State Senator Ben Hueso Introduces Legislation to Enhance Consumer Protections and Safety in Ride-Hailing Services
State Senator Ben Hueso, Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, introduced a measure that will strengthen regulatory oversight of ride-hailing services, which are technology enabled transportation services, while supporting their continued growth. Senate Bill 1035 addresses some of the existing shortcomings of the regulatory oversight of these services. The bill requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to assess and determine public safety, consumer protections and enforcement.
During the committee hearing Senator Hueso stated, "As Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, it is my duty to protect the consumer and ensure that public safety is maintained. It is my goal to create rules and regulations that are fair and balanced, while ensuring safe transportation choices for consumers. I strongly believe Senate Bill 1035 addresses the need for more information regarding appropriate criminal background checks, adequate insurance, data access to support local transportation planning and accessibility for the disabled population. In addition to strengthening regulatory oversight, the bill addresses a major gap in the current regulatory scheme which is the need for enforcement."
While the growth of these new technology-enabled services, estimated at over 100,000 in California, is proving popular among consumers, there are a number of areas that need further regulatory review to ensure adequate safety and consumer protections. These include ensuring insurance coverage is providing the necessary protection for drivers, passengers and the public. In addition, the bill ensures that those who manage traffic on our streets have access to the necessary data about these services to allow them to plan appropriately.
Unfortunately, the agency tasked with licensing these services, the CPUC, lacks the adequate enforcement capacity and is unlikely to gain it anytime soon. The CPUC has 22 staff inspectors for all the transportation-for-hire services they license, including limos, tour buses, household good movers and ride-hailing services. Last year, they had a total of 12 stings on California roads for the over 11,000 permitted carriers and 100,000 plus ride-hailing services. Considering that most of the ride-hailing activities are occurring on local streets, SB 1035 provides local law enforcement some of the tools it needs to properly enforce the CPUC regulations and rules.
Senator Hueso Introduces Equal Gender Pricing Bill
Senator Ben Hueso introduced legislation that would prohibit businesses from charging customers different prices for similar goods on the basis of gender. SB 899 also requires retailers and grocers to notify customers of their right not to be charged differently for similar products.
During his speech he expressed, "It is unfair that female products are priced higher than men's. Why are retailers pulling extra money from women when data already shows that they earn about 84 cents for every dollar men earn? This needs to change. It's about time we stand up to the retailers and fight for equal product pricing for all."
In December 2015, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a study on the gender pricing of goods marketed to both men and women. The study looked across multiple industries, which included toys and accessories, children and adult clothing, and personal and home health care products for seniors. Across the sample, the department found that women's products cost more 42% of the time, while men's products cost more 18% percent of the time.
Senator Hueso Establishes Business Tax Credit Incentive for Hiring Youth
State Senator Ben Hueso introduced Senate Bill 1216 which will establish a business tax credit for employers who hire high-risk youth, ages 18-25, who have been convicted of a crime and have completed a work readiness program through a qualified job training provider.
During the presentation, Senator Hueso stated, "We need to open the doors of opportunity for our high-risk youth by helping them enter the workforce. Senate Bill 1216 will incentivize California businesses and help our high-risk youth become fully employed, functional members of society."
Research indicates that the first 14 months are critical for a convicted felon's successful transition back into the community, and a lack of state help with job placement or continued rehabilitation increases the chances that they will re-offend.
"For young people who have made mistakes and paid their debt to society, one of the last hurdles is reentry into the workforce," expressed Rob Chávez, CEO for the Urban Corps of San Diego County, a youth job training and high school education program. "It's hard enough being a job seeker; having a prior conviction can be debilitating when job hunting with little to no real-world working experience. We believe in second chances. SB 1216 rewards employers who invest in the future of our community by investing in second chances for youth."
State Senator Ben Hueso Addresses Students at America's Finest Charter School
Senator Ben Hueso addressed the 4-8th grade students of America's Finest Charter School on the fundamentals of Civics and Government.
During his speech, Senator Hueso stated, "We need to engage our students to learn more about our government system and what it means to be part of the democratic process. Educating our children now on these fundamentals will empower them to become leaders in the future. I am very excited to address the students and prepare them for their trip to Sacramento."
The students are currently studying about California government and are planning a trip to Sacramento in June. Most of the 29 students have never traveled by plane.
America's Finest Charter School's vision is to accelerate student's academic achievement and cultivate a sense of helping others by providing an education based on the best teaching and learning theories. We will provide every student with research-based teaching strategies to develop their academic potential.