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SACRAMENTO FILE

Two Workers' Comp Reform Measures Passed by Assembly

April 21, 1993|Jerry Gillam | Times Staff Writer

Two bills aimed at helping to overhaul the much-criticized $12-billion-a-year workers' compensation insurance system have been unanimously passed by the Assembly and sent to the Senate.

The legislation is designed to crack down on fraudulent workers' compensation claims and use 50% of the resulting savings to reduce costs and increase benefits.

Passed by 72-0 and 75-0 votes were measures (AB 1300 and AB 110) by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Steve Peace (D-Chula Vista), respectively.

The bills are part of a series of measures dealing with the overhaul of workers' compensation insurance. A two-house conference committee is expected to work out a compromise reform program to replace the current system that is under fire for imposing high costs on employers and awarding low benefits to workers.

GOVERNOR

Will attend the Border Governors Conference in Monterrey, Mexico, on Thursday.

ASSEMBLY

Floor Action

Club Discrimination: Passed and sent to the Senate on a 43-28 vote a bill (AB 159) by Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Brentwood) to prohibit the issuance or renewal of state liquor licenses to private clubs that deny membership on the basis of a person's color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex or age.

Committee Action

Sales Tax Extension: The Revenue and Taxation Committee approved a bill (AB 161) by Speaker Brown to extend indefinitely a temporary half-cent sales tax increase. A 6-3 vote sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee for more screening.

First-Time Home Buyers: The Housing Committee approved a pair of bills (AB 214 and AB 115) by Brown to set up a state-sponsored home mortgage guarantee fund to help first-time home buyers by letting them pay as little as 3% down. Identical 10-0 votes sent the legislation to the Ways and Means Committee.

SENATE

Floor Action

Transportation Funds: Passed and sent to the Assembly on a 22-10 vote a bill (SB 40) by Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco) to prohibit state funds from being allocated to local transportation bodies for discretionary programs unless they have adopted policies that prohibit using public funds for exorbitant salaries, excessive fringe benefits, first-class air fare, entertainment and gifts.

Committee Action

Electric Cars: The Transportation Committee approved a bill (SB 688) by Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) to provide a state sales tax exemption for consumers who purchase zero-emission electric cars. The tax revenues would be recouped by levying a $1 surcharge on vehicle registration and renewal fees. A 9-0 vote sent the bill to the Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Sexual Harassment: The Industrial Relations Committee approved a bill (SB 1064) by Sen. Daniel E. Boatwright (D-Concord) to extend the statute of limitations from one to two years for the filing of sexual harassment claims with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. A 4-0 vote sent the bill to the Appropriations Committee.

VDTs: The Industrial Relations Committee rejected a bill (SB 832) by Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) to require video display terminals used in the workplace to meet specified worker safety standards. A 3-2 vote was cast on the bill but four yes votes were required for approval. Reconsideration granted.

Capital Fact

The first Asian elected to the Assembly was Alfred H. Song (D-Monterey Park) in 1963. In 1967, Song became the first Asian elected to the Senate. The first Asian woman elected to the Assembly was March Fong Eu (D-Oakland) in 1966. Eu also was the first Asian elected to statewide office when, in 1974, she became secretary of state, a post she still holds.

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