Assembly Bill 257 wage theft advances, Calif. District 8 State Senate candidate Angelique Ashby supports the legislation

In the criminal justice domain, a wobbler is a crime that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. Using the same principle, California Assembly Bill 257 could be considered a political wobbler, especially between legislators and the Governor.

The legislation has passed the California Assembly and is in the California State Senate, where it awaits a floor vote after passing through committee. As explained in this CalMatters story, the legislation has many provisions, but the main focus is wage theft at fast food restaurants.  

Although Democrats control the Assembly and State Senate, there are varying degrees of support within their caucus. Additionally, although Gov. Gavin Newsom has not stated his position, the Department of Finance opposes the legislation.  

A legislative priority of the Service Employees International Union, it is opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association. Not surprisingly, all three groups are major political donors. 

So important is the legislation to the SEIU and opponents, led by the group called Stop AB257, which is supported by the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce and the California Restaurant Association, that both launched stand-alone websites dedicated to the issue.  

In the race for the California State Senate District 8, there are two Democratic candidates - Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby and former California Assemblymember and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. While in the same political party, Jones and Ashby are in different places along the political spectrum, with Ashby viewed as a moderate and Jones as progressive. 

With this reference, each campaign was contacted via email last Thursday and asked how they would vote on AB257 if they were in the State Senate. Ashby supports the bill, citing her belief that workers should have a work environment free of wage theft and sexual harassment. 
"I am supportive of ensuring that people have safe working conditions, are free from sexual harassment, and wage theft, and are not misclassified or discriminated against. To the extent this bill seeks to enshrine those principles I am supportive." 
Angelique Ashby
The Jones campaign did not respond to the request.

In 2022, Ashby's campaign received $4,900 from the California Chamber of Commerce, and Jones received $9,700 from SEIU Local 100. The bill is awaiting further action in the State Senate with an August 31 deadline.   

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