Highlights from this year's California legislative session
While some were upset about the news that sleep-deprived legislative aides pitched pennies into the crown on the Capitol’s statue of Queen Isabella during the last-minute push to wrap up the session—it could damage the marble and is discouraged—there was some good news in the slew of laws sent forward to the governor.
First, the bill allowing driver’s licenses for immigrants living here without legal permission—long overdue—is finally in good shape to become law. It’s more than a bit naive to think that immigrants in carcentric California aren’t going to drive. Making licensure available regardless of immigration status is a common-sense measure that will improve the safety of the roadways by allowing these drivers access to the same training and licensing as the rest of us.
Raising the minimum wage was also a move in the right direction. While it still lags behind a living wage, there’s no doubt that those workers at the bottom of the pay scale need a break. Too many still think this only affects teenagers, but obviously, those people haven’t been to a fast-food joint lately, where workers come in all ages and certainly work hard. Adding more to their checks will have a ripple effect throughout the economy, given that almost the entire paycheck of minimum-wage workers is spent locally.
Along those same lines, the domestic worker’s bill of rights is also good news. The people who care for our children, our elders and our homes ought to have the same protection under the law. We urge the governor to sign this bill.