Jackson Bills, Including Nation's Strongest Equal Pay Legislation, to Become Law on January 1

December 16, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Among the numerous bills authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) this year, the following will take effect on January 1:

Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act: The strongest equal pay law in the country, Jackson’s SB 358 will give women important new tools to challenge wage discrimination at work. It will ensure that women are paid equally for work that is substantially similar to the work of their male colleagues, and do not face retaliation if they discuss or ask how much their male colleagues are paid. To enforce her rights under SB 358, an employee will be able to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or file a civil complaint directly in Superior Court. 

“2016 is a year I hope we all remember as a year California made significant progress toward closing the wage gap women face at work, ” said Jackson, who is chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “It’s time for women’s paychecks to finally reflect their true value and hard work. Fair pay is not just the right thing for women, it’s the right thing for their families, for California, for our businesses, and for our economy.”

Legislation authored in response to this year’s Refugio Oil Spill:

Senate Bill 295, Annual Pipeline Inspections: One of Jackson’s two bills authored in response to the oil spill in Santa Barbara County this year, Senate Bill 295 will require annual oil pipeline inspections by the State Fire Marshal. Previously, pipeline inspections had been done every two or more years. On January 1, the State Fire Marshal will begin working on regulations surrounding these annual inspections. The inspections themselves will begin by January 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 414, the Rapid Oil Response Act. Also authored in response to the Refugio Oil Spill, this bill seeks to make oil spill response faster and more effective. It: 1) Directs the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to report to the Legislature on how to best utilize commercial fishing vessels and crews in response to an oil spill 2) Requires OSPR to notify the Legislature within three days if dispersants are used in response to an oil spill. It also requires a follow-up study on negative impacts that the use of dispersants have had, and 3) Requires OSPR to study the best achievable technology for oil spill clean-up and use that technology to respond to spills.

Other legislation:

Senate Bill 186, Community Colleges and Off-Campus Sexual Assault: Continuing Jackson’s long-standing work to address student sexual assault, Senate Bill 186 will allow community college districts to extend their jurisdictions beyond their campus borders and use their existing disciplinary process to discipline, expel or suspend students for off-campus sexual assault and sexual exploitation. UC and CSU campuses already have such extended jurisdictions in place. But until now, community colleges have had little recourse when inappropriate student behavior occurs outside campus boundaries.

Senate Bill 221, the California Wounded Warriors Transitional Leave Act: Continuing her work to support veterans, this Jackson bill will give new state employees who are disabled veterans up to 96 hours of sick leave during their first year in the state workforce to attend medical and VA appointments during work hours without having to take unpaid leave. The bill would apply to state employees hired on or after January 1, 2016 and who are 30 percent or more disabled as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Senate Bill 342, Earn and Learn: This bill addresses the need for a highly-skilled workforce and effective job training for those with barriers to employment.  It aligns California’s workforce investment goals with those of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the nation’s employment, training, adult education, and vocational rehabilitation programs reauthorized by Congress in 2014.  It strengthens these programs by expanding education and training options and helping those who are disadvantaged and unemployed “earn while they learn.”

Senate Bill 387, State Bar Dues: This bill reauthorizes the State Bar of California to collect active membership dues for 2016, while also putting important reforms in place in response to a recent audit of the organization. These include requiring the State Bar to generally comply with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act as well as the California Public Records Act, mandating a fiscal audit of the Bar and clarifying the types of cases the Bar has to include in its discipline report, among other reforms.

Senate Bill 579, Helping Workers with Childcare Needs: This bill expands California’s Family School Partnership Act to allow parents to take job-protected time off to respond to child care or school emergencies or to take time off from work to find and enroll children in child care or school. Currently, the Act provides up to 40 hours of job-protected, unpaid time off per year to eligible parents to participate in activities at his or her child’s school or licensed day care facility, such as parent-teacher conferences or graduations.

Senate Bill 695, Consent Education for High School Students: Jointly authored with Senate Leader Kevin de León, this bill aims to prevent sexual assault by requiring public high school health classes to provide students instruction on affirmative consent, sexual harassment, assault, violence, and the importance of developing positive and healthy relationships.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.