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Legislative Wrap-Up: Army Honoree, Health Care Praise, Intern Harassment

Some of the items this past week involving East Bay legislators in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento

The state Capitol in Sacramento
The state Capitol in Sacramento
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) honored a Hayward man on the House floor for his military service.

Swalwell spotlighted Army Sergeant First Class Jason Manella for being named the Army's Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year during the Army's Best Warrior Competition.

“Congratulations to Sgt. Jason Manella on this impressive achievement. He represents the best and brightest among us, and overcame serious setbacks to win this grueling competition," said Swalwell. "Sgt. Manella’s service and success can be an inspiration to all us and I am honored to represent him in the U.S. Congress."

Rep. George Miller (D-Concord) sent out a statement praising new figures showing the number of individuals in California and elsewhere who have gained access to preventive care under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Miller said government figures show 71 million Americans with private insurance expanded their preventive care in 2011 and 2012 under Obamacare. In addition, 34 million Medicare recipients added preventive care in 2012.

“These services save lives,” said Miller, one of the original co-authors of the act. “Expanding access to preventive services was one of our goals in writing this law and we now see that it is working.  Routine preventive care is the most important step individuals can take to manage their health effectively, saving lives and money."

State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) announced plans to introduce legislation that would protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment and other workplace discrimination.

State and federal laws do not specifically protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment because they are not officially considered employees.

The legislation, which will be introduced when the new legislative session convenes on Jan. 6, would explicitly ban sexual harassment and apply general workplace protections to interns.

“Interns should not have to give up their basic civil rights just because they are willing to forgo pay,” Skinner said. “Interns deserve the same legal protection against discrimination and harassment in the workplace.”

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