State Senate Approves Minimum Wage Increase; Sugar Sweetened Beverage Labeling

On Thursday, the California State Senate approved a measure to further increase the state’s minimum wage to $13 per hour beginning in January of 2017, with annual increases thereafter tied to inflation. The bill passed on a strictly party line vote with 21 Democrats supporting and 12 Republicans in opposition.

Specifically, SB 935 (Leno) would boost California’s minimum wage to $11 per hour beginning 1/1/15, $12 per hour beginning 1/1/16, and $13 per hour beginning 1/1/17. Annually thereafter, the wage would be adjusted upward using a formula based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The bill faces an uncertain future in the State Assembly, where it must be approved before it can be sent to the Governor. It is unclear whether Governor Brown would be willing to sign another increase so soon after last year’s approval of a measure to increase the minimum to $10 in 2016.

CGA joined with a broad coalition of business groups to oppose the measure and will continue to do so as it moves to the Assembly.

The State Senate also approved SB 1000 (Monning), to require warning labels on all sugar sweetened beverages with 75 calories or more of added sugar per 12 ounce serving. This bill narrowly made it off the Senate floor with 21 votes. After a third attempt, Senators Hill, Block and Torres voted for the measure.

SB 1381 (Evans) that would require product labeling on all food products that contain genetically modified material failed only garnering 19 of the required 21 votes needed for passage to the Assembly. Senators Roth (D,Riverside) and Correa (D,Santa Ana) were the sole Democrats who abstained from the measure.

Today is the house of origin deadline, whereby all bills introduced in their original house must be passed. The Senate will not convene today, meaning Thursday was the last chance for any pending measures to move to the Assembly in 2014.