Fam­ily and women’s is­sues seize spot­light

Brown signs a batch of mea­sures ex­pand­ing un­paid leave and worker pro­tec­tions.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - ME­LANIE MA­SON and MINA CORPUZ me­lanie.ma­son @la­times.com mina.corpuz@la­times.com

SACRA­MENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thurs­day signed a pack­age of bills meant to ad­dress women’s and fam­ily is­sues, in­clud­ing ex­pand­ing un­paid fam­ily leave and help­ing par­ents on wel­fare af­ford di­a­pers.

At a pub­lic sign­ing cer­e­mony at a Sacra­mento non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion aimed at help­ing home­less women, Brown touted the new laws as “Cal­i­for­nia show­ing the way — on kids, on fam­i­lies, on women and hus­bands as well.”

A num­ber of the mea­sures pre­vi­ously had been ve­toed by the gover­nor, such as the fam­ily leave bill by Sen. Han­nah-Beth Jack­son (D-Santa Bar­bara).

The state re­quires com­pa­nies with 50 or more em­ploy­ees to give their work­ers 12 weeks of un­paid leave to care for a new­born or newly adopted child. SB 63 will ex­pand that pro­tec­tion to work­ers at com­pa­nies with at least 20 em­ploy­ees.

Jack­son es­ti­mated that an ad­di­tional 2.7 mil­lion Cal­i­for­ni­ans will be el­i­gi­ble un­der the ex­panded pro­tec­tion.

Busi­ness groups op­posed the mea­sure, call­ing it an im­po­si­tion on small busi­nesses.

“This bill is about fair­ness,” Jack­son said. “It’s about chil­dren. It’s about moth­ers. It’s about fa­thers. And it’s about time.”

This time was also the charm for a mea­sure by Assem­bly­woman Lorena Gon­za­lez Fletcher (D-San Diego), whose AB 480 will help peo­ple on wel­fare get sub­si­dies for di­a­pers.

Brown also signed a mea­sure that will re­quire schools with low-in­come stu­dents to pro­vide free tam­pons and pads to stu­dents in grades 6-12.

Assem­bly­woman Cristina Gar­cia (D-Bell Gar­dens), chair of the Leg­isla­tive Women’s Cau­cus, cam­paigned for her bill, AB 10, by car­ry­ing “Tam­pon Barbie” on the As­sem­bly floor and post­ing a pic­ture of a bloody tam­pon in her of­fice win­dow.

“It’s about tak­ing a topic that’s taboo, that we’re told not to talk about — and when we do talk about, we’re made fun of, we’re ridiculed about it,” she said. “I just wanted to have a lit­tle bit of fun with it. I felt that was the way to take the rhetoric back and make it mine.”

An­other new law signed by Brown will bar em­ploy­ers from ask­ing job ap­pli­cants about their salary his­tory.

Ad­vo­cates for equal pay ar­gue that such queries help per­pet­u­ate the wage gap, be­cause women tend to en­ter the work­force with lower salaries and have dif­fi­culty catch­ing up with male coun­ter­parts when their com­pen­sa­tion is based on their pay his­tory.

The mea­sure, AB 168 by Assem­bly­woman Su­san Tala­mantes Eg­gman (DS­tock­ton), does not ban ap­pli­cants from vol­un­tar­ily sup­ply­ing such in­for­ma­tion.

In all, the gover­nor signed eight mea­sures that were cham­pi­oned by the Leg­isla­tive Women’s Cau­cus. The other laws will:

En­able more par­ents who are tak­ing high school equiv­a­lency cour­ses or English as a sec­ond lan­guage to qual­ify for sub­si­dized child care.

Make wel­fare ben­e­fits im­me­di­ately avail­able to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims.

Ex­tend the amount of time that rape kits must be re­tained.

Re­quire the state to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion about the breast cancer sus­cep­ti­bil­ity gene (BRCA) in or­der to bet­ter guide treat­ment.

Rich Pedroncelli As­so­ci­ated Press

GOV. JERRY BROWN speaks in sup­port of a bill by Assem­bly­woman Cristina Gar­cia, left, in July.

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