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 nearly 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 center, www.impact-california.com, to express their views to their elected representatives. Each year, website visitors use the center to send some 200,000 letters about state, federal and international issues affecting business operations.
Read on to learn how CalChamber advocacy in 2019 helped employers. See the Advocacy Return on Investment sheet for estimates of employer savings on some of these victories.
Stopping All But 1 Job Killer Bill
CalChamber policy advocates joined forces with other business groups and pro-jobs legislators to stop all but one of the 31 job killer bills identified this year 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.
• Unnecessary litigation costs: Stopped addition of private right of action to California Consumer Privacy Act (SB 561).
• Tax increases: Prevented targeted taxes on California businesses, oil and gas operators, sweetened beverages, new tires, drug distributors, and proposal to make it easier to increase parcel taxes on disfavored industries (SB 468, SB 37, SB 246, AB 138, AB 755, AB 1468, SCA 5).
• Unprecedented product regulation: Secured amendments to prevent ban on single-use packaging (AB 1080, SB 54).
• Water management/litigation: Supported veto of proposal establishing rigid approach to water management and creating potential for costly litigation (SB 1).
• Higher energy prices: Stopped proposal that in effect banned new/existing oil and gas wells in California, leading to increased energy prices for all Californians and greater state reliance on supplies from other states or nations (AB 345).
• Increased labor costs: Stopped unemployment for striking workers, expansion of protected leaves of absence, and increased workers’ compensation costs; secured amendments to prevent unfair expansion of penalties for alleged wage violation (AB 1066, AB 628, SB 567, SB 135, AB 673).
Supporting Job Creation in the Aftermath of Disasters
Supported legislation signed into law that will help California businesses rebuild after disasters by allowing state agencies to establish a procedure to reduce licensing fees for businesses or individuals affected by a federal- or state-declared emergency (SB 601).
Reducing Impact of Cal/OSHA Smoke Regulations on Employers
Led coalition of employer groups that spoke up at every stage of the process to prevent Cal/OSHA smoke regulations from unnecessarily inflicting harm on employers.
Limiting Litigation Threats
• Backed vetoes stopping bills adding another private right of action to Labor Code provisions; creating inconsistent standards for sexual harassment; requiring employers to provide employees with unnecessary notice about their rights regarding immigration-related documents; and permitting local enforcement of state employment/housing discrimination laws (AB 1478, AB 171, AB 589, SB 218).
• Stopped proposed criminal/civil liability for wellness programs; expansion of False Claims Act to taxes; state ban on doing business with federal government contractors (AB 648, AB 1270, AB 1332).
Continuing Cleanup of Consumer Privacy Law
• Protected consumer access to vehicle safety information by backing legislation signed into law that enacts a reasonable fix to the California Consumer Privacy Act so that consumers still can receive information about vehicle warranty repairs or safety recalls (AB 1146).
• Supported signing of bills delaying application of the California Consumer Privacy Act to employment-related data for a year; clarifying the definition of personal information and fixing a provision that violated the First Amendment; and delaying the law’s application to business-to-business data for one year (AB 25, AB 874, AB 1355).
Helping Create a Better-Prepared Workforce
• Stopped proposal impeding the ability of the University of California to use restricted state funding in the most efficient manner possible without compromising on the quality of education it provides by placing an unreasonable contract prohibition on the UC for support services (ACA 14).
• Called for approval of a bill signed into law that encourages high schools to allow students to complete both college preparation requirements and a career technical education (CTE) course sequence, thereby helping reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates (AB 1240).
Preserving Californians’ Ability to Use Tools of Direct Democracy
Supported veto of bill making it a crime to pay petition gatherers on a per-signature basis, thereby denying Californians right to address grievances with government through state/local initiatives, referendums and recalls (AB 1451).
Easing Housing Crisis
• Negotiated amendments to rent cap bill that would have discouraged unit maintenance and new housing construction (AB 1482).
• Stopped new restrictions that discourage housing construction (AB 725).
• Urged signing of bills preventing fee changes midway through housing development permitting process and promoting construction of accessory dwelling units (SB 330, SB 13).
• Backed law allowing victims of natural disasters to rebuild without having to install costly photovoltaic panels (AB 178).
• Supported veto of bill that would have led to increased housing construction costs (AB 520).
Protecting Small Businesses
• Gained approval of law providing gender pricing discrimination education so small businesses can protect themselves from predatory lawsuits (AB 1607).
• Stopped expansion of paid sick leave mandate to small businesses with 5 or more employees (AB 555).
Reducing Regulatory Burdens
• Secured amendments to remove a local air district’s ban on industry stakeholder participation, eliminate duplicative administrative requirements, and remove burdensome permit delays (AB 423).
• Supported amendments narrowing proposed unnecessary requirements for warehouse distribution centers (AB 485).
• Scaled back scope of duplicative air board reporting mandate (AB 617 regulation).
Strengthening Relations with Important Trading Partners
Supported and participated in the Lieutenant Governor’s October trade mission to Mexico, California’s No. 1 trading partner.
Opening Export Opportunities for California Businesses
Supported seven-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, enabling California and U.S. companies, large and small, to turn export opportunities into real sales that help maintain/create jobs.