News: Cruisers vs. Cruising Bans; Business and Labor at Odds


PUBLISHED FEB 8, 2023 7:43 A.M.
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Supporters of the lowrider community attend a press conference at the state Capitol in support of legislation that would prevent local governments from imposing cruising bans on Feb. 6, 2023.

Supporters of the lowrider community attend a press conference at the state Capitol in support of legislation that would prevent local governments from imposing cruising bans on Feb. 6, 2023.   Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

BY SAMEEA KAMAL, CalMatters

If you want to see two diametrically opposed views of what California lawmakers have done and should be doing or not doing, look no further than a new poll and a new legislative scorecard.

On one hand, a survey out Monday from the National Federation of Independent Business found that overwhelming majorities of California small business owners want the state to exempt them from expanded employee leave requirements, to delay the plan to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and to repeal the provisions of Proposition 47 that raise the felony level for theft from $450 to $950.

  • John Kabateck, the federation’s California state director: “California has the Lamborghini of legislatures when it comes to setting land-speed records for more and more rules, regulations, and taxes. If I could sum up the ballot results from our small-business-owning membership in one sentence, it would be: ‘Please take your foot off the gas pedal.’”

On other hand, the new California Labor Federation scorecard gives 100% scores to 15 lawmakers and an 88% score to Gov. Gavin Newsom on its 2022 legislative priorities, including laws to expand farmworker union rights and to give fast food workers more bargaining power (since blocked by the industry and sent to the November 2024 ballot).  

  • Labor Federation scorecard: “We are in the midst of the most exciting era for worker organizing in a generation and we invite you all to stand with us in this fight. Together we can challenge income inequality, increase union density, and rebuild the middle class in California.”

California Democrats pride themselves on expanding rights and freedoms — well, except for gun owners and some others. Monday, they held events at the state Capitol to highlight two more efforts — one to let people cruise on city streets, and another to let incarcerated people wear religious clothing.

A ban on a ban: Assemblymember David Alvarez of Chula Vista promoted a bill to ban local authorities from adopting rules and regulations on cruising — which the state defines as “the custom of leisurely driving” vehicles that may be vintage, or customized in height and style. Alvarez noted that the Legislature approved a resolution last year that encouraged local officials to voluntarily rescind bans and recognize that cruising holds cultural significance for many communities.

Religious freedom: Sen. Dave Cortese of Campbell introduced a bill, sponsored by California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, to guarantee that Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other inmates in state or county correctional and detention facilities have the right to religious clothing, grooming and headwear. A statement from Cortese’s office says the state lacks a consistent approach, while some counties have adopted the policy as a result of lawsuits. 

  • Cortese: “Studies show that this form of religious exercise reduces violence and other negative behaviors in correctional facilities, and lowers recidivism.”

Also Monday, Assemblymembers Dawn Addis, a San Luis Obispo Democrat, and Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley, introduced legislation to end California’s civil statute of limitations for minors who have experienced sexual abuse.  

  • Skinner: “It’s unacceptable and cruel that many California victims of childhood sex abuse are unable to hold their abusers accountable because our law now says their time has run out.”

Read more of today’s CalMatters ‘What Matters’ on CalMatters.org.

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