Unemployment Benefits

California Lawmakers Propose Unemployment Benefits for Striking Workers

Plus: GOP hopefuls debate tonight, Canadian link tax backfires, and more...


California lawmakers are proposing extending unemployment benefits to workers who are on strike. Striking workers would be eligible to collect unemployment payments after two weeks.

The proposal comes as part of legislation—S.B. 799—that previously dealt with prison visits. It passed out of the state's Senate in May and was sent to the Assembly.

This week, one of the bill's authors—state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D–25th district)—completely amended it, striking the previous text related to inmate visitation entirely. S.B. 799 now deals solely with unemployment compensation for workers in labor disputes.

Under existing California law, people are ineligible for unemployment benefits if they voluntarily left a job because of a trade dispute and remain ineligible for the duration of the strike.

Under the amended bill, striking employees would be eligible for unemployment benefits after two weeks on strike.

The bill would also make explicit that employees who leave work due to a lockout by an employer anticipating a trade dispute are also eligible for benefits (something that has been previously established by California case law but not explicitly spelled out under state statute).


The first Republican presidential primary debate starts tonight at 9 p.m. Former President Donald Trump will not take part, opting instead for an online interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. On stage at the debate will be former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina* Sen. Tim Scott, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. The debate will air on Fox News, Fox Business, and Fox's streaming platforms. The Republican National Committee has also partnered with Rumble to livestream the debate.


Another Advanced Placement class runs into trouble with state regulators. Arkansas is reviewing the content of an A.P. African American Studies course to make sure it doesn't run afoul of a law banning the teaching of "critical race theory." The state has already said that it's not an approved class and doesn't count toward high school graduation credit.

Five school districts said they will continue to offer the course anyway. One of the schools that will keep teaching it is Little Rock Central High School, which was home to the "Little Rock Nine" desegregation efforts in 1957.

"Given some of the themes included in the pilot, including 'intersections of identity' and 'resistance and resilience' the Department is concerned the pilot may not comply with Arkansas law, which does not permit teaching that would indoctrinate students with ideologies, such as Critical Race Theory," Education Secretary Jacob Oliva wrote in a letter to these school districts, asking them to submit more information about their courses.

The Arkansas scuffle follows a debate in Florida over whether A.P. Psychology courses violated the state's ban on "age-appropriate" education around gender and sexuality.

Florida has also blocked high schools from offering A.P. African American Studies classes.


Media outlets mad after Canada's link tax backfires. A new law in Canada requires social media platforms and search engines to pay every time someone links to a news publication. It's a ridiculous plan—publications benefit more from being linked than the other way around—that has been gaining support in the U.S.

"Everyone explained (repeatedly) to the Canadian government how this would flop, they still went forward with it," notes Mike Masnick at Techdirt:

In response Meta and Google (the two targets the Canadian government were trying to extort with this new law) announced that they would no longer allow any news links in Canada. Meta has already begun phasing out links to news in Canada.

The legacy media, which promoted this without the slightest bit of critical analysis (after all they were going to get paid, so why spend any time exploring the downside to such a tax?) is now losing its remaining braincells over this. A bunch of legacy Canadian media orgs are demanding a regulatory investigation of Meta over this move.

CBC/Radio-Canada has joined other news publishers and broadcasters in requesting that Canada's Competition Bureau investigate Meta's decision to block news content on its digital platforms in Canada, describing the social media giant's decision as "anticompetitive."

As Masnick points out, media and politicians pushed the link tax law under the guise of antitrust action, suggesting that search and social platforms linking to news was anticompetitive. Now, they say that not linking to news is anticompetitive. Once again, tech companies can't win.


• Trump's latest tariffs plan would make everything more expensive.

• The Netflix drama Painkiller "reinforces pernicious misconceptions about pain treatment" suggests Reason's Jacob Sullum.

• "Of the 10 states with the highest Catholic school enrollment, Florida is the only one where Catholic school enrollment has grown over the past decade," notes the Wall Street Journal editorial board. A new report credits this to not just population growth in Florida but also the state's education vouchers and other programs promoting school choice. Another recent report notes that Jewish kindergarten enrollment in Florida is also up.

• "Texas's overlapping abortion bans and draconian penalties for physicians—including life in prison, $100,000 fines and loss of medical licenses—were creating life-threatening delays in care for women with complicated pregnancies," reports NPR. State Rep. Ann Johnson (D–District 134) helped pass a law (H.B. 3058) allowing exceptions for ectopic pregnancies and cases where a woman's water breaks too early. "I think what was key about this legislation is that it did not have the term 'abortion' in it, and because of that, it did not become a political football," she said.

• Some interesting commentary on shrinking class divides, following up on a study mentioned earlier this week about chain restaurants and stores serving as cross-class hubs:

• Twitter is reportedly experimenting with a verification program that will require people to submit a selfie and a copy of a government-issued ID. CEO Elon Musk has also said recently that he's doing away with the block feature and that news links will no longer display headlines and snippets.

• U.S. home sizes are shrinking.

• "While our enclaves seem more polarized than ever online, in these United States we may actually be more and more intermixed, more and more differently human together, than we've been led to believe. Put another way, we may feel more polarized than we actually are," writes poet Jesse Nathan in The New York Times.

*CORRECTION: This post previously misstated what state Scott represents.