California Promise: Opportunity for All
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 14,000 member businesses that together employ a fourth of the state’s private workforce and reflect the diversity of the California business community.
Strengthening 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.
Read on to learn how CalChamber advocacy in 2018 helped employers. See the Advocacy Return on Investment sheet for estimates of employer savings on some of these victories.
Stopping All Job Killer Bills
CalChamber policy advocates joined forces with other business groups and pro-jobs legislators to stop all 29 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.
• Arbitration discrimination: Urged veto of ban on settlement agreements and arbitration agreements for labor and employment claims (AB 3080); and blocked ban on use of arbitration agreements for small businesses seeking financial investors (AB 2527).
• Unnecessary litigation costs: Secured amendments removing new stand-alone private right of action for failure to prevent harassment or discrimination (SB 1300).
• Tax Increases: Stopped targeted taxes on high earners (AB 2351) and contractors (AB 2560).
• Burdensome environmental regulations: Stopped proposals leading to substantial increase in energy costs (AB 893), ban on combustion engine vehicles (AB 1745), and increased costs for California Environmental Quality Act compliance (AB 2447).
• Economic development barriers: Prevented passage of proposal creating unworkable requirements for providing hotel worker panic buttons (AB 1761).
• Increased health care costs: Won amendments to and veto of proposal mandating medication-assistant treatment for opioid use disorders (AB 2384).
• Increased labor costs: Stopped bills imposing another layer of wage statement penalties (AB 2613) and exposing employers to costly litigation related to medical marijuana in the workplace (AB 2069).
Winning Approval of Job Creating Concepts
• Protecting employers/employees in sexual harassment cases: Sponsored bill signed into law to ensure sexual harassment victims and employers aren’t sued for defamation for simply reporting and investigating harassment (AB 2770).
• Training students for careers: Extended and improved the Career Technical Incentive Grant program (AB 1808, AB 1743); and funded a grant program allowing selected schools to create public-private partnerships to prepare students for high-skilled, high-demand jobs in technology, manufacturing, health care and finance (AB 1809, SB 1243).
• Extension of film tax credits: Continued for another five years the program bringing more film and television production to the state (SB 871, SB 951, AB 1734).
Investing in State Transportation Infrastructure
Prevented repeal of 2017 legislation that is providing long-term revenues to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California, and putting more dollars toward transit and safety (Proposition 6).
Preventing Further Damage to California Housing Market
Encouraged voters to reject an initiative that would have made California’s housing crisis worse, discouraged new construction and reduced housing supply and quality (Proposition 10).
Protecting Access to Kidney Dialysis Clinics
Supported voter rejection of initiative that set dangerous precedent of applying arbitrary government price controls on a health care service; could have increased costs by shifting treatment from dialysis clinics to more expensive venues, and led to clinic closures, thereby reducing patient access to critical care (Proposition 8).
Safeguarding Businesses’ Ability to Innovate
• Stopped bill requiring manufacturers of electronics and appliances sold in California to provide any repair person with software, parts and tools to repair the products (AB 2110).
• Blocked effort to place ridiculous restrictions on use of bots (AB 1950).
Cleaning Up Onerous Consumer Privacy Law
Worked with members and other affected parties to negotiate clean-up language to consumer privacy law passed in 2018, including delayed enforcement and provisions clarifying that the private right of action applies only to additional liability for businesses after a data breach (SB 1121).
Preventing Meritless Lawsuits Against Manufacturers by Clarifying Businesses’ Obligations
Supported signing of bill protecting consumer product and food manufacturers from lawsuits by clarifying package labeling requirements (AB 2632).
Supporting Workable Balance for Employee Accommodations
Secured amendments to bill signed into law that includes a hardship exemption in its requirements for providing lactation accommodations to employees (AB 1976) and backed veto of a second bill containing significant changes in requirements and penalties (SB 937).
Preserving Californians’ Ability to Take Grievances Directly to Voters
Stopped attempts to prohibit a cost-effective method of gathering signatures for state or local initiatives, referendums or recall petitions, which would have made it harder to qualify ballot measures and eliminated an important check on government, while overburdening courts with unnecessary litigation (SB 1394, AB 1947).
Helping Businesses Find Trade/Investment Opportunities
Promoted two-way information exchanges on exports, the international landscape, and trade with Mexico, Chile and Canada; 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.