(June 11, 2015) The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee yesterday passed on a party-line vote a “job killer” bill that could significantly drive up litigation costs for all California employers, if enacted.
The California Chamber of Commerce opposes AB 465 (Hernández; D-West Covina). In testimony to the Labor Committee yesterday, CalChamber Policy advocate Jennifer Barrera explained that AB 465 is likely to increase pressure on the already-overburdened judicial system by precluding mandatory employment arbitration agreements, which both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have already authorized. As such, AB 465 will only serve to drive up litigation costs increasing individual claims, representative actions and class action lawsuits against California employers of all sizes until such legislation can work through the judicial process to be challenged again.
AB 465 passed Senate Labor and Industrial Relations 4-1. The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee; no hearing date has been set.
Action on the bill came the same day that syndicated political columnist Dan Walters called the “job killer” campaign a “big success.”
‘Job Killer’ Strategy a Big Success
Walters opened his column in The Sacramento Bee yesterday with the observation: “The Capitol’s longest-running conflict pits business against four liberal groups – labor unions, consumer advocates, personal injury attorneys and environmentalists.”
According to Walters, the California Chamber of Commerce and the business community at large “pivoted on political strategy” to gain new allies in the perennial conflict.
The CalChamber and other business groups “began cultivating business-friendly Democrats, both those already elected to the Legislature and potential legislative candidates,” Walters wrote.
“The emergence of this alternative ‘business Democrat’ bloc coincided with the election of Democrat Gray Davis as governor after 16 years of Republican governors. He, too, cultivated business support and often frustrated liberal activists, who were already unhappy with the ‘BD’ phenomenon.”
While Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger sponsored and the CalChamber and business community-supported top two primary election, which has directly resulted in an increase in business-friendly democrats in the Legislature.
Walters says: “As it led the strategic pivot for business nearly two decades ago, CalChamber also instituted its ‘job killer’ program, targeting bills it considered to be most noxious – measures that have been, for the most part, high on the liberal groups’ agendas.”
Walters enumerated the program’s success, pointing out that “more than 600 bills were given the ‘job killer’ epithet over the last 18 years and fewer than 50 made it into law. In some years, none did.”
Although the number of identified “job killer” bills are down this year—19 have been identified in 2015—Walters says this decline is for good reason.
“Over the years, the number of bills targeted by the chamber has generally declined, which implies that the four liberal groups have reduced their agendas.”
As of the June 5 deadline for bills to pass the house in which they were introduced, seven Senate “job killer” bills and three Assembly “job killer” bills remain active.