The following list summarizes the final status of California Chamber of Commerce priority bills that were sent to the Governor this year.
The CalChamber will publish a record of legislators’ votes on key bills affecting the California business climate on November 3. Generally, the bills selected for the vote record have appeared in one of the status reports.
Bills signed by the Governor will become law on January 1, 2018. Urgency, budget-related and tax levy measures go into effect immediately upon being signed.
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Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Marketing. AB 841 (Weber; D-San Diego) Before amendments, limited businesses’ ability to partner with schools on projects and programs that are mutually beneficial by prohibiting student incentive programs that contain certain food products. Opposition removed due to August 23, 2017 amendments. Neutral.
Land Conveyances. SB 50 (B. Allen; D-Santa Monica) Before amendments, jeopardized multiple uses of land such as grazing or recreation by making federal land sales contingent on State Lands Commission terms. Opposition removed due to June 29, 2017 amendments. Neutral.
Abatement Orders. AB 1132 (C. Garcia; D-Bell Gardens) Before amendments, allowed a local air district to immediately shut down operations of a facility for a perceived imminent or substantial endangerment to public health or the environment while awaiting a hearing. Opposition removed due to June 5, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Burdensome Regulations. AB 1647 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Before amendments, created requirements for refineries that operate in California to install air monitoring systems along the fence line of the refineries’ property as well as in surrounding communities. Concerns removed due to June 8, 2017 amendments. No Position
Energy Financing. AB 1284 (Dababneh; D-Encino) Protects lenders and consumers by providing oversight and guidelines for solicitors offering financing for the PACE program which helps property owners upgrade energy retrofits to current standards. Support.
Signed 10/4/17—Chapter 475 (Urgency)
Board of Equalization Reform. AB 102 (Committee on Budget) Unnecessarily rushes substantive and significant reforms to the Board of Equalization and creates two new agencies, including an Office of Tax Appeals that allows unelected bureaucrats to determine major tax policy issues, through the budget process instead of allowing such policy to be deliberated through the normal schedule of the legislative process. Oppose.
Signed 6/27/17—Chapter 16 (Budget)
Thwarts Innovation. AB 134 (Committee on Budget) Places burdensome anti-technology language on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund expenditures. Oppose Unless Amended.
Signed 9/16/17—Chapter 254 (Budget)
Stifles Innovation. SB 103 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review) Stifles innovation by placing restrictions and prohibitions on the use or development of automated technology at the ports. Oppose.
Signed 7/21/17—Chapter 95 (Budget)
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Extension of Streamlining Benefits under CEQA. AB 246 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles) Extends the streamlining benefits under the California Environmental Quality Act for environmental leadership development projects meeting specific criteria for an additional two years. Support.
Reduces Compliance Costs. AB 398 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella) Provides regulatory certainty for California businesses, helps maintain a healthy economy and provides the least costly path to achieving our climate goals by extending cap-and-trade to 2030 by providing market mechanisms rather than government command-and-control. Support.
Signed 7/25/17—Chapter 135 (Urgency)
Legislative Oversight. ACA 1 (Mayes; R-Yucca Valley) Increases transparency and accountability by establishing a legislative “check-up” of the cap-and-trade program in 2024, providing an opportunity to review 1) expenditures from the fund since 2020, 2) the commitment to regulatory and tax reforms enacted in AB 398, and 3) the effectiveness of the overall state program in reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) and minimizing the effect on the California economy. Support.
Transportation and Housing Barrier. SB 150 (B. Allen; D-Santa Monica) Before amendments, would have made it more difficult and more expensive to build roads, homes and transit by dictating a cookie cutter approach to how regions achieve emissions reduction targets through their Regional Transit Plans. Opposition removed due to June 21, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Capital Investment Incentive. AB 755 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella) Extends for one year, until January 1, 2019, the sunset of the Capital Investment Incentive Program, thereby providing local governments with an opportunity to attract large manufacturing facilities to invest in their communities and to encourage industries such as high technology, energy, environmental, and others to locate and invest in California. Support.
Extends Workforce Development. AB 669 (Berman; D-Palo Alto) Before amendments, helped improve alignment of the state’s workforce needs and education resources by extending the Economic and Workforce Development program (set to expire in 2018) within the California Community Colleges system. Gutted and amended June 26, 2017 to a different subject area. Job creator label and support position removed. No Position/Former Job Creator.
Workforce Development. AB 1111 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella) Increases California’s skilled workforce by authorizing a competitive grant program to assist individuals who face multiple barriers to employment and provide them with remedial education and work readiness skills to prepare them for training, educational, apprenticeship or employment opportunities. Support.
Jeopardizes State Workforce Goals. SB 574 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) Unnecessarily impedes the ability of the University of California (UC) to use its restricted state funding in the most efficient manner possible to continue expanding enrollment without compromising on the quality of the education it provides or substantially increasing the state’s General Fund contribution by placing unreasonable restrictions on when the UC may contract for services. Oppose.
Increased Energy Costs. SB 338 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Before amendments, increased the cost of energy for ratepayers by creating new policies for procurement under the integrated resources planning process. Opposition removed due to July 10, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Reduces Permitting Barriers. AB 546 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) Reduces barriers and increases cost-effectiveness for energy storage permitting by allowing online submission for permit applications and allowing local governments to develop an energy storage handbook. Support.
Increases Costs to and Creates Uncertainty for Hazardous Waste Permit Operators. AB 245 (Quirk; D-Hayward) Before amendments, imposed unnecessary new costs on hazardous waste permit operators by requiring a public hearing be held within 90 days of the submittal of a hazardous waste permit renewal application, notwithstanding the multiple existing opportunities for public review; and created uncertainty regarding the application of ambiguous language relating to the adequacy of financial assurances to be reviewed every five years. Opposition removed due to September 1, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Increased Costs and Likely Processing Delays for Hazardous Waste Permit Operators. AB 1179 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Prematurely and unnecessarily imposes new costs on hazardous waste permit operators and will likely result in further delays in permit processing by arbitrarily setting inspection frequencies for certain facilities and directing the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to adopt regulations setting inspection frequencies for all facilities, notwithstanding the fact that DTSC is currently reforming its enforcement program at the regulatory level. Oppose.
Burdensome Disclosure Requirements. AB 1328 (Limón; D-Goleta) Before amendments, increased costs by imposing burdensome chemical disclosure and monitoring requirements on oil and gas operators, and requiring that such information be provided to the State Water Resources Control Board. Opposition removed due to September 6, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Burdensome Regulations. AB 1646 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Before amendments, required additional burdensome regulations to refineries by mandating they install audible alarm systems as well as an emergency alert system for residents, schools, public facilities, hospitals and residential care homes for an unspecified distance around a petroleum refinery to be determined by the relevant local unified program agency. Opposition removed due to September 1, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Creates Unworkable Hazardous Waste Permitting Process. AB 248 (Reyes; D-Grand Terrace) Before amendments, undermined the iterative permit application process by requiring premature submittal of permit renewal application paperwork and created uncertainty by failing to identify the consequences to the regulated community in the event the Department of Toxic Substances Control fails to take action on the permit renewal application within a specified timeframe, even if the permit applicant acted diligently and in good faith throughout the permit application process. Opposition removed due to May 26, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Prematurely Increases Penalties on Hazardous Waste Permit Operators. AB 249 (Gomez; D-Los Angeles) Before amendments, prematurely increased penalties on hazardous waste permit operators by imposing the federal per-day penalty of $37,500, notwithstanding the fact that comprehensive reform of the Department of Toxic Substances Control permitting, enforcement and fiscal management is under review and consideration. Gutted and amended to a different subject area June 20, 2017. Opposition removed. No Position.
Signed 10/7/17—Chapter 546 (Urgency)
Prevailing Wages. AB 1066 (Aguiar-Curry; D-Winters) Before amendments, increased costs for tree removal by imposing prevailing wages, placing upward cost pressure for lumber producers, potentially resulting in a negative impact on competitiveness. Opposition removed due to June 29, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Health Care Mandate. AB 1316 (Quirk; D-Hayward) Before amendments, would have driven up health care premiums and costs by mandating health care plans and insurers to cover blood lead poisoning screening for all children, even those not at risk for lead poisoning. Opposition removed due to May 2, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Prescription Drug Coupons. AB 265 (Wood; D-Healdsburg) Before amendments, raised consumer awareness regarding drug pricing and helped curb rising drug costs by prohibiting drug manufacturers, when a lower-cost therapeutically equivalent or interchangeable drug is available, from offering coupons or discounts to consumers to reduce consumer out-of-pocket insurance expenses, which in the long term increase health care premiums and costs for all health care purchasers, including employers, by driving consumers to higher-cost brand name drugs. Support position removed due to amendments. No Position.
Housing and Land Use
Outlaws Certain Local Land Use Initiatives. AB 890 (Medina; D-Riverside) Eliminates Californians’ local initiative power to pursue changes in land use by giving exclusive authority to city councils and county board of supervisors to adopt or amend land use plans, change specified land use or zoning designations, or allow more intensive land uses within existing land use or zoning designations. Oppose.
Promotes Local Agencies’ Compliance with Housing Accountability Act. AB 678 (Bocanegra; D-Pacoima) Seeks to ensure that local agencies comply with the provisions of the Act by requiring a local agency to make relevant findings if it denies a project, clarifying provisions of the Act, and imposing penalties on agencies that violate the Act. Support.
Stimulates Additional Housing Production. AB 1515 (Daly; D-Anaheim) Encourages housing project approvals by specifying that a housing development is deemed consistent with local plans and ordinances if there is substantial evidence such that a reasonable person could conclude that the project is consistent. Support.
Accountability of Local Agencies for Housing Development Project Decisions. SB 167 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Promotes accountability for decisions and approval of projects by imposing additional requirements on local agencies when disapproving or conditionally approving a project and imposing penalties for violation of the Act. Support.
Prevailing Wage on All Development Projects. AB 199 (Chu; D-San Jose) Before amendments, increased housing costs and discouraged development by imposing prevailing wage on all development projects (private and public). Opposition and job killer tag removed due to April 6, 2017 amendments. No Position/Former Job Killer.
Erodes Housing Affordability. AB 1505 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) Before amendments, increased the cost and reduced the supply of housing by authorizing local governments as condition of development to impose a costly and inflexible price-controlled inclusionary housing requirement and, in doing so, legislatively repealed an established court decision upholding developers’ ability to set initial rental rates for new dwelling units. Opposition removed due to May 1, 2017 amendments. Neutral.
Expands Prevailing Wage. SB 418 (Hernandez; D-West Covina) Before amendments, increased housing costs and discouraged development by imposing prevailing wage on more projects through defining a public subsidy as de minimis only if it is both less than $275,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. Opposition removed due to June 20, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Employer Liability. AB 450 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) Before amendments, placed employers in a no-win situation between federal immigration enforcement and state enforcement by punishing employers—rather than providing tools and resources for employees when federal immigration enforcement appears at their workplace regardless of whether a violation of law has been committed by the employer. Opposition removed due to September 8, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Industrial Safety and Health
Access to Employer Records. AB 978 (Limón; D-Goleta) Inappropriately allows organizations unaffiliated with the employer to access an undefined and potentially unlimited scope of employer internal documents and circumvents the rulemaking process now underway to provide for access by employees to their employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Oppose Unless Amended.
Labor and Employment
Public Shaming of Employers. AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Imposes new data collection mandate on California employers to collect and report data to the Secretary of State regarding the difference in mean and median salaries of men and women in the same job title and job description, determine which employees perform “substantially similar” work, and then have that report posted on a publicly accessible website, where such employers will receive undue scrutiny and criticism for wage disparity that is not unlawful and justified by a bona fide factor. Oppose/Job Killer.
Imposes New Maternity and Paternity Leave Mandate. SB 63 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Unduly burdens and increases costs of small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding and exposes them to the threat of costly litigation. Oppose/Job Killer.
Labor Commissioner Enhanced Authority. SB 306 (Hertzberg; D-Van Nuys) Unnecessarily allows the Labor Commissioner or employee to seek injunctive relief before completing an investigation and determining retaliation has occurred, as well as exposes employers to a daily $100 penalty, capped at $20,000 for a posting violation. Oppose.
Expansion of Liability. AB 1701 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) Unfairly imposes liability onto a direct contractor, as defined, for the wage-and-hour violations of a subcontractor that the direct contractor did not cause. Oppose.
Increased Litigation. AB 1008 (McCarty; D-Sacramento) Before amendments, exposed employers to increased litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act for utilizing relevant criminal history of an applicant in its employment decisions to maintain safety in its workplace. Opposition removed due to September 8, 2017 amendments. No Position.
Pregnancy Discrimination. AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Creates a new mandate in the Labor Code, prohibiting employers from taking any adverse employment action against an employee due to the employee’s use of various medical options for reproductive health, even though the Fair Employment and Housing Act currently provides these protections to employees, thereby creating inconsistencies and confusion amongst employers with regard to interpretation and enforcement of these competing provisions. Oppose.
Exposure to Litigation. AB 168 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Exposes employers to costly litigation for inquiring into an applicant’s prior salary or failing to provide a pay scale upon demand, even though the employee has not suffered any harm or wage loss as a result of the violation. Oppose.
Legal Reform and Protection
Discrimination Against Arbitration Agreements. SB 33 (Dodd; D-Napa) Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements contained in consumer contracts for goods or services with a financial institution, which is likely preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and will lead to confusion and unnecessary litigation. Oppose/Job Killer.
Reduction of Evidentiary Standards for Elder Abuse. AB 859 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Increases unnecessary litigation for alleged elder abuse by allowing the opportunity for a plaintiff to reduce the evidentiary standard from clear and convincing evidence to preponderance of evidence if evidence is lost or destroyed. Oppose.
ADA Reform. AB 1148 (Steinorth; R-Rancho Cucamonga) Aligns statute to the intent of legislation last year by clarifying the definition of “commercial property” regarding notices concerning construction-related accessibility standards and Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspections that must be included in a lease agreement. Support.
Signed 7/21/17—Chapter 87 (Urgency)
Privacy and Technology
Automatic Renewal and Continuous Services. SB 313 (Hertzberg; D-Van Nuys) Protects the ability of business to offer free gifts or trials while allowing consumers who signed up online to cancel online. Negotiated amendments removed opposition. No Position.
Licensee Private Information. AB 1513 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Inappropriately makes the contact information for all home healthcare licensees available to labor organizations for the stated purpose of unionizing. Oppose.
Rental Car Liability. SB 466 (Bates; R-Laguna Niguel) Protects rental car companies from civil liability when they assist law enforcement in finding missing children by permitting the company to access the GPS information in a vehicle that is subject to an AMBER alert. Support.
State-Only Labeling. SB 258 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) Imposes a state-only labeling requirement on manufacturers of cleaning products that expands ingredient disclosure requirements on-label and online, and requires employers to provide to employees the information disclosed online by manufacturers through certain California occupational safety and health procedures. Concerns.
Greater Transparency in Proposition 65 Cases. AB 1583 (Chau; D-Monterey Park) Promotes transparency and fairness by allowing the alleged Proposition 65 violator to obtain the factual basis for the Certificate of Merit through normal civil discovery procedures. Support.
Public Employees’ Retirement System
Investment Report. AB 20 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Broadly targets businesses and inappropriately discourages certain investments by requiring the boards of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to develop a report on companies associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline. Oppose.
Small Business. AB 657 (Cunningham; R-Templeton) Helps small business navigate state regulations by increasing ability to contact small business liaisons in each agency. Support.
Property Tax Assessment. AB 652 (Flora; R-Ripon) Eliminates confusion by clarifying that property is not provided a base year value for purposes of assessment until construction is complete. Support.
Signed 7/21/17—Chapter 80 (Tax Levy)
Offers in Compromise. AB 525 (Aguiar-Curry; D-Winters) Provides an avenue for taxpayers to resolve certain tax liabilities by extending the sunset date to allow the Board of Equalization to continue to enter into offers to compromise on tax liability. Support.
Relief from Penalties. SB 11 (Gaines; R-El Dorado Hills) Protects against inappropriate assessment of penalties for a late tax payment for sales-and-use tax to the Board of Equalization (BOE) when the failure to make a payment was due to the BOE’s website. Support.
5G Wireless Rollout. SB 649 (Hueso; D-San Diego) Maintains California’s leading edge of new technology by providing more uniform permit cost and procedure for 5G small cell installation in public rights of way. Support.
U.S.-China Tourism Year. ACR 50 (Chu; D-San Jose) Encourages continued travel between China and the United States that is expected to result in $5 billion to the California economy from Chinese visitors. Support.
Resolution Chapter 198
Transportation and Infrastructure
Transportation Funding Package. SB 1 (Beall; D-San Jose) Improves California’s transportation system by providing long-term revenues to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California and put more dollars toward transit and safety. Support.
Signed 4/28/17—Chapter 5 (Urgency)
Streamlines Licensing. SB 182 (Bradford; D-Gardena) Eases burdens on transportation network companies by allowing drivers to obtain a single business license to operate in the state. Support.
Streamlines Regulations. SB 145 (Hill; D-San Mateo) Streamlines regulations for autonomous vehicles by eliminating the additional burdensome step of the Department of Motor Vehicles requirement to notify the Legislature upon receipt of an application seeking approval to operate an autonomous vehicle. Support.
Signed 10/12/17—Chapter 725 (Urgency)
Provides Clarity. AB 1222 (Quirk; D-Hayward) Provides clarity for businesses who use two-way wireless communications devices that are essential to performing job duties by updating the definition of “electronic wireless communication device.” Support.
Water Supply and Quality
Land Use. SB 252 (Dodd; D-Napa) Before amendments, curtailed landowners’ use of private property by imposing more restrictions on well permits. Opposition removed due to July 17, 2017 amendments. Neutral.
Water Rights. AB 313 (Gray; D-Merced) Provides a fair dispute resolution process for water rights complaints by removing the authority from the State Water Board to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Currently, the State Board is the permitting agency as well as the appellate body. Support.
Water Efficiency. SB 564 (McGuire; D-Healdsburg) Reduces water use by providing a funding mechanism for property owners to purchase water efficient equipment and drought tolerant landscaping. Support.
Terrorism/Workplace Violence. AB 44 (Reyes; D-Grand Terrace) Before amendments, exempted from utilization review medical treatment for employees or first responders who are injured as a result of an action of terrorism or violence in the workplace. Opposition removed due to April 20, 2017 amendments. Neutral.
Apportionment to Pre-existing Disability. AB 570 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Violates the fundamental agreement between worker and employers by requiring employers to compensate injured workers for disability that has not, with medical certainty, resulted from a workplace injury. Oppose.