For the legislative and political week August 29-September 2
Welcome to the August 29-September 2 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This edition was published two days before the end of session. A fuller update will be in next week’s Main Street Minute, which can be found on the NFIB California webpage at www.nfib.com/ca.
- California Air Resources Board passes historic regulation on gas-powered cars
- The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn this Wednesday, August 31
It’s Raining Climate Regulations
- By now, it would be impossible not to have heard what the California Air Resources Board (CARB) did Thursday, August 25. Of all the media reports, and they ran from coast to coast, these four paragraphs from CalMatters provided the best summary of what transpired at the agency, and, relatedly, the Legislature.
— “Thursday was a day of climate contradictions in California’s state capital.
— “First, state air regulators voted unanimously to phase out the sale of new gas-powered cars, passing a rule that will require automakers to electrify 35% of their new vehicle fleets by 2026, 68% by 2030 and 100% by 2035, CalMatters’ Nadia Lopez reports. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had directed the California Air Resources Board to develop those regulations, called the move ‘groundbreaking and world-leading.’
— “Then, state lawmakers advanced a bill — just two days after it had been put into print — to accelerate cuts to California’s greenhouse gas emissions by requiring a 55% reduction to 1990 levels by 2030, instead of the existing goal of 40%. The bill is part of a five-pronged climate package that Newsom formally presented to lawmakers on Aug. 12, less than three weeks before the end of the legislative session next Wednesday. (His proposal to establish 3,200 setbacks between new oil and gas wells and sensitive areas went into print Thursday.)
— “Yet, as numerous legislators pointed out during a hearing on the greenhouse gas bill, California is not on track to meet its current emissions reductions goals, according to a 2021 state auditor report and numerous analyses conducted by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office and independent experts.”
- NFIB California State Director John Kabateck testified at the CARB meeting, warning that its regulation could “divide Californians even more between the haves and the have-nots. Average prices of an EV right now are $66,000, up 13% from last year.” ABC 30 was one of the many stations to air Kabateck’s remarks. His remarks were also covered by The Business Journal and other publications.
CARB Campaign in Final Week
- Separate from the above action by CARB is its refinement and looming adoption of its 2022 Scoping Plan. This will be the final week of NFIB’s social media campaign to draw the plan’s awareness to our members’ attention. As of the end of last week, the campaign resulted in around 40 million social media hits. The response it spurred has helped NFIB California earn a seat at the table with CARB’s board.
- “I wish it were otherwise, but this train is going to leave the station,” said Kabateck about CARB’s Scoping Plan. “Thanks to the response of our members, however, small business will have an opportunity to prevent this regulatory locomotive from sideswiping some small businesses.”
With an adjournment looming this Wednesday (August 31), last week was the busiest in two years. Believe it or not, there were a couple of pieces of good news. Good news!!?? From this Legislature? Yes. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
- First, lawmakers sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom Assembly Bill 2164, which NFIB lobbied extensively for. It would provide small businesses with a financial pathway to become more handicap accessible. Click here to check out the background analysis, which begins on Page 4.
- Second, legislators also sent Assembly Bill 1951 to the governor. The measure is a complete sale-and-use tax exemption for the purchase of manufacturing and R&D equipment. NFIB was part of a coalition in support of its passage. Quick information about the bill is contained in this Senate Floor Alert.
And now for the bad news. Also passing the Legislature and on their way to the governor’s desk were:
- Senate Bill 1044, which would have prohibited an employer from acting against an employee who left work because he or she felt unsafe. Although the California Chamber and other groups later dropped their opposition to the measure, NFIB and a few other business associations did not, arguing that current workplace laws already demand employers maintain safe job sites. Groups that removed their opposition did so because the bill was substantially amended. It is not the same bill as it was.
- Assembly Bill 1041, which expands, to any person an employee designates, the class of people for whom an employee may take paid and unpaid leave to care for.
What about NFIB’s other agenda items? They are right where they were last week, but that will change today, tomorrow, or Wednesday. Next week’s edition of the Main Street Minute will have a semi-final report on the entire 2021-2022 session. Semi-final because the governor has until September 30 to veto or sign bills sent to him.
Zero-Bail Bill Returns from the Grave
- Say this much for Senate Bill 262, it’s a great, point-to example why associations made up of job-creators must keep eternal vigilance with the goings-on in Sacramento. This bad idea to saddle the state with a zero-bail policy was shelved last September (“Ordered to the inactive file” in legislative parlance). But last Tuesday (August 23), SB 262 was brought off the inactive file.
- NFIB wasted no time in helping form a coalition to prevent the measure from advancing in the waning days of the session. “We have already seen the problems created by blanket Zero Bail policies instituted by the courts during the pandemic,” said the coalition’s letter of opposition sent to the Legislature. “After evaluating the impacts, most communities have abandoned these flawed policies, including some of the largest counties in the state like Los Angeles and Santa Clara. Zero Bail policies were abused by repeat offenders and led to serious crimes like homicides committed by individuals out on Zero Bail release.”
- Los Angeles County? Strangely, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, the author of SB 262, is running for a seat on the county board of supervisors there now that he is termed out of the Legislature. Go figure.
Reminder to Vote
- NFIB California is asking its members their opinion on Proposition 30 on this November’s ballot. Background information and arguments made by proponents and opponents are given and the question asked is, “Should California increase taxes on individuals with over $2 million in annual income to subsidize clean energy and wildfire prevention initiatives?” Because this is for NFIB members only, the link to the survey is not included here. If you did not receive your survey, send NFIB Grassroots Manager Taylor Criddle an email, [email protected].org.
- Congress is out of session this week.
Next Main Street Minute September 5.