Priorities

Economic growth and job creation are the keys to making California a great place to live, work and do business. To help lawmakers focus on the full ramifications of proposed laws, the California Chamber of Commerce identifies each year the legislation that will hinder job creation. The job killer list highlights those bills that truly are going to cost the state jobs.

2020 Job Killers

The California Chamber of Commerce today released its annual job killer list, which includes 10 bills that threaten California’s economic recovery and would hurt the ability of employers to rehire or maintain employment of California workers should they become law.

“It’s truly unfortunate—and, quite astonishing—that anyone in the legislature would unnecessarily increase costs on California’s distressed employers and reduce employment opportunities for California workers,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg.

“Nearly four million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits and many more are without work-related income. Our legislature should focus solely on keeping California employers and workers in business,” said Zaremberg.

CalChamber will periodically release job killer watch updates as legislation changes. Reporters are encouraged to track the current status of the job killer bills on www.CalChamber.com/jobkillers or by following @CalChamber and @CAJobKillers on Twitter

The 2020 list of job killer bills follows:

AB 196 (Lorena Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Establishes Costly “Conclusive Presumption” of Injury

Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for employers by “conclusively” presuming (non-rebuttable) that contraction of COVID-19 by all “essential workers” is a workplace injury. Establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector for COVID-19 issues, which the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) recently estimated will add billions in costs to California’s workers’ compensation system. On Senate Floor August 26, 2020.

AB 345 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Threatens Oil and Gas Development Operations

Threatens to eliminate thousands of high-paying California jobs and force California to import even more foreign oil by politicizing and undermining the California Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division’s ongoing regulatory process regarding new requirements near oil and gas extraction sites by predisposing what setback requirements should be before the agency even begins its analysis. Failed passage in Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, August 5, 2020.

AB 398 Chu; D-San Jose) Headcount Tax

Punishes certain employers who create jobs and discourages hiring and employment growth by imposing a headcount tax of $275 per employee. In Senate Governance and Finance Committee, July 1, 2020.

AB 664 Costly Presumption of Injury

Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public employers and public and private hospitals by establishing a disputable presumption that COVID-19 illness or death was caused by the workplace. Establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector for COVID-19 issues, which the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau recently estimated will add billions in costs to California’s workers’ compensation system. Job killer tag removed due to August 25, 2020 amendments but CalChamber still opposes.

AB 1107 (Chu; D-San Jose) Massive Unemployment Insurance Compensation and Tax Increase

Would significantly raise employers’ payroll taxes to fund a 130% increase in unemployment payments just as California’s businesses are struggling to survive a pandemic-caused shutdown. Gutted and amended May 26, 2020 to a different subject area. Job killer and oppose tag removed.

AB 1253 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles) Massive Retroactive Tax Increase

Seeks to increase California’s personal income tax rate, already the highest in the country, for struggling small businesses and high-income earners, which will result in a recently reported $6.8 billion in increased taxes. In Senate Governance and Finance Committee, July 27, 2020.

AB 1436 AB 1436 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) Shifts COVID-19 Economic Fallout onto Rental Property Owners

Forces rental property owners to forgo collecting rent for the entire duration of the state of emergency or until April 1, 2021 (whichever comes first) and prohibits owners from being able to try and collect unpaid rents for an additional 12 months after that, with no financial assistance for landlords who are unable to meet their financial obligations. Further, it incorporates unconstitutional and federally preempted mortgage forbearance language that will not help rental property owners meet their financial obligations, including owners without a mortgage but who rely upon rent for income, or situations where renters fail to pay back the months of owed rent. In Senate Rules Committee August 20, 2020.

AB 2501 (Limón; D-Santa Barbara) New Onerous Burdens on Lenders

Jeopardizes credit availability for consumer loans in future years. Imposes onerous obligations on financial lenders to carry home, mobile home, and auto loans for extended periods of time without receiving payments from borrowers. Failed passage in Assembly, June 15, 2020.

AB 2992 (Weber; D-San Diego) Expanded Leaves of Absence

Expands three separate leaves of absence on small and large employers with multiple threats of litigation despite the enormous financial strain all size employers are dealing with as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This increased burden will limit employers’ ability to recover, including limiting their ability to rebuild their workforce. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to May 11, 2020 amendments.

AB 2999 (Low; D-Campbell) New Protected Leave and Threat of Litigation

Imposes a significant new burden on employers of every size by mandating that they provide employees up to 10 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner, regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer. The bill further opens up new avenues for litigation against California employers by establishing a new private right of action (in addition to liability under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and administrative enforcement through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement). In Senate Judiciary Committee, July 1, 2020; Failed Deadline.

AB 3075 (Lorena Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Local Wage Standards

Allows interference with corporate formation based on arbitrary, unclear and unfair standards. The bill would also result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions by authorizing them to impose their own wage payment requirements as long as they are “at least as stringent” as state law requirements. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to July 21, 2020 amendments.

AB 3216 (Kalra; D-San Jose) New COVID-19 Employment Leave Mandate

Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce, which will delay rehiring and subject employers to litigation for any alleged mistakes. Also increases burdens on small employers who are currently suffering as a result of this pandemic, by increasing paid and unpaid time off for employees. Vetoed.

SB 55 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Expands CEQA’s Existing Requirements

Adds substantial time and costs to the CEQA process and provides project opponents with new legal arguments to delay or block housing and other projects. Almost identical to SB 950 that failed to pass the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. In Assembly Rules Committee, July 27, 2020.

SB 893 (Caballero; D-Salinas) Expands Costly Presumption of Injury

SB 893 (Caballero; D-Salinas) Expands Costly Presumption of Injury. Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming that certain diseases (including COVID-19) and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector. Failed passage in Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, May 14, 2020.

SB 950 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Expansion of CEQA

Would expand the California Environmental Quality Act’s existing requirements by adding costly new mandates that will burden local agencies, add substantial time and costs to the CEQA process and provide project opponents with new legal arguments to delay or block housing and other projects. Failed passage in Senate Environmental Quality Committee, May 29, 2020. Failed Deadline.

SB 1383 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Employees: Time Off

Significantly burdens small employers by requiring employers with only five employees to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of mandatory family leave, which can be taken in increments of one to two hours, and threatens these small employers with costly litigation if they make any mistake in implementing this leave. Signed, Chapter 86, Statutes of 2020.

SB 1399 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Increased Costs and Liability on Employers

Significantly increases the burden on nonunionized employers in the garment manufacturing industry in California by eliminating piece rate as a method of payment even though it can benefit the employee, creating joint and several liability for contractors for any wage violations or the employer, and shifting the evidentiary standards in a Labor Commissioner hearing to limit the ability for an employer to defend against an alleged wage violation. These additional requirements will encourage companies to contract with manufacturers outside of California, thereby limiting the demand and workforce of garment manufacturers in California. On Assembly Floor, August 25, 2020.
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