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State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s Fair Pay Act Signed Into Law

Governor Jerry Brown also gives nod to 'right to die' legislation but snuffs drone wildfire bill

California took a step ahead of the rest of the nation Tuesday when Governor Jerry Brown signed an equal pay bill into law — helping ensure women are paid equally for work by giving them an avenue to argue discrimination.

Santa Barbara State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson was at the governor’s side when he lent his signature to the law, touted as the strongest in the U.S., effective Jan. 1, 2016.

SB 358, or the California Fair Pay Act, guarantees women receive equal pay for work similar to that of male colleagues without fear of retaliation for discussing how much their male coworkers make.

A woman working full time in California made 84 cents to every $1 a man earned as recently as 2013, according to Jackson, who noted women make up half of the workforce.

Women can now challenge wage discrimination, forcing employers to show discrepancies are related to factors other than gender.

“This is a momentous day for California, and it is long overdue,” Jackson said in a statement.

“I want to thank the Governor for his support and for signing this bill into law. Equal pay isn’t just the right thing for women; it’s the right thing for our economy and for California. Families rely on women’s income more than ever before. Because of the wage gap, our state and families are missing out on $33.6 billion dollars a year.

“That money could be flowing into families’ pocketbooks, into our businesses and our economy. After years of dealing with a persistent wage gap, and an equal pay law that has been on the books since 1949 but that is not as strong as it should be, the time has come for women’s paychecks to finally reflect their hard work and true value. Today, California leads the nation in showing how it can be done.”

An employee will be able to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or file a civil complaint directly in Superior Court.

That bill moved through the legislature with big bipartisan support, much like another bill Jackson co-authored, the End of Life Option Act.

Brown signed that bill into law Monday, which allows terminally ill patients to obtain medication to end their lives if they so choose.

Over the weekend, the governor vetoed another Jackson co-authored bill.

SB 168 would’ve made it a misdemeanor to knowingly operate a drone in a manner preventing or delaying efforts to extinguish a fire — punishable by up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

That makes Jackson 1-2 on passing drone legislation.

Last month, Brown vetoed SB 142, which Jackson wrote to prohibit unmanned aerial vehicles from trespassing on private property without owner permission.

Brown did, however, sign into law a similar privacy-related drone bill co-authored by Jackson. AB 856 focused more on prohibiting paparazzi from invading privacy to make a profit rather than recreational use.

The governor returned Jackson's SB 168 along with eight other bills he said created new crimes without a corresponding benefit.

Jackson said she was disappointed Brown didn't sign her bill but was encouraged by initial drone discussion.

"Drones are an important issue," she said. "I look forward to continuing to work on it."

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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