Job Killer Bill Update: One Stalled, Others Moving

Legislation that will kill thousands of high-paying jobs narrowly failed to pass a Senate policy committee this week. Last week, the California Chamber of Commerce added two bills (one a reboot) to the job killer bill list and an Assembly policy committee passed two job killers along for consideration by the fiscal committee.

AB 345 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance), an unnecessary bill, failed to pass the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on August 5 on a vote of 4-5.

The bill is a carryover from 2019 that threatens to eliminate thousands of high-paying jobs, decrease revenues for the state and force California to import even more foreign oil.

By politicizing the ongoing regulatory process that the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) was directed to undertake by Governor Newsom, AB 345 arbitrarily predisposes setback requirements and undermines CalGEM’s independent process of considering the best available science.

Reconsideration was granted on a vote of 5-3. The committee chair said the committee will meet again on August 12.

New Job Killers

Added to the job killer bill last week were:

SB 55 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), a job killer that expands existing requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

It adds substantial time and costs to the CEQA process and provides project opponents with new legal arguments to delay or block housing and other projects. SB 55 is almost identical to job killer SB 950 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), which failed to pass the Senate Environmental Quality Committee earlier this year.

AB 1253 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles), a massive retroactive tax increase. The bill seeks to increase California’s personal income tax rate, already the highest in the country, for struggling small businesses and high-income earners, which will result in a recently reported $6.8 billion in increased taxes.

Millions of California small businesses pay the personal income tax, and will soon face higher pandemic-related unemployment insurance taxes, workers’ compensation rates, and other state-mandated costs of doing business. Imposing a punitive new tax on these businesses is exactly the opposite approach to saving jobs and restoring the state’s battered economy.

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee heard testimony on AB 1253 on August 3 but did not vote.

Moving

Passed by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on July 29 for consideration next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee were two job killers that will increase labor costs:

SB 1383 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), dealing with time off for employees. The bill significantly burdens small employers by requiring employers with only five employees to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of mandatory family leave, which can be taken in increments of 1-2 hours, and threatens these small employers with costly litigation if they make any mistake in implementing this leave.

SB 1399 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles), increasing cost and liability on employers. The bill significantly increases the burden on non-unionized employers in the garment manufacturing industry in California by eliminating piece rate as a method of payment even though it can benefit the employee, creating joint and several liability for contractors for any wage violations or the employer, and shifting the evidentiary standards in a Labor Commissioner hearing to limit the ability for an employer to defend against an alleged wage violation. These additional requirements will encourage companies to contract with manufacturers outside of California, thereby limiting the demand and workforce of garment manufacturers in California.

Key Votes

AB 345 failed to pass Senate Natural Resources and Water on August 5, 4-5:

Ayes: Monning (D-Carmel), Allen (D-Santa Monica), Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Stern (D-Canoga Park).

Noes: Jones (R-Santee), Borgeas (R-Fresno), Caballero (D-Salinas), Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Hueso (D-San Diego).

SB 1383 passed Assembly Labor and Employment, 5-2:

Ayes: Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Kalra (D-San Jose), Luz Rivas (D-Arleta).

Noes: Diep (R-Westminster), Flora (R-Ripon).

SB 1399 passed Assembly Labor and Employment, 5-1:

Ayes: Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Kalra (D-San Jose), Luz Rivas (D-Arleta).

Noes: Flora (R-Ripon).

No vote recorded: Diep (R-Westminster).

Staff Contacts: Adam Regele, Preston Young, Jennifer Barrera

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Adam Regele
Adam Regele joined the CalChamber in April 2018 as a policy advocate specializing in environmental policy, housing and land use, and product regulation issues. He came to CalChamber after practicing law at Oakland-based Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson, PLC, where he advised private and public clients on complex projects involving land use and environmental laws and regulations at the local, state and federal levels. Before entering private practice, Regele served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Regele earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, where he was symposium editor and research and development editor for the Hastings West-Northwest Journal.