Legislative Session Off to a Fast Start

Ben Golombek, Executive Vice President, CalChamber

Both houses of the State Legislature recently wrapped up their work on 2-year bills that had a January 31st deadline to pass their house of origin. The Chamber Advocacy team was focused on a number of significant bills that would impact both our members as well as the larger California economy.

Through a lot of hard work and collaboration we were incredibly successful ahead of this legislative deadline, and I wanted to outline some of our recent wins:

Bills Stopped

The following job killer and oppose bills failed the recent house-of-origin deadline:

  • Job Killer – Defeated: AB 1400 (Kalra; D-San Jose): Would have penalized employers, eliminated individual choice, and resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes on all Californians and California businesses, by creating a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system.
  • Job Killer – Defeated: AB 995 (Lorena Gonzalez; D-San Diego): Would have imposed new costs and would leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by expanding the number of paid sick days employers are required to provide, which is in addition to all of the recently enacted leave mandates (COVID-19 sick leave, Cal/OSHA emergency paid time off, California Family Rights Act leave, workers’ compensation, etc.) that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply.
  • Job Killer – Defeated: AB 1192 (Kalra; D-San Jose): Would have placed new onerous administrative burdens on employers by requiring them to publish extensive, private salary and benefit information on the Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s website. Public disclosure of completely lawful policies and conduct could give the false impression of wage disparity where none may exist and subjects employers to frivolous litigation and settlement demands.
  • Cal Chamber Oppose – Defeated: AB 416 (Kalra; D-San Jose): Would have required any companies submitting bids for state procurement contracts involving a range of common goods, including wood, rubber, paper, and others, to adopt new internal policies regarding sourcing of materials for all contracts, not just state-related contracts, and provide potentially proprietary information regarding their supply chain to the state as part of the application process.
  • Cal Chamber Oppose – Defeated: AB 854 (Lee; D-San Jose): Would have upended the Ellis Act and property rights by forcing rental property owners to stay in business even when they can no longer afford to stay landlords, interferes with a family’s ability to move into their own property and creates an arbitrary 5-year restriction on an owner’s ability to move into their own property.
  • Cal Chamber Oppose – Defeated: AB 1218 (McCarty; D-Sacramento): Would have imposed a “feebate” structure on manufacturers, which has the effect of increasing the cost of all vehicles in a manufacturer’s fleet, including the cost of light duty vehicles used by commercial and industrial businesses.
  • Cal Chamber Oppose – Defeated: SB 582 (Stern; D-Canoga Park): Would have threatened substantial increases in the cost of goods and services of entities subject to cap-and-trade by doubling our 2030 carbon emissions reduction goals.
  • Cal Chamber Oppose – Defeated: SB 342 (Lena Gonzalez; D-Long Beach): Would have expanded board membership and imposed limitations on the types of appointees to the local air districts.
Legislature Passes 2 Job Killer, 1 Oppose

While we had a fantastic track record, a few bills that we opposed did manage to narrowly pass and will continue moving through the Legislative process, however there will be additional opportunities to work on these bills:
  • Job Killer: AB 1001 (Cristina Garcia; D-Los Angeles): Creates new highly subjective, non-quantifiable and litigation-bait standards in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that will threaten California’s economic recovery and ability to construct much-needed housing. It also removes local government discretion regarding how to analyze and mitigate proposed project impacts, thereby making projects more expensive, harder to build and more likely to be thrown into courts by NIMBY opposition.
  • Job Killer: SB 213 (Cortese; D- San Jose): Increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector.
  • Oppose: AB 257 (Holden; D-Pasadena): Undermines the existence of the franchise model by holding franchisors responsible for all conduct by individual franchisees. Establishes Fast Food Sector Council that would have unprecedented authority to write its own labor and employment laws for fast food restaurant employees, circumventing the California Legislature and other regulatory agencies’ position in establishing such laws.
The 2022 Legislative year is already underway with the initial deadline to introduce new bills coming this Friday, February 18th. The Chamber team will be working hard on the 1,000+ bills that will be introduced to ensure that the State’s economic recovery from COVID is not deterred.

Original article appeared at CapitolInsider. CalChamber.com; Reprinted with permission.