Assembly Bill 1699, which would make state worker pay a continuous appropriation -- and therefore not subject to minimum-wage withholding during a budget impasse -- has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee and now goes to the Senate floor.
The committee vote was 6-1. Democrats Christine Kehoe, Ellen Corbett, Mark Leno, Curren Price, Lois Wolk and Leland Yee supported the measure. Republican Mimi Walters voted against it. Republican Bill Emmerson abstained.
The bill isn't yet scheduled for a floor vote. If the Senate approves the measure, authored by Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, it could go back to the Assembly for a concurrence vote if the Senate makes changes. If the measure passes the Senate without being altered, it would go to the governor's desk.
It needs a two-thirds vote to pass because it is written to take immediate effect.
Republicans have blocked similar legislation in the past, such as Hernandez' Assembly Bill 790, largely because they have insisted on extending continuous appropriation status to funding for private vendors that service the state. (AB 790 is still alive on the Senate floor as well.)
Sources in the Legislature tell The State Worker that they expect this bill will suffer the same fate. Even if it doesn't, it's difficult to see how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would sign the measure since it would undercut his efforts to leverage the threat of minimum wage to gain union concessions at the bargaining table.
Click here to read more about how the law allows the state to withhold employees' pay during a budget impasse.