Governor Vetoes Bills To Expand EMT Oversight, Family Sick Leave
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has vetoed legislation (AB 941) that would have required mandatory background checks for all emergency medical technicians in California, the Sacramento Bee reports (McIntosh, Sacramento Bee, 10/16).
The bill, by Assembly member Alberto Torrico (D-Newark), would have created a statewide EMT registry in an effort to improve oversight (California Healthline, 10/9).
In his veto message, the governor said, "I am concerned this bill lacks requirements and penalties to assure timely notice when an investigation is initiated, does not provide sufficient authority for local medical directors to independently initiate investigations and fails to establish clear standards for background checks." He added, "I am concerned that the bill would significantly limit public disclosure."
The veto won support from Californians Aware, a government accountability group, along with the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which initially voiced concerns that the bill would restrict documents previously available to the media.
Schwarzenegger said he is returning the bill to the Health and Human Services Agency, where he hopes officials will work with California's emergency medical service providers to address his concerns and "get the job done" next year (Sacramento Bee, 10/16).
Schwarzenegger also vetoed three bills to expand laws governing family sick leave policies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The vetoes included SB 727 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) and AB 537 by Assembly member Sandré Swanson (D-Alameda). Both bills aimed to expand both unpaid and paid leave policies to include time off to care for seriously ill siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law.
The governor also vetoed SB 836 by Kuehl that sought to prohibit employment discrimination based on a worker's family status, including serving as a caregiver.
Schwarzenegger argued that the measures would have increased confusion about existing family leave laws and led to lawsuits.
Family leave advocates described the vetoes as "greatly disappointing" (DeBare, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16).