Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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WECA Political Update April 14, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

For your next time on Jeopardy under the category State milkshakes, the answer is: date shake. And the question is, “What is California’s official milkshake?” What, you didn’t know California had an official milkshake? Well, we will after the legislature passes AB 868 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. You see, current law establishes the state flag and the state’s emblems, and the official state sport (surfing). But until AB 868, California hasn’t had an official state milkshake! Fortunately, Sacramento will have enough time in their busy calendar of imposing new mandates on California businesses to address this abysmal lack of recognition of the importance of date shakes! The bill was introduced to create the "Emergency Funeral Expenses Fund" and required the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide funeral expenses to a person who applied for funeral expense assistance for eligible funeral home contract costs incurred for a decedent who died due to COVID-19 or as a result of an emergency that is the basis of a state of emergency declared by the Governor. Obviously, date shakes are more important. In case you are curious, date shakes are high in fiber, iron, potassium, and niacin. And the Legislature is full of__________, well, you fill in the blank.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is now a millionaire, according to the Associated Press. “When she ran for governor in 2018, her lackluster personal finances and a hefty tax bill from the IRS gave Republicans fodder to question how she could manage a state budget when she struggled with her own debts. Abrams is now worth $3.17 million, according to state disclosures she filed in March!” I want the name of her investment advisor!
Former Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is shaking up the race for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat. The Associated Press reported she filed paperwork to join a field of at least 40 candidates seeking the job. It had been held for 49 years by U.S. Rep. Don Young, who died last month. The field includes current and former state legislators and a North Pole City Council member named Santa Claus.
As if there wasn’t enough going on in California! Last Tuesday was the last day for voters to cast or mail in ballots in four special elections prompted by a “Great Resignation” of lawmakers.
One result, Democrat Lori Wilson -- the former mayor of Suisun City -- will be sworn in as the newest member of the State Assembly. She ran unopposed to replace Jim Frazier, the Fairfield Democrat who resigned to pursue job opportunities in the transportation sector.
Democrats Georgette Gómez and David Alvarez are headed for a June 7 runoff for the Assembly seat formerly held by Lorena Gonzalez, who quit to take over the California Labor Federation. The race pitted labor groups against business interests and attracted oodles of special interest money.
Democrats Robert Pullen-Miles, mayor of Lawndale, and Tina McKinnor, a longtime political activist, will run off to replace Autumn Burke, the Los Angeles Democrat who gave up her Assembly seat to join prominent lobbying firm Axiom Advisors.
And former Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway advanced to a runoff, with Democrat Lourin Hubbard, a state Department of Water Resources specialist, leading for the second spot, in a six-way race to replace Republican Devin Nunes, who gave up his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to run former President Donald Trump’s new media company.
In other election news: San Francisco Mayor London Breed endorsed Supervisor Matt Haney over former Supervisor David Campos for the state Assembly seat David Chiu vacated to become city attorney. Haney and Campos will battle for the seat in an April 19 runoff election.
In Sacramento election news, WECA members are encouraged to support Elk Grove City Councilman Pat Hume in the race for County Supervisor to replace Don Notalli who decided not to run for re-election. He is running against the evil PLA supporter Jacklyn Moreno, whose campaign co-chair is Darryl Steinberg. Hume is holding two events in May.
COVID News The Biden administration extended the national Covid public health emergency for another 90 days. The move maintains a range of benefits, including access to tests and telehealth services. The CDC said it would extend for two weeks a mask requirement on planes and public transit that had been set to expire. Boris Johnson will be fined for breaking lockdown rules, making him the first British prime minister in living memory to have been found in breach of the law.
Is wind in your business future? The Office of Advocacy of the SBA will host a roundtable to discuss the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) request for comments on the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area Draft Environmental Assessment. On April 6, 2022, BOEM announced the availability of a draft environmental assessment for the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area located off the coast of San Luis Obispo County, California. The roundtable will take place on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. ET. Roundtable participation details will be provided upon receipt of an RSVP. RSVPs should be sent to prianka.sharma@sba.gov. The purpose of the roundtable will be to gather specific small entity input and presentations on the request for comments. Parties interested in making oral presentations during the roundtable should indicate this in their RSVP. WECA plans to ask how the Biden/Harris/Walsh PLA will affect this project.
Cue the charger rush, and why IBEW pushed for EVITP. California regulators are proposing an annual ramp-up to the state's 2035 ban of new gas car sales, a timeline that automakers cautioned as "extremely challenging”, and environmentalists lamented as too slow. Documents published by the California Air Resources Board are an opening salvo and could be revised to thread the needle between the two sides. But the timeline will be tight, as the draft rules are up for their first hearing in less than two months and are slated to be approved in August.
Sinema says she'll be 'the same person' and not switch up her demands if Build Back Better is revived Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has a message for Democrats who fear she might move the goalposts on their economic agenda: she won't be switching up her demands. "What I can't tell you is if negotiations will start again or what they'll look like," Sinema said at an Arizona Chamber of Commerce event on Tuesday. "But what I can promise you is that I'll be the same person in negotiations if they start again that I was in negotiations last year." She emphasized again that she was opposed to raising taxes on large corporations, saying she wouldn't back "any tax policies that would put a brake on any type of economic growth or forestall business and personal growth for America's industries. You all know, the entire country knows, that I'm opposed to raising the corporate minimum tax rate," she said. A Sinema spokesperson clarified she was referring to raising tax rates on corporations and not backtracking from her past support of a 15% corporate minimum tax.
NLRB General Counsel Aggressively Seeks to Expand Unions’ Right to Demand Recognition; Restrict Employer Speech National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo continues to push the Board to take aggressive and unprecedented pro-labor stances, seeking to overturn decades of well-settled jurisprudence. On April 11, 2022, the General Counsel’s office filed a brief in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, urging the Board to make two dramatic changes in current law under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “the Act”). First, the General Counsel seeks to overturn the Board’s 52-year-old standard for obtaining a representation election, and to expand the ability of the Board to order an employer to bargain with a union even without its winning such an election. Second, she urges the Board to reverse decades of precedent and find that so-called “captive audience speeches” by employers violate the Act. Story
Newsom caught up in high-profile lawsuit [CalMatters] On Wednesday, Newsom’s first full day back at work after a family vacation to Central and South America, he signed into law a bill strengthening protections for patients undergoing treatment for substance use disorders. But that news was overshadowed by an explosive Bloomberg report that found a top lawyer for California’s anti-discrimination agency resigned Tuesday night, alleging that Newsom’s office was interfering in the agency’s sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit against video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. 

  • Melanie Proctor, assistant chief counsel for California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, also accused Newsom of abruptly firing her boss, chief counsel Janette Wipper. 
  • Proctor wrote in an email to colleagues obtained by Bloomberg: “The Office of the Governor repeatedly demanded advance notice of litigation strategy and of next steps in the litigation. As we continued to win in state court, this interference increased, mimicking the interests of Activision’s counsel. … Justice should be administered equally, not favoring those with political influence.” 
  • Erin Mellon, a Newsom spokesperson, told The Verge: “Claims of interference by our office are categorically false. The Newsom administration … will continue to support DFEH in their efforts to fight all forms of discrimination and protect Californians.”
  • A few weeks after the state filed its July 2021 discrimination lawsuit against Activision, board member Casey Wasserman donated $100,000 to Newsom’s anti-recall campaign, Politico reported Wednesday night. And as CalMatters political reporter Alexei Koseff noted, former Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg in September donated $25,000 to Newsom’s reelection campaign.