Assembly Bill 1250, introduced by Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from Los Angeles, is a blatant power grab by the leadership of two of the largest public employee unions in California, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
AB 1250 would virtually ban counties from contracting with nonprofits, licensed experts and community businesses for the vital services they provide Californians. It would do so by establishing a process so onerous and burdensome to comply with that it would make the contracting out process effectively impossible.
AB 1250 also would require nonprofit contractors to conduct extensive audits at their own expense and to disclose personal information such as salaries and benefits.
Counties are the backbone of a vast network of social and public services the state provides. From law enforcement, public health and child protective services to hospitals, libraries, parks and fire protection, counties provide these services through a variety of personnel and financial arrangements – including contracting out to the private sector.
Here in Riverside County, and across the state, many of the nonprofits and community based organizations – food banks and LGBT support centers to name just a couple – have been partnering with local governments for decades, providing an efficient and compassionate avenue for services. This bill will take away the ability of these organizations to help take care of those in need.
AB 1250 would be devastating and block local governments’ ability to conserve taxpayer’s resources. Individuals and families who depend on certain health and human services would be hurt because they would be paying more but receiving less.
Children, seniors, the developmentally disabled, victims of domestic abuse, people needing mental health services, those fighting addictions and many other people in need could see their services cut just so SEIU and AFSCME can add more public employees to their membership. It is sad when labor unions leverage their political power at the expense of the vulnerable members of our community who are in need of public services the most.
The author – who used to be an SEIU chapter vice-president – states that his bill simply applies existing state contracting law to counties.
Don’t be fooled.
This bill proposes limitations on county contracting authority that are unlike any other imposed on a state or local agency in California. It would apply general state contracting law to counties and then pile on a multitude of additional hurdles and set forth numerous requirements for contractors seeking to partner with counties.
These requirements would go above and beyond any other imposed on a state or local agency in California. The clear intent of AB 1250 is to prohibit local government private contracts to the benefit of SEIU and AFSCME.
AB 1250 passed the Assembly with 45 Democrats voting to support labor unions over vital public services. It is next scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee as early as Monday, Aug. 21.
I oppose this bill and urge my fellow senators to also oppose this to protect vulnerable residents who rely on county services.