Better Business Alliance Reveals 2001 Legislative Report Card
SACRAMENTO — The Better Business Alliance comprised of groups representing more than 3 million members, today revealed its Legislative Report Card for the 2001 Legislative Session. While members of both the Assembly and the Senate were graded on 15 bills, a majority of the State Assembly (41 out of 80) received a C or worse on the report card, while the majority of senators received grades of B or better (18 received As). The scorecard can be viewed at http://www.calbetterbusiness.org
The report card demonstrates a shifting bad business block in the Assembly that can gridlock measures to end corporate abuses. The bills backed by the Alliance ranged from a bill to improve workers compensation and other insurance to preventing mercury poisoning to the improving nursing homes. With shifting anti-consumer alliances, the Assembly was able to stop two bills to protect people’s financial privacy and prevent SB 11, the anti-secrecy bill from even coming to a vote.
The grades will be mailed to Californians, including the 3 million Californians affiliated with groups in the Alliance, which include labor, consumer, environmental, attorneys and retiree organizations.
Among other significant findings of the report card:
* 22% of Assembly Democrats had a D or worse while only 11% of Senate Democrats had a score of D or worse.
* Republican legislators without exception received an “F” on the Report Card.
* Lou Papan (D-Milbrae) was the only Democrat in the Assembly to receive an “F” on the Report Card. Mr. Papan also played as chair of the Assembly Banking Committee in preventing AB 203 by Assemblymember Jackson, a bill to protect consumers’ financial privacy from reaching the Assembly floor.
* In the Senate, Steve Peace (D-San Diego) and Jim Costa (D-Fresno) also received Fs for voting for better business bills less than 59% of the time.
* Democrats in the legislature who received a D were Assemblymembers Canciamilla, Cardoza, Cohn, Correa and Matthews, and Senator Machado who all received Ds. In particular, each member failed to vote for protecting consumers’ financial privacy or for strong consumer protections from insurance companies. Senator Machado (D-Stockton) also received a “D” for his failure to support the public’s right to know about defective and harmful products and his failure to support nursing home reform legislation.
* A significant minority of state legislators received A+s for their outstanding 100% voting record, they are Democratic Senators Alarcon, Burton,, Dunn, Escutia, Figueroa, Karnette, Kuehl, O’Connell, Ortiz, Romero, Soto, Torlakson and Vincent and Democratic Assemblymembers Aroner, Chan, Chu, Corbett, Florez, Goldberg, Havice, Jackson, Keeley, Kehoe, Koretz, Longville, Lowenthal, Migden, Nakano, Pavley, Shelley, Steinberg, Strom-Martin, Washington and Wesson.
Each Legislator was given a list of the Better Business bills at the beginning of the 2001 Legislative Session and they were informed their votes on these bills would determine their overall grade.
Participants in the alliance include the California Labor Federation, California Nurses Association, Congress of California Seniors, Consumer Attorneys of California, Consumer Federation of California, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, California Public Interest Research Group, the United Farmworkers of America, AFL-CIO, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Gray Panthers, Consumer Action, California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, and Sierra Club. For more information about the Alliance or to access the report card or bill list online log on to: http://www.calbetterbusiness.org.