Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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WECA Political Update: May 14, 2020

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
Senate Returns The State Senate returned to Sacramento this week
and proceeded to commence hearing bills. Here are a couple
we are tracking.

SB 1189 (McGuire) creates a new residential remodeling license (B-2) Sponsored by CSLB, the bill would prohibit a B-2 from “contracting to make structural changes to load bearing portions of an existing structure and from contracting to install, replace, or extend electrical or plumbing systems or their component parts, or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems” but would allow them to make “minor alterations to existing electrical or plumbing systems to effectuate the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing electrical and plumbing fixtures.” WECA opposes this language and is seeking amendments that prohibit the B-2 from doing any electrical work.

AB 2210 (Aguiar-Curry) extends the time from 180 days to 18 months for CSLB to commence an action based upon a Cal-OSHA complaint. (CSLB bill)

AB 1107 (Chu) would, until March 1, 2021, provide that once the temporary federal unemployment increase due to the COVID-19 outbreak has ceased, an individual’s weekly State benefit amount would be increased by $600.

AB 5 modifications. There are still several moving. SB 806 (Grove) will amend the “ABC” test for determining employee versus independent contractor status in order to provide necessary flexibility to the test so that individuals who choose to be independent contractors can continue to work and earn income.

SB 900 (Hill) one of several bills CalChamber supports IF AMENDED to provide a more comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing independent contracting.

AB 3216 (Kalra) New COVID-19 Employment Leave Mandate. Provides for unlimited job protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state and local levels, and will further burden California employers at a time they can least afford it.

“Mods” urge Newsom to limit business liability, delay rulemaking A group of 17 moderate Assemblymembers have appealed to Gov. Gavin Newsom to mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with new measures that include limiting liability for businesses that adhere to safety standards and delaying new rulemaking procedures by four months. You can see the letter here. The legislators urged Newsom to sign an executive order that would extend public comment deadlines for 120 days on new regulations not directly connected to the pandemic response. The first signatory listed is Democrat Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) who was joined by 15 Democratic colleagues in the Assembly, as well as Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, a former Assembly Republican leader who became an independent last year. No word from the Governor if he will follow or respond.

San Diego PLA Ban may be challenged: The San Diego City Council Rules committee advanced a measure backed by construction unions to overturn the 2012 Measure A that restricted the use of project labor agreements on city infrastructure projects. Councilman Mark Kersey and Barbara Bry opposed advancing the measure. The City Council will soon vote on whether to put the repeal on the November ballot. WECA is in touch with the merit-shop groups who supported Measure A about an opposition effort.

Pay When Paid Decision. While it has been more than twenty years since the California Supreme Court determined, in Wm. R. Clarke Corp. v. Safeco Ins. Co., that “pay-if-paid” provisions in subcontracts were unenforceable, following a recent decision from the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, general contractors, or any other contractors that contract directly with owners, should review their subcontracts to confirm that they do not contain potentially unenforceable “pay-when-paid” provisions. Following the California Supreme Court’s Wm. R. Clarke decision, many direct contractors (defined by California Civil Code § 8018 as a contractor with a direct contractual relationship with an owner) revised the payment provisions in their subcontracts from “pay-if-paid” (where payment by the owner is a condition precedent for payments to the subcontractor) to “pay-when-paid” (requiring the contractor to pay the subcontractors within a defined period after payment by the owner). In the recent Crosno Construction Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeal determined that such “pay-when-paid” provisions may be unenforceable if they run afoul of California’s statutory waiver and release statutes (California Civil Code § 8120 et seq.). More

Executive Order Presumes Employees Who Contract COVID-19 Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits On May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order No. N-62-20. The order states that employees will be presumed to have contracted COVID-19 in the course and scope of employment for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits if all of the following conditions are satisfied More

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 Infection Prevention Guidelines for Certain Essential Businesses On May 5, 2020, Cal/OSHA published updated COVID-19 prevention guidelines for specific essential businesses in Agriculture, Child Care, Construction, Grocery Stores and Logistics. With limited exceptions, the guidelines cover a number of general safety topics previously discussed in Cal/OSHA’s prior publications, such as training, cleaning and disinfecting, increasing physical distancing, sanitation practices, and precautions for dealing with a worker who becomes sick with COVID-19, each discussed below. More

California’s 25th Congressional District special election Mike Garcia (R) won the special general election for California's 25th Congressional District after Christy Smith (D) conceded on May 13. At the time Smith conceded, Garcia had 56% of the vote to Smith's 44%. The special election was called to fill the vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned on November 1, 2019, amid allegations of extramarital relationships with staffers. The remainder of the term will expire on January 3, 2021. Smith and Garcia will run again in a regular general election on November 3 for a full, two-year term. His victory represents the first time in 22 years that California Republicans have captured a congressional seat from Democrats.

Melendez wins state Senate seat Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) claimed an open state Senate seat on Tuesday, besting Democratic education board member Elizabeth Romero. Melendez jumped out to a wide lead on Romero in the first wave of ballots. Her victory puts into play the solidly Republican 67th Assembly district seat Melendez has held since 2013. The result held the line for Senate Republicans, who were defending a vacant seat after former state Sen. Jeff Stone left for a Trump administration post in the Labor Department.