Political Watch: May 25, 2023

• U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-California) cosponsored the introduction of two bills that expand access to paid leave in the United States, according to a May 19 statement from Padilla’s office. The Healthy Families Act would ensure that workers can earn up to seven job-protected sick days each year to recover from their own illnesses, access preventative care, or provide care to a sick family member. It would also enable workers who are victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault to use their sick days to recover, and it provides a simple method for calculating accrued sick time. Workers would earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per year—unless the employer selects a higher limit. The FAMILY Act would create a new Social Security Administration program to guarantee all workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental, medical, and caregiving leave. It broadens the definition of family by including a broader range of caregiving relationships; expands eligibility to cover all workers who have worked in the past two years; improves program financing; and includes a progressive wage replacement rate. “Nobody should have to forgo their pay or risk losing their job because they don’t have access to paid leave,” Padilla said in the statement. “That is why I’m co-sponsoring these bills to expand federal leave policies across the country.”

• U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) joined a group of House and Senate lawmakers in reintroducing the Invest to Protect Act: a legislation that will make critical, targeted investments in small to midsize police departments with fewer than 200 sworn officers for the recruitment, retention, mental health support, and training they need to protect themselves and their communities, according to a May 17 statement from the congressman’s office. The bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act of 2023 would invest in officer safety, deescalation, and domestic violence response training; create grants for small departments to recruit and retain new officers; allow departments to provide mental health resources for their officers; and authorize $50 million of existing funding per year for five years for local police departments. “Central Coast law enforcement officers work hard every day to protect our communities, combat gun violence, and keep our families safe,” Carbajal said in the statement. “They shouldn’t have to worry about competing with big city police departments for funding that can help them recruit and train. The Invest to Protect Act would ensure they get the resources they need to do their jobs.”

• Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s most ambitious permitting and project review reforms in a half-century to build California’s clean energy resources, according to a May 19 statement from the governor’s office. The measures will facilitate and streamline project approval and completion to maximize California’s share of federal infrastructure dollars and expedite the implementation of projects that meet the state’s ambitious economic, climate, and social goals. Through investments over the past two state budgets, as well as funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act, California will invest up to $180 billion over the next decade in clean infrastructure, which aims to create 400,000 jobs while helping meet the state’s climate goals. By streamlining permitting, cutting red tape, and allowing state agencies to use new types of contracts, these proposals will maximize taxpayer dollars and accelerate timelines of projects throughout the state, while ensuring appropriate environmental review and community engagement. “The only way to achieve California’s world-leading climate goals is to build, build, build—faster. This proposal is the most ambitious effort to cut red tape and streamline regulations in half a century,” Newsom said in the statement. “It’s time to make the most out of taxpayer dollars and deliver results while creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs. Not since the Pat Brown era have we had the opportunity to invest in and rebuild this state to create the clean future Californians deserve.”

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment