| The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO – California moved closer to a statewide law on Saturday requiring corporate boards to include racist or sexual minorities, and expanded a new law that introduces a similar requirement to include female directors.
Proponents sparked both the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affected minorities, and weeks of unrest, calling for admission that followed the May murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
It went ahead when the state senators took about two dozen actions in a rare weekend meeting as they rushed to redress the week-long deliberation lost due to the pandemic. Most Republican senators have again taken the previously unprecedented step of remotely voting from their apartment or hotel room after one of their members tested positive earlier this week and potentially exposed others during a caucus lunch.
Both the Senate and the Assembly will meet on Sunday to adjourn Monday of the year.
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Corporations across the country have spoken out against racism, but less than 2% of top executives in the top 50 companies are black.
The Senate-approved diversity bill stipulates that California-based public corporations must have a board member from an under-represented community by the end of 2021. He has forwarded a 26-8 appeal and is now returning to the assembly for the final vote.
Those who qualify would identify themselves as Black, Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Hawaiians, or Native Alaska, or as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
The action would require at least two such directors by the end of 2022 on boards of four to nine directors and at least three such directors on boards of nine or more directors. Businesses failing to comply will be fined $ 100.00 for initial violations and $ 300,000 for repeated violations.
"Corporations do not reflect the enormous cultural wealth in this state," said Democratic Senator Benjamin Hueso from San Diego.
For example, he said 87% of the state's 662 public corporations had no Latino directors, but Latinos made up 39% of the state's population.
"You are severely underrepresented in the boardroom," said Hueso. “California is better than that. We are the most diverse state in the nation, and our businesses must emulate our diversity. "
San Francisco Democratic Senator Scott Wiener, chairman of the LGBTQ caucus in the legislature, said the current bodies are often "some kind of old boys' network."
"I think positions should be earned," countered Shannon Grove, Republican Senate Chairman of Bakersfield. "In the private sector, bodies should be elected and people should be appointed to bodies who best represent the company and who can be the color of everyone's skin."
The only official opponent in a legal analysis was former California company commissioner Keith Bishop. He objected that this law, in conjunction with the existing diversity law, would make it more desirable for companies to select women who are also members of the underrepresented communities in order to meet both quota sets at the same time, to the detriment of men or women who do not meet the qualifications in the new invoice.
Hueso said adding diversity would improve company performance, a similar argument used by proponents of a 2018 law that would allow California-owned companies to have at least one woman on their boards by that year.
The nation's first such law requires boards of directors to have two or more female directors for five boards by 2021. and three women by 2021 for directors of six or more.
"I am quite offended when someone thinks we are lowering standards because there is a recruiting effort, a proactive effort to integrate into every aspect of our society," said Los Angeles Democratic Senator Maria Elena Durazo in response to Groves Comments.
The invoice is AB979.