For the legislative and political week May 23-27
Welcome to the May 23-27 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
Big Legislative Deadline Passes
- Friday, May 20, was the last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house. NFIB had its eye and involvement on 18 measures of small-business concern. A 19th was added Friday, May 20.
- First, the good news. NFIB and its coalition partners succeeded in having the following bills “Held in Committee,” a nice legislative term meaning they’re dead for the year:
- Assembly Bill 2182 would have added “family responsibilities” to the list of protected characteristics under the Fair Employment and Housing Act even if the employee did not request time off as an accommodation and simply took time off, whenever he or she wanted — scheduled or unscheduled.
- Senate Bill 1458 sought to increase workers’ compensation “disability benefits by the percentage of disparity in earnings between genders.” Although meant for businesses with 100 or more employees, NFIB decided to weigh in with its opposition knowing that if it passed, it would not be long before the 100 threshold was lowered.|
- A little more good news:
- Making it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee was NFIB-supported Assembly Bill 2164, which would provide small businesses with a financial pathway to become more accessible to the handicapped.
- Now, for the bad news. Succeeding in making it out of their respective Appropriations Committees and getting a renewed lease on legislative life were:
- Assembly Bill 1601 which would improperly penalize companies who move California call center operations to a different country.
- Assembly Bill 1632 which would allow members of the public access to non-public areas of businesses. It passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee but not before being heavily amended.
- Assembly Bill 1751 which would extend the sunset date on the existing workers’ compensation presumption for COVID-19 by two years to January 1, 2025.
- Assembly Bill 1949 which calls for adding yet another reason for requesting leave time: bereavement.
- Assembly Bill 2183 which would thwart the secret ballot election process in union elections.
- Assembly Bill 2188 which would create an unprecedented, protected class for marijuana users and undermine an employer’s ability to provide a safe and drug-free workplace. It calls for banning pre-employment testing for marijuana and forces any testing during employment to use saliva tests, not the more familiar and widely used urine tests.
- Assembly Bill 2243 which would be an end-run around the expertise of OSHA with the addition of three new regulations regarding heat illness and wildfire smoke.
- Assembly Bill 2693 which would extend COVID-19 notice requirements that are no longer appropriate as the state moves into the endemic phase of COVID-19 in 2023.
- Senate Bill 1044 which would prohibit an employer from acting against an employee who left work because he or she felt unsafe.
- Senate Bill 1127 which would fundamentally alter longstanding rules and timeframes for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation claims.
- Senate Bill 1149 which would disincentivize efficient settlements of lawsuits.
- Update on four other measures:
- Assembly Bill 257, which calls for completely upending the fast-food franchise model in California and replacing it with a new state agency that would set wages and working conditions, still awaits action by the Senate Labor committee after passing the Assembly 41-21.
- Assembly Bill 1920, which NFIB supports, and which would provide tax credits for supplemental COVID leave, is still languishing in the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee. If it is to happen at all, it would likely be part of the state budget.
- Also languishing the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee is Assembly Bill 2289, which NFIB opposes and which would eventually reach deeper into the pockets of small-business owners to make up for lost state revenue because of a new wealth tax on high earners that would entice some of them to leave California. Because it would require a two-thirds vote by the Legislature, it is unlikely to pass.
- Assembly Bill 2570 continues to be a budget item. NFIB is part of a group making calls and having meetings with key budget legislators to obtain more than Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $1 billion he has proposed as a down payment toward the state’s outstanding unemployment insurance trust fund debt that it has with the federal government.
NFIB Joins Opposition to Senate Bill 1162
- Although it, too, would apply to businesses with 100 or more employees, NFIB on Friday, May 20, joined a business coalition in opposition to Senate Bill 1162 for the same reason it did for SB 1458 above: That employee threshold would quickly and steadily be lowered.
- Among other things, SB 1162 would require employers who hired workers through labor contractors to provide the Department of Fair Employment and Housing certain specified information, including pay data, and would require all employers to inform current employees on the same day of an opportunity for promotion.
- The business coalition contends SB 1162 forces employers to be reliant on data from the labor contractor over which they may not have much control. Additionally, employers do not presently collect the demographic data necessary for fulfilling the bill’s reporting requirement.
Next Legislative Deadline, Friday, May 27
- “About 220 bills were shelved,” reported CalMatters about the May 20 deadline. “The bills that made it through — more than 700 of them — now face another looming deadline next week [May 27] to pass out of their house of origin. If successful, they will move to the other chamber for further consideration.”
- Although another business association took the lead on Assembly Bill 1218 and succeeded in stopping it from moving any further up the legislative ladder, NFIB supported its demise.
- This bill would have declared that to help achieve the state’s climate and air quality goals and mandates, 100% of in-state sales of new passenger vehicles and light-duty vehicle sales and trucks would have to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
- NFIB California is now part of two coalitions aimed at combatting retail theft. Last Wednesday (May 18), Californians Against Retail and Residential and Theft (CARRT) announced its launch via a Zoom news conference. Click here for an NFIB story on the news conference.
- Earlier in the year, NFIB joined Californians for Safe Stores and Neighborhoods, which is being led by the California Retailers Association.
- Congressionally, on May 13, NFIB sent a letter of support for H.R. 6852, the Porch Pirates Act of 2022. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), it would make theft of packages at private homes, distribution centers, in transport, or at drop-off boxes a federal felony.
- Cal/OSHA has updated its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Frequently Asked Questions section. You can acquaint yourself with them here.
NFIB California in the News
- In an interview with the Southern California Record, May 18, State Director John Kabateck warns of dire economic consequences if California miscalculates on its plan to reduce carbon emission.
- Click here to see a sampling of the 2022 media coverage NFIB California has received.
Highlights from NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlin Lanzara’s weekly report.
- What are the most harmful 2023 Biden budget proposals? Here they are on one page for quick reference.
- Last week, NFIB opposed the following House bills that were approved by the House Education and Labor Committee and House Financial Services Committee:
- H.R. 7701, the Wage Theft Prevention and Recovery Act. This legislation significantly increases penalties on small businesses who have isolated errors when trying to comply with complicated federal employment law, increases paperwork and compliance burdens for small businesses, and deputizes private organizations – including those that may not be impartial – to help enforce employment law.
- H.R. 4395, the Payment Choice Act of 2021. This legislation would restrict the freedom of small retailers and could lead to small-business owners being targeted with frivolous lawsuits.
- On May 17, the NFIB Legal Center filed an amicus brief urging the Fifth District Court of Appeals to simplify DOL tip credit rule. Read more here.
- There is still time to vote your Federal Member Ballot. Visit NFIB.com/VoteMyBallot. Learn more about the process here.
Next Main Street Minute May 30.