2021-2022 Victories from the California State Legislature

Date: May 03, 2022

NFIB helped achieve some major wins for small business

As of May 27, 2022, NFIB, either by taking the lead or as part of a coalition, was able to achieve the following victories for small business. The 2022 half of the two-year session adjourns on August 31.

From the 2022 Half

Defeated a Universal, Single-Payer Health-Care Scheme

In spite of 94% of Californians already having some form of health care, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Assembly Bill 1400 would have seized control of every aspect of health coverage – even federal programs – and put it under the total control of the state at a cost of between $494 billion to $552 billion a year, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. By comparison, the entire state budget is just under $300 billion a year. AB 1400 would have also abolished all private health insurance.

Stopped Mandatory Vaccinations of All Employees

Assembly Bill 1993 would have required all California businesses to demand their employees and independent contractors receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, Overall, 71% of California’s population have been fully vaccinated.

Blocked Four-Day Workweek Bill from Advancing

Although it exempted businesses with fewer than 500 employees, NFIB decided to fight Assembly Bill 2932 early before that threshold could be continually dropped. The measure would have required the compensation rate of pay at 32 hours to reflect the previous compensation rate of pay at 40 hours and would prohibit an employer from reducing an employee’s regular rate of pay as a result of this reduced hourly workweek requirement.

Prevented Three Leave Bills from Passing

California already offers 16 types of leave time employees can request. Three measures would have increased that.

  • For businesses with 25 or more employees, Assembly Bill 95 would have mandated 10 days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or domestic partner.

  • Assembly Bill 1119, affecting businesses with five or more employees, would expand the list of protected characteristics under the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include family responsibilities. Denial of the leave would have given an employee a cause of action against an employer who discriminated against the employee, or took any adverse employment action, because of the employee’s family responsibilities.”

  • Relatedly, 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.
Helped Kill Workers’ Compensation Premium Increase

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.

Beat Back an Onerous Worker Privacy Proposal

Assembly Bill 1651 would have imposed overly broad requirements on both public and private employers of all sizes and buried employers and employees alike in vast amounts of red tape. The bill’s punitive enforcement section subjects even the most well-intentioned employer to egregious penalties for any minor, technical violations that will, without question, lead to businesses shutting down and the loss of jobs.

Victories from the 2021 Half

Won Tax Conformity of PPP Loans

NFIB helped win passage of Assembly Bill 80, which partially conforms state tax law to the federal tax law regarding the forgivability of PPP loans.

Achieved SALT Limitation Work-Around

NFIB was a key proponent of Assembly Bill 150 that creates an elective tax that passthrough entities can use as a workaround of the State and Local Tax (SALT) limitation.

Preserved Small Employer Family Leave Mediation

NFIB provided key testimony in support of Assembly Bill 1033, which aims to preserve the Small Employer Family Leave Mediation Program within the California Family Rights Act.

Secured Key Amendments on Health Plans

NFIB and its coalition partners succeeded in amending Assembly Bill 570, which sought to allow dependent parents and stepparents to be added to employer-sponsored health plans. The estimated cost on employers was pegged at $1 billion. After accepting the coalition’s suggested amendments, dependent parents can only be added to individual policies, not on employer-sponsored plans.

Attained Legal Notice Requirement Reform

NFIB successfully lobbied for passage of Senate Bill 657, concerning the receipt of legally required notices for employees who work from home. SB 657 provides that in instances where an employer is required to physically post information in the workplace, an employer may also distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. The distribution by email shall not alter the employer’s obligation to physically post the information in the workplace.

Successfully Lobbied Cal/OSHA on Mask Requirement

NFIB lobbied Cal-OSHA Standards Board for workplace rules on employee masking that mirror those of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Defeated Vaccination Requirements in Two Bills

NFIB and its business coalition teammates helped derail proposed amendments that were to have been inserted into Assembly Bill 455 and Assembly Bill 1102. Amendments that would have required every employee to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing and would have extended paid sick leave beyond the affordability of most small businesses. In the end, the clock for inserting amendments.

Stopped Blacklisting of Businesses over COVID Outbreaks

Assembly Bill 654 would have blacklisted businesses by requiring the state Dept. of Public Health to publish on its website a list of every workplace in the state where a COVID-19 outbreak has occurred. This bill was substantially amended, allowing NFIB to go neutral on it. The amendments remove the address-specific listing of businesses with COVID-19 outbreaks, which was the sole remaining point of opposition against this legislation. What remains in the bill is a legitimate clean-up that does not make substantive changes to existing law and is, in parts, a specific clean-up requested by the business community.

Blocked Doubling of Paid Sick Leave

Assembly Bill 995 would have nearly doubled the requirement to provide paid sick leave from three days per year to five days per year. NFIB successfully argued that more employee leave is not needed at a time when businesses are recovering from a year of shutdowns and having to contend with other leave mandates recently imposed.

Prevented Expanding the Definition of Family Member

Assembly Bill 1041 would have expanded the definition of “family member” in the California Family Rights Act to allow an employee to take leave time to take care of any person of his or her choosing.

Helped Defeat Expanded Leave Requirement

NFIB opposed Assembly Bill 1119 that allowed for increased family leave accommodations. NFIB and other business-coalition groups succeeded in having it held in committee.

Beat Back State-Owned Bank Proposal

Assembly Bill 1177 called for the creation of a state-owned bank. NFIB joined other business associations in support of amending the bill to, instead, call for establishing a CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission to conduct a market analysis to determine the feasibility of a state-owned bank.

Defeated Single-Use Plastics Bill

Assembly Bill 1371 would have prohibited online retailers that sell products from using single-use plastic packaging that consists of shipping envelopes, cushioning, or void fill to package or transport the products. NFIB teamed up with 25 other business associations to issue a Floor Alert opposing AB 1371.

Stopped Workers’ Compensation Cost Increases

Senate Bill 335 would increase workers’ compensation costs by:

  • reducing the time an employer has to deny liability for a workers’ compensation claim from 90 to 45 days

  • reducing the time an employer has to deny liability for a workers’ compensation claim for specified presumptive injuries from 90 to 30 days requiring that a compensation claim which has been unreasonably delayed or refused have its award increased by 10 percent.

 

 

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