GRAY DAVIS: Vetoes Family Leave Measure
Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday vetoed legislation that would have expanded the California Family Rights Act to allow certain workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave each year to care for dependent adult children, grandparents or domestic partners, the Orange County Register reports. The act already allows workers to care for parents, minor children or spouses with serious health conditions (5/25). Davis said the "measure went too far in granting leave to workers for relationships outside the family," adding that he would sign certain, unspecified portions of the measure into law during the next legislative session. He said, "This measure, while well intentioned, extends that (medical leave) right far beyond what any other state has permitted to a relationship outside the family -- specifically, to individuals who live together to share expenses if one of those individuals subsequently becomes seriously ill." The California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers Association and other business groups also opposed the measure, but labor unions, gay rights groups and some senior organizations gave it their support. Rocky Rushing, chief of staff for state Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles), who wrote the bill, said: "One might wonder why Davis has signed other domestic partners legislation but not this. The distinction is that this one dealt with all workers. You had for the first time a bill that pitted domestic partners against private enterprise." But Davis spokesperson Michael Bustamante said that the bill was "way beyond the bounds of any reasonable person's definition of family and is simply an abuse of the Family Medical Leave Act." He added that "any two people who shared an electric bill would be able to use a family leave to care for one another" (McMillan, Contra Costa Times, 5/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.