News & Opinion » Seven Days

‘Fair Pay for Fair Play’ Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Plus, legislature is busy in final week, and Kaplan suggests Oaklanders don’t attend Warriors games.



East Bay state Sen. Nancy Skinner's game-changing legislation that would potentially allow student athletes to be paid for their efforts was approved by the state legislature, and headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk for consideration.

"California is loud and clear: Our student athletes will no longer be denied the right to their name, image, and likeness," Skinner said following passage in the state Senate. The vote was 39-0. Earlier this week, the Assembly approved the bill by a 73-0 vote.

Officials with the National Collegiate Athletic Association have voiced concerns over Skinner's bill. Earlier this summer, they threatened to exclude California universities from participating in NCAA championships, if the legislation were to become law. The entity's Board of Governors urged Newsom not to sign the bill, arguing that the law will give California schools a competitive advantage in recruiting athletes, among other reasons.

The bill, if signed by Newsom, would allow student athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, or likeness. Under NCAA rules, student athletes under scholarship are prohibited from receiving any compensation, not even a part-time job to earn money on the side

For decades, critics have equated the prohibition to slavery since some universities can derive hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from high-profile sports, such as football and basketball, while paying its athletes nothing in return.

The new rules would not go into effect until 2023, at the earliest. However, the NCAA could sue the state to block implementation of the law.

Alameda's City Prosecutor could go after businesses that don't comply with AB5

Just prior to the State Legislature approving a landmark bill last week that reclassifies gig-workers and freelancers as employees, it was amended to include language that could bolster the authority of Alameda's new city prosecutor to go after violators of the law expected to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Assembly Bill 5 sailed through the Legislature after months of talks with gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash. Newsom said he will sign the bill that will require many industries to reclassify their contractors and freelancers as employees. A separate bill approved Friday night delays implementation of the law for one year with regard to newspaper carriers..

Some industries like doctors' offices, law firms, and salons, however, are exempt.

But the inclusion of specific language for city prosecutors to litigate potential violations of the law could be another reason for other Bay Area cities to follow Alameda's lead. Aside from Alameda, city prosecutors exist only in Southern California.

Here's the amendment added to AB5:

"In addition to any other remedies available, an action for injunctive relief to prevent the continued misclassification of employees as independent contractors may be prosecuted against the putative employer in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Attorney General or by a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, or by a city attorney in a city and county or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in a city having a full-time city prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of California upon their own complaint or upon the complaint of a board, officer, person, corporation, or association."

On Sep. 3, the Alameda City Council unanimously approved creation of a city prosecutor position under the supervision of its city attorney. But under the current setup, Alameda would not be able to prosecute employees alleged to have violated AB5 without the consent of the Alameda County District Attorney's office.

Changes to the city's charter Alameda officials is currently under discussion and now include the question of giving the new city prosecutor more fulsome authority to go after not only those who flout AB5, but violations of the city's minimum wage and rent control ordinances, in addition, to prosecuting lower level misdemeanor crimes.

Rebecca Kaplan Suggest Dubs Fans Think Twice Before Buying Warriors Tix

The Golden State Warriors' move to San Francisco has always rankled Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan. When the team attempted to skip town without paying its continuing share of a bond debt used to reconstruct the Oakland Arena (previously known as Oracle Arena), it was Kaplan who repeatedly called out the team.

Now that the team is gone to Mission Bay and poised to begin play at the gleaming new Chase Center, Kaplan is still initiating a full-court press on the Warriors. In a tweet last week, she again referenced the Warriors reluctance to pay off the bond. But this time she suggested that fans in the Bay Area should not help the team by purchasing tickets to its games.

"Warriors owners also still spending millions to try to rob Oakland tax payers of tens of millions of dollars!" she tweeted. "Each time you buy their tickets, you are funding an assault on struggling communities as they take tax payer money needed for vital services."

The tweet was prompted by another that criticized the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for limiting bus service in poorer areas of the city to accommodate Chase Center patrons.

The $140 million bond for reconstruction of the arena called for both the city and county, in addition, to the Warriors, to pay off the debt. But when the Warriors announced plans to finance their own arena in San Francisco, the team raised questions over whether they were obligated to continue paying roughly $7.5 million in bond payments. Roughly $40 million remains on the debt.


Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.