Saturday, September 19, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 16th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 29

Political Watch: September 17, 2020

• On Sept. 9, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1867 into law. The legislation extends paid sick day protections to California’s workforce. “Building on historic early action to expand paid sick days to employees in the food sector at the beginning of this crisis, this legislation means that every California employee that has been exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19 will have access to paid sick days for the rest of the 2020 calendar year,” a press release stated. The budget trailer bill includes employers with more than 500 employees, as well as public and private employers of first responders and health care workers who don’t cover their employees under federal law, meaning the bill closes the gap between paid sick day state and federal laws. The bill also allows the state’s labor commissioner to cite workplaces for a lack of paid sick days, which the governor’s office called “a critical enforcement tool.” Newsom said in the release that the bill “gives our extraordinary employees a little more peace of mind as they take time to care for themselves and protect those around them from COVID-19.” Other actions the governor has taken before and during the pandemic to protect workers include paid sick days for food sector employees, workers’ compensation for employees who contract COVID-19, child care services, additional unemployment benefits, and resources to help employees quarantine outside their home, according to the release. 

U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) wrote in a Sept. 12 post that he and U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska) spearheaded a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to repeal a Department of Defense policy “that has made it more difficult for lawful permanent residents serving in the U.S. military to become naturalized citizens through an expedited process,” Carbajal wrote in the Facebook post. The letter stated that on Aug. 25, the U.S. District Court in Washnigton, D.C., ruled that a Department of Defense policy requiring non-citizen U.S. military serving personnel to meet new minimum service requirements before being considered for expedited citizenship is unlawful. The letter urges the department to repeal this provision and “return to previous guidance … which made lawful permanent resident (LPR) service members eligible to receive a certificate of honorable service for the purposes of expedited naturalization.” Carbajal added in his Facebook post, “My military service helped me become a citizen, and the legal permanent resident service members today should be afforded the same opportunity. Lawful permanent residents in our armed forces have put their lives on the line to protect our country.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Sept. 11 that he signed Assembly Bill 2147, a bill that “eliminates barriers that prevent former inmate fire crews from pursuing a career as a firefighter once they served their time.” The bill was authored by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), and it allows nonviolent, formerly incarcerated individuals who have fought fires as members of the state prison system’s fire camps to have their records expunged. According to a press release, the bill will “[pave] the way for individuals leaving fire camps to seek meaningful employment and further training.” Newsom said the legislation “rights a historic wrong and recognizes the sacrifice of thousands of incarcerated people who have helped battle wildfires in our state,” according to the press release. “Rehabilitation without strategies to ensure the formerly incarcerated have a career is a pathway to recidivism,” Reyes said in the release. “We must get serious about providing pathways for those that show the determination to turn their lives around.” 

Weekly Poll
Should the county Public Health Department help elementary schools apply for the state’s waiver program?

Yes, that’s what the department is there for.
Schools shouldn’t open at all right now, nevermind with the county’s help.
If the state thinks schools are ready, what’s the problem?
Schools should have to fend for themselves; it shows whether they’re ready to handle reopening.

| Poll Results

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