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Central Valley City Officials Publicly Voice Opposition to SB 7 in Modesto

August 12, 2013
Earlier today elected city officials and business leaders advocates came together to speak out against SB 7 (Steinberg), a bill that disenfranchises voters and threatens local control.
 
Today’s event comes in advance of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee hearing on the measure this Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 1:30. This is likely the last Assembly policy committee hearing on SB 7 given Friday's policy committee deadline. Should the bill advance after Wednesday's hearing, its next stop will be the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
 
The event brought reporters from a number of news outlets such as The Modesto Bee, and the Modesto Business News. Speakers at the news conference included the following city officials:
  • Stephanie Burnside, council member, Modesto;
  • Stan Thurston, mayor, Merced;
  • Charlie Goeken, mayor, Waterford; and
  • Jim Demartini, board member, Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors;
  • Cecil Russell CEO Modesto Chamber of Commerce.
Modesto City Council Member Stephanie Burnside expressed why this bill would be so detrimental to her city, which is a charter city. “We understand that state funds come with a lot of strings attached – one of those strings is that if a construction project uses any state funds the contractor must comply with state prevailing wage requirements. But, as a charter city the courts have ruled that we have the authority, when only using city funds, to allow a contractor to not comply with prevailing wage requirements.”
 
Background
 
The League has opposed SB 7 since its introduction because it retroactively punishes voters and residents of 51 charter cities for exercising their right to vote on how city funds are spent by denying them access to any state funding for public works. SB 7 also fundamentally infringes on the right to vote of residents of charter cities — a right protected by both the California and U.S. Constitutions. SB 7 essentially nullifies the votes of those voters by imposing conditions on the voting after the election occurred.
 
This harmful measure will have the effect of cutting off 51 cities, with a combined population of 5 million people, from state funding by prohibiting prohibits a charter city from receiving or using state funding or financial assistance for a construction project if the city has a voter-approved charter provision or ordinance that authorizes a contractor to not comply with state prevailing wage requirements on local construction projects funded by (non-state) city funds.
 
Call to Action
 
City officials are urged to contact members of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee prior to Wednesday’s hearing. Contact information for committee members is on the committee’s website. The League’s opposition letter to the committee is available online along with a sample opposition letter for cities to use.
 
For more information, please visit www.cacities.org/SB7.


 
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