It’s difficult to imagine worse legislation than Assembly Bill 1250, which pretends to promote transparency and save taxpayer dollars but is really a brazen attempt to add more dues paying members to California’s public employee unions.

The bill by Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), a former local vice president for the Service Employees International Union, would hit central San Joaquin Valley counties particularly hard in three distinct ways.

One, it would make it nearly impossible for counties to contract with community based groups that do so much of the heavy lifting for sheltering the homeless and working to improve the lives of other vulnerable and needy residents.

Two, it would cause public pension costs to soar.

Three, it would tie the hands of locally elected officials and voters. No longer could they decide what’s best for their counties.

It is telling that Jones-Sawyer’s bill originally included cities, but they had enough clout to get carved out of the legislation in the Assembly. In addition, the bill exempts San Francisco County and in Santa Clara County all health and social service contracts involving Covered California.

Naturally, our local nonprofits are alarmed by the prospect of the bill’s passage in a Legislature dominated by union friendly Democrats. Among those opposing the bill are groups long recognized for their outstanding work: Reading and Beyond of Fresno, the Fresno County Economic Development Corp., Visalia-based Turning Point of Central California, and Centro La Familia Advocacy Services.

Brian Pacheco, chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, explained the board’s opposition in a June 12 letter to state Sen. Mike McGuire.

“Fresno County takes pride in providing an array of quality services to our constituents both through our dedicated permanent employees and qualified experts or contractors,” Pacheco said. “As strong fiscal stewards of public funds, we seek to deliver excellent services to our constituents in the most efficient and effective manner. . . . AB 1250 places substantial burdens on local agencies by adding onerous, over prescriptive and unnecessary requirements that will increase costs and reduce local options.”

Numerous editorial boards are opposed to AB 1250. Among them are the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Press Democrat (Santa Rosa) and The Fresno Bee.

We join with them in saying that this bill doesn’t deserve passage out of the Senate. And, if it does pass, Gov. Brown should exercise his veto pen — just as he has done to similar bills in the past.

— Written by Bill McEwen


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