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October 2012 News


Workers Comp 10.19

Explained: Price Spikes and Ill-Gotten Gains  In general, when there is an otherwise unexplained price spike, it can ultimately be traced back to criminal behavior, or in the least, manipulative behavior. One of the big cost drivers in the past few years, especially in California, has been compound drugs.

Insurance fraud causing major problems in California California’s Ventura County District Attorney’s Office has been awarded with a $1 million grant from the state’s Insurance Department to combat fraud. Ventura County has been battling workers’ compensation and auto insurance fraud for several years, and the funds received through the Department of Insurance are expected to help District Attorney Greg Totten make new strides in the fight against fraud and eventually drive down insurance rates for honest consumers and businesses.

Farmworkers sue California regulators over heat rules  The United Farm Workers of America sued California's work safety division Thursday, saying state regulators aren't enforcing heat regulations, leading to continued illnesses and deaths in the fields.

EPIC Names Dunn VP of Workers’ Comp Claims in Central California Edgewood Partners Insurance Center named Joe Dunn vice president of workers’ compensation claims in its Fresno, Calif. office. Dunn will be responsible for workers’ comp claims advocacy, and he will work with EPIC’s Central Valley clients to manage and reduce claims expense, including providing education and training, investigating and overseeing claims and establishing best practices for claims cost control.

Labor Leaders Fear Prop 32 Will Silence Workers' Voices Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined labor leaders in East Los Angeles on Wednesday, lashing out against Proposition 32, which would ban corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates if voters approve it in November.

State News 10.19

California governor seeks college vote for Prop 30  Nae Winston, a 19-year-old Sacramento City College student, knows a lot of her peers won't be voting this year "because they're too busy, or they don't know where to go to vote." But after hearing Gov. Jerry Brown beseech a couple hundred of her fellow students to vote for his tax initiative, Proposition 30, she said she's determined to spread the word.

Dan Walters Daily: Cash flows in California, on Sacramento airwaves Dan says there's lots of campaign cash flowing in California, despite the lack of a competitive race at the top of the ticket.



Workers Comp 10.18

THE TATTLERS  If you're a non-English speaking injured worker seeing your doctor, you'd probably assume that the translated communications with your doctor were not being relayed to others by the interpreter. In all too many instances you would be wrong.

Study: State workers compensation rose 23 pct. in 5 years  A new Center for Government Analysis study shows a big discrepancy in paychecks when you compare state workers vs. Californians on a per capita basis.

Alarming Compensation Trends for State Workers  At an event last night hosted by the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association in Stockton – the largest municipality to declare bankruptcy in the United States due to overly generous government employee compensation – the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation and the Center for Government Analysis jointly released a new study that reveals alarming compensation trends for State workers from 2005 to 2010.

State News 10.18

Campaign watchdogs say Arizona group's $11 million donation exploits loophole in California law  An Arizona-based nonprofit named Americans for Responsible Leadership gave $11 million this week to defeat Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative and curb unions' political power without saying where a single dime originated. Campaign watchdogs say such donations exploit a loophole in California campaign finance law.

Skelton: Prop. 32's real purpose is to cripple labor unions politically  Backers say Prop. 32 would stop special-interest money from influencing politicians, but the measure actually would tilt the playing field unfairly to the right.

Gov. Jerry Brown rakes in $4 million for Prop. 30  Gov. Jerry Brown may have just rejoined the campaign trail for Proposition 30 this week, but campaign finance filings indicate he's been busy dialing for dollars this month.

Workers Comp 10.17

California Division of Workers’ Compensation Posts SB 863 Web Pages In an acknowledgement of the potential impact of SB 863, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Workers’ Compensation has created a new web page devoted to the major reform bill, which promises to make wide-ranging changes to California’s workers’ compensation system beginning next year.

California Labor Commissioner Files $1.6 Million Suit Seeking Wages for Ag Workers California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su filed a $1.6 million lawsuit in Monterey County Superior Court on Tuesday against a Greenfield farm labor contractor, Salvador Zavala Chavez, dba Zavala Farms, for multiple violations including failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to roughly 150 workers covering more than 10 work locations.

Walmart's everyday low wages Workers in more than a dozen cities went out on strike last week against Walmart. Those walkouts followed strikes at nine Los Angeles-area stores the week before - the first ever by direct employees of the retail giant - and work stoppages over the last month by warehouse workers in California and Illinois. The protests, however, may just be beginning: Walmart workers have threatened further strikes for Black Friday, the most lucrative day of the year for retailers.

State News 10.17

VIDEO: 'Don't be complacent,' Jerry Brown urges students at Prop. 30 rally  Gov. Jerry Brown urged college students this afternoon to rally support on campus for his Nov. 6 ballot initiative to raise taxes, saying that by doing so they can avoid a tuition increase.

Labor's big-money focus on Prop. 32 may hurt chances of Prop. 30  Unions say their political survival hinges on defeating Proposition 32, leaving less financial backing for labor ally Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30.

Walters: Two California budget duels illustrate chicken-and-egg question  Two years ago, Democratic politicians and their union allies placed a measure on the ballot to eliminate California's requirement of a two-thirds legislative vote for state budgets – but that's not what they told voters.

California Ballot Initiatives Dominated by the Very Rich  California’s ballot propositions include several from billionaires, a sign that the wealthy are using “super PACs” to influence politics in the nation’s most populous state.


Workers Comp 10.16

Same Sandbox: Digging Hole or Building Mound?  "Stakeholder" is generally defined as a person or group that has an investment, share, or interest in something, as a business or industry. "Special interest" is in the dictionary as a noun, "a body of persons, corporation, or industry that seeks or receives benefits or privileged treatment, especially through legislation."

California insurers taking a wait-and-see attitude toward reforms  Workers' comp carriers are keeping their fingers crossed about the anticipated savings from the reform legislation. Signed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., S.B. 863 addresses several cost-driving issues in the workers' comp system.

DA gets $1 million grant to combat insurance fraud  The Ventura County District Attorney's Office will get more than $1 million in state grants to fight workers' compensation and automobile insurance fraud for 2012-13, the district attorney and state insurance commissioner announced Monday.

Family seeks answers after worker was cooked to death at California tuna plant Workplace safety investigators and a grieving family on Monday searched for an explanation of how a worker was cooked to death at a Bumble Bee tuna processing plant. Tony Melena said his 62-year-old father, Jose Melena, was killed in an accident last week at the Santa Fe Springs plant but the company has given the family no information about how he died.

Walmart Protests Spread, As Workers Threaten to Strike on Black Friday Recent protests at Walmart stores have shed new light on the mistreatment of Walmart workers in more than 5000 stores across America. Walmart, the nation’s largest employer has more than 2 million workers on payroll, comprising a massive 2% of the US GDP.

American Workers Stand Up to Walmart When a torrent hits an obstacle that refuses to give, it either flows around or over the obstruction. When workers’ needs for a living wage, fair treatment, and a voice are damned up by an oppressive employer, it is only a matter of time before they find a way of asserting their strength.

State News 10.16

Prop. 30's big donors include big companies  The lion's share of campaign donations for Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-raising Proposition 30 has come from public employee unions, but the effort also has the backing of many businesses, some of which do not appear to have a direct connection to the initiative.

Walters: The reality of what's happening with California gas prices  When California gasoline prices suddenly spiked upward this month, the state's motorists, media – and politicians – characteristically overreacted.


Workers Comp 10.15

A BIG YAWN?  The California Supreme Court has decided to hear the Valdez case. Several months ago that would have seemed like a big deal. Now it could turn out to be a big yawn.

Walters: Assessing the latest workers' compensation overhaul  Ostensibly, one of the two or three most important acts of the 2012 legislative session was an overhaul of the huge and hugely complex system that provides medical care and cash benefits to workers with job-related illnesses and injuries.

State Fund Chief Holds High Expectations for Calif. Workers’ Comp If all goes well, workers’ compensation reform in California may yield even greater savings than originally believed. That is according to State Fund President and CEO Tom Rowe, who gave the keynote speech on Friday at the opening of the inaugural InsurFEST in San Diego, Calif., an agents and brokers conference that focused on leadership.

Chevron ignored risk in '11, workers say Unchecked corrosion, the suspected culprit in the August blaze that destroyed part of Chevron's Richmond refinery, was responsible for another fire at the plant last year that prompted workers to complain to regulators that the company was ignoring the problem, according to state inspection documents obtained by The Chronicle.

State News 10.15

Skelton: Education cuts at stake in tax battle  Passage of Gov. Brown's Prop. 30 would spare schools and universities. But a Prop. 38 victory would trigger big reductions.

California's retiring state workers cash in vacation for big bucks  They could leave their hearts in San Francisco -- or any of the Golden State's other big vacation spots -- but thousands of California's state workers won't even leave their desks.



Workers Comp 10.12

Aon, SCIF, WCIRB, Dividends and Reform  Controversy over California reform, SB 863, will continue for years, and it is of no surprise that cost/benefit analysis will differ considerably until matters settle down, operational issues are finalized, and loopholes are identified and stabilized.

Comp insurers split on cutting or raising rates With a new workers’ comp reform law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California’s workers’ compensation insurers are scrambling to decide whether it makes sense to slash rates that take effect in January or boost them for 2013.

Supreme Court to review case involving reports from doctors outside of workers comp medical network The California Supreme Court is set to review an appellate court ruling in Elayne Valdez v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, a case that allowed doctors who are not part of an employer's workers comp medical network to submit medical reports in comp cases.

Hallandale Walmart workers join protest About 75 South Florida Walmart employees on Thursday joined the hundreds nationwide that have staged protests outside Walmart stores and corporate headquarters over the past few days.

State News 10.12

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plans threatened by a determined Molly Munger  Gov. Jerry Brown hoped a mix of politicking and good fortune would deter negative ads against his tax initiative in the campaign's final weeks. His luck expired in the last few days.

Schrag: State government: The more we fix it, the worse it gets  For anyone who hadn't noticed, there's a boomlet in political reform in California – and a fair chance we haven't yet seen the end of it.



Workers Comp 10.11

405 Freeway Project Construction Worker Crushed Under 3,000-Pound Beam Co-workers tried to lift the steel beam after it fell from a truck at a 405 Freeway exit. The worker's death is the first associated with the freeway project, Metro officials said A construction worker was killed early Thursday when he was crushed under a beam that fell from a truck near the 405 Freeway at Santa Monica Boulevard.

Wal-Mart to ramp up small stores amid employee strikes  While some Wal-Mart workers are protesting low wages and slashed hours with a strike that started last week in Los Angeles and has spread to other cities, the company said Wednesday that it hopes to launch 500 Neighborhood Market stores and 12 Express stores by fiscal year 2016.

Alaska tops rankings of state workers compensation rates: Study Employers in Alaska, California and Connecticut faced the highest workers compensation rates for 2012, according to a biennial study produced by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Domestic Workers Inspire the Global Movement for Rights  Domestic workers around the world have been organizing for years to secure decent wages, benefits and recognition.

State News 10.11

State schools chief calls on Molly Munger to stand down State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson tried to intervene Wednesday in the ongoing tax initiative fray by calling on wealthy Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger to remove her ads attacking Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30.

Workers Comp 10.10

WASTED MONEY?  In the last several weeks I've done 3 conference presentations on SB 863. Based on audience questions at the various seminars, one of the least controversial parts of the recently enacted comprehensive workers' comp reform is the section dealing with reforms to the supplemental job displacement benefit, commonly known as the "voucher".

Health care facilities that take workers comp cases linked to meningitis outbreak: CDC Several health care facilities that treat workers compensation claimants are on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of facilities that received a compounded medication linked to a meningitis outbreak.

 The ad claims that Sacramento politicians would collect the money from Proposition 30 and prevent it from going to schools, while the money from Proposition 38 would be used to support schools. Is it true?

PRESIDENT CLINTON URGES CALIFORNIANS TO VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 32 Former President Bill Clinton today urged Californians to vote NO on Proposition 32, the deceptive Special Exemptions Act appearing on the November statewide ballot. President Clinton's call for voters to reject Prop 32 came during his remarks at a rally on the campus of UC Davis.

AM Alert: Voters say they know best With 11 statewide measures on the November ballot, voters will soon get plenty of opportunity to speak their mind. Which is just how they prefer it, voters said in a new Public Policy Institute of California study released last night.

Workers Comp 10.09


President visits Kern County on Monday President Obama said, "After the struggle for high wages, Cesar pushed for fresh drinking water and workers compensation, for pension plans and safety from pesticides. Always moving, always striving for the America he knew we could be. More than anything, that's what I hope our children and grandchildren will take away from this place." "Our world is a better place because Cesar Chavez decided to change it."

Obama: 'Today we celebrate Cesar Chavez'  President Barack Obama on Monday designated the home of Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez as a national monument, calling Chavez a hero who brought hope to millions of poor, disenfranchised farm workers who otherwise might have remained "invisible" to much of the nation.

Injured Workers and the Risk of Narcotics Misuse  Injured workers who use narcotics longer-term may be at risk of experiencing addiction and further work loss, according to new research. A new study from The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) examining injured workers’ use of narcotics (or opioids) found that more frequent and longer-term use of these drugs may lead to addiction and increased disability and work loss.

Blue Shield's union ties raise concerns about conflicts  Experts say close ties between Blue Shield and key labor unions may give the health insurer undue influence over multimillion-dollar insurance contracts for public employees.

Walmart strikes spread to more states  The first-ever walkouts by warehouse workers and store employees are a game-changer. For the second time in five days – and also the second time in Walmart’s five decades – workers at multiple US Walmart stores are on strike. This morning, workers walked off the job in Dallas, Texas and Laurel, Maryland; Walmart store workers in additional cities are expected to join the strike in the coming hours.

State News 10.09

Reality Check: Prop 30 ads offer healthy dose of political spin  There are two almost universally popular things in California politics: schools, and proposals to keep a leash on Sacramento lawmakers.

Calbuzz Classic: Sorry GOP; Cesar Chavez Lives On  As President Obama dedicated the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene on Monday, we thought it a good time to recall some actual history about the legendary labor leader — the first Latino born later than the 1700s to be honored with a national monument.

Workers Comp 10.08

Money For [Almost] Nothing  SB 863 added new Labor Code section 4658.7, applicable only to injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2013. 4658.7 is the new supplemental job displacement benefit section and provides a "voucher" of up to $6,000 to an injured worker with a permanent partial disability who is not offered a job by the pre-injury employer within prescribed time frames.

Report: Calif. Workers’ Comp Impacted by Recession, Reform, Medical A report out Friday by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute rates California’s workers’ comp system against 15 other states, and the report details several key improvements to the system that could be made after a law to revamp the system kicks in on Jan. 1, 2013.

Calif. State Fund Board: Drop Rates 7% California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund’s board voted on Friday for a 7 percent decrease in its 2013 rates, a move that reflects State Fund’s anticipated savings from a workers’ compensation reform law set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

California Labor Gets a New Monument But No New Rights So far as symbolism goes, this was a pretty good week for California workers. So far as reality goes, not so much. On the symbolic side, President Barack Obama is honoring California farm workers' past organizing history by designating the former United Farm Workers union headquarters as a national monument.

How the gilt has come off the gingerbread for California workers The California dream of long hours of work but a big pay-off in shares at the end of to all has come somewhat unstuck. Workers at four high-profile Internet companies that began selling shares in the past 16 months have collectively lost about $9 billion on paper since their IPOs, according to calculations by compensation researcher Equilar and The Wall Street Journal.

Union to Boycott San Jose Grocery Chain  Leaders of a union that represents grocery workers say they plan to go ahead with a boycott of Mi Pueblo Foods starting at noon on Monday. The United Food and Commercial Workers initially called for the boycott when the San Jose-based grocery chain implemented the federal ID program known as E-Verify.

State News 10.08

Gov. Brown takes emergency action to try to reduce gas prices  He directed the California Air Resources Board to increase the fuel supply by allowing the immediate sale and import of cheaper and more available winter-blend gasoline.

Skelton: Prop. 31: Good goals, problematic means  The most nerdy, wonky and nap-inducing measure on the Nov. 6 ballot is Proposition 31. It's not a minor measure, exactly, but it's hardly monumental either. It might do some good, might do some bad.

Workers Comp 10.05

Walmart Workers Stage a Walkout in California  Several dozen Walmart workers in Southern California staged a one-day strike on Thursday, according to workers and union officials, a move that culminated in a rally of some 250 workers and supporters in front of a Walmart store in Pico Rivera.

Calif. State Fund May Recommend Workers’ Comp Rate Drop in Days California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund board could be voting in the next few days on a rate decrease of between 5 and 7 percent based on projected savings from a workers’ compensation overhaul bill signed into law two weeks ago.

State News 10.05

Jerry Brown sidesteps death penalty discussion as California voters face choice  Two years ago, in the waning days of the gubernatorial campaign, Jerry Brown was asked why, given his moral reservations about the death penalty, he wouldn't try to stop it anymore.

Proposition 30 ad makes false claims, opponents charge in new ad  Responding to a statewide ad campaign from the Yes on Proposition 30 campaign, opponents of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative say the claims made in the spot are untrue. Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times

Workers Comp 10.04

Mitt Romney isn’t the only candidate suffering from foot-in-mouth syndrome Candidates say the darndest things, to paraphrase the immortal Art Linkletter. Mainline some of the Mitt-meister’s Adam Smith über alles, we-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-social-services-safety net, USDA-choice GOP gibberish if there’s any doubt. So, would this include the Sacramento lobbyists for Verizon Wireless, BNSF Railway Company, the California Building Industry Association, Walgreens, the California Hospital Association, California Realtors, California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, Planned Parenthood, PG&E, etc.—a handful of the entities who have generously contributed to Butler’s campaign, according to the secretary of state’s website?

Calif. investigating farmworker death State workplace safety officials are investigating the death of a farmworker who passed out while picking lettuce on a Salinas Valley farm. The unidentified 51-year-old worker died on Monday at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City. The Salinas Californian reports ( that he had been picking lettuce that afternoon in 94-degree weather.

California Signs Legislation Allowing ASCs to Get Pharmacy Permits California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to allow surgery centers to obtain pharmacy permits, according to an ASCA report. The bill, SB 1095, was strongly supported by the California Ambulatory Surgery Association, takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013. According to the report, California surgery centers have struggled due to their inability to obtain pharmacy permits.

WCRI: Longer-Term Opioid Use for Workers' Comp Claimants Rises in 10 of 21 States Studied A study of opioid use among workers’ compensation claimants reveals that longer-term use increased in nearly half of the 21 states analyzed compared to a similar study conducted a year ago.  

Oil field worker dies on the job north of Bakersfield One of two injured oil field workers has died following an accident at the Live Oak Cogen plant north of Bakersfield. The incident occurred around 9:45 a.m. in the area of Granite and James roads.

Walmart workers on strike  Employees protesting working conditions and retaliation are flexing their organizing muscle. But the first-of-its-kind strike carries risks. Today, for the first time in Walmart’s fifty-year history, workers at multiple stores are out on strike. Minutes ago, dozens of workers at Southern California stores launched a one-day work stoppage in protest of alleged retaliation against their attempts to organize. 

State News 10.04

Charles Munger doubles down to defeat Prop. 30, support Prop. 32  Charles Munger Jr. has given another $9.9 million to a committee with a dual mission: defeat Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, and support a measure that is anathema to unions, Proposition 32.

Skelton: Prop. 30 compounds state's bad tax policy, but we need it anyway  There are plenty of good reasons to vote no, and one compelling reason to vote yes: the students.

League of Women Voters stars in new Prop. 32 ad  Labor unions working to defeat Proposition 32 have tapped a good-government group to star in their latest ad.

Sons of farmworkers vie for seats in Congress  Congressional campaigns by the children of farmworkers point to Latinos' growing political clout in California's rural areas.

Vetoes Show Brown Walking a Middle Line  Jerry Brown's "canoe theory" of politics helps determine which bills he signs.

CalBuzz: Debate Analysis: Where Was Barack Obama?  If Mitt Romney gets a bump out of Wednesday night’s debate, it’ll be because President Obama let him sail through 90 minutes with no mention of General Motors, choice, the 47%, union rights, dumping patients in the emergency room, the phony $716 million cut in Medicare, privatizing Social Security, Paul Ryan’s budget, Bain — you name it.

Dan Walters Daily: Political season in full swing Dan says it's time to get ready for the barrage of political ads.

Workers Comp 10.03

BROWN'S THUMBS DOWN TO FARMWORKERS  Someone was picking grapes yesterday in Paso Robles in 105 degree heat. Someone else was harvesting lettuce in Salinas in 100 degree heat. Another was tending to carrots in Bakersfield in 98 degree heat.

Effect of California workers' comp overhaul hinges on new rules The Legislature's overhaul of California's workers' compensation system - which provides benefits to workers for job-related illnesses and injuries - will reduce employers' costs, but how much will depend on how Gov. Jerry Brown's administration implements the new rules, the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau says.

Agency: Costs Depend on Implementation of Workers' Comp Law The amount that employers' costs will decrease under an overhaul of California's workers' compensation system will depend largely on how state officials implement new system rules, according to a filing from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.

Agency: Costs Depend on Implementation of Workers' Comp Law The amount that employers' costs will decrease under an overhaul of California's workers' compensation system will depend largely on how state officials implement new system rules, according to a filing from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.

Harvesting Labor Rights: Chavez’s UFW At 50 On September 30, 1962, legendary Chicano civil rights activist Cesar Chavez founded what would become the United Farm Workers of America—and with migrant labor a focus of the U.S. political debate, the UFW’s 50th anniversary is especially relevant.

California’s Governor Record ‘Solid’ on Insurance Legislation Gov. Jerry Brown saw over a dozen bills related in some way to insurance come across his desk, with a bill to approve driverless cars, a bill to overhaul California’s workers’ compensation system among them.

State News 10.03

Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown channels Gray Davis on bill actions  Jerry Brown turned a little gray in the last week – as in Gray Davis, the onetime Brown underling who later became governor himself until recalled by voters.

Brown signs bills at higher rate than predecessors  Gov. Jerry Brown memorably warned California lawmakers after returning for a third term in 2011 that they would soon be "playing the veto blues." But an analysis of the two-year legislative session that ended Sunday reveals the Democratic governor has rejected just 13 percent of the 1,866 bills that crossed his desk.

Prop. 32 takes aim at union money  Proposition 32 would bar the use of payroll deductions to fund donations to candidates. The measure is aimed at unions, a major force in Democratic politics in the state.

New California Laws Gov. Jerry Brown has been signing -- and vetoing -- a flurry of bills in recent weeks. In January, new laws will go into effect that will grant licenses to some undocumented immigrants, ban therapies designed to turn gay people straight and give some prisoners with life sentences a chance at a new sentence.

Workers Comp 10.02

Physicians Failing to Treat Narcotics Abuse by Injured Workers: Study Nearly 1 in 12 injured workers given narcotics are still on them 3 to 6 months later as few doctors appear to be following recommended treatment guidelines to prevent abuse, according to new research.

California Is Latest Stage for Election Battle Over Unions  The battle to curb labor’s political clout has moved from Wisconsin to California, where wealthy conservatives are championing a ballot measure that would bar unions from donating to candidates.

Calif. bill easing domestic worker qualification for workers comp vetoed California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have made it easier for domestic workers to qualify for workers compensation benefits and made them eligible for a range of labor protections.

Calif. Rating Bureau Drops Workers’ Comp Advisory Rates After a review of a workers’ compensation overhaul bill signed two weeks ago by Gov. Jerry Brown, the Workers’ Compensation Rating Bureau submitted a filing on Monday to lower the pure premium advisory rate for Jan. 1, 2012.

Governor's 'Shade and Water' Vetoes Upset Farm Labor Labor advocates say they're disappointed that Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed bills that would have added protections for farm workers. The bills would have made it a misdemeanor for farmers not to provide adequate shade and water for field workers and would have given workers a legal option if heat regulations were not enforced.

Activists complain Gov. Jerry Brown misses opportunity to help undocumented workers  Gov. Jerry Brown received mixed reviews from the immigrant community Monday for signing a bill that grants driver's licenses to some undocumented immigrants while vetoing other bills that would have limited deportations and strengthened labor protections.

Prop. 32 Targets Unions' Political Donations A number of propositions on the November ballot are drawing national attention--and money. One example is Proposition 32, a measure that targets political donations from unions.

California warehouse workers return to work Warehouse workers in the Inland Empire region of California, west of Los Angeles, have returned to work last Friday after engaging in a series of protests against brutal working conditions in the last month.

State News 10.02

Gov. Jerry Brown kills some labor-backed bills  Gov. Jerry Brown is proving not to be a yes man – even to unions that spent millions to elect him.

Gov. Jerry Brown's split annoys immigrant-rights advocates  He signs a bill letting some young immigrants get driver's licenses but vetoes a closely watched one that would have barred local law enforcement from aiding in deportation.

Brown uses vetoes to press for Prop. 30  The governor scolds legislators for needless projects and risks alienating fellow Democrats to show that Sacramento would spend tax money wisely.


Workers Comp 10.01

BROWN WIELDS VETO PEN  The 2012 California legislative season for workers' comp is over. Yesterday Governor Brown announced that he had vetoed 4 remaining workers' comp bills while signing one. Brown signed SB 1105, carried by Senator Ted Lieu. SB 1105 This bill adds self-insured employee welfare benefit plans to the list of entities entitled to file a lien for the cost of living expense services provided to an injured worker.

Governor Brown Vetoes Bill Calling For Breaks, Overtime For Nannies  Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Sunday that would have had a state agency develop regulations on overtime and meal breaks for nannies, maids and other domestic workers. 

Bill Demanding Water, Shade For Farmworkers Killed By Governor  Governor Jerry Brown killed legislation Sunday that would have made it a crime for farmers not to provide adequate shade and water to their field workers.

Lafayette rescue crews save 2 injured workers after sewage tank fall Two men were rescued by emergency personnel from the bottom of a Lafayette sewage digester Friday after they fell about 18 feet during maintenance work. About 12:30 p.m., more than two dozen fire and police personnel rushed to the Lafayette Wastewater Treatment Plant off Wabash Avenue.

Calif.’s Brown Record ‘Solid’ on Insurance Legislation Gov. Jerry Brown saw over a dozen bills related in some way to insurance come across his desk, with a bill to approve driverless cars, a bill to overhaul California’s workers’ compensation system among them.

Prop 39: Closing a Corporate Tax Loophole and Bringing Jobs Back to California Why does California reward ultra-rich companies that move jobs out of the state? I'll tell you why. In 2009, during secret, behind-closed-doors budget negotiations, a handful of state legislators and Gov. Schwarzenegger snuck in a colossal but little-known corporate tax giveaway into the budget in the dead of night.

California: Reform bill signed into law; CWCI breaks down main parts  Saying it will cut hundreds of millions in waste, protect injured workers, and reduce costs to business, California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed workers' comp reform legislation. While many system participants are praising the process leading up to the measure, there remain questions about whether, when, and how much it will save workers' comp payers.

Prescription drug abuse falling among young adults, survey finds A new survey is the second report in recent months indicating that what some have called an epidemic of prescription drug abuse is showing signs of tapering. The latest survey shows a 14 percent decline in nonmedical use of prescription drugs by teens and young adults from 2010 to 2011. Last month, a group that examines workers' compensation claims in California found that prescriptions for opioid painkillers - which at times have led to dependence and abuse - fell off in late 2011 after steadily rising since 2002.

As One Wal-Mart Warehouse Strike Ends, Another Snowballs Early on Friday, three dozen non-union workers at a large Walmart warehouse near Riverside, Calif., ended a 15-day walkout protesting poor working conditions. But outside of Chicago, another group of Wal-Mart warehouse workers continue to strike and have called for hundreds of supporters to join them in non-violent civil disobedience at a rally at the huge facility on Monday.

State News 10.01

Munger Not Moved By Polls Showing Her Tax Measure Faltering  When state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson asked the optimists in the audience at the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association's annual election forum to raise their hand, civil rights attorney Molly Munger lifted her arm in the air. 

Superrich stay put in high-tax states like California  Some of us might love to hate 'em, but we need millionaires in California -- or we'd lose tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue that pays for things like education and public safety. So should we be freaking out that rich people will flee the Golden State if we vote to hike their taxes by passing either Proposition 30 or 38 in November? Maybe not.

Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown's tax measure on the edge Dan says Jerry Brown's political future is riding on the success of Proposition 30.


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