Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

Already Belong? Login

WECA Political Update July 23, 2020

Thursday, July 23, 2020

WECA Political Update
July 23, 2020
Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
California lawmakers are returning next week to Sacramento to begin a sprint to the final adjournment on August 31, 2020. Because of COVID-19 concerns, they will be holding a limited number of committee hearings Monday – Saturday and the Senate will allow remote voting.

Criminal Justice Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is pushing to end mandatory jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, adding to a growing raft of criminal justice measures circulating in Sacramento. SB 378 would allow judges to issue probation or suspend sentences for people who are convicted of various drug crimes on top of prior drug-related felonies. Judges could also do the same for people who possess for sale or sell large amounts of heroin or PCP. Current California law mandates harsher sentencing for those categories of offenders. If enacted, SB 378 would continue a trend of reducing criminal penalties for drug-related crimes in California. Voter-passed initiatives have already downgraded most forms of possession from felonies to misdemeanors and legalized recreational cannabis use for adults. A national upwelling of criminal justice activism, spurred by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, has increased the appetite among California lawmakers for further changes. During a Monday press conference, Wiener called his measure a blow against incarceration, which he said "has taken on a renewed sense of urgency" as coronavirus has spread in California jails and prisons. [Politico]
EV Charger Installation AB 841 (Ting D-San Francisco) was “gut and amended” at the end of June. It temporarily redirects 30 percent of existing energy efficiency funds to the California Energy Commission to create a grant program for schools to repair and replace HVAC systems and inefficient water fixtures. State agencies may also apply to replace water fixtures. The program requires 25 percent of funds to go to schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities and requires a skilled and trained workforce to install these projects. This bill also requires the CPUC to approve pending EV charging applications for SDG&E and SCE and reapprove a previous application for PG&E. This bill also streamlines EV infrastructure projects by ensuring that upgrades to the electrical system are regularly reviewed in a utility’s general rate case. This bill requires EV charging facilities funded by the CPUC, CEC, or CARB to be installed by a C-10 electrical contractor and at least one electrician who has passed the EV Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP). The bill is co-sponsored by the California Coalition of Utility Employees, State Pipe Trades Council, State Association of Electrical Workers, and Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers – all construction unions represented by the same lobbyist – Scott Wetch. EVITP is a “collaboration of industry stakeholders including: Automakers, EVSE Manufacturers, Educational Institutions, Utility Companies, Electrical Industry Professionals and key EV Industry Stakeholders.” There are only 3,000 certified electricians in the U.S. and Canada and 75 California contractors who employ these certified electricians. Is Wetch setting up a monopoly for these contractors?

Because elections are not confusing enough. In AD 72, (Westminster-Garden Grove) former State Senator and County Supervisor Janet Nguyen will face Garden Grove council member and scientist Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen in November. Janet beat incumbent Tyler Diep – the lone Republican to support the Gonzalez gig-worker bill. Diep also encouraged the Anaheim City Council to adopt their city-wide PLA last year.

No Measure A Repeal this November. The San Diego City Council has until the end of the month to finalize which measures will appear on the November ballot, but voters won’t have to weigh in on one potential measure this year. A San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council proposal to repeal the 2012 Measure A ban on PLAs will have to wait for another election. The Council had been pushing the measure, with support from Council Democrats, to walk back the 2012 initiative that barred San Diego from requiring project labor on city projects. Since 2012, the state – at the direction of the State Building and Construction Trades Council – passed two bills intended to block state funds going to cities with such restrictions in place. San Diego has never lost state funds because of its ban, but the threat has loomed over its proposal to build a massive water recycling project that is only feasible with state money. This Tuesday, the Council was poised to vote to put the measure on the ballot. At the last minute, Council President Georgette Gómez said Councilman Chris Ward was working with Building Trades to make some changes to the measure and wanted to send it back to city staff to make them happen. KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen then reported that the state’s Building and Construction Trades Council sent a letter to the city informing it that the proposed measure wouldn’t fix the city’s issues with state funds. Since the measure specified that new PLAs would require apprenticeships, include community benefit provisions and exempt disadvantaged businesses, the city would still run afoul of state law, Scott Kronland, a Building Trades lawyer, wrote. But that still left Ward, city staff and Building Trades two more weeks to see if they could strike a deal and put the measure on the November ballot. That’s not happening. Carol Kim, political director for the San Diego Building Trades, said they were unable to finalize a measure in time. “We’re disappointed San Diegans won’t get a chance to vote on the measure this year, but we are committed to working with a new Council and new mayor to qualify an initiative to safeguard San Diego’s state funding for a future ballot,” she wrote in a text message. [Voice of San Diego]
Ask Richard

?Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
Have questions or concerns?

?Ask Richard!
Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.

Join the WECA conversation. Follow us on social media.
Facebook ‌ Twitter ‌ Instagram ‌ LinkedIn ‌
About WECA

WECA is California's premier independent electrical contractors' association. We provide innovative training and education programs, critical business services, and responsive customer support to surpass the needs of our members and students. We are California state approved, and our top-quality electrical training has found a nationwide audience. For over 90 years, we have been training the next generation of electricians, and advocating for and protecting fair and open competition in the electrical industry.
Learn More

Association Membership
Classes for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen
Contact Us
Join our mailing list!