For the legislative and political week October 25-29
Welcome to the October 25-29 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
Cal-OSHA Releases New Proposed COVID Rule Changes
- At an October 21 meeting of the Cal/OSHA Standards Board, the state agency presented the Board with its proposed second readoption of Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for COVID-19 Prevention, which would take effect Jan. 14, 2022.
- According to the law firm Ogletree Deakins, “The new proposal does not change the definitions of the ETS but does include substantive changes.” Click here for a quick scan of the proposed changes, which include:
- face coverings
- return-to-work provisions
- employer-provided housing and transportation.
- “Will workers get paid if they have to stay home because of COVID-19 next year?” asked the San Francisco Chronicle in its coverage of the meeting. “That issue dominated public comments at Thursday’s meeting of the Cal/OSHA Standards Board, the seven-member body appointed by the governor to adopt workplace standards. Its mission has taken on added urgency during the pandemic, as it promulgates rules on vaccines, masking, social distancing, and other measures suggested by the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health to help control the virus’ spread.
- “Cal/OSHA currently has temporary regulations that provide for ‘exclusion pay’ — maintaining pay and benefits while an employee is required to quarantine at home because of workplace exposure to COVID-19. New temporary regulations released in draft form Wednesday would keep exclusion pay in place until April 14, 2022.”
- NFIB California will be closely monitoring the further proceedings of the Board. Last year, it successfully lobbied the Cal-OSHA Standards Board for workplace rules on employee masking that mirrored those of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The Second Big Issue of the Week
- Supply chain disruptions were the big issue of last week. NFIB California co-signed an October 19 letter along with 18 other business groups that presented Gov. Gavin Newsom with eight action steps he could take to help ease congestion along California’s ports.
- “Let’s be clear, we are not asking for your leadership in order to ensure there are toys on the shelves for Christmas; we are asking for your leadership in order to ensure working families have access to affordable medical supplies, diapers, and other basic necessities,” said the letter.
- A day later, Governor Newsom issued an executive order calling for greater coordination among state agencies and with the Biden administration’s efforts, as expected, but it also had a few specifics on short-term storage needs, exemption of current vehicle weight limits, and the expediting of the leasing of cargo containers used for storage.
- In response to the governor’s EO, the business coalition NFIB is part of commented, “While we support the governor’s response to this crisis, today’s Executive Order is a first of many steps in addressing the crisis unfolding at every level of the supply chain. There are additional real, tangible actions the governor could take to meet the moment and tackle this crisis head-on, but convening taskforces in 2022, delaying urgent actions for at least a month, and pushing funding discussions to the January budget proposal do not provide the sense of urgency needed to address this crisis now.”
- “Supply chain issues are being felt acutely in grocery aisles,” noted the research firm Morning Consult in last week’s launch of its new, monthly U.S. Consumer Spending report. “37% of U.S. consumers who tried to purchase various food or grocery items last month reported difficulty finding those products.”
- As reported in a prior Main Street Minute, in the last COVID-19 poll NFIB took of its membership, 50% of small-business owners said supply chain disruptions were having a significant effect on their businesses, and 55% said it was making things worse.
What You Need to Know for 2022
- For the next NFIB California podcast, we brought back Ben Ebbink, one of the top labor and employment law experts in the state, to discuss the seven new laws and one state budget action every small-business owner should be acquainted with before Guy Lombardo strikes up the band on a new year. It’s being edited now. Members will be notified once it’s posted on the NFIB California webpage. Reminder: You can find all NFIB California’s past podcasts at www.nfib.com/ca/podcasts.
From NFIB in D.C.
- Things are moving in Congress. Both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (bipartisan infrastructure bill) and the Build Back Better Act (partisan tax reconciliation bill) may be taken up by the House as soon as this week.
- Reports Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s VP of Federal Government Relations, “There are positive reports that rate increases for individuals and corporations may be excluded thanks to Senator Sinema (D-AZ), but revenue will have to be made up elsewhere and we are not optimistic these tax increases are off the table.”
- UPSHOT: The White House and Democratic Congressional Leadership are trying to accelerate consideration of the Build Back Better Act, but so much must still be negotiated. There is an October 31st deadline for federal highway funding, but it is much more likely consideration slips closer to the end of the year, potentially the December 3rd deadline for federal government funding.
- NFIB sent a letter to congressional leaders opposing the Biden Administration’s proposal to require annual reporting to the IRS of gross inflows and outflows from all businesses to pay for spending provisions of the Build Back Better Act. Read more here.
- Webinars of Last Week
- Karen Harned, NFIB’s executive director of the Small Business Legal Center, testified before a congressional committee on the Americans With Disabilities Act. “Thirty-one years after the enactment of the ADA, many small businesses lack clarity about their current obligations under the Act in a changing world,” said an NFIB news release.
- “They struggle to understand when and what structural and online changes are required due to the highly technical nature of the ADA standards as promulgated for brick-and-mortar businesses, no legal standards regarding website accessibility, and private lawsuits as the chief method for enforcing the law,” said Harned in the news release.
Next Main Street Minute November 1.