For the legislative and political week July 11-15
Welcome to the July 11-15 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
- The Legislature is in the second week of its month-long vacation. They return August 1.
- Congress returns for business after a two-week recess.
- Twelve California cities and one county had minimum-wage increases kick in July 1.
Minimum-Wage Increases in 12 Cities, one County
- Twelve California cities and one county had minimum-wage increases take effect July 1. The law firm of Baker & Hostetler, LLP has a list of them with the new rates.
- Hotel workers in West Hollywood were given the highest minimum-wage increase in the state to $18.35 an hour.
- California’s minimum-wage rate did not change on July 1 and remains at $14 an hour for firms with 25 or fewer employees and $15 an hour for firms with 26 or more employees. That, however, changes come January 1, 2023, when it jumps to $15.50 an hour for all employees regardless of business size.
Minimum-Wage Increase Makes November 2024 Ballot
- As we reported in last week’s Main Street Minute, millionaire Joe Sanberg’s ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $18 an hour failed to gather enough signatures to make it on this year’s ballot, but enough did show up in time for the November 2024 ballot. So, too, did a ballot initiative to increase taxes on anyone making more than $5 million a year to fund a new California Institute for Pandemic Prevention. A brief description of both initiatives can be read here.
- In the wake of the May 20 deadline for fiscal committees to pass legislation on to their respective Assembly and Senate floors (the whole body), NFIB was left with 19 bills to lobby for (just two) or against. The Legislature is on summer recess and will return August 1 for just one month before adjourning for the rest of the year. Here is a status update on the 19 bills in numerical order.
- Assembly Bill 257 calls for completely upending the fast-food franchise model in California. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 1601 would improperly penalize companies who move California call center operations to a different country. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 1632 would allow members of the public access to non-public areas of businesses. The coalition NFIB is part of removed its opposition after winning amendments. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 1751 would extend the sunset date on the existing workers’ compensation presumption for COVID-19 by two years to January 1, 2025. Passed Assembly, now in Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 1920, which NFIB supported, would have provided tax credits for supplemental COVID leave. Failed to pass Assembly. Dead for the year.
- Assembly Bill 1949 calls for adding yet another reason for requesting leave time: bereavement. Passed Assembly, now in Senate Appropriations.
- Assembly Bill 2164, which NFIB supports, would provide small businesses with a financial pathway to become more accessible to the handicapped. Passed Assembly unanimously, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 2183 would thwart the secret ballot election process in union elections. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 2188 would create an unprecedented, protected class for marijuana users and undermine an employer’s ability to provide a safe and drug-free workplace. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 2243 would add three new regulations regarding heat illness and wildfire smoke. Amendments were made that allowed NFIB to go neutral on the bill. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Assembly Bill 2289 called for creating a new wealth tax. Failed to pass Assembly. Dead for the year.
- Assembly Bill 2570 called for paying down the state’s outstanding unemployment insurance trust fund debt by $7.25 billion. Failed to pass Assembly. Dead for the year.
- Assembly Bill 2693 would extend COVID-19 notice requirements that are no longer appropriate as the state moves into the endemic phase of COVID-19 in 2023. Passed Assembly, now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- Senate Bill 958 would have raised health insurance premiums by limiting specialty pharmacies’ ability to deliver critical medications. Passed Senate, pulled from the Assembly Health Committee’s calendar by author.
- Senate Bill 1044 would prohibit an employer from acting against an employee who left work because he or she felt unsafe. Passed Senate, now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
- Senate Bill 1127 would fundamentally alter longstanding rules and timeframes for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation claims. Passed Senate, now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
- Senate Bill 1149 would disincentivize efficient settlements of lawsuits. Passed Senate and close to full Assembly passage.
- Senate Bill 1458 sought to increase workers’ compensation disability benefits to account for disparity in earnings between genders. Failed to pass Senate. Dead for the year.
- Senate Bill 1162 would increase reporting requirements on employers who hire workers through labor contractors. Passed Senate, now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
NFIB California Podcast
- Check out the latest NFIB California Podcast: Women in Business Leadership. Three Stories of Success. Telling their stories are:
- Shannon Deary-Bell, president and CEO of Nor-Cal Beverage
- Donna Lucas, founder of Lucas Public Affairs
- Leigh White, chief revenue officer for Vydiant
Congress was out last week but NFIB’s legal and research centers carried on with their work.
- The 2021-2022 session of the U.S. Supreme Court has ended with some big victories for small business. NFIB issued this news release last week highlighting the five biggest ones for Main Street enterprises, one of which NFIB was the lead plaintiff.
- “From the vaccine mandate to arbitration cases, small businesses had a successful term at the Supreme Court,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “The courts are fundamentally the last line of defense for small businesses regarding government overreach, burdensome regulations, and costly mandates. The cases decided this term will benefit small businesses across various industries.”
- Last Thursday (July 7), NFIB released its latest monthly Jobs Report showing only a slight drop in unfilled job openings.
- “The labor force participation rate has been slowly rising this year, with more people taking jobs,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, the labor shortage continues to be a difficult problem for small businesses. A few more good months of increased employment might get total employment back to pre-pandemic levels.”
Small Business Surtax
- Word is out that the U.S. Senate intends to go ahead with a Small Business Surtax, which wasn’t greeted with much warmth by Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s vice president of federal government relations.
- “This plan to implement a Small Business Surtax is a direct attack on Main Street when they can least afford it. With excessive inflation, high gas prices, worker shortages, and supply chain disruptions, a tax increase dishonestly masked as closing a ‘loophole’ or ‘funding Medicare’ is not only problematic, but it could also trigger a small business recession that would have a devastating impact on economic recovery. Congress should immediately reject this anti-small business provision and NFIB will actively work against its passage.”
Next Main Street Minute July 18.