The Case of Janus v. AFSCME

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-06-27

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Unions

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - This week the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Janus v. AFSCME that government workers can no longer be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a heavy financial blow to public sector unions.

This revokes a 41-year-old decision that required employees to pay union fees to the state unions that represented them whether or not the workers chose to join.

Mark Janus works as a child-support specialist for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Janus, who is not a union member, challenged the $45 per month that is deducted from his paycheck. That deduction goes to the local branch of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

Janus argued that any form of required payment to cover the cost of collective bargaining violates the First Amendment because it finances speech by the union intended to influence the government.

The unions argued that their alleged fair share fees pay for collective bargaining and other work the union does on behalf of all employees, not just its members. More than half the states already have right-to-work laws in place that ban mandatory fees, but most members of public-employee unions heavily populate the states that do not, including New York, California and Illinois.

The court’s final ruling states:

“Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmember’s wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.” (p. 48)

The unions believe that the outcome could affect more than five million government workers across roughly two dozen states and the District of Columbia. Those workers’ paychecks are heavily funded by the unauthorized dues collected from employees like Janus around the country. A 2015 national report showed that the average union president makes $170,000 annually in states with compulsory dues but only $132,000 in states with voluntary dues – a $38,000 difference.

“Supreme Court rules in favor of non-union workers who are now, as an example, able to support a candidate of his or her choice without having those who control the Union deciding for them. Big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!” President Donald Trump tweeted after the 5-4 vote. The court ruled that the laws violate the First Amendment by forcing workers to support and pay unions they disagree with.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the millions of workers who should not be forced to pay into a union as a condition of employment,” said Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach). “I applaud the Supreme Court for taking the first step to give public employees more control over their paychecks.

“In California, we should build upon this ruling to pass right-to-work policies that protect the freedom of choice for all employees. While I praise the victory of Janus, California Democrats and unions continue to install barriers that obstruct workers from opting out of unions.”

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Cal Expo Police Chief Robert Craft has retired after 40 years of outstanding and dedicated service to the Cal Expo Police Department. While former-Chief Craft enjoys his well-deserved retirement, the California Exposition and State Fair has begun the process to recruit a new Chief of Police, which could take 4 to 6 months. With the 2018 California State Fair slated to start onJuly 13, and in an effort to maintain continuity in its Police and Security Department, Cal Expo believed it prudent to select a temporary Acting Chief of Police. After conducting interviews and performing reference checks, Cal Expo announced that Joe Robillard has been selected to serve as Cal Expo’s Acting Chief of Police.

Mr. Robillard has worked at Cal Expo since 2007 and has many years of law enforcement experience, including 13 years with the Yuba City Police Department, 20 years with the CA Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and 3 years with the State Lottery. Mr. Robillard has been an integral part of the Cal Expo police and security operations throughout the last 11 CA State Fairs.

More specifically, Mr. Robillard began his career at the Yuba City Police department as a young Police Officer and worked his way up to the position of Watch Commander. He then moved into State service with ABC as an Investigator and over time became the Chief of the Professional Standards Unit. He was subsequently appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger and then Governor Brown to serve as the Deputy Director of the Security and Law Enforcement Division for the State Lottery. Given his experience at the local regional and State level, he brings a wealth of strong relationships with management personnel at other law enforcement agencies throughout Northern California. Cal Expo is very pleased to have a person of his background, experience and proven leadership to serve as Cal Expo’s Acting Chief of Police.

“Chief Craft devoted his long and distinguished career to providing for the safety and security of everyone at the California Exposition & State Fair," said Robillard, "I am honored to serve as the Acting Chief of Police and will strive to continue the high level of public safety that Chief Craft so proudly developed and consistently provided.”

Cal Expo congratulates Joe Robillard as he assumes the role of Acting Chief of Police, effective immediately.

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Uncle Sam Says: Outsmart Traffic This 4th of July

By AAA  |  2018-06-21

Nearly 47 million Americans will travel this Independence Day, an all-time record

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - AAA projects a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles to celebrate Independence Day this summer, the highest total since AAA began tracking holiday travel 18 years ago. That’s 5 percent more than the 44 million Americans who traveled for the patriotic celebration in 2017, which was the previous national record.

More than 5.43 million Californians are projected to travel over the Fourth of July holiday, representing an increase of 5.3 percent from last year, according to the travel source. That’s also a new state record, breaking California’s previous high of 5.16 million travelers set in 2017.

“Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, but this year is an all-time whopper,” said Michael Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Despite the highest gas prices in four years, more Californians will be taking to the road and the skies next month to celebrate America’s birthday than ever.”

The Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3, to Sunday, July 8.

By the Numbers: Independence Day California Travel Forecast

  • 5,434,994 Californians are expected to travel over the upcoming holiday weekend, almost 300,000 more than in 2017, which was the previous all-time high for the Golden State.

  • Higher fuel prices aren’t slowing Californians down. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is nearly 70 cents higher than in 2017, but 4.2 million Californians will drive to their destination -- nearly 80 percent of the state’s total travelers.

  • Travelers will pay less for airfare in 2018, but more for car rentals and hotels. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, travelers taking to the skies will pay an average $171 for a round-trip flight along the top 40 domestic routes. That is the lowest Independence Day airfare in five years, and 9 percent less than last year. 

“The current economic landscape including strong employment, rising incomes and consumer confidence is helping to boost the number of planned getaways over the second three-day weekend of the summer,” Blasky said. 

AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists across the country over Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. Before heading out of town, AAA recommends drivers take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility for a thorough inspection and perform needed maintenance.

AAA offers a variety of mobile travel resources including AAA Mobile, a free app for Smartphone users. The app uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, locate nearby discounts, summon roadside assistance, find current gas prices and more. Travelers can learn more about this resource at AAA.com/mobile.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.

AAA Northern California is the best roadside assistance solution, offering the fastest response times and highest satisfaction rates in the industry. The club also provides discounts, financial services, driver training resources and is a leading advocate for the motoring and traveling public. Visit www.AAA.com.

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SacRT K-12 Summer Pass! Two Months for $30!

By Citrus Heights News  |  2018-06-21

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) happily announced their $20 Student Monthly Pass is now on sale as a K-12 Student Two-Month Summer Pass for just $30.00 – a 25% reduction over the already recently reduced student pass! Passes are valid for unlimited bus, light rail and SmaRT Ride service for both July and August. Passes on sale on SacRT mobile fare app ZipPass or the Connect Card. Visit SacRT.com for more information

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California State Parks Offers Tips to Recreate Safely This Fourth of July Holiday

By California Department of Parks and Recreation  |  2018-06-21

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Fourth of July is around the corner and for many outdoor enthusiasts, it is the perfect time for camping, hiking and swimming with family and friends. California State Parks wants our visitors to recreate safely and enjoy their time by keeping their loved ones safe.

Because the hot summer weather invites many people to head into the water, whether it be in lakes, rivers or the ocean, it is important to protect loved ones from accidental drownings. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. About 10 people die from unintentional drownings every day, but can easily be prevented by learning water safety and lifesaving techniques.

Below you will find 10 tips to stay safe during this Fourth of July holiday:

  1. Wear a Life Jacket: Make sure your life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and properly-fitted. Several public and private entities make life jackets available to the public on a loan basis.View Locations
  2. Protect Your Loved Ones: Know your limits. Swimming in a lake, ocean or river is different than swimming in a pool. If someone is in distress, seek help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1 if one is not available. Supervise children at all times by appointing a designated "water watcher," taking turns with other adults. Do not assume that someone is watching them.
  3. Do not enter the water if it is too cold: Waterways continue to rise as snow melts and can be dangerously cold and swift. Even the strongest swimmers can be stunned by cold water and become incapacitated.
  4. Ocean Rip Currents: If you get caught in one, stay calm and do not fight the current. Swim or float parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then swim toward the shore.
  5. Avoid Alcohol: Operating your boat or an off-highway vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is against the law. Impaired boaters will be stopped and can be arrested even with lower BAC if the conditions are not safe. Your boat can be impounded.
  6. Know the Rules/Laws: Take the time to visit the webpage of the park you plan on visiting and learn about the rules, such as parking, if dogs are allowed and closed areas. It is also important to learn the laws for recreating in boats and/or off-highway vehicles.  
  7. Prepare an Itinerary: No matter what type of recreation activity you will be participating in, leave an itinerary of your trip with a family member/friend with information such as name/age of all participants, travel destination and expected return date. This will ensure law enforcement personnel have a better understanding of your location in the event of a rescue.
  8. Natural Resources: Whether you are hiking, horseback riding or operating an off-highway vehicle, stay on designated trails. You are not only protecting natural resources, but you are also ensuring that you do not get lost.
  9. Use the buddy system: Hike or swim with a friend or family member. This is key especially if you are bit by a snake, encounter other wildlife or need medical attention. Buddies can seek help for you.
  10. Wildlife: View wildlife from a distance. Never feed or touch them. Be cautious of where you are stepping. If you see a snake, maintain a distance of 6 feet. Most bites occur when people get too close or try to touch them.

Additional safety tips and information on laws can be found online at www.parks.ca.gov/safetytips.

With over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, and 4,500 miles of trails, California State Parks contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation with 280 state parks. More than 67 million people annually visit California's state park system. Invent your adventure online at www.parks.ca.gov.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today issued the following statement regarding the Democrat majority-vote budget bill:

“I tip my hat to Governor Brown and his Democrat allies in the legislature; they can spend money faster and more irresponsibly than any group of people I’ve ever seen. This budget is – again – the biggest in Golden State history. We keep spending more and more but not getting better roads, better schools, or better anything besides wealthier public employee unions.”

“Brown had the nerve to point to a piggybank during his budget presentation, and to imply that he has saved the state some amazing amount of money since he’s been in office. That’s a farce! With just a bit of fiscal discipline we could have filled a dozen of those piggybanks. Brown taxed more and then Brown spent more. He was the most predictable big-spending Democrat to ever roam the Capitol halls.”

“The Governor himself has repeatedly warned that another recession is headed our way. Instead of heeding that warning, we are increasing spending by billions to pay for things like the absurd High Speed Rail project, a minimum wage increase and pushing a billion-dollar makeover for the state capitol.”

“We are so dependent on Silicon Valley’s economic miracle that it’s frightening. Their prosperity obscures huge problems in the rest of the state, and our highly-progressive tax system means that if Silicon Valley coughs, the state budget catches pneumonia. A slight downturn could send us into a fiscal crisis in Sacramento. Far from being recession proof, we would be recession toast.”

“This is a budget that guarantees higher taxes for families around the state. Is it any wonder that working-class people are fleeing California as fast as they can load their U-Hauls? How could they want to stay when their government treats them like ATMs? Democrats force them to pay the highest sales taxes, highest income taxes, some of the highest gas taxes and property taxes in the nation, and then celebrate when and brag about how much this year’s budget ‘invests.’ For once, I wish the Democrats would spend less and let the people invest in themselves.

“This is Governor Brown’s last budget and thankfully so. He’s spent 8 years talking about fiscal discipline and prudence while supporting new taxes, fees and spending at every turn. He’s leaving behind a legacy of poverty, massive homelessness, and fiscal recklessness.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Women’s Empowerment Receives $11,500 from American River Bank Foundation

By Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2018-06-21

Kymla Birchette of American River Bank Foundation poses with graduates of Women’s Empowerment’s paid property management training program. The foundation recently granted $11,500 to the organization.

Donation to Go Towards Paid Job Training for Homeless Women

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - American River Bank Foundation recently granted $11,500 to Sacramento nonprofit Women’s Empowerment to provide paid job training for homeless women through the group’s Get A Job Kit small business. Funding also will support Women’s Empowerment’s new property management training program REstart in partnership with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Sacramento. 

“American River Bank Foundation’s funding has been absolutely vital as we’ve grown The Get A Job Kit small business over the past four years, ” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “We are so thankful to American River Bank Foundation and its continued investment in paid job training for women who are homeless. They stepped up to fund The Get A Job Kit, and now they’re making the same commitment by investing in our REstart program to train women in the field of property management.”

The Get A Job Kit was launched under Women’s Empowerment’s name in April 2014 after the business was donated by local entrepreneur Shirley Willey, who had created and run the business for nearly 25 years. The social enterprise trains graduates of Women’s Empowerment’s nine-week job-readiness program in the production, customer service, quality assurance, forklift operation, shipping and receiving industries. Over the course of five weeks, trainees are paid to assemble the Get A Job Kits, an all-in-one career organizer, to fill customer orders while receiving hands-on training, performance evaluations and relevant job experience. Since launching the small business, Women’s Empowerment has sold 15,000 Kits to high schools, veterans programs, nonprofits, vocational and technical colleges and anti-recidivism programs.

Women’s Empowerment’s recent partnership with IREM Sacramento provides Women’s Empowerment graduates with paid training in property management, a career that provides both stable employment and housing on the property being managed. 

“As homelessness increases in our community, and finding affordable housing becomes even more challenging, we developed a strategic partnership that provides both income and housing,” Culp said. “We are grateful to American River Bank Foundation for seeing the value of this new, innovative training program.”

The Get A Job Kit and REstart are two components of Women’s Empowerment’s programs that end homelessness for women and children in Sacramento. Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,503 homeless women and their 3,600 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org. For more information or to purchase The Get a Job Kit, visit www.getajobkit.com.

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications

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