Se­nate OKs bill rais­ing min­i­mum wage to $11

Un­der state mea­sure, passed largely along party lines, the wage would be boosted again to $13 in 2017.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Pa­trick McGreevy pa­trick.mcgreevy @la­ me­­son@la­ Twit­ter: @mc­greevy99, @mel­ma­son

SACRA­MENTO — The state Se­nate on Mon­day passed a bill that would raise Cal­i­for­nia’s $9 min­i­mum wage to $11 an hour on Jan. 1 and boost it again to $13 in 2017.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Fran­cisco) made the pro­posal out of con­cern that cen­sus fig­ures show a quar­ter of the state’s 38 mil­lion res­i­dents live in poverty, he said.

“It is time that we make it il­le­gal to pay sub-poverty wages in Cal­i­for­nia,” Leno told his col­leagues dur­ing a heated floor de­bate.

He said the wage in­crease would boost the econ­omy be­cause work­ing fam­i­lies would be able to spend more money. “It’s go­ing to be spent im­me­di­ately to meet daily needs in our com­mu­nity,” he said.

The bill passed 23 to 15, on a largely party-line vote.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Mur­ri­eta) op­posed the mea­sure, pre­dict­ing it would force busi­nesses to cut work­ers. The pro­posal “hurts the econ­omy by caus­ing job losses,” he said.

Sen. Tom Ber­ry­hill (RModesto) said min­i­mum wage was never meant to be a wage for fam­i­lies to live on. “It is a start-up wage for kids,” he said.

Sen. Con­nie Lleyva (DChino) coun­tered, “There are peo­ple try­ing to sup­port their fam­i­lies living on min­i­mum wage, and it sim­ply doesn’t work.”

An em­ployee work­ing full time and earn­ing $9 per hour takes home about $18,000 an­nu­ally be­fore taxes, Leno noted — 75% of the fed­eral poverty level for a fam­ily of four.

Two years ago, law­mak­ers and the gover­nor in­creased the min­i­mum wage to $10, to begin Jan. 1 of next year.

Leno’s bill would im­pose spe­cific raises un­til 2019 and ad­just for inf la­tion there­after.

Some Cal­i­for­nia cities have raised min­i­mum wages on their own. In Los An­ge­les, the City Coun­cil is set to vote this week on rais­ing the min­i­mum wage to $10.50 on July 1, 2016, and then in­creas­ing it grad­u­ally to $15 in 2020. San Fran­cisco is phas­ing in an in­crease that tops out at $15 in 2018.

Leno’s bill, SB 3, now goes to the As­sem­bly.

Also Mon­day, faced with crit­i­cism over free trips to Hawaii and other lo­cales by state law­mak­ers, the Se­nate ap­proved a mea­sure that would force dis­clo­sure of who picks up the tabs.

The pro­posal, by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Ma­teo), would re­quire non­profit groups that pro­vide gifts of travel to elected state and lo- cal of­fi­cials to dis­close the names of the orig­i­nal donors fi­nanc­ing the trips. The bill, ap­proved 36 to 1, also would re­quire law­mak­ers to an­nu­ally re­port their des­ti­na­tions.

“Cur­rently, non­prof­its do not have to dis­close the source of travel fund­ing, pre­vent­ing the public from know­ing who is be­hind the gift to the elected of­fi­cial,” Hill told his col­leagues.

State of­fi­cials ac­cept hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in travel ex­penses as gifts each year. Last year, those in­cluded trips to Spain, Por­tu­gal, China, Is­rael, Peru, Chile, El Sal­vador, Mex­ico and Canada.

One of the most popular des­ti­na­tions is an an­nual con­fer­ence held in Maui by the non­profit In­de­pen­dent Voter Project, which re­ceives its money from in­ter­ests in­clud­ing util­i­ties, unions and in­dus­try groups, which typ­i­cally have busi­ness be­fore the Leg­is­la­ture.

The leg­is­la­tion, SB 21, next goes to the As­sem­bly. Also on Mon­day:

The Se­nate passed a mea­sure by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los An­ge­les that would re­peal a rule against wel­fare benefits for chil­dren con­ceived while their moth­ers were al­ready re­ceiv­ing aid. The vote on SB 23 was 25 to 6; some Repub­li­cans sided with Democrats in fa­vor of the change.

The As­sem­bly ap­proved a bill to des­ig­nate high school cheer­lead­ing a sport. The bill, AB 949 by Assem­bly­woman Lorena Gon­za­lez (D-San Diego), would re­quire the Cal­i­for­nia In­ter­scholas­tic Fed­er­a­tion to de­velop guide­lines and safety stan­dards for com­pe­ti­tion cheer. It passed 71 to 3.

The As­sem­bly passed a mea­sure that would en­able judges, in a crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ing, to tell the jury whether the court had determined that the pros­e­cu­tor in­ten­tion­ally failed to dis­close ev­i­dence. AB 1328 by Assem­bly­woman Shirley We­ber (D-San Diego) passed 41 to 34.

Rich Pedroncelli AP

STATE Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Fran­cisco) said the wage in­crease would boost the econ­omy.

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