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WECA Political Update: May 28, 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
The State Legislature continued to hear bills on a variety of topics.

Here are the results on a couple we are tracking.

AB 1107 (Chu) which would have raised unemployment payments by $600 a week and cost business as much as $40 billion over the next ten years - has been significantly amended and now has nothing to do with raising unemployment insurance costs. So, though the vehicle lives on, the substance is dead. The new text of AB 1107 bill relates to sharing emergency proclamations in various languages.

AB 1947 (Kalra) Doubles, from 6 months to one year, the time in which a person who believes that they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against to file a complaint with the DLSE. Also, AB 1947 overturns the existing balance by prohibiting an employer from recovering its attorney’s fees, which could create an incentive for more potentially frivolous litigation. The Assembly Labor Committee (chaired by Kalra) approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 2185 (Patterson) Requires each board within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to issue a license to any applicant who is the spouse or partner of an active duty member of the Armed Forces if the applicant is licensed in another state. Hearing in Assembly Business & Professions cancelled. (Support)

AB 3075 (Gonzalez) Requires that articles of incorporation include an attestation that the filer is not affiliated with an employer that has an outstanding judgment issued by the DLSE or a court of law for violation of any wage order or provision of the Labor Code. The bill interferes with corporate formation based on unclear and unfair standards and the bill will result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions. The Assembly Banking Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

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. The Assembly Labor Committee (chaired by Kalra) approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 3279 (Friedman) Revises California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation procedures by (1) reducing the deadline for a court to commence hearings from one year to 270 days, (2) providing that a lead agency may decide whether a plaintiff prepares the administrative record, and (3) authorizing a court to issue an interlocutory remand. AB 3279 addresses common delays in litigation over CEQA actions to promote swifter and more efficient resolution of lawsuits regarding all projects. Labor (State Building and Construction Trades Council), environmental, and environmental justice advocates, typically aligned with CEQA petitioners oppose. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on a bipartisan vote with two Dems, Muratsuchi and Mark Stone voting NO. (Support)

SB 795 (Beall) SB 795 allocates $10 billion over five years to several existing housing, homelessness, and pre-apprenticeship programs, as well as creating two new infrastructure financing programs at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). It allocates $5 million each year for five years to the California Workforce Development Board for distribution to local agencies to participate in, invest in, or partner with new or existing pre-apprenticeship training programs. The $5 million for pre-apprenticeship training programs must be “established pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 14230 of the Unemployment Insurance Code” that requires that the pre-apprenticeship training in the building and construction trades fund programs and services that follow the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum implemented owned by the State Building trades. So - it would seem that this $5 million a year goes to union pre-apprenticeship programs - more money for unions. Approved by the Senate Housing Committee on a party-line vote. (Oppose unless amended)

SB 1189 (McGuire) this CSLB sponsored bill creates a new residential remodeling license (B-2) that 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. It was approved by the Senate Business and Professions Committee and now goes to Appropriations. (Oppose unless amended)

Caltrans head says gas tax decline won't be as bad as feared The drop in gas tax revenue for road maintenance and repairs isn't looking as bad as California officials feared at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the head of the state Transportation Department told lawmakers Wednesday. “The projections that we're seeing is the revenue is not going to drop as much as we were originally anticipating,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee. He said about 25 road projects had been delayed due to the pandemic but that funding isn't an issue. Omishakin said the state is projecting a loss of $1.8 billion over the next five years due to lowered gas tax revenue as people drive less during the pandemic and a statewide stay-at-home order. He said officials had been estimating higher losses based on initial driving declines of about 35 percent on state highways. The University of California, Davis projected earlier this month that revenue fell by $370 million for the first two months of the shutdown. Omishakin said that based on Department of Finance estimates, revenue would fall by about $380 million per year for the next five years. [Politico]

Santa Clara Water takes Steps to Adopt a PLA. At their May 26 meeting the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, comprised of seven members, each elected from equally-divided districts of Santa Clara County, voted to proceed with a PLA for district work. Assemblyman Ash Kalra, and Senator Jim Beall both wrote strong letters of support for the PLA. Beall has run in 5 races for public office, winning 5 of them. He has raised a total of $3,840,613 – with almost ½ from “labor.” Kalra has run in 4 races for public office, winning 3 of them. He has raised a total of $2,090,433 – ½ from labor. You can see their letters here.