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Calif. Capitol Roundup: Employer Equal Pay Reporting, Reducing Crime For HIV Transmittal

The California Legislature is moving quickly as it prepares to adjourn for the year. Here's a look at movement on major bills Thursday.

Should California Employers Be Forced To Report Their Gender Pay Gaps?

The California Senate has approved a bill that would require large employers to publicly report disparities in pay between their male and female employees.

The California Chamber of Commerce calls the bill a “job-killer” that would publicly shame employers. Republican Senator Joel Anderson says he has no problem shaming people for not doing the right thing.

“But I think this bill would shame those who are operating within the law – a law that we just passed,” Anderson said.

He’s referring to California’s tough new equal pay law from two years ago that passed with bipartisan support.

But Democratic Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson says companies would not necessarily be violating that law by reporting gender pay disparities.

“There are, often times, legitimate reasons that people get paid differently for similar work,” Jackson said, such as an employee’s education, experience, or where they work.

The bill passed the Senate by two votes and now returns to the Assembly for final approval.

Bill Would Ban UC President's Office Interference in State Audits

University of California campuses would be prohibited from conferring with the UC Office of the President when answering requests from the state Auditor’s office under a bill that passed the Assembly Thursday.

It’s in response to a scalding state audit from earlier this year that found the UC failed to disclose up to $175 million in unspent reserve funds.

The auditor also accused the Office of the President of intentionally interfering with her team’s ability to gather data and altering survey responses that were originally submitted by campuses.

The bill now moves to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

Assembly Votes To Lighten Crime For Intentionally Transmitting HIV

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would reduce the penalty for intentionally transmitting HIV to another person from a felony to a misdemeanor. That’s the same penalty for intentionally transmitting any other disease.

Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria says California’s decades-old laws are so strict that they discourage people from getting tested for HIV, and therefore increase chances of spreading the virus.

“Our current laws are perverting," Gloria said. "And it’s counterintuitive, and I understand why some members may struggle with this – but it is actually not helping the situation.”

But Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen calls the bill “absolutely absurd” and argues it would put “every Californian in danger.”

“This is not about stigmatizing a community," Allen said. "This is about public safety. This is a clear vote. This has nothing to do with partisanship and has everything to do with public safety.”

The measure passed the Assembly with three votes to spare. It now returns to the Senate for final approval.

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