Editorial: Corporations keep trying to throw out progressive California laws. Do we need reforms?
In his first term as governor, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a host of progressive laws — on taxes, health care, the environment and immigrant rights. There were even some progressive proclamations, like Brown’s call for a “California-based, progressive, clean economy.”
After taking office, Brown signed more of the same. For example, he signed a bill in his first week that would have forced the California Teachers Association to bargain with his administration, and a bill a few weeks later that would have granted the California Public Employees’ Retirement System a significant raise.
But Brown has gone another long way to the right since taking office — and his party, and his party’s allies in the Legislature, are all for it.
The governor signed the law that requires teachers to be represented by a union, the passage of which he had to sign since it was passed by Democrats in the Legislature, but had to veto because it wasn’t “a complete and total reformation of the labor laws.”
The governor signed the law that would have allowed California municipalities to opt out of state law requiring workers to be paid at least $10,000 a year. As it is, workers have to contribute at least $4,200. The new law had won support from the California Chamber of Commerce, and Brown’s former lieutenant governor, from among other pro-business interests: businesses that pay workers less than $10,000 a year to avoid the minimum wage.
The governor also signed a law to make it easier for businesses to fire their employees.
The governor also signed more pro-corporate measures: Brown vetoed legislation that would have required more disclosure on the energy sector, and legislation that would have made it easier for business to move their money out of the state.
These laws are not progressive; they are what Brown likes to call “corporate-lite.” And they are bad news for the people of California. They are also bad news for working families,