Ash Kalra, a second-term California assemblyman representing the 27th Legislative District, was named the chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment Committee, his office announced in a Jan. 11 news release.
Kalra, who was named to the chair by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, will hold the position for the 2019-2020 legislative session.
“I am grateful for this leadership opportunity and would like to thank Speaker Rendon for appointing me chair of the Labor Committee,” said Kalra in a statement.
“Having served on the committee, I have been proud to author and support legislation that protect the health and safety of workers, promote fair and timely wages, and combat income inequality,” the Indian American lawmaker added. “As the new chair, I look forward to continuing these efforts and guiding the committee in fostering innovation in the workplace and envisioning the future of work in our state.”
The committee’s primary jurisdictions are wages, hours, employment discrimination, Cal-OSHA, employment development, and public job programs.
In addition to being named chair, Kalra recently voiced his thoughts on newly sworn-in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2019-2020 budget, which he says prioritizes the values of California.
“I am particularly appreciative of Governor Newsom’s attention to pay down the state’s debt, help address local school district pension obligations, and ensure that we do not overlook the state’s unfunded liabilities,” Kalra said in a statement.
“Although our state faces a promising economic outlook, it is shadowed by the actions of the White House and the federal government shutdown. This budget is a thoughtful yet prudent fiscal document that helps California prepare for possible economic reverberations but plans for our future.”
Kalra, the chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, said he is excited by Newsom’s actions to expand worker benefits and protections, including expanding and extending Paid Family Leave for California’s working families, rebranding and expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, and ensuring that federal employees impacted by the current federal government shutdown have expeditious access to their entitled unemployment benefits.
Newsom’s “California for All” budget of $13.6 billion breaks down this way: $4 billion investment that eliminates all outstanding budgetary debt as well as deferrals; $4.8 billion to build reserves, bringing the state’s Rainy Day Fund to more than $15 billion this year (and nearly $20 billion over four years); and $4.8 billion to pay down unfunded retirement liabilities.
Prior to being elected to the California state Assembly, Kalra served two terms on the San Jose City Council, where he championed protections for city employees, including police and firefighters, and was an outspoken voice in support of maintaining San Jose’s pension commitments to its workers.
Kalra was previously chair of the Aging and Long Term Care Committee, of which he remains a member, and continues to serve on the Education, Judiciary and Water, Parks and Wildlife committees.