Irwin addresses workplace harassment

Jacqui Irwin

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, legislation allowing employers to inquire whether or not a potential employee was fired from a previous job due to claims of sexual harassment has passed through the Assembly by a 72-0 vote.

AB-2770, with support from the California Chamber of Commerce, allows former employers to speak openly to prospective employers about a sexual harassment investigation that may have led to the termination of an employee. The bill also makes it harder for accused harassers to file defamation lawsuits against their accuser.

“Serial sexual harassers have been able to go from one job to another because employers have been afraid of alerting prospective employers about the individual’s past actions. As more victims of sexual harassment speak up, we need to do more to protect employees from repeat sexual harassers,” said Irwin. “AB-2770 aims to ensure that our workplace protection can finally work to prevent serial harassers from continuing to abuse victims at future places of work.”

Brownley at Port of Hueneme; criticizes pullout from Iran deal

Julia Bownley

On Friday, May 11, Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, spoke at the groundbreaking of Port Hueneme’s Intermodal Infrastructure Project, an undertaking made possible by the acquiring of $1.5 million in funding by the congresswoman.

The project will renovate and upgrade wharf and berth infrastructure, which Brownley says will bring new economic activity to Ventura County.

“The Port of Hueneme plays a critical role in our region’s diverse economy,” said Brownley. “This project is a win for improving efficiency and safety at the port, as well as creating and sustaining hundreds of jobs and increasing our area’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. I look forward to working with the Port of Hueneme as this project continues to develop.”

The total project cost is $3.82 million, with the Port of Hueneme investing $2.32 million.

On Tuesday, May 8, President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Brownley issued a statement regarding the move, saying that though the agreement was “not perfect,” it was “the best possible mechanism to stop Iran from continuing to develop nuclear weapons.”

“The president’s decision today to unilaterally reapply sanctions to Iran — with no evidence that the Iranians have failed to comply with the terms of the deal thus far — will undermine our country’s credibility, destabilize the Middle East, and let Iran off the hook for their obligations under the deal,” said Brownley.

In lighter news, Brownley announced on Monday, May 7, the local winner of the Congressional Art Competition. Annie Sun, a senior at Newbury Park High School, will be flown to Washington, D.C., where her artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Jackson procures funds for Thomas Fire, mudslide recovery

Hannah Beth Jackson

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has applauded Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget, which includes dedicated funds for local property tax losses and for schools and community college losses due to the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslide.

$11 million has been set aside to make up for lost property taxes and $14.5 million for schools and community colleges that had to close due to unhealthy or unsafe conditions at the peak of the fire. An additional $96 million has been slated for forest management and fire protection, and an additional $160 million for the proposed cap-and-trade expenditure plan.

Jackson, Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, said that the time to take action on climate change is now.

“With our changing climate, California is facing a new normal of increasingly destructive wildfires and related disasters such as the debris flow that decimated the community in Montecito,” said Jackson. “We need to take bold action to protect our communities from these catastrophic events.”

Brown also signed an executive order that echoed Jackson’s Thomas Fire-related bill, SB 1260, which would allow for “responsible wildfire fuel reduction by authorizing federal, state and private landowners to implement prescribed burning on federally and privately owned property in the state” and creates training standards for such activities. The executive order outlines steps to take to prevent future wildfires through controlled burns and training. Jackson praised the Governor’s decision.

Oxnard City Councilwoman named to EPA council

Carmen Ramirez

Oxnard Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez has been named to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee, which seeks to develop partnerships with local governments.

The 33-member committee helps to provide more efficient and effective environmental protections at the local level.

“Mayor Ramirez has a strong record of working to revitalize her community,” said Alexis Strauss, acting regional administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Her experience in community action and environmental justice will be an asset to this committee.”