Governor Brown vetoed several CAAA-supported bills aimed at reforming the workers' compensation system to better protect women, minorities, and immigrants. The Governor did sign other bills we supported. CAAA released the following statement:
"While we are glad Governor Brown signed legislation to protect important benefits for California's police officers and firefighters, we are disappointed by his vetoes of AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher), AB 553 (Daly), SB 349 (Lara), and SB 899 (Pan).
"California's current workers' compensation system is inherently biased against women who contract breast cancer as part of their employment, and AB 479 sought to remedy that. The Governor's views on gender bias are wrong.
"On AB 553, the Governor's assessment that the Legislature should refrain from revising the Return-to-Work Program because it is "relatively new" contradicts the facts. In the six years since that legislation was signed, the Return-To-Work Program has yet to pay out the full $120 million allocated annually in any one year. AB 553 would have fixed that.
"While we appreciate the Governor's assertion that SB 899 was declaratory of existing law, not everyone involved in California's workers' compensation agrees. SB 899 would have made clear that apportionment on the basis of race, gender, or national origin is not permitted.
"As the association representing more immigrants than any other organization of lawyers in the state, we had hoped to protect these workers by way of SB 349. As courthouse arrests continue, and per the Governor's veto message, we hope the model policies on immigration enforcement being developed by the Attorney General come to fruition as soon as possible.
"CAAA thanks the members of the Legislature, and especially the authors of this year's workers' compensation bills, for their commitment to improving California's workers' compensation system. We remain committed to these bills and will continue to pursue them."