Strong opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce and its allies in the closing days of the legislative session prevented one energy-related job killer bill from advancing and helped secure removal of one of the more onerous elements of an employment-related job killer proposal as well.
AB 893: Higher Energy Costs
On August 31, the last day of the session, the Senate Rules Committee failed to garner enough votes to move the newest CalChamber job killer, AB 893 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella).
AB 893 was tagged as a job killer because it would have discouraged energy-dependent businesses from growing in California and added new overhead costs for all California employers. AB 893 also created incentives for utilities to purchase out-of-state power to satisfy the mandate, threatening even more California jobs.
AB 893 required the procurement of a large amount—4,250 megawatts—of additional and unneeded geothermal, solar, and wind power. CalChamber’s analysis found that this would have substantially increase rates for California ratepayers.
In addition, AB 893 would have created a procurement process outside of the current “least-cost, best-fit” competitive bidding process.
SB 1300: Harassment/Discrimination Claims
Former job killer SB 1300 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), dealing with harassment and discrimination claims, was amended on August 20 to remove the provisions from the bill that created a new, stand-alone private right of action for failure to prevent harassment or discrimination.
CalChamber remains opposed to SB 1300 because the bill limits the use of nondisparagement agreements and general releases, restricts the ability to summarily adjudicate harassment claims and lowers the legal standard for actionable harassment claims. These provisions will significantly increase litigation against California employers and limit their ability to invest in their workforce.
SB 1300 passed the Assembly on August 30, 41-33. The Senate concurred in Assembly amendments on August 31, 25-10. The bill awaits action by the Governor.
AB 3080: Last Job Killer
Only one job killer remains active: AB 3080 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego), which passed the Senate on August 22, 26-12, and is awaiting action by the Governor.
The CalChamber has labeled AB 3080 as a job killer because it will create more litigation, significant delays in the resolution of disputes and higher costs for employers and employees.
Jennifer Barrera, CalChamber senior vice president, policy, recaps the problems with AB 3080 in the latest CalChamber Capitol News Report video and the Capitol Insider blog wrap-up of the session.
In the video, Barrera points out that if AB 3080 becomes law, “it will prevent employers and employees from utilizing arbitration as a way in which to resolve their disputes and will force all of these disputes into the court system.”
Her blog post notes: “AB 3080 has been portrayed as a part of the #metoo movement, but upon review, is much broader than just sexual harassment. It seeks to prohibit and limit settlement agreements, arbitration agreements, and class action waivers for any labor and employment claim.
“This includes claims that have nothing to do with sexual harassment, such as meal periods, rest periods, paystub errors, sick leave, etc. It also subjects an employer to criminal liability for any violation of the various provisions.”
August 31 was the last day for the Legislature to send bills to the Governor’s desk. For a full overview of the status of major business bills when legislators began their final recess, see the Status Report pages inside this Alert.