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Report: Paid sick days a public-health bonanza

A new study makes a compelling case for a pending bill that would require all California employers to provide their workers with paid sick days, researchers say.

The report – produced by Human Impact Partners (an Oakland-based nonprofit project of the Tides Center) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health – says the proposed law “would help reduce the spread of flu; protect the public from diseases carried by sick workers in restaurants and in long-term care facilities; prevent hunger and homelessness among sick low-income workers; and enable workers to stay home when they are sick or when they need to care for a sick dependent,” according to its findings summary .

The summary also notes that about 70 percent of California’s accommodation and food service workers don’t have paid sick days right now, so they’re apt to come to work sick rather than lose that pay. I know I’ll think about that the next time a server coughs while taking my order.

This is “not only a labor policy but also a sensible and effective public health policy” which could save the state significant healthcare costs, said Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, the San Francisco Public Health Department’s director of Occupational and Environmental Health, told reporters on a conference call today.

His office provided much of the research from this report – data it had gathered when San Francisco was considering such a law. The city’s law has now been in effect since early 2007.

AB 2716, the California Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act of 2008 — authored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, and co-authored by assemblymen John Laird, D-Santa Cruz; Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland; and Alberto Torrico, D-Newark — would guarantee that all workers in the state accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours. A small business (having 10 or fewer employees) would be able to limit an employee’s use of this accrued sick time to 40 hours or five days in each calendar year; larger employers would be able to limit it at 72 hours or nine days in each calendar year.

Dr. Jody Heymann, founding director of both the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University and the Project on Global Working Families at Harvard University, said the idea that such a law would make California less competitive is a fallacy. “If we just look at the 10 countries that have been ranked by businesses as the most competitive countries, nine out of 10 have guaranteed paid sick leave – the United States is the only one that doesn’t.”

The bill, which the Assembly passed May 28 on a party-line vote of 45-33, is pending before the state Senate Appropriations Committee.

Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Under: Alberto Torrico, Assembly, California State Senate, Fiona Ma, General, John Laird, Sandre Swanson | No Comments »

Clinton campaign claims “great victory”

I’m on a conference call with the California Clinton campaign. Here are some quotable quotes:

Luis Vizcaino, California communications director: This was “a great victory in the Golden State last night which demonstrates that California is still Clinton country.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: “This is a bellwether state, so what happens here has an impact across the nation… The diversity of this state is like no place in the United States of America, maybe in the world.”

“We won big, in southern California particularly” on concerns about the economy, health care, etc. “This is a tremendous victory.”

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles: “Hillary Clinton has built a strong relationship with the Latino community over many many years… She committed not only to me but to others that she would come into the Latino community to campaign, particularly into East Los Angeles, which very often is overlooked.”

“She respected the Latino community, we knew we were important to the election, and she spent time there not only listening to our needs but also telling us what she wanted to do for the Latino community.”

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom: “At the end of the day, it is about hard work, its about organization, its about constancy in this campaign which really began over a month ago… when those absentee ballots arrived.”

“The Asian community turned out very significantly for Hillary Clinton, the LGBT community turned out very significantly for Hillary Clinton.”

Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte: “The sleeping giant has awakend, the Latino vote is hear, and they really showed their colors last night.”

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles: Noting that Mimi Vitello of Van Nuys, who’d hosted a house party visit by Obama recently, ended up voting for Clinton instead, “It trumped the ‘message of hope,’ it was really about ‘Here’s the future, let’s go on a ride to the future.’ … I think she really found herself in the last two months of this campaign.”

“I think that the primary reason why Hillary Clinton won in California is because they (voters) read between the lines… and in the end they did exactly what Mimi Vitello did, which was evaluate the candidates on their merits.”

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco: Asian-Americans “really believe in Hillary Clinton’s leadership… People felt very comfortable that we knew who we were voting for for President.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles: “We should all be extremely proud of California, particularly since the posters and pundits had said it was even-Steven in California… As it turned out it was a spectacular win, the pundits were absolutely wrong.”

“It’s clear to me that Latinos and women really did create this win.”

“What Obama was able to do was collect a lot of little states, which made him look better. Many of those were caucus states, which did not at all reflect what would’ve happened in a primary.”

“I think we all have to get on message with the Latino vote and presence. There are some people who are trying to inject negativity into what is happening with Latinos and blacks.”

State campaign director Ace Smith: “This was a campaign that reached into every community… and one thing that we don’t get much credit for but was huge for this campaign was that we went out and talked to young voters.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008
Under: Elections, Fabian Nunez, Fiona Ma, Gavin Newsom, Hillary Clinton | No Comments »

Lockyer, Davis among Calif. Dems for Clinton

senatorclinton.jpgClose on the heels of Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s endorsement Wednesday of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for president, a list of California Democrats topped by Treasurer Bill Lockyer and former Gov. Gray Davis announced the same Friday.

“I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for President because I know her and admire her,” said Lockyer, who I remember seeing at Clinton’s fundraiser Feb. 23 in San Francisco. “She’s been my good friend and our state’s great ally for more than a decade. Nobody understands Californians, the California Dream, and the vital importance of California to our nation’s success better than Hillary Clinton. And Hillary Clinton is — far and away — the only candidate who is ready to lead the country now, without any on-the-job training.”

Said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco: “Hillary is the most qualified candidate and is ready to lead this country from day one. Hillary knows the White House, Congress, and has the respect of world leaders. Most importantly, Hillary has been longtime advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, and I know that she will continue her commitment when she becomes president.”

Clinton will address the California Democratic Party‘s convention at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow at the San Diego Convention Center.

A complete list of Friday’s Clinton endorsements, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2007
Under: Assembly, Bill Lockyer, Democratic Party, Elections, Fiona Ma, General, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »