nu    neJusticeCalifornia Communities United Institute Newsletter

 Activism With A Heart 
September, 2012

In This Issue - Clickable Links To Articles
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17 Dems Abandon Farm workers
So, What Do Farm Workers Earn?
EEOC Says...Trans Discrimination Illegal
Insurance Companies Refund $1.1 Billion in Premiums
The Gay Law School Dean
A Victory For Women

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17 Dems Abandon Farm workers

Farm Worker Weeding  


Sadly, 17 California Assembly Democrats abandoned California's farm workers at a time when those workers really needed their help.


Republicans have never been strong supporters of farm workers, but the Democrats usually are. The following explains how this happened.


AB 1313 was introduced in the state Legislature in early 2011. Originally the bill had nothing to do with overtime pay. That original bill was approved by the Assembly and sent to the Senate for its approval. However, with the bill author's consent, the bill was totally re-written in the Senate.


In its new version, the bill set new overtime pay rules for farm workers. Under current law, most workers in California qualify for overtime pay if they work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. However, under current law, farm workers must work more than 10 hours in a day, or 60 hours in a week to qualify for overtime pay.


Farm laborers are, arguably, among the hardest working workers in the state and they get near the lowest wages in the state. So it is clear that a change in their overtime pay rules was long overdue. The new version of the bill says farm workers will qualify for overtime pay if they work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

The Senate approved this new version of the bill. However, since the bill had changed after the Assembly had approved it, it had to go back to the Assembly for their re-approval of the bill.


The new version of the bill failed when voted on in the Assembly. Forty yes votes were needed to gain passage. Only 35 Assembly Members voted for the bill. The Democrats have a long history of supporting farm workers. However, 17 Assembly Democrats either abstained or voted no.


To see which Democrats refused to vote for the bill, click on the following link and then scroll down to the end of the article.


Assembly Democrats Who Refused To Vote For AB 1313


Boyce Hinman


So, What Do Farm Workers Earn?


Farm Workers  ThreeElsewhere in this news letter, and periodically during this year, I have claimed that farm workers are among the lowest paid workers in the state.


In fact the situation is worse than that. No occupation has lower wages than farm workers.


A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that, in 2011, the median hourly wage for farm laborers was $8.92 per hour. There were no occupations with a lower median hourly wage. Fast food cooks had the same median wage, but no other occupation earned that little.


A median wage is a wage that is in the middle of a list of wages. If someone has a median wage, then half of the people earn less and half earn more. So, according to the BLS report, the same number of farm workers in California earned less than $8.92 as earned more.


To see a copy of the BLS report, and read the rest o this article,click on the following link:


BLS Report


Boyce Hinman



Trans Discrimination Illegal


  Earlier this year, the Commissioners of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an opinion that employment discrimination, based on gender identity, is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


This legislation, approved by Congress, and signed by then President Lyndon Johnson, bans, among other things, employment discrimination based on sex. The Commission said that, when properly understood, sex discrimination includes discrimination against Transgender people.


To read more about this case, and learn how to submit a complaint to the EEOC, click here.


Boyce Hinman


Insurance Companies Refund $1.1 Billion in Premiums


  Recent reports indicate that health insurance companies have refunded about $1.1 billion in premiums to about 13 million of their policy holders. These refunds are the result of a key feature of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care).


The Act requires all health insurance companies to spend at least 80% of their annual income on actual medical care. No more than 20% may be spent on overhead costs (advertising, salaries of company workers, bonuses etc.).


Any company that spends more than that limit on overhead, must refund the excess to their policy holders. For example, if they spend 26% of their income on overhead, they must give 6% of their income that year back to their policy holders.


Even so, the Affordable Care Act remains very unpopular. A survey conducted jointly by the New York Times and CBS News, before the refunds, found that 48% of Americans still disapprove of the health care reform law while only 34% approve of it.

Perhaps, understandably, more Republicans disapprove. Eighty percent of Republicans disapprove while 56% of Democrats approve. Even a small majority of independents disapprove, 52%.


One has to wonder, were they all still angry when they realized that the Affordable Care Act forced the insurance companies to, in effect, lower their premiums?


Boyce Hinman

The Gay Law School Dean

Gordon Schaber
Gordon Schaber

This is the next in a series of articles that document the contributions which Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people have made to the development of the state of California, and to the nation.


The articles are prompted by the passage, last year, of SB 48. This legislation requires California's pubic schools to teach about the contributions of LGBT people.


You can see the previous articles by directing your browser to the following address and then scrolling down to the section entitled, "LGBT People Who Contributed To This State And Nation". Here is the address to use:


Gordon Schaber became the Dean of the McGeorge Law School in 1957, at the age of 29. At that time he was the youngest person ever selected Dean of any law school in the country. And Gordon Schaber was Gay.


When he took the helm at McGeorge, the school was a small independent school. It was not accredited by either the State Bar Association, or the American Bar Association. By the time he left his post as Dean, 34 years later, the school was accredited with both those associations and was affiliated with the University of the Pacific. And Gordon Schaber was Gay.


To read more about the remarkable contributions of this Gay man click here.


Boyce Hinman


A Victory For Women 
Girl Taking Pregnancy Test  

On September 22 Governor Brown signed a bill (AB 2348) that will greatly increase access for women to birth control medicines.


Assembly Bill 2348 will allow registered nurses to dispense and administer hormonal contraceptives under a standardized procedure, as specified. It also allows RNs to dispense drugs and devices upon an order by a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), a nurse practitioner (NP), or a physician assistant (PA) while functioning within specified clinic settings.


This legislation addresses the growing problem of doctor shortages in California. According to an article in the New York Times, the recommended ratio of primary care doctors per 100,000 residents is 60 to 80 per 100,000. For specialists, the recommended ratio is 80 to 105 per 100,000.


California already has a shortage of doctors, especially in the Inland Empire. According to a 2009 study by the California HealthCare Foundation, only 16 of 58 California counties had sufficient primary care doctors as measured against standards set by the American Medical Association. The Inland Empire currently has only 40 primary care doctors per 100,000 patients, and just 70 specialists.


The problem is expected to get worse. Nation-wide, as the result of the Affordable Care Act, as many as 30 million Americans, who previously had no health insurance, will gain access to insurance.


Already, many women who need birth control medications must wait long periods of time to get a doctor's appointment where the medications can be prescribed. Sometimes they must drive for many miles to find a doctor who can prescribe those medications.


AB 2348 will greatly increase the number of people who can make the prescriptions. That should do much to reduce the wait times and miles traveled for women who need the medications.


The bill will become effective on January 1, 2013.


Boyce Hinman