California Chamber of Commerce policy advocates working alongside advocates from allied business groups succeeded in stopping six CalChamber-opposed bills from advancing for the year, while negotiating amendments that allowed CalChamber to remove opposition from two other pieces of proposed legislation.
• AB 255 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance): Before amendments, this bill would have required primarily small commercial lessors to absorb up to 75% of their owed rent from their tenants so long as they claimed a COVID-19 related financial impact, thereby turning mom-and-pop commercial lessors into acting as the state’s safety net. CalChamber position changed to “oppose unless amended.” Placed on Assembly Inactive File on June 3 at author’s request.
• AB 570 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles): Before amendments, this bill would have required employer-sponsored health plans to cover dependent parents and stepparents, which would have increased premiums and out-of-pocket costs by up to $936 million. Amendments made on May 24, 2021 would require only individual health plans provide this coverage, not employers. CalChamber position changed to “no position.” In Senate Rules Committee.
Bills Stopped for the Year
• AB 257 (Lorena Gonzalez; D-San Diego): Would have undermined the existence of the franchise model by holding franchisors responsible for all conduct by individual franchisees. Also established the Fast Food Sector Council that would have had unprecedented authority to write its own labor and employment laws for fast food restaurant employees, circumventing the California Legislature and other regulatory agencies’ position in establishing such laws. Failed deadline on June 4, but may be acted upon in January 2022.
• AB 1252 (Chau; D-Monterey Park): Would have turned every business offering any software or hardware to consumers, including fitness trackers, glucose monitors, mental health apps, websites and mobile applications, if designed to maintain identifiable information about an individual’s mental or physical health conditions, into a provider of healthcare subject to the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA). Failed deadline on June 4, but may be acted upon in January 2022.
• AB 1371 (Friedman; D-Glendale): Sought to ban critical protective packaging used by small and large online retailers alike to ship millions of products safely. The bill failed to account for whether adequate substitutes, or any substitutes, existed in the marketplace. The bans would have led to more waste created from food spoilage and product breakage, created unintended negative environmental externalities, and substantially disrupted supply chains. Failed passage in Assembly, 36-28, on June 3. May be acted upon in January 2022.
• SB 342 (Lena Gonzalez; D-Long Beach): Sought to expand board membership and dilute local control and impose limitations on the types of appointees to the local air districts. Failed deadline on June 4, but may be acted upon in January 2022.
• SB 582 (Stern; D-Canoga Park): Threatened substantial increases in the cost of all goods and services in California by doubling our 2030 carbon emissions reduction goals. Failed deadline on June 4, but may be acted upon in January 2022.
• SB 746 (Skinner; D-Berkeley): Proposed to require only businesses to disclose detailed information about whether the business uses personal information for political purposes, regardless of whether the use of such information is partisan or whether there is an intent to use such information for political purposes. Failed deadline on June 4, but may be acted upon in January 2022.