California’s historic minimum wage increase consumed the Capitol this week, as a deal brokered between Gov. Jerry Brown and labor leaders rocketed through the legislature in record time, taking even some Democratic legislators by surprise.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who moved the measure, SB 3, quickly through the appropriations committee in her first major show of power as its new chair, on the Assembly floor said she hadn’t had a “seat at the table” during the negotiations but strongly supported the measure anyway.
Republicans weren’t swayed, voting against the bill unanimously. Assemblyman Rocky Chavez acknowledged that, “it’s clear that we do have inequality in the state of California,” but said it isn’t the government’s role to mandate wage increases.
Despite that dissent, the bill passed both houses easily and largely along party lines, and Brown is expected to sign it Monday.
A flurry of press releases followed the votes, including one from Speaker Emeritus Toni Akins, who used it as an opportunity to support San Diego’s local minimum wage increase facing voters on the June ballot.
“Today’s vote doesn’t change my stance on this year’s ballot referendum to raise the minimum wage in San Diego, which is more aggressive than the state proposal, at least in the early years,” she said.