31 of 37 Dead or Defused at Session Halfway Point
Following last week’s deadline for legislation to pass the house in which it was introduced, just six of the 37 “job killer” bills identified so far this year remain active.
Costly Workplace Mandates
Among the workplace and employment law bills the Legislature did not pass:
- establishing homeless people as a protected class;
- a new mandate to list every employee covered by your workers’ comp policy and new penalties for any mistakes;
- repealing cost-saving workers’ comp reforms passed last year; and
- expanding paid family leave to businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
Economic Development Barriers
Bills that would have created economic development barriers that also did not pass include the following:
- allowing a higher parcel tax assessment just on commercial property;
- redefining “change of ownership” language that triggers property tax increases;
- moratoriums and overzealous regulations on hydraulic fracturing;
- unreasonable mitigation on infrastructure projects;
- virtually eliminating private personal service contracts with state government;
- allowing liens to be filed on employers’ property merely by alleging a wage claim;
- targeting specific products for tax increases—for example, California oil and gasoline, and sodas with sugar;
- bans on fast-food containers;
- expansion of frivolous litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);
- establishing a new, duplicative regulatory scheme over consumer products; and
- new frivolous litigation on a contractor if its employees wore uniforms similar to another contractor.
In addition, numerous bills that would have placed on the ballot proposals to increase commercial property taxes have been tabled until next year.
The following “job killers” are advancing through the legislative process:
- AB 10 (Alejo; D-Salinas) Automatic Minimum Wage Increase — Unfairly increases California employers’ cost of doing business by raising the minimum wage $1.25 over the next three years and thereafter indexing the minimum wage based on inflation, which fails to take into account the current economic status of the state or other fees and costs employers are required to pay.
- AB 880 (Gomez; D-Los Angeles) Expansion of Discrimination Litigation and New Health Care Coverage Penalties — Increases health care costs and increases discrimination litigation by assessing large employers a penalty if any of their employees who work as little as eight hours per week enroll in California’s Medi-Cal program and by expanding the Labor Code to include a protected classification for any person who is enrolled in California’s Medi-Cal program or in the California Health Benefit Exchange.
Because it includes an urgency clause, AB 880 remains active on the Assembly Floor. It will require a two-thirds vote to pass.
The bill affects a wide range of industries, including large nonprofits, all of which would be hit hard with new significant financial penalties related to health care coverage for their workforce.
AB 880 is the subject of the latest CalChamber News segment, released May 30. In the video, CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg explains that AB 880 imposes a new tax on California employers when they hire part time employees, shifts the burden of paying for a Medi-Cal program in California from the public sector to the private sector, and eliminates any reason to promote efficiencies in the program.
- SB 404 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Expansion of Discrimination Litigation— Makes it virtually impossible for employers to manage their employees and exposes them to a higher risk of litigation by expanding the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include a protected classification for any person who is, perceived, or associated with a family caregiver.
- SB 365 (Wolk; D-Davis) Limitations on Tax Credits — Creates uncertainty for California employers making long-term investment decisions by requiring tax incentives end 10 years after its effective date.
- SB 686 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Safety Recalls— Exposes car dealers and rental car companies to significant liability and precludes them from renting, leasing, loaning, or selling a car despite the lack of actual knowledge that the car was subject to a recall, that may or may not pose any imminent harm to the consumer or renter.
- SB 691 (Hancock; D-Berkeley) Dramatically Increases Pollution Penalties — Dramatically increases existing strict-liability penalties for nuisance-based, non-vehicular air-quality violations, and expands applicability of those penalties to a wide range of businesses previously not subject to the penalties without adequately defining what types and levels of pollution would trigger those penalties.