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New bills to ensure greater protections for working families


Authored by | Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill package introduced by State Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (28th District) that will provide greater protections for California’s working families while also removing barriers for eligible individuals who seek to rebuild their lives.

Governor Newsom signed three bills authored by Senator Smallwood-Cuevas: SB 497 – Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act; SB 521 – Campus Protection for Pregnant and Parenting Students; and SB 749 –Elimination of the Limitation.

“I’m incredibly gratified that Governor Newsom signed our bill package that will better protect and empower California’s working families,” said Smallwood-Cuevas. “This bill signing will also allow those seeking to rehabilitate their lives an opportunity to more fully participate in California’s workforce and communities.”

SB 497 – Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act – will protect workers who report labor violations from being fired, bullied or harassed. The bill will permit the Labor Commissioner to presume retaliation has occurred when the employer punishes or terminates a worker within 90 days of the worker’s complaint of a labor violation, a health or safety issue, or unequal pay.

“Governor Newsom’s signature on SB 497 means workers will be empowered to report workplace violations without fear of retaliation,” said Senator Smallwood-Cuevas. “Through the partnership of the California Coalition for Worker Power and the courage of the many workers who came forward to tell their stories of abuse and exploitation, many thousands of workers will experience less fear and greater access to justice.”

SB 521 – Campus Protection for Pregnant and Parenting Students – enables CalWORKs to provide accommodations to pregnant, parenting and lactating students who are not being adequately accommodated under Title IX. The bill was sponsored by Women’s Foundation California and the Solis Policy Institute.

“Parenting students pursue higher education so they can join the workforce to achieve financial security and a better future for their families,” said Senator Smallwood-Cuevas. “SB 521 will support these students with the necessary accommodations they need to further their education that will impact the well-being of their families.”

SB 749 – Elimination of the Limitation – removes the deadline for people to apply for reducing old felony convictions to low-level, non-violent crimes to misdemeanors under voter-approved Proposition 47. Sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice, the bill paves the way for Californians to move past the more than 5,000 permanent restrictions placed on people living with an old felony conviction, giving them the ability to rehabilitate themselves through participating in greater employment and community opportunities.

“SB 749 will allow our historically overburdened courts to work more efficiently and ensure that eligible Californians and members of our community may reclassify their convictions and move forward with their lives and become good neighbors,” said Senator Smallwood-Cuevas.

Tags: local, Gavin Newsom, Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, SB 749