Thursday, March 20, 2014

Legislative Committee Explores Solutions to San Diego’s Higher Ed. Needs

SAN DIEGO - Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County, will hold an informational hearing of the committee on Friday, March 28th, 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM in Rm. 301 of the Mission Valley Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University, 4007 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, 92108.

This hearing will focus on the role of private for-profit and non-profit educational institutions in meeting San Diego’s higher education needs, including addressing issues of access and diversity. Members of the public are invited to provide their perspectives.

“Our first hearing last fall established that we don’t have enough capacity to meet San Diego’s current or future post-secondary needs, especially for minority students” Weber said. “Moving forward, I want to make sure that we have a thoughtful plan to meet the region’s demand for higher education that is affordable, accessible and diverse.”

Testimony provided by California Competes at the committee’s first hearing in San Diego last November noted that the region would need to increase its degree attainment by about 58 percent over the next decade for the state remain economically competitive.

Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego), a former faculty member and department chair at San Diego State University, requested the creation of the committee to explore options for addressing the region’s growing demand for post-secondary education, including the possibility of a new CSU or UC campus. The committee will make policy recommendations to Legislature

To RSVP and for more information about the hearing, please contact Assemblymember Weber’s district office at (619) 531-7913.

Earned Sick Days Bill Approved by Assembly Labor & Employment Committee

Gonzalez’s AB 1522 Would Require Workers Are Compensated For At Least Three Days Lost To Illness Annually

SAN DIEGO – (Wednesday, March 19, 2014) – A bill authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to guarantee employees in California can earn and use at least 3 sick days per year was approved by the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment today.

Assembly Bill 1522 (Gonzalez) passed by a vote of 5 to 1, with every Democrat on the committee voting in support. The bill will move on to the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary, where it will likely be considered on .

AB 1522 aims to reduce the impact that illnesses have on the state’s working families as well as the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Additionally, Gonzalez said that providing employees with paid sick leave could reduce health care costs by allowing workers and their family members time to visit a primary care physician to address an illness rather than rushing to an emergency room to seek care due to their fear of missing work.

“Both workers and their employers lose out when employees have to choose between reporting for work while sick or losing pay because they don’t,” Gonzalez said. “Every time this choice comes up for a sick employee, everyone loses money – whether it’s through unnecessary emergency room costs, the billions of dollars lost in productivity annually when sick employees try to work while under the weather, or lost wages that impact whether working families can put food on the table.”

Under AB 1522, workers in California would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and employers would have the option of capping an employee’s paid sick leave at 24 hours, or 3 days. Other states and cities – including Connecticut; New York City; Portland, Ore.; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco – have already adopted paid sick day laws.

According to the “Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” published last week by former First Lady of California Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, “An overwhelming 96 percent of single mothers say paid leave is the workplace policy that would help them most.” Assemblywoman Gonzalez, a single mother herself, said she agrees.

“As the dynamics of the modern family change, so does a mother’s ability to take care of sick children or hers own self when she falls ill at the same time she’s trying to hold down her job,” Gonzalez said. “Our economy has moved to a place where families cannot rely on a stay-at-home parent in times of illness. As a state, California must adapt to the reality facing today’s working families.”

Gonzalez said paid sick leave will provide relief to several economic consequences that occur when employees fall sick:

Economic security:  Workers without paid sick days have to go to work sick or stay home, lose pay and risk job loss or workplace discipline. Nearly one quarter of adults in the United States (23 percent) report that they have lost a job or have been threatened with job loss for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick child or relative.

Just 3.5 unpaid days off can cost a family without access to paid sick days, on average, its entire monthly grocery budget.

Cost effective:  Working people with paid sick days are more productive and less likely to leave their jobs, which saves businesses money by reducing turnover. And “presenteeism” – when employees work sick – is estimated to cost our national economy $160 billion in lost productivity each year.

Reduce community contagion: Workers without paid sick days are more likely to report going to work with a contagious illness like the flu or a viral infection —and risk infecting others.

Nearly three in four food service workers (73%) and workers in child care centers and nursing homes don’t have paid sick days.  This poses a serious threat to public health.

Decrease health care costs:  If all workers had paid sick days, it is estimated that 1.3 million emergency room visits could be prevented each year in the United States, saving $1.1 billion in health care costs annually. More than half of these savings – $517 million – would go to taxpayer-funded health insurance programs such as Medicare and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For more information on AB 1522, or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez about paid sick days, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit .

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, EMILY's List and California NOW Endorse Sarah Boot for San Diego City Council


Women’s Campaign Fund, National Womens Political Caucus and Run Women Run also rally behind former prosecutor

SAN DIEGO – Former prosecutor and women’s rights advocate Sarah Boot today announced the endorsements of several leading women’s organizations, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, EMILY’s list, Women’s Campaign Fund, National Womens Political Caucus, Run Women Run and the California National Organization For Women.

“It is an honor during Women’s History Month to be recognized by so many outstanding groups working on behalf of women,” Boot said. “These organizations have long fought for equality in the workplace, access to affordable reproductive healthcare and the inclusion of women’s active voice in the political process.”

The endorsements were announced after the groups evaluated all candidates in District 2 and determined that Boot is the candidate who best prioritizes women and their right to choose. The news comes as Boot’s main opponent continues to dodge debate opportunities and avoid community forums where residents can learn more about the candidates.

EMILY’s List Political Director, Denise Feriozzi said, “With unprecedented and orchestrated attacks on women’s rights and opportunities, it is more important than ever that we have a champion for women like Sarah Boot in local government.”  She added, “From working on equal pay issues to her courageous work to combat human trafficking, Sarah Boot is always on the side of San Diego’s women and families. We need more women leaders like Sarah Boot and are proud and honored to support her.”

Clare Bresnahan, Women’s Campaign Fund Political Director said, “Women's Campaign Fund is proud to stand with Sarah Boot in her race to be on San Diego's City Council.” She added, “Boot has proven her commitment to the advancement of women throughout her career, whether she is holding forums at Equal Pay Day events or volunteering as a mentor for young women. It is essential that we support Boot and take a stand for the reproductive rights of the women of San Diego.”

Michelle Burton, President of Run Women Run, a non-partisan membership organization dedicated to recruiting and encouraging pro-choice women to run for public office said, “Sarah is the only woman in the race who shares the values of the majority of San Diegans. We are thrilled to support someone who has worked so hard on behalf of women and girls, both as a professional and as a volunteer.”

Boot has worked to advance the rights of women in matters ranging from equal pay to human trafficking. She has held forums and published articles about issues affecting lower income women, served as a career mentor for young women aging out of the foster care program, and worked to advance women in the workplace.

“Throughout the course of my career, I have fought for fairness, justice, and the advancement of women of all ages,” Boot said. “I look forward to continuing this work on behalf of all San Diegans.”
Sarah Boot is the only candidate in the District 2 City Council race endorsed by a broad coalition of pro-choice women’s groups.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


(Sacramento) Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-78) has been elected by her colleagues in the California State Assembly to become their 69th Speaker later this Spring, succeeding current Speaker John A. Pérez.

“I am grateful to my Assembly colleagues for selecting me for this honor and responsibility,” says Atkins.  “After several years of deficits and financial challenges created by the Great Recession, California has finally begun down a path of stabilization and growing prosperity.  I look forward to working with Assemblymembers on both sides of the aisle and the Governor as we take advantage of this opportunity to continue laying a sound financial foundation for our state.”

With her selection as Speaker, Atkins becomes only the second Democratic woman and second member of the LGBT community to hold the post.  As Majority Leader, she is already responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Assembly Floor and has served as a member of Speaker Perez's leadership team.

The Assembly Speaker is the highest ranking officer in the State Assembly. The Speaker is charged with the overall management and supervision of the Assembly. She appoints members to all committees and subcommittees of the Assembly, allocates funds, staffing, and other resources for the effective operation of the House, and establishes committee schedules. The Speaker is also responsible for making or recommending numerous appointments to state bodies and serves on the University of California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees.

Atkins represents a coastal San Diego district and was elected to the Assembly in 2010 following eight years on the San Diego City Council.