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If introduced to the legislature for vote, a revised draft of a proposed bill would require all small businesses, including those in Santa Clarita, to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if passed.
Assembly Bill 455, (AB 455) authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, was originally a bill to authorize the Bay Area Toll Authority to designate transit-only traffic lanes on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, in consultation with the Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
However, the bill is being converted to add legislation to force California small businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated, according to a revision draft proposal.
The proposal, which was first reported by Politico, has not formally been introduced in the Legislature.
AB 455, now known as a gut-and-amend bill, often leaves lawmakers, as well as the public, little or no time to review entirely new legislation dropped into an old bill, according to officials.
Usually, these types of bills are revised to address legislation that has nothing to do with the bill’s previous legislative issue, according to elected officials.
Gut-and-amend typically happens with budget issues and heavy special interest legislation, according to local representatives.
“Many meaningful bills become victims of Sacremento’s legislative gut-and-amend process,” said Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale. “I will have a chance to vote on the revised version when it comes before the Assembly in its amended form.”
The amendments include:
Adds of Members Wicks, Low, and Akilah Weber
Adds “Principal coauthors: Senators Newman, Pan, and Wiener.”
Strikes out several lines
Inserts: An act to add Section 52.8 to the Civil Code, to add Section 12940.4 to the Government Code, and to add Section 248.4 to the Labor Code, relating to COVID-19 vaccination requirements, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.
“52.8. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, an establishment, as defined in subdivision (b), shall require each person who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, who seeks to enter the indoor facilities of that establishment, to show proof to an employee or authorized agent of the establishment that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Additional amendments would also offer supplemental paid sick leave for employees who would need to leave work to receive a vaccination or who are experiencing reactions to a vaccine, with up to 24 hours of paid sick leave.
“I am opposed to these proposals. If passed, we would be essentially excluding anyone not vaccinated – no matter what the reason – from participating in public life. While I am vaccinated, and encourage people to get vaccinated, it is a personal choice and not a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita. “This will have monumental consequences for millions of Californians and jamming it through this late in the legislative session without proper public vetting is just plain wrong.”
In the past, lawmakers on both sides have complained that the gut-and-amend process has been abused by whichever political party holds the majority.
It is unclear if the amended draft will be introduced to the legislature in its current form, or if it would be passed if and when it is introduced.
“I’m pro-vaccine and fully vaccinated. I have hosted several vaccine clinics in my district and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine. But I also respect the public’s health and medical privacy and believe we need to protect that while caring for public health,” said Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita.
This bill comes on the heels of the FDA approving the license for the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine on Monday.
For a copy of the revised information in the amended bill draft , click here.
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