2017 Major Victories

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Moving Forward on an Agenda for All Californians

The California Chamber of Commerce is the voice of California businesses of all sizes, expert at promoting pro-job policies and advising employers on the practical impact of state laws and regulations in the workplace. We track more than 3,000 legislative proposals every year, speaking up when a bill will hurt employers and the economy, and working to win support for legislation that will help the jobs climate. Policymakers listen to CalChamber policy advocates, knowing that we represent more than 13,000 member businesses that together employ a fourth of the state’s private workforce and reflect the diversity of the California business community.

Adding strength to our message are the thousands of individuals who use our web-based grassroots center, www.calchambervotes.com, to express their views to their elected representatives. Each year, website visitors use the grassroots center to send some 200,000 letters about state and federal issues affecting business operations.

See below to learn how CalChamber advocacy in 2017 helped employers. Consult the Advocacy Return on Investment sheet for estimates of employer savings on some of these victories.

Preventing Damage from Job Killer Bills

CalChamber policy advocates joined forces with other business groups and pro-jobs legislators to stop 25 of 27 job killer bills from becoming law as originally proposed. Below is a sampling of job killers stopped or amended before they passed the Legislature. More information at www.calchamber.com/jobkillers.

• Government-run health care: Stopped plan for single-payer, multibillion-dollar health care system with unspecified funding plan (SB 562).

• Increased labor costs: Blocked an effort to eliminate worker and employer flexibility with an unfair scheduling mandate (AB 5); won veto of new data collection mandate on lawful wage differentials (AB 1209).

• Affordable housing barriers: Stopped bills creating significant uncertainty for developers (SB 224) and reducing the supply of rental housing (AB 1506); secured amendments to a proposal imposing prevailing wage on all development projects (AB 199).

• Tax increases: Stopped bills giving local governments new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering from two-thirds to 55% the vote required for approving new taxes (ACA 4 and SCA 6); multiple tax increases on employers (SB 567); plus targeted taxes on sweetened beverages (AB 1003), opioids (AB 1512), high earners (AB 1356), contractors (AB 43), alcohol (AB 479) and retailers (ACA 11).

• Meritless litigation: Stopped a bill increasing potential litigation on environmental standards (SB 49); a gender pricing mandate (AB 1576); and California-only labeling for sugar-sweetened drinks (SB 300).

• Burdensome environmental regulations: Prevented passage of proposals threatening energy reliability (AB 127); banning expanded polystyrene foam food service containers (SB 705); and increasing permitting fees and delays (SB 774).

• Economic development barriers: Stopped bills jeopardizing the production of California-based fuel (AB 1645); and imposing additional liability for air emissions (AB 421).

Investing in Future Infrastructure

• Supported legislation signed into law that will provide long-term revenues to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California, and put more dollars toward transit and safety (SB 1).

Protecting Employers’ Ability to Manage Workplace

• Led coalition that secured multiple sets of amendments that clarified language ambiguities and reduced burden on employers under existing regulations on the use of criminal history in employment decisions (AB 1008).

• Won amendments to limit employer liability and administrative burdens in legislation that otherwise put employers in a no-win situation between federal immigration enforcement and state enforcement (AB 450).

• Supported Governor’s veto of proposal that would have inappropriately allowed organizations unaffiliated with the employer to gain access to a potentially unlimited scope of employer internal documents (AB 978).

Keeping Lid on Health Care Costs

• Stopped well-meaning but flawed mandates increasing health care costs (SB 349, SB 172, SB 399, AB 1601, AB 1110, SB 221, AB 1107).

• Advocated amendments to narrow the overly broad scope of required screening for blood lead levels in children to subjects whom a physician determines are at risk for lead poisoning (AB 1316).

• Won removal of language that would have limited access to care from in-home respite care provider agencies (AB 1380).

Ensuring Fair Treatment for Business Operations

• Secured amendments to provide protections for facilities in legislation that otherwise would have allowed an air district to shut down a facility for a perceived danger to public health or the environment before a hearing determined action was needed (AB 1132).

Preserving Business Options

• Led coalition that negotiated amendments to protect the ability of business to offer free gifts or trials while allowing consumers who signed up online to cancel online (SB 313).

Controlling Costs

• Won amendments to a prevailing wage bill to eliminate its negative impact on the timber industry (AB 1066).

• Backed veto of proposal that would have increased costs and likely delayed permits for hazardous waste operators (AB 1179).

Maintaining Integrity of Workers’ Compensation System

• Backed Governor’s veto of a bill that would have expanded the scope of workers’ compensation beyond work-related injuries (AB 570).

Protecting Local Voter Say in Land Use Decisions

• Supported Governor’s veto of a bill that would have eliminated Californians’ local initiative power to pursue changes in land use (AB 890).

Defending Employers Against Unwarranted Litigation

• Blocked a proposal that would have led to increased litigation by interfering with the settlement of cases (AB 889).

• Supported signing of a bill protecting rental car companies from civil liability when they help law enforcement find missing children by permitting the company to access the GPS information in a vehicle subject to an AMBER alert (SB 466).

Easing Government Burdens

• Supported signing of a bill to help small business navigate state regulations by increasing ability to contact small business liaisons in each agency (AB 657).

• Backed signing of legislation that streamlines licensing for drivers in transportation network companies (SB 182).

• Supported signing of urgency bill that streamlines regulations for autonomous vehicles (SB 145).

Safeguarding Ability to Pursue Technological Innovations

• Stopped onerous, duplicative mandates on manufacturers/retailers of devices that connect to the internet (SB 327); drastic restrictions on internet providers (AB 375); and a bill that risks stunting growth of unmanned aircraft systems (SB 347).

Continuing Move to a Better-Prepared Workforce

• Supported bill signed into law that will help California reduce the skills gap by authorizing a competitive grant program to help individuals who face multiple barriers to employment (AB 1111).

Keeping Global Communication Lines Open

• Continued to nourish a strong international network as part of delegations to Canada, California’s second largest export partner, and Israel, a growing partner for U.S. and California trade and investment.

• Promoted two-way information exchanges via luncheons and other gatherings on trade with the Americas and Great Britain; provided web-based portals compiling statistics and other resources about major California trade/investment partners; distributed weekly Trade Update e-newsletter digest of the latest news and information about trade policy.