For the legislative and political week June 7-11
Welcome to the June 7 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business advocacy team in Sacramento.
State of Emergency to Stay
- Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday, June 4, the state of emergency, which has granted him extraordinary powers to deal with the pandemic, will remain in place after the state fully re-opens June 15.
- “The news comes a day after a marathon meeting over the state’s ongoing mask requirements for workers,” reports The Sacramento Bee. “The standards board of the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly called Cal-OSHA, voted to require workers continue to wear masks unless everyone is vaccinated.”
- In another Bee report, “A California state board on Thursday narrowly rejected, then ultimately approved a plan that eases the requirement for employees to wear masks and practice social distancing … the board reversed its vote after an hour of discussion, after realizing that rejecting the updated rule would mean the current regulation, which requires masks to be worn at all times indoors, as well as outdoors if less than six feet away from others, would have stayed in effect.”
- NFIB highly encourages all small-business owners to acquaint themselves with Cal/OSHA’s latest changes, which take effect June 15, and which can be read here. “Last year, the Board adopted health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19. The standards did not consider vaccinations and required testing, quarantining, masking and more to protect workers from COVID-19. The changes adopted by the Board phase out physical distancing and make other adjustments to better align with the state’s June 15 goal to retire the Blueprint.”
The Good News
- No issue is truly dead until the Legislature gavels for final recess on September 10, NFIB California’s chief legislative advocate Kevin Pedrotti reminds people. However, moving a measure to the inactive file, such as Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez requested for her Assembly Bill 995, wouldn’t commend it for much of a future life. This was the best news to come out of last week’s legislative activity.
- AB 995 would have:
- expanded the number of paid sick days employers are required to provide
- and imposed new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes by expanding the number of paid sick days employers are required to provide—in addition to all of the recently enacted leave mandates (COVID-19 sick leave, Cal/OSHA emergency paid time off, CFRA leave, workers’ compensation, etc.) that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply.
- NFIB was part of a coalition that sent this letter of opposition to all Assembly members. “Those businesses that can afford to offer more than three days of sick leave are doing so, but not all businesses can absorb that cost right now,” said the coalition’s letter. “This is especially true given that Governor Newsom just signed SB 95, which imposes a burdensome new 80-hour COVID19 related leave requirement that is retroactive to January 1st. Businesses struggling to keep their doors open or hire back employees who were laid off due to COVID-19 closures need relief from this seemingly endless increase in leave mandates.”
- “Endless increase in leave mandates” indeed. From a prior Main Street Minute bullet: “Just how many leave laws, paid and unpaid, does California have? The Shouse Labor Law Group counts 16. (Click here and scroll down to the powder blue, screened-down box) But that list was as of the beginning of the year and doesn’t count the recently passed and signed into law Senate Bill 95, the supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 cases that took effect March 29, and will last until September 10.”
- Never let it be said small-business owners are mean-spirited when it comes to paid leave. Quite the opposite, they’re quite generous. Pre-pandemic, NFIB found, “The vast majority of small employers (73%) offer paid time off (PTO) to the majority of their full-time employees, and 67 percent of them offer two week or more of leave. The number of days offered is dependent on an employee’s length of service in 76 percent of small businesses offering the benefit.”
- Even during the ravages of the pandemic, 54% of small-business owners offered paid sick leave as a benefit, and the majority of them (56%) for between five and 10 days, according to the latest member poll. Not such a good result were the 52% of small-business owners unfamiliar with a COVID-19 sick and family leave tax credit available to them.
- NFIB and its employer-community coalition prevailed on AB 995 for now, but Pedrotti cautions to keep the champagne on ice until September 10.
Bill Deadline Passes …
- Friday, June 4, was the deadline for passing bills out of their house of origin. “Miss that deadline and one has a dead bill,” reports Pedrotti. “End of the road. Do not pass go.
- “We started the week with 543 bills on which to vote on the respective floors of each house. Numerous bills are sent to the inactive file because they are not fully baked or lacked support and defaulted to being a two-year bill; however, by and large, the overwhelming majority of remaining bills survived the deadline to make it to the other side.”
… Another Deadline Looms
- June 15 is the legislature’s budget deadline. “No budget, no pay for legislators, so the incentive is strong to git’r done,” said NFIB’s Pedrotti.
- “The Legislature’s framework differs from the Governor’s May Revision in two primary ways. First, it maximizes flexible federal funds to support and improve core programs. And second, the Legislature’s version uses the revenue forecasts of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, as well as up-to-date revenue performance through the month of May in the current year.”
- More fiscally conservative? That’s right—we used those words to compare the Legislature’s budget plan to the governor’s, which is slightly smaller than the state’s chief executive.
- “As the two sides negotiate a budget that will impact millions of Californians, there are four key areas on which they need to reach a compromise: homeless housing, rebuilding public health, helping undocumented immigrants, and increasing college access,” reports NFIB’s chief legislative advocate.
- Budget committees are meeting this week and will quickly wrap up a plan.
- On June 22-25, during the NFIB Virtual Fly-In, small business owners will share their Small Business Survival story on how tax increases and mandates could impact their businesses.
- On June 3rd, NFIB’s monthly Jobs Report showed a record-high 48% of small business owners in May reported unfilled job openings. May is the fourth consecutive month of record-high readings for unfilled job openings and is 26 points higher than the 48-year historical reading of 22%.
- On Wednesday, June 9, NFIB will host a webinar titled, “Claiming the Employee Retention Credit: Don’t Miss Out on the Tax Credit that Offers Up to $33,000 per Employee!” Register here.
Next Main Street Minute June 14.