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October 27
1892 - Birth of Robert E. Callahan, owner of Mission Village in L.A. and Old West Trading Post on Sierra Highway [story]
Callahans Old West


Under a new worker protection law signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California businesses must inform employees if they were potentially exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace.

Supporters hope a simple notification from businesses will considerably stem the type of mass outbreaks that have plagued the state in recent months and infected hordes of farmworkers and other frontline employees.

The bill’s author said the goal is to protect minority workers and communities that have borne the brunt of the state’s coronavirus infections and deaths and prevent employers from hiding outbreaks.

“In the age of COVID-19 our essential workers risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones in our fields, hospitals, grocery stores, meatpacking plants, restaurant kitchens and countless other businesses in our state,” Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes, D-San Bernardino, said.

Reyes says the notification system is necessary for the state to “get serious” about controlling the pandemic that has infected more than 766,000 Californians, most of any state.

Under Assembly Bill 685, businesses that become aware of an infection within 24 hours must provide written notice to all employees and subcontractors who may have recently come into contact with the sick employee. They must also give the exposed employees information about Covid-19 benefits they may be entitled to if they get the virus, such as workers’ compensation or state-mandated leave.

The law, which applies to public and private entities, also requires employers to notify their public health department if at least three workers test positive within 14 days.

A variety of workplace outbreaks have sprouted across the Golden State, causing labor unions and worker advocates to push for the added transparency.

In perhaps the state’s worst work-related outburst, nearly 400 workers at a Foster Farms poultry facility contracted the virus, and eight died. There have also been severe outbreaks at farmworker housing facilities across the state.

Business organizations like the California Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill, claiming it could expose even responsible employers to fines and lead to unnecessary “public shaming.”

worker protection

Reyes introduced AB 685 late in the previous session, and the Legislature approved it on the final day with the support of the Democrats’ supermajority.

Newsom additionally inked a pair of bills making it easier for frontline workers to qualify for workers’ compensation and legislation extending family leave to small business workers.

Effectively immediately, Senate Bill 1159 creates a “rebuttable frontline worker presumption” for occupations like health care workers, law enforcement officers and firefighters that assumes infected employees were infected during the line of duty and are therefore eligible for workers’ compensation. The bill, which sunsets in 2023, extends similar protections for nonessential workers who contract COVID-19 and work at a job site the state deems is experiencing an outbreak.

“We applaud Gov. Newsom’s leadership in protecting workers from day one of this crisis,” California Labor Federation Treasurer Art Pulaski said in a statement. ”While more work must be done in 2021 to strengthen protections to ensure essential workers putting their lives at risk return home safely to their families after each shift, today the governor gave a much-needed boost to all workers across the state.”

A coalition of agricultural groups and the National Federation of Independent Business opposed the workers’ compensation bill, with the opponents calling it “administratively burdensome” and “unworkable for employers.”

In another proposal opposed by business groups, the final piece of Thursday’s package is Senate Bill 1383 by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. The bill mandates that businesses with five or more employees allow workers up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave to care for newborns or sick family members without retribution.

“With this bill, millions of hard-working Californians will finally be able to use the paid family leave benefits they pay for without fear of losing their jobs,” Jackson said in a statement.

— By Nick Cahill, CNS

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Oct 26, 2020
State Criticized for Restrictive Thanksgiving Guidelines
As the holidays fast approach, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health are coming under fire for their newly released Thanksgiving guidelines on private gatherings, which come with strict restrictions aimed at decreasing the transmission of COVID-19.
Monday, Oct 26, 2020
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Passes 300K Cases; 7,136 Total in SCV
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday confirmed 8 new deaths and 861 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, with 136 new cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley since Friday.
Monday, Oct 26, 2020
SCE Calls Power Shut-off Warning for SCV
Southern California Edison officials announced Monday the possibility of power shut-offs for some of its customers, including many in the Santa Clarita Valley, amid Red Flag warnings and “damaging wind gusts.”
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1892 - Birth of Robert E. Callahan, owner of Mission Village in L.A. and Old West Trading Post on Sierra Highway [story]
Callahans Old West
As the holidays fast approach, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health are coming under fire for their newly released Thanksgiving guidelines on private gatherings, which come with strict restrictions aimed at decreasing the transmission of COVID-19.
State Criticized for Restrictive Thanksgiving Guidelines
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday confirmed 8 new deaths and 861 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, with 136 new cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley since Friday.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Passes 300K Cases; 7,136 Total in SCV
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a special meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, October 27, starting at 5:30 p.m., to address anticipated litigation related to the long-proposed Porta Bella residential-commercial development on the Whittaker-Bermite property in the center of the city.
Oct. 27: Special City Council Meeting on Whittaker-Bermite Default Letter
The city of Santa Clarita on Monday began an expansion project at the Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita adjacent to the Santa Clarita Sports Complex.
Santa Clarita Trek Bike Park Expansion Underway
Officials at the Newhall School District submitted reopening waivers for TK-2 grade to return to in-person instruction and provided parents with an update on the ransomware attack during an engagement night Wednesday.
NSD Submits Reopening Waivers, Discusses Ransomware Attack
Three College of the Canyons architecture and interior design students have been selected to participate in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Los Angeles 2x8 Student Competition, Exhibition and Scholarship program.
COC Students Chosen for Architecture, Interior Design Exhibit
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office has reported 16 productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley the week of Monday, Oct. 26.
16 Productions Filming the Week of Oct. 26 in SCV
Celebrating First Responders Day on Wednesday, October 28, Firehouse Subs restaurants nationwide and in Santa Clarita will invite customers to help raise funds for the nonprofit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
Oct. 28: First Responders Day Fundraiser Set by Firehouse Subs
College of the Canyons proudly welcomes Eric Whitacre as the first featured guest in the School of Visual & Performing Arts Industry Insight Series on Monday, Oct. 26 starting at 7 p.m.
Oct. 26: COC Launches Industry Insight Series with Grammy Winner Eric Whitacre
Southern California Edison officials announced Monday the possibility of power shut-offs for some of its customers, including many in the Santa Clarita Valley, amid Red Flag warnings and “damaging wind gusts.”
SCE Calls Power Shut-off Warning for SCV
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations put out its annual numbers on hate crimes for 2019 on Friday, which noted while countywide reports remain on the rise over the past half-dozen years, they declined again for the reporting area that includes the Santa Clarita Valley.
County Data on Hate Crimes Show Dip in Local Reports
1970 - Permanent COC Valencia campus dedicated [story]
COC
1898 - Newhall pioneer Henry Clay Wiley (Wiley Canyon) dies in Los Angeles [story]
HC Wiley
1992 - Dedication of Santa Clarita's first Metrolink station (Santa Clarita Station) [brochure]
brochure
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,773 new positive cases of COVID-19, including 56 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 296,821 L.A. County Cases, 7,000 in SCV
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a major injection of new Homekey funding made possible by the Legislature to expand and support the state program, helping thousands of families experiencing or at risk of homelessness find permanent, long-term housing solutions.
Sixth Round of ‘Homekey’ Funding Includes $24M for L.A. County
The Santa Clarita City Council has posted its agenda for a regular meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, October 27.
Oct. 27 Meeting Agenda: Santa Clarita City Council
The city of Santa Clarita has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
City of Santa Clarita Earns National Financial Reporting Award
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will host a National Drug Takeback Day event on Saturday, October 24, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Oct. 24: SCV Sheriff’s Station to Host Drug Takeback Day
City of Santa Clarita officials delivered the 2020 State of the City event Thursday in true COVID-19-era format: virtually, while shining a light on local essential workers who have toiled tirelessly since the onset of the pandemic.
Santa Clarita 2020 ‘State of the City’ Highlights Resilience Amid Challenges
Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the retirement of California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley, and the appointment of Deputy Commissioner Amanda Ray to succeed Stanley.
CHP’s Stanley to Retire; Governor Names Amanda Ray New Commissioner
A new state law set to take effect in January requires employers to provide notice of workplace COVID-19 exposure, and Santa Clarita Valley business leaders are urging local businesses to review their health and safety procedures now.
COVID-19 Exposure: SCV Business Leaders Weigh in on AB 685
A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputy arrested a woman and a male parolee on felony drug and weapons charges in Valencia earlier this week.
Parolee, Woman Arrested in Valencia on Felony Drug, Weapon Charges
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