Two Job Killer Bills Held in Appropriations; 2 Job Creators Move

(May 22, 2023) Eight job killer proposals identified by the California Chamber of Commerce this year remain alive after Friday’s deadline for fiscal committees to send bills to the floor. Strong opposition from the CalChamber helped to stop two job killer bills from continuing past the Senate Appropriations Committee. Two job creator bills passed their Appropriations committees and will be heard soon.

Job Killers Stopped

The following job killer bills have been stopped and are likely dead for the year:

  • SB 12 (Stern; D-Canoga Park) Arbitrary Greenhouse Gas Target. Arbitrarily changes the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal from 40% of 1990 levels by 2030 to 55%. By the state’s own estimate this proposal will force 17 million gas powered cars off the road in the next 10 years.
  • SB 809 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Prohibits Consideration of Conviction History in Employment. Prohibits nearly every employer from considering conviction history of an applicant or existing employee in employment decisions and imposes cumbersome process on employers that are legally not allowed to hire individuals with certain convictions.

Remaining Job Killer Bills

The following job killers remain alive:

  • AB 259 (Lee; D-San Jose) / ACA 3 (Lee; D-San Jose) Wealth Tax. Seeks to impose a massive tax increase upon all forms of personal property or wealth, whether tangible or intangible, despite California already having the highest income tax in the country. This tax increase will drive high-income earners out of the State as well as the revenue they contribute to the General Fund.
  • AB 524 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Expansion of Litigation Under FEHA. Exposes employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family caregiver status, which is broadly defined to include any employee who contributes to the care of any person of their choosing, and creates a de facto accommodation requirement that will burden small businesses.
  • SB 365 (Wiener: D-San Francisco) Undermines Arbitration. Discriminates against use of arbitration agreements by requiring trial courts to continue trial proceedings during any appeal regarding the denial of a motion to compel, undermining arbitration and divesting courts of their inherent right to stay proceedings.
  • SB 399 (Wahab; D-Hayward) Bans Employer Speech. Chills employer speech regarding religious and political matters, including unionization. Is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment and preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
  • SB 525 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Costly Minimum Wage Increase. Imposes significant cost on health care facilities and any employer who works with health care facilities by mandating increase in minimum wage to $25.
  • SB 616 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Costly Sick Leave Expansion on All Employers. Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by more than doubling existing sick leave mandate, which is in addition to all other enacted leave mandates that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply.
  • SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate. Imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants and movie theaters, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment.
  • SB 723 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate. Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, and removes guardrails on existing law by making mandate permanent and significantly broadening the applicability of the law.

Job Creators

By passing their Appropriations committees, the following job creator bills met Friday’s deadline for fiscal committees to send bills on for consideration by the entire Assembly or Senate:

  • AB 52 (Grayson; D-Concord) Manufacturing Tax Credit Expansion. Expands investment and production in California by expanding the sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of manufacturing and research and development (R&D) equipment.
  • SB 301 (Portantino; D-La Cañada Flintridge) Conversion to Zero-Emission Vehicles. Incentivizes production of zero-emission vehicle parts in the state, increasing manufacturing and jobs, by offering a rebate for zero-emissions vehicle conversions.

Also Stopped

Among the priority CalChamber-opposed bills also stopped were:

  • SB 556 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Civil Liability. Sets disturbing precedent by creating liability without proof for oil well owners/operators if individuals who lived within 3,200 feet of a wellhead develop certain health conditions.
  • AB 331 (Bauer-Kahan; D-Orinda) Bias and Discrimination Through Automated Decision Tools. Regulates all uses of automated decision tools (ADT) making consequential decisions with overly broad prescriptive mandates on how ADT developers/deployers assess and deploy the tools, including by conducting non-confidential impact assessments and requiring notice and opportunity to opt-out to be provided to individuals subject to an ADT. Makes “algorithmic discrimination” violations subject to a private right of action or civil enforcement action. Sets penalties up to $10,000 for each failure to submit the mandated ADT assessment to the Civil Rights Department and allows CRD to share these assessments for any purpose with other state agencies.
  • SB 687 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Delta Conveyance. Stops progress on the Delta Conveyance Project until Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan is updated and fully implemented. Holds infrastructure project to modernize California’s water system hostage until a lengthy planning process is both complete and “fully implemented.”
  • SB 224 (Hurtado; D-Sanger) Investment Ban. Prohibits foreign governments from owning or leasing agricultural land, limiting ability for farmers to get mortgages and invest in their operations.

Overall, the Senate Appropriations Committee had 416 bills on its Suspense File. Of those, 90 (22%) did not pass.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee had 755 bills on its Suspense File; 220 (29%) did not pass.