ASSEMBLY | A bill that would alleviate some of the financial pain for those with wage garnishments passed the State Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. The legislation authored by Fremont Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski was approved by the Assembly in late April.

Wieckowski’s bill would make $320 exempt from garnishment on a weekly basis. Current law only sets aside $217.50 per week in disposable earnings. “For the working poor, who live paycheck-to-paycheck, this minuscule amount is not enough to make ends meet,” said Wieckowski. “ In nearly every county in California, $217.50 a week is not even considered a living wage for a single adult with no spouse or children.”

Republicans in the Legislature argue those with judgments against them should first pay back their debt. Bankruptcy protection is also available to debtors, they say.

Thirty states have more lenient wage garnishment minimums than California, according the Senate Judiciary Committee’s analysis, while the state rank as the fifth most expensive state to live. Four of the 10 most expensive cities to live are also located in California, it added.

WIECKOWSKI HEARING ON TOXIC FURNITURE After Gov. Jerry Brown called for state regulators to look into the use of toxic flame retardants in furniture, Wieckowski, as chair of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, quickly called for a hearing on the matter for next week . The state mandate regulating the amount of chemicals in furniture was written in the 1970s.

It should be noted how well Wieckowski has used his chairmanship on this often-overlooked Assembly committee over the course of his first term to raise his personal profile in Sacramento. When it comes to the highly controversial issue of hydraulic fracking, Wieckowski has positioned himself as, well, the top fracker in the Legislature.

His relatively quick mastering of Sacramento politics through the issue of fracking has made himself its leading opponent. But, keep in mind, fracking is an issue which hardly occurs in the state. It’s a classic leveraging of a national domestic issue on a statewide scale. Now, Wieckowski is potentially the guy who is going to make your cleverly-designed new couch from IKEA safe from combusting underneath your ass.