Governor Jerry Brown had a busy weekend, acting on hundreds of bills that required his signature or veto before Sunday's midnight deadline.
The governor's approval of driver's licenses for some undocumented immigrants and veto of the Trust Act are getting a lot of attention, but he also took action on other notable legislation.
Brown vetoed AB 889, which would have required private employers to pay overtime and provide paid meal breaks for nannies, housecleaners and caretakers. The governor questioned whether it was feasible for the state to enforce laws in people’s homes and whether employers could afford the changes.
"Governor Brown missed an opportunity to prove himself as a leader in civil rights by ensuring that the people caring for California's children, people with disabilities and the elderly no longer have to go without proper sleep or meals,” said San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who sponsored AB 889. “His veto sets back labor rights in California," Ammiano added.
The California Chamber of Commerce was among those opposing the bill. It believed AB 889 "would result in unreasonable, nonsensical regulations that would overwhelm working families with small children,” according to chamber policy advocate Jennifer Barrera.
The governor also rejected AB 2676 and AB 2346, two measures that would have increased employer penalties for failing to provide adequate shade and water to farmworkers. Brown called California’s outdoor heat standards “the most stringent in the nation” and said employers compliance has jumped from 32% to 80% in the past six years.
Brown agreed the standard should be improved, but said the best way to do that is through the regulatory process.
In a written statement, United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez said he was “appalled” at the governor's decision, which he says denies agricultural workers “basic legal tools to protect themselves from employers who intentionally put their lives at risk by refusing to provide them with adequate water and shade despite the dangerously high temperatures.”
Rodriguez said despite regulations, some employers fail to follow them and farmworkers continue to die preventable deaths from heat.