's most wide-ranging elements were already approved by lawmakers and signed by Brown earlier this summer, including a law to bar "dual tracking" - where a lender pursues foreclosure proceedings on a homeowner even though the homeowner is seeking a modification on the terms of the loan.
Marisa Lagos is a Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org