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WECA Political Update March 4, 2022

Friday, March 04, 2022

Join Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs for a new quarterly call-in series for WECA Member Contractors

First call-in March 9 at 9 a.m.


Stay up-to-date on all things political at the state, local and federal levels with a new quarterly call-in series hosted by Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs.

The first call-in will take place on March 9 at 9 a.m. If you have a particular question you would like to ask during the call-in, please submit it via email at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com the Friday before the Zoom call.

Access the call here:

Meeting ID: 861 4407 7242
Passcode: 841151

One tap mobile:
+16699006833,,86144077242#,,,,*841151# US (San Jose)
+12532158782,,86144077242#,,,,*841151# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location:
    +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
    +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
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    +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
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Or find your local number here.

We look forward to talking with you!


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Solar Initiative Scrapped Proponents of two ballot initiatives that would block the CPUC’s proposal to slash rooftop solar installation incentives have scrapped their effort. The withdrawal takes a political threat to electric utilities off the table, albeit one that wouldn’t have likely qualified in time for the November election. Initiatives are often deployed to force legislative talks on an issue, but no such measure has emerged since the bill introduction deadline nearly two weeks ago. Last Tuesday, the Solar Rights Alliance quietly withdrew its two initiatives from the attorney general’s office. Dave Rosenfeld, the organization’s executive director, told POLITICO that given the CPUC’s decision last month to delay its vote on net metering reforms indefinitely “and the uncertainty created by that delay, it does not make sense to gather signatures for a ballot measure at this point.” If the initiatives hadn’t been withdrawn, they would have been subject to a joint analysis later this week by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance on the measures’ impacts on state and local government finances. “We are watching the CPUC very closely and hope they use this time to listen to the experts as well as the overwhelming public sentiment on this issue to reject a solar tax and keep rooftop solar growing and affordable for everyday Californians,” he said of the agency’s draft plan to levy a monthly fee on solar owners and reduce their bill credits for excess electricity generated by their photovoltaic panels. Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for the coalition of utilities and others supporting net metering reforms, said in a statement that the initiatives would have locked in a solar incentives program that she said “hurts low-income and disadvantaged communities” in which residents are less likely to have solar panels and thus pay higher electric bills. Rosenfeld noted that if the CPUC doesn’t end up “listening to the people” with its final proposal, his group will be “ready with a powerful grassroots movement marching under the banner of the Solar Bill of Rights.” [Politico]
 
Small Business Day Small businesses and job creators frequently fail to attract the attention of lawmakers – drowned out by labor unions and big business lobbyists. The NFIB has invited small business owners to virtually meet elected officials in Sacramento on California’s Small Business Day on March 8th, 2022, from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Click here to Register for Small Business Day in California. There is no cost to attend the event (but you will undoubtedly be invited to join NFIB).
 
California Employers Can Make Reasoned Choices as State Reduces Formal Workplace Masking Requirements Effective March 1, 2022, there is no longer a hard requirement under the Cal/OSHA statewide Emergency Temporary Standard (CA ETS) or any other statewide requirement for employers to require unvaccinated persons (or fully vaccinated persons) to mask indoors at work. Instead, the masking requirement applies only in specified settings such as health care, K-12 schools, childcare facilities, long-term care settings, and others. Presently, no such hard requirement is applicable in most (but not all) local jurisdictions after March 1, as many local jurisdictions responded by aligning with the new statewide standards. Learn more and more.
 
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2022. Republican Doug Ducey will not run for the U.S. Senate this year, he told donors in a letter obtained by The Arizona Republic, finally determining whether he held aspirations for elected office this cycle. Ducey’s announcement to some of his closest financial allies ends the long-running effort by national and local Republican leaders and deep-pocketed donors to recruit him for the race against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), whose reelection could decide which party controls the evenly divided chamber. Defeated former President Donald Trump has made Ducey a frequent target since the governor certified Trump’s losing election results. Not surprisingly, that continued Thursday, when Trump tried to take credit for Ducey’s decision not to seek the Senate seat. In a statement, the former president pointed to this week’s primary successes in Texas, where his endorsements proved influential. Story
 
Biden touts charging network expansion in SOTU amid 85% jump in 2021 U.S. E.V. sales; Will IBEW reap the benefits? Along with developing an E.V. charging network, Biden also called for investment tax credits to weatherize homes and make businesses more energy-efficient and for the nation to double its clean energy production, including wind and solar. The president also focused on the potential for electric vehicles to help fuel a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing. But surprising no one, IBEW has inserted EVITP mandates in HR 6662 by Rep. Nanette Barragán (CA46) that “not less than 40 percent of the employees [installing chargers] hold an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program certification.” He also urged passage of the PRO Act. In his speech, he specifically called for passage of the PRO Act; “Let’s pass the PRO Act. When a majority of workers want to form a union, they shouldn’t be able to be stopped.” CDW’s statement on the speech can be found here.
 
SB 114: California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Revived On February 9, 2022, California Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 114 (SB 114) into law to re-enact the state’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, effective February 19, 2022, but with key differences from prior supplemental paid sick leave law (S.B. 95). SB 114, which applies retroactively to January 1, 2022, requires employers with 26 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 80 hours of supplemental sick leave through September 30, 2022. More here. On February 16, the Labor Commissioner issued the new model notice, available here.
 
In at least three states, voters will decide legislative proposals to change citizen-initiated ballot measure processes this year. Legislatures in Arizona, Arkansas, and South Dakota have passed constitutional amendments on ballot initiatives. All three states are Republican trifectas. Here’s a quick recap.

  • In Arizona, voters will decide two constitutional amendments at the general election in November. Republicans in the legislature backed two proposals that would change the ballot initiative process. Legislative Democrats opposed both.
  • One will allow legislators to amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives if any portion has been declared unconstitutional or invalid by the Arizona Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court. Currently, the Legislature cannot amend or repeal voter-approved ballot initiatives due to Proposition 105 (1998), also known as the Voter Protection Act, except for changes that further a measure’s purpose and receive a three-fourths vote in each legislative chamber. 
  • The other amendment in Arizona would add a provision to the state constitution that requires citizen-initiated ballot measures to embrace a single subject. Based on a 2017 state Supreme Court ruling, the state constitution’s existing single-subject rule applies to legislative bills but not citizen-initiated measures.
 
How many U.S. Senators have announced their retirements so far this cycle? U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announced last week that he would retire on January 3, 2023, triggering a special election this November. With his announcement, Inhofe became one of several senators who announced their retirements this cycle, the largest number recorded since 2012.
 
How many U.S. Senators have announced their retirements so far this cycle?
 
1.     3
2.     16
3.     7
4.     12