"Job-Killer" Bill Update



 

Last month, the California Chamber of Commerce declared 28 environmental, consumer protection, trial lawyer and union groups’ bills as "job killers" that would raise employers' costs and discourage investment.  These proposed laws threaten California employers with new costly workplace and employee benefit mandates, economic development barriers, regulatory burdens and inflated liability costs.  June 3rd was the deadline for bills to pass their house of origin.  The following is a list of the 28 bills and a status update:



AB 10 (Alejo; D-Watsonville) Automatic Minimum Wage Increase

Creates uncertainty by imposing an automatic indexing of the minimum wage based on inflation whether or not California is in a recession and increases the minimum wage while California struggles to recover from the recession.  Held in Assembly Appropriations 5/27/11; Failed deadline



AB 22
(Mendoza; D-Artesia) Hampers Employment Decisions
Unfairly limits private employers’ ability to use consumer credit reports for legitimate employment purposes, unless the information in the report is “substantially job-related” and for a “managerial position.”  Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee, Hearing 6/ 22/11.



AB 375 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Expands Costly Presumptions

Increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace.  Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  Hearing date not set.



AB 1155
(Alejo; D-Watsonville) Erodes Workers’ Comp Reforms
Increases costs and lawsuits in the workers' compensation system by eroding the apportionment provision that protects an employer from paying for disability that did not arise from work.  Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  Hearing date not set.



SB 104
(Steinberg; D-Sacramento) Increased Agricultural Costs
Attempts to limit employees’ 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.  Enrolled and sent to Governor for signature or veto.


SB 129 (Leno; D-San Francisco) Employee Safety Risk

Undermines employers' ability to provide a safe and drug-free workplace by establishing a protected classification for employees who utilize medical marijuana. Held on Senate Inactive File.



SB 829
 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) Undermines Employer Rights
Undermines employer rights in California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) citations by allowing private parties to interfere with the appeals process which could impose significant costs on employers, the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board and on Cal/OSHA.  Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, Hearing 7/6/11.



AB 350 (Solorio; D-Anaheim) Costly Employee Retention Mandate
Inappropriately alters the employment relationship by requiring any successor contractor for “property services,” defined as licensed security, landscape, window cleaning or food cafeteria services, to retain employees of the former contractor for 90 days and thereafter offer continued employment unless the employees’ performance during the 90-day period was unsatisfactory.  Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee.  Hearing date not set.



AB 448
(Ammiano; D-San Francisco) Split Roll Property Tax
Undermines the protections of Proposition 13 by redefining the term “change of ownership” for legal entities so that reassessment of such property occurs when, cumulatively, there is a transfer of 100% of the ownership interests in a rolling three-year period.  Held in the Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee.



AB 832
(Ammiano; D-San Francisco) Back Door Tax Increase
Imposes a back door tax on software with a majority vote bill by making it virtually impossible for the owner to show that the software is eligible for a property tax exemption.  Held on Assembly Inactive File.



AB 1130 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Small Business Tax Increase
Targeted tax increase on higher income brackets, which will have a detrimental impact on small start-up businesses and discourage growth of such companies in California.  Held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Failed deadline.



AB 1239
(Furutani; D-South Los Angeles County) Small Business Tax Increase
Targeted tax increase on higher income brackets, which will have a detrimental impact on small start-up businesses and discourage growth of such companies in California.  Held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Failed deadline.



SB 237
(Wolk; D-Davis) Climate Change Tax Increase
Increases costs and discourages job growth by implementing unlimited fees and taxes under a cap-and-trade system.  Held in Senate Appropriations in Suspense File 5/02/11; Failed Deadline.



SB 246
(De León; D-Los Angeles) Discourages Emission Reductions

Prohibits finding the most cost effective ways to reduce emissions, creates uncertainty and significantly increases business costs by imposing new and excessively burdensome requirements on the development and use of compliance offsets in a cap-and-trade program under AB 32.  Held in Senate Appropriations Suspense File 5/26/11; Failed Deadline.



SB 508
(Wolk; D-Davis) Discourages Investment
Creates uncertainty for California employers making long-term investment decisions by requiring all future tax credits to sunset after seven years.  Assembly Floor.



SB 535
(De León; D-Los Angeles) Climate Change Tax Increase

Increases costs and discourages job growth by implementing unlimited fees and taxes under a cap-and-trade system.  Assembly Natural Resources Committee, hearing 6/27/11.



SB 653
(Steinberg; D-Sacramento) Multiple Tax Increases

Creates uncertainty by providing 58 counties and over 1,000 school districts, subject to voter approval, the authority to impose and/or increase a tax on all products and services.  Senate Third Reading 5/31/11


SBX 1 23 (Committee on Budget & Fiscal Review) Multiple Tax Increases
Mischaracterized “budget trailer bill” that is not necessary to implement the state budget.  Rather, this bill creates uncertainty for taxpayers by providing 58 counties, over 70 community college districts, and over 1,000 school districts, subject to voter approval, the authority to impose and/or increase a local tax on all products and services.  Passed Assembly, Senate Rules Committee.



AB 59
(Swanson; D-Alameda) Family and Medical Leave Expansion
Creates an increased burden on employers and makes a California-only mandated benefit different than the federal family leave act by significantly expanding the category of individuals with serious health conditions for whom an employee can take a leave of absence.  Held in Assembly Appropriations Suspense File 5/27/11; Failed Deadline



AB 325
(B. Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Unpaid Bereavement Leave
Adds to California’s reputation of being an overly litigious state by creating a private right of action and mandating an employer to provide an employee with up to four days of unpaid bereavement leave.  Senate Appropriations Committee, Hearing 6/27/11.



AB 400
(Ma; D-San Francisco) Paid Sick Leave Mandate
Unreasonably expands both public and private employers’ costs and liability by mandating employers to provide paid sick leave for employees.  Held in Assembly Appropriations Suspense File 5/27/11; Failed Deadline



AB 52
(Feuer; D-Los Angeles) Rate Regulation

Imposes implementation fees on health insurers to support additional bureaucracy and to regulate rates without addressing the costs that drive the rates.  Senate Health Committee, Hearing 6/29/11.



AB 638
(Skinner; D-Berkeley) Increased Transportation Costs
Increases costs on consumers and business by mandating an unrealistic reduction of petroleum fuel consumption with an unrealistic increase in alternative fuel consumption to 15% below 2003 levels by 2020.  Held in Assembly Appropriations Suspense File 5/27/11; Failed Deadline.



SB 568
(Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Polystyrene Food Container Ban
Threatens thousands of manufacturing jobs within the state by inappropriately banning all food vendors from using polystyrene foam food service containers, ignoring the numerous environmental benefits associated with polystyrene products.  Assembly Natural Resources, Hearing 6/27/11.



SB 761
(Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Regulatory Burden
Creates an unnecessary, unenforceable and unconstitutional regulatory burden on Internet commerce by indirectly regulating virtually all businesses that collect, use or store information from a website.  Held in Senate Appropriations Suspense File 5/10/11; Failed Deadline.



AB 559
(Swanson; D-Oakland) Undermines Judicial Discretion
Unreasonably increases business litigation costs by limiting judicial discretion to reduce or deny exorbitant attorneys fees in fair employment and housing claims that should have been raised in a limited civil proceeding.  Senate Floor.



AB 1062 (Dickinson; D-Sacramento) Undermines Efficient Dispute Resolution
Dramatically increases litigation costs for employers by eliminating the right to appeal a court order denying or dismissing a petition to compel arbitration, driving more cases into the courts.  Senate Judiciary Committee, Hearing 6/28/11.



AB 1208
(C. Calderon; D-Montebello) Court Inefficiency
Creates uncertainty, inefficiency and unpredictability for litigants, further aggravating California’s reputation as a bad place to do business, by decentralizing control of trial court funds.  Assembly Third Reading.



SB 111
(Yee; D-San Francisco) New Lawsuits Against Small Business
Could result in new shakedown lawsuits against business establishments by making it a strict liability violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, subject to minimum damages of $4,000, if a business limits the use of a customer's language, even if unintentionally.  Assembly Judiciary Committee, hearing date not set.



SB 242
(Corbett; D-San Leandro) Technology Sector Liability
Worsens California’s reputation as a highly litigious state by exposing tech-sector employers to unlimited civil liability, and creates an unworkable regulatory scheme with which Internet companies must comply.  Died on Senate Third Reading 6/2/11; Refused Passage.

Eleven of the measures have been killed, while 17 -- plus 2 new additions – are up for further discussion.

The most controversial of the survivors is Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's measure (once Senate Bill 653, now reincarnated as a budget "trailer bill," SB X1 23) that would authorize counties, school districts, community college districts and county offices of education to seek voter approval of a wide variety of new local taxes.  The Chamber is not only leading the lobbying campaign against the bill, but a Chamber-led coalition is vowing to seek its repeal by voters, should it be enacted, via a referendum.