Going back to work

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Marie Waldron
Marie Waldron. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Assembly member Marie Waldron, Special to Valley News

Several employees in the Capitol and two Assembly members tested positive for COVID-19 in June which stopped our work in its tracks. This week marks the start of a short, final month for the 2019-2020 session.

Public safety is a priority, and I am very proud to join Assembly members Cooper, Bonta and Gonzalez to co-write Assembly Bill 664. The March 4 state of emergency declaration requires all peace officers, firefighters and health care workers to remain on the job – for our protection. Since this order places them at heightened risk, we must do all we can to protect them. AB 664 provides full hospital, surgical, medical, disability indemnity and death benefits to all peace officers, firefighters and health care workers who contract COVID-19 while performing their duties. The bill has bipartisan support, and sponsors include the Los Angeles Police Protective League, California Professional Firefighters and the California Nurses Association.

Another important bill is aimed at helping small businesses. As a small-business owner myself, I know how difficult it is to keep up with changing laws and regulations. During this time of forced shutdowns, it’s even more difficult. Senate Bill 1457, introduced by Sen. Andreas Borgeas, R-Frensno, requires state agencies to help small businesses comply with ever-changing statutes and regulations, and reduces or waives civil penalties for some violations. The bill also establishes the Office of Small Business Advocate within the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and requires all state agencies that significantly impact or regulate small business to designate at least one person as a small business liaison.

During this emergency, we must do all we can to protect our first responders, and to assists small businesses trying to stay afloat and keep employees working. Bills like AB 664 and SB 1457 will help.

Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.