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Most ‘Job Killer’ Bills Fail as Governor Vetoes Two

Concluding his work on legislation last weekend, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed two more “job killer” bills and signed two others into law.

That means 28 of 32 “job killer” bills the California Chamber of Commerce identified this year have been defeated or amended. Of six “job killers” sent to the Governor, four will become law.

Vetoes

On September 30, the final day for the Governor to act on legislation this year, he vetoed two “job killer” bills:

  • AB 2346 (Butler; D-Los Angeles) could have increased the price of food and forced growers to move their crop production to other states and countries, thereby hurting California exports, by creating unprecedented and excessive consequences for perceived and actual violations of heat illness prevention regulations.

The CalChamber pointed out that AB 2346 is unnecessary given the high compliance with California’s heat illness prevention regulation, which applies to all outdoor workers and is the only such program in the nation.

Moreover, the CalChamber said, unnecessarily increasing labor costs and the threat of litigation could hurt California exports, one of the bright spots in California’s economy.

In a similar vein, the Governor wrote: “California’s current outdoor heat standards are the most stringent in the nation, and compliance with them has been improving each year—from a low of 32% in 2006 to more than 80% in 2012.”

While saying the standards “should be improved,” the Governor said AB 2346 is “flawed: it would create through legislation a new enforcement structure that would single out agricultural employers and burden the courts with private lawsuits.”

He expressed a preference for the regulatory process for making changes and concluded that the administration is ready to help “but ongoing litigation about past enforcement practices continues to drain resources away from improving the existing heat standards and ongoing enforcement.”

  • AB 1186 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) would have increased energy costs, including fuel prices, on consumers and businesses by allocating funds from an illegal tax to various programs that are not necessary to cost-effectively implement the market-based trading mechanism under AB 32.

The bill would have directed 10% of the Investor Owned Utility (IOU) auction revenue proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade program toward public school energy efficiency projects.

In opposing the California Air Resources Board (ARB) plan to impose a “cap-and-tax” program through a multibillion-dollar auction, the CalChamber has consistently stated that the AB 32 climate change law was not intended to be a revenue source.

Imposing the auction goes beyond the ARB’s authority and runs contrary to the requirements expressly stated in AB 32, which are maximizing benefits and minimizing what the ARB describes as leakage risks and costs—the potential for businesses and jobs to move out of state.

By imposing what amounts to a tax on carbon, the auction will hurt the economy and entities subject to the tax. The affected operations include manufacturers, public agencies, universities, refineries and food processors.

The CalChamber also pointed out that AB 1186 duplicates existing programs currently funded by ratepayers, who pay more than $1.3 billion a year into energy efficiency programs.

The Governor’s veto message stated that AB 1186 “jumps the gun by establishing a program before we are ready.”

Signed

The Governor signed two “job killers” on September 30: AB 1532 (J. A. Pérez; D-Los Angeles) and SB 535 (De León; D-Los Angeles) increase energy costs, including fuel prices, on consumers and businesses by allocating funds from an illegal tax to various programs that are not necessary to cost-effectively implement the market-based trading mechanism under AB 32. AB 1532 – Chapter 807, SB 535 – Chapter 830, Statutes of 2012.

Signed in July were two “job killer” bills that could discourage investment in California’s housing market and make capital more expensive for consumers, AB 278 (Eng; D-Monterey Park) and SB 900 (Leno; D-San Francisco). AB 278 – Chapter 86, SB 900 – Chapter 87, Statutes of 2012.

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