For the legislative and political week July 6-10
Welcome to the July 6 issue of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
- A new state budget is in effect and the Legislature has adjourned until July 13.
- Before leaving, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 1383, 21 to 12, over to the Assembly for its consideration. The proposal makes two particularly troubling changes in the California Family Rights Act: It lowers from 50 employees to 5 employees the size of businesses that must comply, and it gives jobs ‘protected’ status, which means they must be kept available for employees returning from leave time (which firms with 50 employees must currently do).
- A Senate staff analysis of SB 1383, which includes a comparison chart of the state’s four big leave programs, can be read here.
- Democrats, who control the Legislature by big margins, were not united in passing SB 1383. Reports Melody Gutierrez of the Los Angeles Times, “The Senate approved the bill with the bare minimum votes needed to pass Thursday, with five Democrats breaking with the rest of the party’s members in refusing to embrace the proposal. State Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) pushed back against what she described as pressure to vote for the bill, saying she was told she was not a good Democrat or member of the women’s caucus if she voted against it. Caballero noted that business owners are already panicking about how they will survive the economic catastrophe brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Many of them will never open again,’ Caballero said. ‘Many of them are struggling to stay afloat.’” Full article available here.
- Why can’t NFIB ever get on board one of these leave proposals? Because 73% of small-business owners already offer paid time off and for any reason and in the best way possible: Tailored to the individual needs of the employee, not through an ill-fitting state mandate.
- NFIB California is now an official co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 1035. “This bill would exempt a small business with 25 or fewer employees from liability for an injury or illness to a person due to coronavirus (COVID-19) based on a claim that the person contracted COVID-19 while at that small business, or due to the actions of that small business,” according to the Legislative Council’s wording on the bill.
- Both houses of the Legislature are on recess until July 13. When they return, it will be seven weeks to the finish of the 2019-20 legislative session. We expect some push and shove between the two houses. The Assembly sent to the Senate many more non-COVID related bills than were sent their way. How those bills are treated is up in the air, but we expect some leftover fireworks.
- It is official. There will be 12 initiatives on the November ballot and they each now have a proposition number. The one NFIB California will be spending all the energy it can to defeat is Proposition 15, which would increase property taxes by $7.5 billion to $12 billion by decoupling commercial property tax assessments from residential assessments and tax the former on fair market value. NFIB will continue to remind voters that 80% of small-business owners rent or lease their places of operation and a tax increase on property owners will be passed on to them.
- Last Tuesday, June 30, State Director John Kabateck moderated a webinar on Reopening California: PPP Forgiveness & Return to Work, sponsored by the law firm Hoge Fenton. Joining Kabateck were Hoge Fenton Employment Law Chairman Sarju Naran and Tim Perotti, audit partner for the firm of Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP. The one-hour webinar can be seen here.
- Kabateck also took a moment to pen an editorial for Capitol Weekly on the importance of small businesses to their communities, using nearby Placerville as an example.
- On Tuesday, June 30, the Senate passed S. 4116 to extend the Paycheck Protection Program application process through August 8. The House passed the bill on Wednesday, July 1, and the president signed it July 4. This extension will continue to help small businesses, since the program closed to applications on June 30.
- Next NFIB webinar, July 8, 9 a.m. PT, is titled, PPP Forgiveness – A Banker’s Perspective. Special guest Mary Beth Baker, senior vice president and commercial lending officer for Powell Valley National Bank, will join hosts, Beth Milito of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center and Holly Wade, NFIB’s director of research and policy analysis. These webinars, which were started to help small-business owners cope with and navigate the federal loan programs, now draw 8,000 to 10,000 viewers. Register here for Wednesday’s.
NFIB California Main Street Minutes are published every Monday on the NFIB California webpage. Two additional updates are published the first and third Thursday of each month for inclusion in the bi-monthly newsletters to the membership. Next California Main Street Minute is July 13.