Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (File photo)

The California State Senate has passed a package of bills introduced this year by Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles), paving the way for new California State Senate that will better empower and protect workers across the state.

The Senator’s bill package focuses on addressing the needs of working families, protecting the rights to collectively bargain, and creating employment and social safety net programs that support an equitable economy.

Smallwood-Cuevas’ bills that were approved by the State Senate and are ready to move forward to the State Assembly are the following:

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Local Enforcement of Fair Employment and Housing – SB 16 – Empowers local civil rights agencies to enforce prohibitions against discrimination in employment and housing.

Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act – SB 497 – Creates a rebuttable presumption that retaliation occurred when the employer punishes or terminates a worker within 90 days of the worker’s complaint of wage theft or unequal pay.

Campus Protection for Pregnant and Parenting Students – SB 521 – Would protect the CalWORKs benefits of pregnant, parenting and lactating students who are not being adequately accommodated under Title IX.

Displaced Worker Protections Act – SB 627 – Requires large chain employers to give advance notice to workers so they can prepare for a store closure. Also requires employers to give transfer rights to workers at the closed store for any job that becomes open at a chain location within 25 miles.

Safety Net for Grocery Workers Act – SB 725 – Requires a grocery establishment that conducts a mass layoff due to merger or acquisition to provide workers with at least one week of severance pay for every year of service.

Records Clearing Efficiency Act – SB 749 – Allows people who have completed their prison sentence for a qualifying non-violent felony to petition the courts to reclassify their felony to a misdemeanor using a simpler, more streamlined procedure.

Prevailing Wage Protections – SB 830 – Ensures that workers conducting custom sheet metal work at off-site facilities still enjoy prevailing-wage protections when working on a public construction project.

The Worker Rights and Education Act – SB 864 – Requires the California Workforce Development Board to partner with the Labor Commissioner to ensure that their job seekers receive workplace rights training.