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$25 Minimum Wage for Healthcare Workers Bill Awaits Newsom's Verdict
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By CalMatters
Published 6 months ago on
October 12, 2023

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Gov. Gavin Newsom greenlit 56 bills Wednesday to help ease the state’s affordable housing crisis. And with three days left to take action, he’s gone through most major bills on other pressing issues as well. But there are still a handful of significant ones he has yet to decide.

Lynn La

CalMatters

Perhaps the most contentious is Senate Bill 525, which would raise the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 an hour. The proposal is backed by labor unions including the Service Employees International Union and, if passed, is expected to benefit an estimated 469,000 workers. But business groups that oppose the bill argue it does not “promote greater economic security” for California.

So far, the governor has a mixed record on labor bills. To much fanfare, he signed a deal giving fast food workers a raise next year. But he vetoed a bill to give striking workers access to unemployment benefits.

Other Bills on Newsom’s Desk

Some other noteworthy bills awaiting action:

  • Assembly Bill 91 would enable low-income students living within 45 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border to be eligible for in-state tuition.
  • AB 436 would ban local prohibitions on cruising.
  • AB 537 would require short-term rentals to include taxes and fees upfront in price (this bill, as well as one recently signed by Newsom for goods and services, is part of a series of bills to combat hidden junk fees).
  • AB 645 would test speed cameras in six cities.
  • AB 659 would recommend that K-12 students and college students be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.
  • AB 1309 would prevent unjustified nursing home evictions by requiring facilities to provide a written notice of transfer or discharge and other documentation.
  • AB 1366 would establish a restitution fund for victims of consumer fraud.

Action Taken by Newsom

Here are some noteworthy bills the governor has already made decisions about:

  • Housing: Signed bills to ban landlords from charging more than one month’s rent as a security deposit; make it easier for churches and colleges to build housing and extend to 2036 a 2017 law to streamline construction of affordable housing.“It’s simple math,” Newsom said in a statement. “California needs to build more housing and ensure the housing we have is affordable.”
  • Insulin cap: Vetoed a proposal to cap what insurers could charge for insulin to $35, describing a partnership with drugmaker Civica Rx that will drive down the price of insulin to $30 a vial as the “true sustainable solution.” But as CalMatters’ health reporter Ana B. Ibarra writes, this $50 million program hasn’t begun manufacturing any medication yet and a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Health Care Access and Information said it does “not have a specific timeframe for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” Read more in Ana’s story.
  • Sexual harassment: Signed a measure to require the California State University to annually submit reports on sexual harassment complaints. The bill follows a string of allegations in 2022 across Cal State campuses that forced then-chancellor Joseph Castro to resign, as well as two audits in July that found the university collected insufficient data of sexual harassment complaints.
  • Police brutality: Created a first-in-the-nation law that bans the use of “excited delirium” as a cause of death. Supporters argue that the controversial diagnosis (characterized as a “state of extreme mental and physiological excitement,” according to one bill analysis) is often used by law enforcement when a person dies after some interaction with police. In 2020, “excited delirium” was cited by police in the death of an Antioch resident who died after officers knelt on his neck.
  • Right to repair: California has become the third state to pass right-to-repair legislation, requiring manufacturers to make repair materials — such as parts, tools, and software —  accessible for seven years for products that cost $100 more. Companies, however, can still practice parts pairing, which uses software to limit user repairs.

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About the Author

Lynn La is the WhatMatters newsletter writer. Prior to joining CalMatters, she developed thought leadership at an ed-tech company and was a senior editor at CNET. She also covered public health at The Sacramento Bee as a Kaiser media fellow and was an intern reporter at Capitol Weekly. She’s a graduate of UC Davis and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

About CalMatters

CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics.

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