For the legislative and political week February 14-18
Welcome to the February 14-18 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
The Return of Paid COVID Leave Time
- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bills 114 and 113, the former, according to his news release, “ensures employees have access to COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave through September 30, 2022,” and the latter, “provides $6.1 billion in tax credits, grants and other relief for small businesses, including nearly $500 million in tax cuts for restaurants and shuttered venues and $5.5 billion in restored tax deductions and tax credits to spur innovation.”
- For businesses with 26
- or more employees, SB 114, which is retroactive to January 1 and expires on Sept. 30, 2022, provides up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for qualifying COVID-19 cases.
- NFIB and its coalition partners outlined their opposition to extending COVID supplemental paid sick leave in this letter. NFIB did not take a position on Senate Bill 113, which was not connected to COVID leave.
Vaccinate or Vamoose
- As expected, Assembly Member Buffy Wicks has resurrected her vaccine mandate idea, this time in the form of Assembly Bill 1993.
- “This bill would require an employer to require each person who is an employee or independent contractor, and who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to show proof to the employer, or an authorized agent thereof, that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19,” according to the Legislative Counsel’s digest.
- “Wicks and other lawmakers explored a similar bill late last year,” reports Politico California. “That effort faltered, but Wicks and other fervently pro-mandate lawmakers are picking up where they left off. State Sen. Richard Pan has already introduced contentious legislation requiring students to get their shots if they want to enter classrooms, and lawmakers are contemplating a separate consumer vax mandate bill — meaning Sacramento could push these requirements into multiple spheres of day-to-day life.
- “The redoubled vaccination efforts come as California and other states move away from other stringent Covid safeguards. Gov. Gavin Newsom cited the state’s plummeting infection and hospitalization rates this week in letting a statewide indoor mask mandate lapse next week.”
- Late last month, NFIB succeeded in getting the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw its proposed vaccine mandate. Some legislatures in states with their own OSHAs, like California, are seeking a way around that. NFIB California will vigorously oppose Assembly Bill 1993, not least of which because it offers no liability protection for small businesses against unfair COVID lawsuits.
Other Legislative Issues
- We’ve temporarily updated our one page Good, Bad & Ugly bills and initiatives for 2022. You can still find our 2021 end-of-session report on the NFIB California webpage. Both will be revised sometime post-February 18, when the deadline for introducing new legislation passes.
NFIB California in the News
- CBS 13 Sacramento, February 9—State Director John Kabateck interviewed about the staffing shortages small-business owners are grappling with.
- CalMatters, February 8—NFIB member Jim Relles says he’s glad a new COVID-19 paid leave mandate passed by the Legislature doesn’t apply to businesses of his size.
- NFIB California sent this news release out last Thursday (February 10), Small-Business Owners Want Real End to Retail Theft, which reports on the ballot results for 2022. NFIB thanks its California members for taking the time to vote their State Member Ballot.
- We have posted a new NFIB California in the News story for 2022, listing a sample of the coverage NFIB has received so far this year. From this story you can also click on the coverage for 2021, 2020, and 2019.
- Your NFIB lobbying team in Sacramento thanks NFIB member Jim Relles for his willingness to talk to the media about an important small-business issue. As we will never tire of saying, no one commands the attention of the media about a small-business issue better than a small-business owner. Interested in speaking out? Drop Senior Media Manager Tony Malandra an email here.
Highlights From the Week in Washington, D.C.
- What is it about independent contractors that gives the National Labor Relations Board such irrational conniption fits? They are at it again, this time in a case involving the Atlanta Opera Company versus its make-up artists and hairstylists.
- A case an NFIB news release, announcing the filing of an amicus brief, called extremely consequential. Said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center in the news release, “Small business owners are better able to comply with various rules and regulations when government agencies provide clear and consistent guidance. Unfortunately, independent contractor rules have been neither clear nor consistent, confusing many owners on how best to comply. Small businesses in various industries utilize independent contractors and depend on a clear standard. NFIB urges the Board to keep the current standard in place.”
- Indeed. According to NFIB research:
- 39% of NFIB members primarily operate their business as an independent contractor
- 25% of NFIB members use an independent contractor either daily, a few times a week or a few times a month. 55% of NFIB members use independent contractors a few times a year
- 76% of NFIB members pay an independent contractor one to three times a year.
- Reports NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlan Lanzara, “On February 10th, Sen. Manchin (D-WV) said the House-passed Build Back Better Act was dead and warning about the impact of more federal spending on inflation. However, he also said some pieces of the proposals could pass later after Congress acts on a bipartisan bill to fund the government. In short, the House-passed Build Back Better Act is dead, but reconciliation lives (‘Baby BBB?’).”
Next Main Street Minute February 21.