Only two of the 31 job killer bills identified this year by the California Chamber of Commerce have passed the Legislature and been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom.
• One of the bills, SB 1 (Atkins; D-San Diego), which the Governor has indicated he will veto, threatened to create adverse consequences by impairing the state’s ability to adaptively manage its water supply.
• The second job killer bill, AB 51 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), prohibits arbitration of labor and employment claims as a condition of employment
SB 1 Veto
In response to news reports that Governor Newsom plans to veto SB 1, CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg said:
“All Californians who rely on a clean, dependable and affordable supply of water should welcome news that Governor Newsom has indicated he will veto SB 1.
“SB 1 posed a major threat to California’s water supply and reliability, and the Governor has shown outstanding leadership in announcing his veto of this measure.
“While Senator Toni Atkins and the Governor are allies, we appreciate the Governor making California water policy the priority.
“In addition, we are grateful for the leadership of Senator Dianne Feinstein and the other members of Congress who joined a large coalition of urban and rural water users in educating California policy makers and the public about the adverse consequences SB 1 would have brought.”
The CalChamber is asking members to contact Governor Newsom and urge him to veto AB 51.
The CalChamber has tagged AB 51 as a job killer due to the significant increased costs employers will face as a result of more litigation and the expense of delayed dispute resolutions if the bill becomes law. The bill also proposes to add a new private right of action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and exposes employers to criminal liability for any violation.
In opposing AB 51, the CalChamber has emphasized repeatedly that the bill will undoubtedly be challenged in court, creating more litigation without providing any benefit to employees as intended. Last year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed a virtually identical bill, saying it “plainly violates federal law.”
Numerous opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court over the last decade have consistently held that any state law which interferes with, discriminates against, or limits the use of arbitration is preempted by federal law, the Federal Arbitration Act.
Job Killers Stopped/Amended
On the final day of the legislative year, the job killer bill granting unemployment benefits to striking workers, AB 1066 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), fell short of votes needed to pass the Senate.
AB 1066 would have significantly increased costs on employers engaged in a trade dispute by allowing employees on strike to receiving unemployment benefits if the strike lasted more than four weeks, incentivizing strikes, burdening employers, and potentially affecting the solvency of California’s unemployment insurance fund.
A week before the session ended, amendments to twin recycling bills, SB 54 (Allen; D-Santa Monica) and AB 1080 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), led to removal of the job killer tag, but the CalChamber continued to oppose the bills, which failed to pass the Legislature.
SB 54 and AB 1080 would have set impractical recycling rates and deadlines, provided CalRecycle with broad emergency regulatory authority that included significant fee authority with no legislative oversight, draconian penalties for unintentional data reporting errors, and lacked assurances that local jurisdictions and waste haulers would pull material through for all recyclable and compostable materials, among other significant issues.
For more information on the legislation considered this year, see the Status Update Report in this Alert.