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Panel to Look at Penalties for Wage Violations

July 14, 1999|Stephen Gregory

A state Senate committee is scheduled today to consider an omnibus bill aimed at strengthening enforcement of employee wage and hour laws.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would, among other things, create penalties for employers who fail to pay wages and provide legal recourse to employees to collect those penalties. The bill would also strengthen current penalties for minimum wage and overtime violations and increase the amount of interest assessed on unpaid wages.

The bill contains provisions that would hold garment manufacturers and retailers responsible for paying unpaid wages to employees hired by third-party contractors. The bill passed the Assembly in June and, if approved today by the Senate Industrial Relations Committee, would proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

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State legislators have scheduled a hearing Friday at the Port of Los Angeles to discuss port expansion and assess the progress of construction on the Alameda Corridor--the 20-mile high-speed rail line connecting the port and neighboring Long Beach Harbor with the region's main rail spur east of downtown.

The $2.4-billion project, scheduled for completion in the spring of 2002, is expected to help speed movement of cargo handled by the ports. Planners say the project is necessary to accommodate the increasing amount of cargo passing through the region. State Sen. Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach), who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, and her Assembly counterpart Tom Torlakson (D-Martinez) are expected to be among the panelists hearing reports from top port officials and the director of the corridor project.

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