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CALIFORNIA | PREVIEW | CAPITOL MATTERS

A weekly roundup of business-related bills, upcoming legislative issues, regulatory news and other developments of local interest.

March 21, 1997|Legi-Tech News Service

'Living Wage' Bill Seeks to Boost Hourly Wages

A statewide "living wage" bill has been introduced that would require some private firms with state contracts to pay a higher minimum wage to their employees. The bill, which goes further than the measure approved this week by the Los Angeles City Council, requires pay of no less than $7.50 an hour, including health benefits, or $9.50 an hour without benefits.

The hour rates mandated by the Los Angeles ordinance are 25 cents less, including benefits, and $1 less, without.

SB 902, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the Service Employees International Union, clearly means to capitalize on momentum generated in Los Angeles, San Jose and other cities throughout the nation that have adopted laws requiring companies profiting from government business to share the benefits with their lowest-paid employees.

Oakland Democrat Barbara Lee's legislation would require firms holding state contracts of at least $25,000 for terms of at least three months to meet the pay requirements.

Like the Los Angeles measure, her bill also would apply to companies receiving $1 million or more in one-time state assistance and those receiving at least $100,000 during the course of year.

APPOINTMENTS

* Randy Rhodes has been appointed as a Los Angeles County Municipal Court. Rhodes, 39, has been an attorney with the downtown firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher since 1993. Salary: $98,070. No Senate confirmation required.

* Penny Allen of Chula Vista has been reappointed to the California Coastal Commission, which regulates development along the California coast. Allen, 49, is the owner of Allen & Co., a marketing research and community relations firm. No salary. No Senate confirmation required.

* Karen J. Nudell of Studio City has been appointed as a Los Angeles County Municipal Court judge. Nudell, 45, has served as a commissioner for the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1990. She is a former attorney for Columbia Pictures and CBS Records. Salary: $98,070. No Senate confirmation required.

These appointments were made recently by Gov. Pete Wilson.

HOT BILLS

* Internet Bandwidth

Bottom Line: Small and mid-size firms want the state to speed up improvements in Internet and other telecommunications infrastructure. While the biggest companies can buy all the direct, high-speed connectivity they want, smaller businesses and individuals must rely on increasingly clogged access routes and an aging telecommunications infrastructure.

Chances: Backed by the California Manufacturers Assn., this bill is meant to generate discussion more than anything else.

Next Step: April hearing by Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications.

Details: SB 1148 author Steve Peace (D-Chula Vista) can be reached at (916) 445-6767.

* Employment Arbitration

Bottom Line: Trial lawyers, who think employee/employer disputes settled through arbitration are bad for business and limit an employee's rights, want to remove the legal standing of arbitration agreements.

Chances: This bill may find a favorable audience now that the Democrats have regained control of the Assembly.

Next Step: The bill now goes to the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.

Details: AB 574 author Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles) can be reach at (916) 445-0703.

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Please send comments about Capitol Matters via e-mail to cyndia.zwahlen@latimes.com

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