For the legislative and political week October 3-7
Welcome to the October 3-7 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
- It’s really, finally over. The 2021-2022 session of the California State Legislature effectively ended last Friday (September 30) with the passing of the deadline for Gov. Gavin Newsom to act on bills sent to him.
- A total of 1,166 bills were sent to him in 2022. He signed 997 of them and vetoed 169.
Final Action on Remaining Bills of Small Business Interest
- Let’s start with the only bit of good news to come out of last week. The governor did sign NFIB-supported Assembly Bill 2164 into law. It provides small businesses with a financial pathway to become more accessible to the handicapped.
And now, the rest of the story.
- As predicted in last week’s Main Street Minute, Assembly Bill 2183, which tampers with the secret ballot process in union elections, would be the big media issue of the week, and sure enough, it was.
— AB 2183 “creates new ways for farmworkers to vote in a union election, including options for mail-in ballots, and authorization cards submitted to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, in addition to the existing in-person voting process,” said a news release issued by his office.
— NFIB and its coalition partners has opposed AB 2183 from the beginning, arguing that “Card check eliminates a farmworker’s right to a secret ballot election that is free from coercion from any party that has a financial interest in the outcome of the election. This has been recognized by Governor Brown’s veto of SB 104 in 2011, Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of SB 789 in 2009, and Governor Newsom’s veto of AB 616 in 2021.”
— So, what changed? President Biden’s urging the bill be signed? Newsom’s own presidential aspirations? The matter isn’t dead. Parties to its passage have agreed to clean-up legislation when the 2023-2024 session legislative session opens for business.
- The rest of the week had no better news for small business.
— Senate Bill 1044, prohibiting an employer from acting against an employee who left work because he or she felt unsafe, Assembly Bill 1041, expanding the class of people for whom an employee may take paid and unpaid leave for, and Assembly Bill 1949, adding bereavement as another reason to request leave time – were signed into law.
— So, too, were Senate Bill 1127 fundamentally altering longstanding rules and timeframes for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation claims, Assembly Bill 1601 penalizing call center employers for relocating his or her operation, and Assembly Bill 2693 extending COVID-19 notice requirements that are no longer appropriate as the state moves into the endemic phase of COVID-19 in 2023.
Unions Win Big
- “Few players in California’s political ecosystem will have more wins to celebrate this year than organized labor,” reports PoliticoPro. “’It’s kind of overwhelming, to be honest,’ said Lorena Gonzalez, a former Democratic state lawmaker who now heads the California Labor Federation. ‘Every single one of our sponsored bills that made it to [Newsom’s] desk was signed.”’ Click the link to see the seven bills the article cites.
More Federal Moolah Coming Small Businesses’ Way
- Will it help? Governor Newsom recently announced that California is set to receive $1.1 billion in funding support for the state’s small businesses. The dough is coming from the “U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and is intended to leverage an additional $18 billion of capital to California small businesses,” according to the news release issued by his office.
- The money, of course, will have more strings attached to it than a marching band of marionettes, but NFIB doesn’t want to be the turd in the punchbowl of all the well-meaning intentions behind it. Just, that it’s worth pointing out that whenever recessionary times loom or strike, politicians reach for that old elixir, ‘access to capital,’ as the tonic for what ails small business economies. NFIB counters that more ‘customers walking through the door’ is the sure-fire cure to recessions, but that would require a more serious look at tax and regulatory structures than politicians want to take.
- Is the government helpful? The last time we asked our members, only seven percent of small employers participated in some SBA or SBA-sponsored program or activity over the last three years. The activity in which they participated was finance-related in two-thirds of cases. In that same survey, 70% percent could not identify one government agency, federal, state, or local, that has had a positive impact on their business in the last three years.|
- One big, rare exception. The above survey, of course, was taken long before the COVID-19 pandemic, which showed what the SBA could do in the most extraordinary of circumstances. In the series of special COVID-19 surveys of the NFIB membership, 81% had applied for a business-rescuing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and the high-water mark of those reporting having received it was 97%.
The Endorsements Have Started
- The NFIB Fed PAC and the NFIB CA PAC started rolling out their endorsements for Congress, the State Senate, and the State Assembly last week. More will be forthcoming, and all will be put into one convenient story. In the meantime, all the endorsements so far can be found on the NFIB California webpage, www.nfib.com/ca.
Highlight of the week from NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlin Lanzara
- On September 29, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released the final rule on beneficial ownership. Read NFIB’s statement here.
— Jeff Brabant, NFIB Director of Federal Government Relations stated, “NFIB is disappointed that the rule does not seek to minimize the impact on small businesses or provide the clarity needed by small businesses to comply. FinCEN failed to strike a balance on which businesses must report, what information must be reported, and when the information must be reported. At the same time, under this rule, many small businesses will not know if they need to register with FinCEN, with the prospect of civil and criminal penalties hanging over their head for non-compliance. This will inevitably lead to small businesses contracting out the reporting requirements with consultants at a significant cost. As FinCEN further extends regulatory reach into small business surveillance, Congress must increase oversight and accountability from the agency.”
— Fortune reported on the new beneficial ownership regulation that requires small businesses to register owners’ personal information with the Treasury Department, highlighting NFIB’s opposition to the rule: “The National Federation of Independent Business in February raised privacy concerns about the rule, saying that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which is tasked with creating the database, must provide the same safeguards for the information that apply to other U.S. intelligence agencies.” This article was originally published in AP News.
Next Main Street Minute October 10.