Legislative Roundup: Priority Bills That Were Signed, Vetoed

Another legislative year came to a close yesterday as Governor Gavin Newsom acted on the last remaining bills waiting on his desk. Out of the 25 job killer bills the California Chamber of Commerce identified this year, only one was signed into law. The governor signed 22 CalChamber-supported bills, and vetoed five CalChamber-opposed bills.

These bills are:

Opposed Bills Vetoed

  • AB 416 (Kalra; D-San Jose): Would have required any companies submitting bids for state procurement contracts involving a range of common goods, including wood, rubber, paper, and others, to adopt new internal policies regarding sourcing of materials for all contracts, not just state-related contracts, and provide potentially proprietary information regarding their supply chain to the state as part of the application process.
  • AB 616 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley): Would have limited an employee’s ability to independently and privately vote for unionization in the workplace, by essentially eliminating a secret ballot election and replacing it with the submission of representation cards signed by over 50% of the employees, which leaves employees susceptible to coercion and manipulation by labor organizations. Also, unfairly limited an employer’s ability to challenge any order by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) by forcing employers to post an unreasonable bond, and then limits an employee’s ability to decertify a union, by forcing them to go through the ballot election process instead of submission of representation cards. Also included an unnecessary presumption of retaliation that is effectively unlimited in scope because it would apply for the duration of an election campaign, which could last for a year or more.
  • AB 1074 (Gonzalez, Lorena; D-San Diego): Prior to amendments, would have imposed an onerous and stringent process that is unlimited in time for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, which would have delayed rehiring and employers’ ability to re-open after being forced to close or reduce operations due to COVID-19. Job killer tag removed due to April 19, 2021 amendments eliminating COVID-19 related recall provisions from the bill. The remaining provisions had the potential to cause further harm to the hospitality industry by forcing a new service provider for a hotel to hire the previous contracted provider’s employees and navigate statutory barriers erected around operational positions, staffing redundancies, technical abilities, and staffs’ general ability to meet the hotel’s needs. The mandate would have increased operating costs, threatened small businesses, and represented a significant shift in how the law approaches contracting.
  • SB 524 (Skinner; D-Berkeley): Would have increased prescription drug costs for consumers by preventing certain network designs between employers, health plans, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and pharmacies.
  • SB 660 (Newman; D-Fullerton): Would have drastically increased the cost of voter initiatives by requiring any citizen initiative to pay employees an hourly rate to collect signatures for ballot initiatives, referendums, and recall petitions, as opposed to piece-rate signature gathering, thus excluding low funded citizen initiatives from the ballot process.

Support Bills Signed

  • AB 110 (Petrie-Norris; D-Laguna Beach): Requires the Department of Corrections and counties to share the names and Social Security information of current inmates with the Employment Development Department (EDD) to prevent payments on fraudulent claims using inmate information, and require EDD to utilize this information in its screening process. This would bring California up to speed with other states, and also help prevent one of the most widespread types of fraud that was widely-reported during the COVID-19 shutdown from occurring in the future.
  • AB 215 (Chiu; D-San Francisco): Helps ensure more housing units are constructed by requiring any localities not meeting their regional average production requirements to consult with the Department of Housing and Community Development, incentivizes local governments to amend local requirements to encourage more housing production, and empowers the Attorney General to enforce the Housing Crisis Act of 2019.
  • AB 331 (Jones-Sawyer; D-South Los Angeles): Extends the organized retail theft criminal statutes and the California Highway Patrol’s task force to better enforce crimes against retailers.
  • AB 332 (Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials): Provides an option to manage and dispose of treated wood waste through alternative standards if certain criteria are met, a process that had been in place for decades before sunsetting in 2020, in order to avoid the unnecessary and cost prohibitive management of these materials as Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste materials.
  • AB 469 (Reyes; D-San Bernardino): Requires high schools to assist students in preparing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which would ensure that more of California’s students receive already-available federal funds to pursue higher education. Also includes an opt out provision for circumstances where such completion is not necessary or preferred.
  • AB 511 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance): Allows start-up and emerging small businesses to help find investors to help capitalize them while providing greater protections for investors participating in crowdfunding.
  • AB 654 (Reyes; D-San Bernardino): Clarifies and improves last year’s AB 685, which requires notice of COVID-19 cases in the workplace by eliminating duplicative obligations for businesses in certain industries, matching terms to corresponding federal guidelines, and other favorable improvements.
  • AB 819 (Levine; D-San Rafael): Codifies existing best practices by requiring lead agencies to post and submit electronically certain California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) notice and other environmental review documents.
  • AB 1033 (Bauer-Kahan; D-Orinda): Establishes a more practical, streamlined procedure for implementing the small employer family leave mediation program established in 2020 by AB 1867 and fixes a drafting error in SB 1383.
  • AB 1082 (Waldron; R-Escondido): Protects employers from increased health care premiums by extending authorization of the California Health Benefits Review Program to provide the Legislature valuable independent analyses of the medical, financial and public health impacts of proposed health insurance benefit mandates and repeals.
  • SB 8 (Skinner; D-Berkeley): Provides technical cleanup to and extends the sunset date to January 1, 2030 for SB 330 (Skinner-2019), a law that promotes more affordable housing development  in California by reducing permitting delays and unexpected fees levied during the housing development permitting process.
  • SB 9 (Atkins; D-San Diego): Streamlines more infill housing while providing substantial local control to land use development by allowing property owners to convert single-family homes into multiple units or divide the properties and build up to two residential units on each lot, all without triggering CEQA, so long as all units are consistent with all local land use laws.
  • SB 10 (Wiener; D-San Francisco): Provides local cities and counties with full authority to streamline upzoning in their jurisdiction for up to 10 additional middle income density housing units per parcel, without triggering CEQA, if they choose.
  • SB 19 (Glazer; D-Contra Costa): Opens new opportunities for increased revenues by allowing wineries to have one additional off-site tasting room.
  • SB 87 (Caballero; D-Salinas): Establishes a $2.6 billion grant program that offers struggling small businesses a lifeline while they struggle through pandemic-induced shutdowns and regulations.
  • SB 94 (Skinner; D-Berkeley): Relieves bars, restaurants, and those working in barbering and cosmetology from having to pay license renewal fees for two years.
  • SB 290 (Skinner; D-Berkeley): Removes four barriers that limit density bonus applicability in California by allowing low-income student housing projects to receive up to one incentive, aligning the density bonus approval requirements with those in the Housing Accountability Act, expanding the definition of for-sale projects beyond common interest developments, and adding a parking waiver for housing developments within one-half mile of transit that include 40% moderate-income units.
  • SB 336 (Ochoa Bogh; R-Yucaipa): Requires publication of local public health orders and creation of an email list for stakeholders to ensure they are kept apprised of any changes.
  • SB 339 (Wiener; D-San Francisco): Extends the Road User Charge Advisory Committee and allows the Transportation Agency to conduct pilot studies to evaluate potential replacements for gas tax funding for roads and infrastructure.
  • SB 389 (Dodd; D-Napa): Allows restaurants to sell prepackaged alcohol for off-site consumption.
  • SB 390 (Laird; D-Santa Cruz): Requires Employment Development Department (EDD) to develop a comprehensive plan to prepare for future economic recessions and the correlated increased demands on EDD’s system for distributing unemployment insurance benefits, including staffing, logistics, and identity verification tools.
  • SB 657 (Ochoa Bogh; R-Yucaipa): Allows employers to satisfy notice requirements under the Labor Code using electronic means for telecommuting employees.

Support Bills Vetoed

  • AB 1185 (Cervantes; D-Corona): Would have temporarily extended the deadline for Californians to apply for Cal Grant funding to support higher education to allow for COVID-19-related disruptions to the application process.
  • SB 244 (Archuleta; D-Pico Rivera): Would have reduced fires caused by improper battery disposal by requiring CAL FIRE, the California Highway Patrol, Department of Toxic Substances Control, and CalRecycle to work with waste industry experts and local governments to develop protocols for managing discarded lithium-ion batteries and to develop a guidance document to inform, educate and increase public awareness about fire risk from improper disposal of lithium-ion batteries. It also would have required waste industry enterprises to work with county fire marshals annually to develop a protocol for discarded lithium-ion batteries and thus prevent future fires.

Cumulative Job Killer Vetoes

  • 2021: 25 job killers identified, 2 sent to Governor Gavin Newsom, 1 signed, 1 vetoed;
  • 2020: 19 job killers identified, 2 sent to Governor Newsom, 1 signed, 1 vetoed;
  • 2019: 31 job killers identified, 2 sent to Governor Newsom, 1 signed, 1 vetoed;
  • 2018: 29 Job Killers identified, 1 sent to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., 1 vetoed;
  • 2017: 27 Job Killers identified, 3 sent to Governor Brown, 2 signed, 1 vetoed;
  • 2016: 24 Job Killers identified, 5 sent to Governor Brown, 4 signed, and 1 vetoed;
  • 2015: 19 Job Killer bills identified, 3 sent to Governor Brown, 1 signed, and 2 vetoed;
  • 2014: 27 Job Killer bills identified, 2 sent to Governor Brown, 2 signed;
  • 2013: 38 Job Killer bills identified, 1 sent to Governor Brown, 1 signed;
  • 2012: 32 Job Killer bills identified, 6 sent to Governor Brown, 4 signed, 2 vetoed;
  • 2011: 30 Job Killer bills identified, 5 sent to Governor Brown, 1 signed, 4 vetoed;
  • 2010: 43 Job Killer bills identified, 12 sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2 signed, 10 vetoed;
  • 2009: 33 Job Killer bills identified, 6 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 6 vetoed;
  • 2008: 39 Job Killer bills identified, 10 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 1 signed, 9 vetoed;
  • 2007: 30 Job Killer bills identified, 12 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 12 vetoed;
  • 2006: 40 Job Killer bills identified, 11 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 2 signed, 9 vetoed;
  • 2005: 45 Job Killer bills identified, 8 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 1 signed, 7 vetoed;
  • 2004: 23 Job Killer bills identified, 10 sent to Governor Schwarzenegger, 10 vetoed;
  • 2003: 53 Job Killer bills identified, 13 sent to Governor Gray Davis, 11 signed, 2 vetoed;
  • 2002: 35 Job Killer bills identified, 17 sent to Governor Davis, 12 signed, 5 vetoed;
  • 2001: 12 Job Killer bills identified, 5 sent to Governor Davis, 3 signed, 2 vetoed;
  • 2000: No Job Killers identified. Of 4 bad bills identified at end of session, Governor Davis signs 2 and vetoes 2;
  • 1999: 30 Job Killer bills identified, 9 sent to Governor Davis, 6 signed, 3 vetoed;
  • 1998: 64 Job Killer bills identified, 11 sent to Governor Pete Wilson, 11 vetoed;
  • 1997: 57 Job Killer bills identified, 9 sent to Governor Wilson, 9 vetoed.