2005 Legislative Summary [Draft]

Only a few employment-related bills made it through the legislative process this year. This is mostly a reflection of the split government. Remember, to an outside observer, California politics is polarized on a coprorate/union axis with other interest groups not holding nearly as much sway.

AB 1093 allows for final "termination pay" to be made by direct deposit to a bank with a location in California, even if not headquartered here. It also clarifies some aspects of a computer programmer's exemption from overtime rules. Nothing too big here.

AB 1311 harmonizes service rules between DLSE hearings and civil suits. No biggie either.

SB 101 is discussed below--only put the last 4 digits of a social on a pay stub!

Sb 184 ups a talent agencies bond requirement to $50,000. Hmph.

The gridlock in Sacramento has succeeded in doing one thing: limiting the amount of topics for people like me to speak about to potential clients in the spring. There really isn't that much change in the law this year. I think that's a good thing--so we can let all of the rapid change in the past few years sink in.

2005 -- that's a wrap. I'll keep my ears open for a veto overried on minimum wages, but otherwise, 2005 legislative updates are done.

UPDATE: Littler's summary is here.

Legislative Update

AB 48 was VETOED.
AB 57 was VETOED.
AB 169 was VETOED.
AB 222 did not pass in committee.
AB 364 did not pass in committee.
AB 391 was VETOED.
AB 419 died in committee.
AB 474 did not pass in committee.
AB 510 did not pass in committee.
AB 553 did not pass in committee.
AB 640 did not pass in committee.
AB 673 died in committee.
AB 674 died in committee.
AB 775 died in Senate committee.
AB 822 died in committee.
AB 875 was VETOED.
AB 879 was VETOED.
AB 904 did not pass in committee.
AB 985 was VETOED.
AB 1012 died in committee.
AB 1093 passed and is law.
AB 1255 died in the hopper.
AB 1311 passed and is law.
AB 1626 has been transformed to a non-employment issue.
AB 1709 did not pass in committee.
SB 101 passed and is law.
SB 174 was VETOED.
SB 184 passed and is law.
SB 285 died in committee.
SB 862 died in commitee.
SB 940 was VETOED.

That's a wrap for 2005. Arnold terminated all but a few bills, which I will review above.

Some Initial Thoughts On The Jury System

My experience as a juror was traumatic. Not because the seats in the jury box must have been designed by a cabal of chiropractors to maximize business; not because it took two weeks of my life; and not because most of the subject matter was drop-dead boring.

It was traumatic because during deliberations, roughly half of my fellow jurors simply ignored the evidence and the instructions. And it's not because I disagreed with the result that we arrived at. I simply disagreed with the disdainful, prejudicial manner that some of the other jurors had.

I pray that I never have my fate or the fate of someone I care about decided by such a group. I don't have any proof, for example, that some of those who refused to deliberate in good faith were simply trying to get home after two long weeks, but I got it straight from the horse's mouth from some of them that they simply "didn't like" the plaintiff or thought that because he didn't do absolutely everything perfectly that he deserved no reward--nothing that had anything to do with the law or the facts.

The case deserved a defense verdict, in my opinion, but not because the of the smear on the plaintiff by the defense, not because there are "frivolous" lawsuits out there and we should punish the system (there was enough juice in this one on day one to leave any notion of frivolous far behind), or anything else that was irrelevant to the events in question.

As a defense attorney, I have to feel emboldened. As a citizen, I have to be scared.