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2WESah03.JPGMartin Sheen, who played fictional "West Wing" U.S. president Jed Bartlet, is urging one of his fellow actors to sign a state bill granting overtime parity to California farmworkers.

"This measure's time has come at long last! It is fair and just and your signature will add a moral depth to your legacy," says a hand-penned letter by Sheen to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sheen's letter is dated July 9 and was released today by Sen. Dean Florez, a Democrat from Shafter. Florez is the author of Senate Bill 1121, which would lift a 1941 exemption in state labor code that excludes farm laborers from getting overtime after an eight-hour day or a 40-hour week.

Florez's bill passed the Legislature last month and is headed for Schwarzenegger's desk.

Farm interests are lobbying for the Republican governor to veto the bill. Business groups argue that farmworkers might lose money if employers replace one crew with another during a job to avoid paying overtime.

Sheen has been a longtime supporter of farmworker rights. "Kindly permit me to add my name to the swelling tide of support urging you to sign" Florez's bill, Sheen's letter says.

Sheen played a Democratic president on the popular "West Wing" series.

Here is an image of the hand-written note provided by Florez's office:


PHOTO CREDIT: Pictured: Martin Sheen as Josiah "Jed" Bartlet -- Warner Bros photo


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