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WECA Political Update April 13, 2023

Thursday, April 13, 2023

New Member of CSLB Governor Newsom appointed Amanda Gallo (D – Oakland), management analyst in the Fremont City Manager's Office, to the Contractors State License Board. Salary: $100 per diem. She was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Santa Clara County Housing Authority from 2014 to 2018. Gallo is a member of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California, Emerge California, and the New Leaders Council in Oakland. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. This position requires Senate confirmation.

Reappointed to California Apprenticeship Council: Mark Burri (D – Burlingame), business manager, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 467 since 2016; Yvonne de la Pena (D – Elk Grove), executive director, California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee since 1990; Richard Harris (R – Villa Park), president, Residential Contractors Association since 1987; Sheri Learmonth (R – San Leandro), CEO, Bay Point Control Inc. since 2018; Louis Ontiveros (D – Riverside), director of training, Southwest Carpenters Training Trust since 2017; Jason Rafter (D – Nicolas), Ironworkers Apprenticeship Director for I.E.B.C. since 2021; Paul Von Berg (No party preference – Newport Beach), former executive vice president, Brutoco Engineering and Construction Inc. Salary: $100 per diem.

Legislative Calendar:

·        April 10 – Legislature reconvenes

·        April 28 – Last day for policy committees to hear fiscal bills

·        May 5 – Last day for policy committees to hear non-fiscal bills

·        May 12 – Last day for policy committees to meet before June 5

·        May 19 – Last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house

·        June 2 – Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed an effort in Arizona to embrace a type of third party. Well, the Arizona Democratic Party didn’t like the idea and Sued third-party No Labels and Arizona Sec. of State Fontes The Arizona Democratic Party filed a complaint against Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and newly recognized third-party No Labels. The Maricopa County Superior Court complaint challenged No Labels’ status as a political party, calling it a “dark money” group that wasn’t following requirements. “No Labels is not following the rules for political party recognition while attempting to be placed on the ballot alongside actual, functioning political parties who do,” Morgan Dick, executive director for the Democrats, said in a press release. Story

Amazon's Consultant Fees Mirror Rise in Unionization Efforts As unions accelerate across disparate economic sectors — health care, logistics, retail, and education — during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, so too did Amazon's spending on labor consultants, reports the Puget Sound Business Journal. The Seattle-based tech giant doled out over $14.2 million in 2022 — about triple the prior year's number — to several consulting firms in "response to large-scale union organizing efforts," according to a company filing with the Department of Labor. Amazon previously told the PSBJ, "As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees." It's a sentiment that CEO Andy Jassy has expressed publicly as well. While efforts by large companies to discourage labor organizing aren't uncommon, Amazon's hefty payments to consultants are. The company says they reflect the size of the petitions and elections it was facing. The filings indicate that firms were paid to talk to Alabama and New York employees.

More Power California needs to add seven times more new energy to its grid each year than was estimated two years ago, according to a draft transmission plan recently published by the California Independent System Operator. The plan, updated annually, calls for adding 7 gigawatts of energy production every year through 2033 to keep pace with California’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, according to a CAISO blog post on the report. That’s up from a 2020 estimate of 1 GW per year, which was in line with what the state has been adding each year in new solar power, according to the California Energy Commission. The new estimate underscores the enormous challenges ahead as the state accelerates adding new renewable energy generation and transmission to the grid. CAISO listed 46 proposed generation and transmission projects it identified as best suited to meet the projected needs for a total expected cost of $9.3 billion.

Gov. Hobbs on Track for Veto Record After Rejecting 4 Republican-Backed Bills Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed four more Republican-backed bills Monday, putting her on pace to smash the record for the number of legislative proposals rejected in a single year. Former Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano set the record 17 years ago with 58 vetoes while working with a Republican-controlled legislature. Hobbs has already killed 24 pieces of legislation since January, and this looks like it could just be the beginning. The governor started the session with a clear message to lawmakers: don’t send legislation based on agendas and conspiracies. Story

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bob Bartlett’s favorite US Senator, Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), is preparing to run for reelection. You know who reads the Wall Street Journal? People who run hedge funds. You know who gives to Sinema? People who run hedge funds. Here’s what Rebecca Katz, a senior adviser to Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D - AZ) Senate bid said: “Sinema’s the most unpopular statewide elected official in Arizona, and it’s not even close. She has no path to victory.” Sorry, I know several Arizona officials less popular!

Right-To-Work Opponents Stake Out New Battleground: Abortion rights might have been the policy deemed the biggest maybe-winner after last week’s state Supreme Court election in Wisconsin. But the state’s now-liberal-leaning court — and the authority on redistricting that comes with it — could also soon cause right-to-work backers to break a sweat. “We want Wisconsin to be the next Michigan,” said Ryan Neibauer, political director at IBEW Local 494. The union’s PAC backed Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz in the race. Michigan last month became the first state in decades to repeal a right-to-work law, laws that allow union-represented workers to opt against paying union dues as a condition of employment. The union victory came after an independent redistricting commission helped make it possible for Democrats to win unified control of the state’s legislature. Some union representatives say they’re looking for another W in Wisconsin. “To overturn the right-to-work law, the primary issue here is, elect someone who is going to take a fresh look at the gerrymandered maps,” said Richard Kolodziejski, a spokesperson for the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters. The union funds the Wisconsin Carpenters PAC, which backed Protasiewicz. From across the issue: “Their political investments are paying off handsomely,” National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix said of unions’ support for Protasiewicz in the race, which POLITICO previously reported attracted more spending than every state Supreme Court election in 2018 combined. (State Democrats backed Protasiewicz, while state Republicans backed her opponent.) Mix expressed some concern that wins for unions could come directly from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But “ideally, it’s the maps,” Neibauer said. Other labor laws simmering: Wisconsin public employees have had their ability to collectively bargain limited under the former Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10, and the state in the last decade repealed its prevailing wage law.

Spending Against Su: The “Stand Against Su” coalition against the nomination of Julie Su as Labor Secretary has placed newspaper ads in Arizona, Maine, Montana, and West Virginia, the group announced Friday. The Arizona and Montana ads suggest Su will turn those states “into California,” referencing her time as California’s labor secretary as her opponents have repeatedly done in recent weeks. She heads into an anticipated Senate confirmation hearing on April 20. The group, which says it has spent “in the low six figures” opposing Su, has also bought billboards and “targeted digital content,” a press release said. NBC News previously reported resistance to Su’s nomination may come from moderate senators, including Joe Manchin (D -WV), Jon Tester (D - MT), and Kyrsten Sinema (I - AZ), who collectively represent three of the four states targeted.

Readers love all the salacious tidbits we find every week, but sometimes we need to get back to why we all love Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature – so here goes.

Special Mention – PLA Mandate for all State Construction

AB 574 (Wahab - D) This State Building and Construction Trades Council-sponsored bill prohibits a state agency from undertaking a major construction project that will exceed $35 million, unless that project is governed by a project labor agreement (PLA), and that PLA includes a community benefit goal. While this bill takes influence from President Biden’s EO, this bill is both an expansion of that EO and, at the same time, fails to include several exceptions that are included in President Biden’s EO. The California Conference of Carpenters has submitted a letter of concern stating the following: “A mandated PLA requirement may unfairly exclude certain types of construction workers and restrict contractors from utilizing the most qualified workers to the detriment of the project, the state agency, and the construction workforce. What’s most desperately needed in the construction industry is greater enforcement of existing labor law.” The author’s office has indicated that the author will take amendments to exempt transportation, water, and housing projects from the bill. In addition to the State Building and Construction Trades Council, SB 574 is supported by the California State Association of Electrical Workers, the California State Pipe Trades Council, and the Western Council of Sheet Metal Workers. The Construction Employer’s Association, the Plumbing-Cooling Contractors Association of California, and the Western Electrical Contractors Association oppose it. The Construction Employer’s Association noted, “PLAs often conflict with subcontracting clauses due to jurisdictional disputes between various crafts, placing general contractors in the unenviable role of violating their CBAs. For example, a PLA may mandate using one craft, even though more than one craft can perform that work. By mandating PLAs, the state would have to choose winners and losers. It is one thing to facilitate the use of union signatory employers, which is something CEA would support, and something entirely different for the state to dictate what craft can perform what work on any given project.” The Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California (CAPHCC) “believe this mandate is discriminatory and increases the cost of construction. In addition, a study published in August by the Rand Corporation found that a bond measure passed by Los Angeles-area voters in 2016 failed to deliver its intended results, primarily because of a PLA.” The Senate Governmental Organization Committee will hear the bill on April 25. WECA Position: STRONG OPPOSE


SB 332 (Cortese - D) It would require the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to evaluate the effectiveness of the requirement for schools to notify each apprenticeship program in the same county of a career or college fair. (Based on 03/28/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 247 (Muratsuchi - D) Would put the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2024 as a state general obligation bond act providing an unspecified amount to construct and modernize education facilities. This bond act would become operative if approved by the voters in a 2024 statewide election. No PLA language in the bill (unlike SB 28). (Based on 04/03/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

Business Issues

SB 279 (Niello - R) This bill would require a state agency to provide a minimum 21-day public comment period to determine whether the proposed adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation would be a “major regulation” that requires a standardized regulatory impact analysis. (Based on 03/21/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

SB 394 (Gonzalez - D) Would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to develop a Master Plan for Healthy, Sustainable, and Climate-Resilient Schools on or before November 1, 2024, if an appropriation is made for that purpose. The bill would require the commission to consult with specified state agencies and engage with diverse stakeholders and experts to develop the master plan, as provided. The bill would require the master plan to include specified elements, including, but not limited to, an inventory of the state’s public elementary and secondary school buildings and grounds and a set of priorities, benchmarks, and milestones for health, resilience, and decarbonization of public school campuses and support facilities. (Based on 03/13/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose


SB 393 (Glazer - D) This bill requires a CEQA plaintiff to disclose any contributions he or she has received of $1,000 or more to help fund the legal action. It also prevents a CEQA action from being filed against a housing project included in a larger plan or project already approved under CEQA. (Based on 04/10/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

SB 794 (Niello - R) This bill requires CEQA actions challenging a commercial, housing, or public works project that has at least $25 million invested in it to be resolved within 365 days of filing. It also requires a CEQA plaintiff to disclose any contributions he or she has received of $100 or more to help fund the legal action. (Based on 03/20/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 377 (Muratsuchi - D) Requires the consolidation of specified K-12 career technical education (CTE) programs, increases ongoing funding for the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program (CTEIG), administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), to $450 million per year; requires specified CTE staffing at the state and regional level to support local CTE programs and pathways; and deletes authorization for the K-12 Strong Workforce Program (SWP) administered by the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges (CCCCO). Also requires the CDE to establish a stakeholder workgroup to consider improvements to the CTEIG program. (Based on 03/01/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 421 (Bryan - D) Progressive politicians and their allies, particularly labor unions, dislike business use of ballot measures to thwart their legislative gains. AB 421 will require unpaid volunteers to gather at least 10% of signatures on all referenda and initiatives seeking to repeal or amend recently enacted laws. Assembly Bill 421 also would require paid signature gatherers to undergo mandatory training, register with the state for the specific measures they are presenting to voters, wear badges, and use unique identification numbers that would allow their petitions to be traced back to them. It is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise Californians and help out partisan special interest backers. The bill would also change how referendum questions are presented on the ballot. Currently, a “yes” vote is to uphold the law, and a “no” vote is to repeal the law. (Based on 03/23/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

SB 858 (Niello - R) This bill would require the Legislative Analyst to replace the Attorney General in preparing a circulating title and summary of an initiative or referendum measure, which includes an estimate of the financial impact. This will only happen if the voters approve SCA 3 in the 2023-24 Regular Session. (Based on 03/20/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 930 (Friedman - D) Would authorize the legislative bodies of 2 or more local governments, defined to include a city, county, special district, or transit agency, to jointly form a Reinvestment in Infrastructure for a Sustainable and Equitable California district (RISE district) by specified procedures. The bill would require the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to develop standards for forming RISE districts by November 30, 2025. The bill would establish a governing board of a RISE district with representatives of each participating local government. (Based on 02/14/2023 text) WECA Position: Disfavor

AB 1169 (Wilson - D) Would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to administer a program to provide financing assistance for the creation of affordable rental housing for employees of a qualified school district, as defined. The bill would require financing of rental housing assistance to be in the form of specified types of loans. When making loans to qualified developers under these provisions, the bill would require the department to establish and use a project selection process that meets specified requirements. The bill would create the California School Employee Housing Assistance Fund in the State Treasury for these purposes. The bill would make the implementation of these provisions subject to appropriation by the Legislature. (Based on 03/02/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

SB 4 (Wiener - D) The bill would make projects on land owned by an independent institution of higher education or a religious institution "use by right" so that local governments can approve them as long as the development meets specific standards. This includes making sure the units are affordable and provide off-street parking. It also allows for ancillary uses on the ground floor. The bill would also give developers incentives and concessions. The bill would not require the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for ministerial approval of projects. (Based on 03/28/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 423 (Wiener - D) This bill eliminates the sunset on SB 35 (Wiener, Chapter 366, Statutes of 2017) and makes other changes. (Based on 03/28/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 584 (Limón - D) Would enact the Laborforce Housing Financing Act of 2023 and define “laborforce housing” as housing that, among other things, is owned and managed by specified entities solely for the benefit of residents and households unable to afford market rent, and whose residents enjoy certain protections. The bill would establish, in the State Treasury, the Laborforce Housing Fund to be continuously appropriated to the department for the creation of laborforce housing and other specified housing projects by public entities, local housing authorities, and mission-driven nonprofit housing providers. (Based on 03/21/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

Labor Law

SB 592 (Newman - D) This bill would prohibit the imposition of punishment or liability for costs upon a person who has relied upon a published opinion letter or an enforcement policy, as defined, of DLSE that is displayed on the internet website of the division, except for restitution of unpaid wages, for violations of statutes or regulations in judicial or administrative proceedings if the person pleads and proves specified facts. The bill would require a person asserting this defense to have acted in good faith, relied upon, and conformed to, the applicable opinion letter or enforcement policy, and provided true and correct information to the division, among other things. (Based on 02/15/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 1383 (Ortega - D) This bill would require the CSLB to adopt regulations by January 1, 2025, that prevent people not complying with a child support order or judgment from getting a license. Furthermore, the bill requires licensees to notify the board's registrar in writing if they have an earnings assignment order for child support. Failure to do so after 120 days would result in the automatic suspension of the license. The regulations would also provide procedures for suspending the license if the licensee is out of compliance with an order of support requiring them to pay unsatisfied arrearages. (Based on 02/17/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 601 (McGuire - D) This bill would require that a home improvement contract by a prime contractor for the reconstruction, restoration, or rebuilding of a residential property that was damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, as specified, include a specified provision requiring the prime contractor to file separate performance and payment bonds that meet prescribed criteria. (Based on 03/22/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 630 (Dodd - D) This bill would require an applicant, registrant, or licensee with a valid email address to provide the CSLB with that email address at the time of application or renewal. (Based on 02/16/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 802 (Roth - D) This bill permits the CSLB to deny a license if the applicant or licensee has been subject to formal discipline or convicted of a crime related to their job or profession. (Based on 02/17/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


SB 778 (Ochoa Bogh - R) This bill, among other changes, would revise the definition of “subsurface installation” to include non-pressurized sewer lines, non-pressurized storm drains, and other non-pressurized drain lines. The bill would revise requirements for notifying operators of subsurface installations within a proposed excavation area, specify conditions under which an excavator is required to contact the regional notification to request a return trip, and revise requirements for an excavator to use vacuum equipment. Then inaccurate field mark. (Based on 02/17/2023 text) WECA Position: Further Study

Public Works

AB 587 (Rivas, Robert - D) Requires any copy of records made available for inspection by, or furnished to, a multiemployer Taft-Hartley trust fund or joint-labor management committee, to be on forms provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) or have the same information as the forms provided by DLSE. Additionally, this bill clarifies that electronic certified payroll records cannot be used to satisfy payroll record requests made by Taft-Hartley trust funds and joint labor-management committees. (Based on 02/09/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

AB 1121 (Haney - D) This bill would require awarding authorities to add the names of any contractors suspended or debarred to DIR’s electronic project registration database. (Based on 03/20/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

AB 1204 (Holden - D) In short, this bill forbids a contractor from contracting with two or more subcontractors with the same license classification unless they accredit those subcontractors with individuals in that license classification. Violations of this bill are subject to disciplinary action by the Board. (Based on 02/16/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 830 (Smallwood-Cuevas - D) This bill would expand the definition of “public works” to include an offsite, custom fabrication of sheet metal ducts or similar sheet metal products for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems produced as a nonstandard item solely and specifically designed and engineered for installation in a project. (Based on 03/27/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

Workers Comp

AB 336 (Cervantes - D) This Iron Workers-sponsored bill would require a contractor who has on file with the CSLB, a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance or is required to provide those certificates to certify on the license renewal form the workers’ compensation classification codes endorsed on the licensee’s policy, as specified, and would prohibit renewal without that certification. This bill's author, sponsor, and supporters contend that unscrupulous contractors do not purchase the appropriate workers' compensation policies for their work. To curb that unlawful practice, this bill would require CSLB to collect a licensee’s workers’ compensation insurance classification codes at the time of license renewal. Although workers’ compensation insurance is a condition for licensure for those contractors who have employees—and soon to be all contractors regardless of the number of employees—CSLB is not responsible for enforcing the state’s labor laws and therefore does not verify that contractors have an appropriate workers’ compensation insurance policy for the work that their employees do. Consequently, this bill is unlikely to affect enforcement. Any reduction in insurance fraud will likely be contingent upon any deterrent effect created by this bill. Although this bill would make licensees’ workers’ compensation insurance classification codes available to consumers by posting them online, this additional information is not likely to be helpful to the average consumer with limited knowledge of the construction industry, workers’ compensation insurance, or industry-specific classification codes. (Based on 03/23/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch