Legislative Bills Currently Being Fought, Supported by NFIB California in 2019

Date: July 31, 2019

Independent contractors, California Consumer Privacy Act, sales tax on services three issues on the front burner

The California State Legislature returns from its summer recess August 12 for four weeks of work after which it will close out the first half of its two-year session. Below, in order of importance, for small businesses are the bills NFIB California is concentrating its lobbying efforts on.

Front Burner Issues

Independent Contractors/Dynamex Decision

The fate of millions of entrepreneurs in California hangs in the balance as final amendments are negotiated for Assembly Bill 5, which codifies much of the problematic Dynamex State Supreme Court decision. NFIB has been at the center of this debate, advocating for amendments that consider the breadth and diversity of small businesses in California, whereas other groups have advocated for narrow “carve-out” exemptions from the new independent contractor standards. Our official legislative letter on AB 5 can be read here.

California Consumer Privacy Act

Although the problematic California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect January 1, 2020, there have been a number of legislative efforts to curb the burdens on small business and reduce the threat of litigation by trial lawyers. Unfortunately, nearly all these hopeful reforms have died in the Senate Judiciary Committee, so NFIB is part of a large voice urging the Legislature to consider a package of legislation to address these small business concerns in the final weeks of the session.

Sales Tax on Services

Although NFIB has been very successful in helping defeat every tax increase proposed in the Legislature this session so far, we must keep the pressure up in this final month of the session to prevent any entertainment of a sales tax on services. The architect of this proposal has sat back this year, so far, due to other tax proposals, but since we’ve successfully stopped others, we will have to raise the opposition to this devastating idea in these final weeks.

Other Issues of Importance to Small Business

Arbitration Agreements

NFIB is also strongly opposing legislation which seeks to ban arbitration agreements as a condition of employment in California. Assembly Bill 51 currently sits in the California Senate where we hope to stop it before it reaches Gov. Gavin Newsom. Bans on arbitration agreements such as this have been repeatedly struck down by the United States Supreme Court, which is why former Gov. Jerry Brown had repeatedly vetoed similar legislation. However, with a new governor, NFIB has strongly opposed AB 51 throughout the legislative process in order to prevent a new wave of litigation for small business owners.

Electronic Receipts

NFIB also gave the lead testimony against Assembly Bill 161, which would mandate that merchants provide an electronic receipt to customers, which creates not only up-front costs but also continuing consumer privacy and litigation concerns to our members. Unfortunately, the bill advanced out of committee, but we did bring one assemblymember to agree with us, and we feel strongly we may be able to block this bill in the Appropriations Committee before it gets to the Assembly Floor.

Paid Sick Leave Mandate

Finally, NFIB provided the primary testimony against Assembly Bill 555, which would drastically increase California’s current paid sick leave mandate from three days to five days, without any reforms or changes to address significant fraud and reporting challenges. Yet again, this bill advanced out of the Assembly Labor Committee, but we hope to stop it on the Assembly Floor as we successfully did last year.

Federal Environmental Regulations

NFIB also testified in committee against Senate Bill 1, a horrible proposal that would prohibit any federal environmental regulations from being “less stringent” than the California standard. The measure is also referred to as the “no backsliding” bill. This is a major concern as the Trump Administration has made great progress in the regulatory front for NFIB members, and this would directly take away one of the benefits felt here in California.

Soda Tax

Assembly Bill 138, which would tax sodas 2¢ per fluid ounce is dead for the year, but its author is vowing to bring it up again in 2020.

For information on bills not mentioned in this story, but important to small business, send an email to Policy Director Shawn Lewis or State Director John Kabateck. This web story is updated semi-monthly when the Legislature is in session. Keep up with the latest California small-business news from NFIB at www.nfib.com/california or by following us on Twitter @NFIB_CA or on Facebook @NFIB.CA

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