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WECA Political Update January 21, 2021

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
California Senate Republicans Replace Sen. Shannon Grove as Leader

Per various sources – State Sen. Shannon Grove of Bakersfield was replaced Wednesday as the leader of the California Senate Republicans after having served in the position for two years. Grove will be succeeded by state Sen. Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita. Her ouster as leader by the Senate Republican Caucus came after two of its 11 seats changed hands in the November election. “California is facing unprecedented challenges and Senate Republicans stand ready with solutions,” Wilk said in a statement. “For everyday Californians there is no greater priority than the pandemic — the health crisis it has created, its economic devastation and educational challenges for our students.” Per Politico, “In trading Grove for Wilk, Republicans are opting for a more moderate choice. Wilk periodically votes with Democrats, and he has scored rare endorsements from organized labor — the types of connections that could increase his clout in a Capitol dominated by Democrats.” (HA!) “He just won back a battleground seat, thanks in part to massive spending by the California Republican Party and interest groups, and he is termed out in 2024. Dissatisfaction with Grove’s leadership was already mounting after Senate Republicans lost two seats this election even as California Republicans picked up multiple House seats, shriveling the Senate GOP caucus to just nine members. Grove exacerbated the situation with a tweet blaming the U.S. Capitol riots on Antifa.”

CSLB Launches Online Payment for Citations

To make paying for CSLB-issued citations easier, licensees and non-licensees now have the option to either make citation payments online via CSLB’s website or submit them by mail. For those who want to pay online, visit CSLB’s website, select “Online Services,” and then click on “Citation Payment.” All you need is your citation number and a credit card (Visa or MasterCard only) and to follow the simple prompts on the screen. Please note that there is a 2.99% processing fee.

PBGC Simplifies Calculation of Liability for Withdrawal from Multiemployer Pension Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently issued a final rule intended to simplify the calculation of withdrawal liability for multiemployer plans that have adopted benefit reductions, benefit suspensions, surcharges, and contribution increases. Story

Other News and Views

SD Congressman Who Went to Prison for Bribery Gets a Pardon

Per Voice of San Diego: “As one of his final acts in office, President Donald Trump pardoned former Rep. Duke Cunningham. He served a chunk of northern San Diego in Congress during the 1990s and early 2000s, then served eight years in prison. Cunningham pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion for taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for Defense Department contracts. As City News explained it, the bribes were paid not only in cash but through rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees, boat repairs and more. The former prosecutor who put Cunningham behind bars told the Union-Tribune that he was “appalled” by Trump’s decision to pardon an assortment of ‘political cronies.’ Trump also pardoned former SD Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret Hunter last month.”

How The Biden Administration’s Big Policy Shifts Will Play in California

After the ceremonies and the scaled-back parade, Mr. Biden got to work. He signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations aimed squarely at undoing a number of Trump policies. Story. You can read the 17 actions here.

California Cabinet Collection

The Biden administration will, in addition to the Vice President, include several other Californians: pending confirmation, his cabinet will include Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Small Business Administration head Isabel Guzman. Yesterday, Biden named California Energy Commissioner Janea Scott a counselor to the Interior secretary. San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten got the nod to be number two at the U.S. Department of Education.

Peter Robb Forced Out as NLRB General Counsel Upon assuming office, President Biden immediately asked for the resignation of NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb (R). Robb refused to resign and Biden fired him later in the day. The termination is unprecedented and possibly unlawful. The role of General Counsel is now open for Biden’s own nomination, but the eventual candidate will need to be confirmed by the closely divided Senate. Per Bloomberg, “His term was slated to last until this coming November, but unions, including the Service Employees International Union and Communications Workers of America, have been urging Biden to break with precedent by forcing him out immediately, in order to begin reorienting the agency toward protecting workers.”

DOL Leadership Team Released The Department of Labor has updated its leadership team roster, which can be viewed here. The list also includes various individuals in acting roles, who will eventually be replaced by Senate-confirmed individuals. The list will be updated as new individuals assume offices.

Environmental Rule Changes Coming for Construction Sites

Per ENR, “Construction projects could be impacted by the review and possible rollback of more than 100 regulations that face scrutiny under a day 1 executive order signed by President Joe Biden. But industry officials say such reviews are par for the course and are withholding judgment on any potential changes until they actually happen.” Story
How to boost Instagram engagement with hashtags

Do you use Instagram to promote your projects or accomplishments? Utilizing strong hashtags in Instagram campaigns can significantly boost engagement and even make it viral, while the wrong selection can backfire and hurt a brand's response and reputation, writes Rafaella Aguiar. She offers pointers on hashtag numbers, placement and tracking and urges marketers to "avoid anything that's suspicious, spammy or just plain irrelevant." Story

Department of Energy Announces New Senior Leaders-To Include IBEW/NECA - Los Angeles Director The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced new Biden-Harris Administration senior leadership appointees. These new leaders will direct policy at DOE, coordinate across the Administration, and enact President Joe Biden’s vision for bold action on the climate crisis and on safeguarding the Americans most affected by it. These experienced professionals reflect President Biden’s pledge to equip his Administration with a team that represents America’s diversity. One of the appointees, Jennifer Jean Kropke, served as the first Director of Workforce and Environmental Engagement for IBEW Local Union 11 and the National Electrical Contractors’ Association- Los Angeles’ Labor Management Cooperation Committee. She focused on creating clean energy, port electrification, and zero emission transportation opportunities for union members. She is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law.