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WECA Political Update June 6, 2024

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Workplace Violence Prevention Program Requirements in California: As most California employers know, a new workplace violence law (SB 553) requires all CA employers to develop and implement written Workplace Violence Prevention Plans and training by July 1, 2024. The new requirements will be enforced by Cal/OSHA. You can view a two-part webinar series from attorneys from the Seyfarth Workplace Safety team that guides employers through what is new and how to prepare. Link


Friday, May 24th was the deadline to move bills from their house of origin. This marks the halfway point of the session. The measures that advanced will now go through the legislative process in the second house. It should be noted that some of these proposals could be further amended/changed or even stall. Policy committee hearings will ramp up starting this week and through June, as the Legislature will take a month-long summer recess in July. The sprint to the finish line will begin upon their return to Sacramento. The respective Appropriations committees face a fiscal deadline of August 16th to meet and report legislation to the Senate and Assembly floors. Starting on August 19th, lawmakers will hold lengthy floor sessions to debate and pass measures to the Governor’s desk. As a reminder, the deadline for each house to act on bills is August 31st, at which time the Legislature will adjourn for the year. September 30th is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed.

AB 1957 (Wilson - D) This bill authorizes any county of the state to use the “best value” method for construction projects in excess of $1 million and job order contracts up to $3 million until January 1, 2030. Location: 5/29/2024-S. APPR. WECA Position: Support

AB 1976 (Haney - D) Requires, on or before July 1, 2027, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board ("Board") to draft and adopt a rulemaking proposal to revise a standard on first aid materials to require all workplace first aid materials to include naloxone hydrochloride or another opioid antagonist, as specified, to reverse opioid overdose with instructions for using the opioid antagonist. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 2135 (Schiavo - D) AB 2135 will: 1) Extend the statute of limitations on complaints submitted to the Labor Commissioner from 18 to 24 months. 2) Allows the Labor Commissioner to continue ongoing investigations beyond the statute of limitation for good cause. 3) Prohibits an open investigation from being closed solely due to the Statute of Limitations being reached. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2179 (Davies - R) It would require a school district, county office of education, or charter school to, at the beginning of the first semester or quarter of each school year, provide information on local apprenticeship programs to pupils in grades 11 and 12 as provided. Location: 5/29/2024-S. APPR. WECA Position: Support

AB 2182 (Haney - D) This bill, among other provisions, allows the prevailing wage applicable to a public works project to be adjusted when an updated wage rate is determined by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) director, recasts the method for annualizing benefit computations, and repeals any previously issued determinations. Location: 5/29/2024-S. L., P.E. & R. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2235 (Lowenthal - D) Would authorize the City of Long Beach to procure contracts relating to the terminal development project at the Port of Long Beach, known as Pier Wind, and to utilize any alternative project delivery method, including progressive design-build, for any contract related to that project. The bill would require the city to prepare and issue solicitation documents to procure and award any contract. For purposes of these provisions, the bill would authorize the city to perform various duties regarding the procurement and administration of these contracts, including amending or entering into new contracts. Requires a skilled and trained workforce to perform all project work unless a PLA exists. The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California opposes, "As we work collaboratively with policymakers such as Assembly Member Lowenthal and others who want to build up and fortify the ports for the burgeoning offshore wind industry, and find solutions to fund those projects, we want to ensure that bills do not conflate jurisdictional disputes between unions with the important work that needs to be funded and completed at ports such as Long Beach. Unfortunately, AB 2235 does that." Location: 5/24/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 2288 (Kalra - D) This bill invites more PAGA litigation by authorizing a court to award injunctive or declaratory relief and penalties. This bill is moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time to fix PAGA, not expand it. Location: 5/22/2024-S. L., P.E. & R. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2499 (Schiavo - D) Entitles an employee who has a family member who is a victim of crime to job-protected leave to attend to the family member’s needs and ensure their safety. Additionally, it permits both the employee victim and the employee who has a family member who is a victim to use sick leave for time off to obtain victim services. AB 2499 is creating new, uncapped leave for scenarios already covered under existing law. And it applies to small businesses with just five employees. Location: 5/24/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2622 (Carrillo, Juan - D) This bill revises the contractor licensing exemption to allow a person without a contractor’s license to perform minor construction work if the total cost of the project is less than $1,000 (rather than $500) if the following conditions are met: a) The work or operation does not require a building permit. b) The work or operation does not include the following trades or crafts: C-16 fire protection, C-22 asbestos abatement, or C-57 well drilling. c) The person performing the work or operation does not do the following: i) Make structural changes to load-bearing portions of an existing structure, including, but not limited to, footings, foundations, load-bearing walls, partitions, and roof structures. ii) Install, replace, substantially alter, or extend electrical, mechanical, or plumbing systems or their parts or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Support if Amended

AB 2696 (Rendon - D) Authorizes a joint labor-management cooperation committee (JLMCC), as specified, to bring an action in court against a direct contractor or subcontractor at any tier for any unpaid wage, fringe or other benefit payment or contribution, penalties or liquidated damages, and interest owed to a wage claimant by the direct contractor for the performance of private work. This proposed expansion of Section 218.8 is unnecessary from an enforcement perspective. Employees of general contractors know the identity of their direct employer. They can file wage claims with the Labor Commissioner, mechanics liens on the property, stop notices with the funding entity, civil lawsuits for non-payment of wages, and claims against payment bonds. AB 2696 encourages needless lawsuits that serve no legitimate enforcement purpose. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2705 (Ortega - D) This union-supported bill provides that, for a violation of public works law, the statute of limitations (SOL) for the Labor Commissioner (LC) to sue a bonding company shall be the same as the 18-month SOL for the LC to issue a civil wage and penalty assessment to the contractor or subcontractor on that project or both. Location: 5/29/2024-S. L., P.E. & R. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2738 (Rivas, Luz - D) This bill clarifies that the training certification requirements of entertainment events employees may be alternatively enforced by a public prosecutor and adds a public events venue or a contracting entity to the entities that may be assessed a penalty for violating these requirements. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 3093 (Ward - D) Creates two new income categories, Acutely Low Income (ALI) and Extremely Low Income (ELI), in the Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND), Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), and Housing Element Law. Includes usual SBCTC language Location: 5/29/2024-S. HOUSING WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 3265 (Bryan - D) This bill establishes procedures for an environmental leadership media campus, in the County of Los Angeles. The project must pay prevailing wages unless covered by a PLA. Location: 5/22/2024-S. E.Q. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 312 (Wiener - D) The bill would prohibit a public university that has exempted a university housing development project from being eligible to exempt a subsequent university housing development project until the public university has obtained LEED Platinum certification for each building within the prior exempted university housing development project. Existing law requires these projects to use a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless a PLA exists. Location: 5/13/2024-A. NAT. RES. WECA Position: Support if Amended

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 that was included as part of a larger plan or project already approved under CEQA. Location: 6/3/2024-A. NAT. RES. WECA Position: Support

SB 739 (Ashby - D) If the City of Elk Grove council approves, this new bill would expand this authorization to the City to use CMaR. It requires using a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless covered by a PLA. Location: 5/28/2024-A. L. GOV. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

SB 984 (Wahab - D) SB 984 requires the courts and CSU to identify and select at least three major construction projects by January 1, 2027, that must be governed by a project labor agreement (PLA). DTSC was removed after they reported that "utilizing a PLA for a project increased the cost of the cleanup by approximately 25 percent." Location: 6/3/2024-A. L. & E. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1022 (Skinner - D) SB 1022 significantly expands existing statutes of limitations for any complaint brought by the Civil Rights Department or its “authorized representative” to ten years. It also gives a court discretion to extend that statute of limitations back even further if it determines that it is “reasonable” to do so. Location: 5/28/2024-A. JUD. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1116 (Portantino - D) This bill authorizes workers in a trade dispute to collect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits after a two-week wait period while on strike. Location: 6/3/2024-A. INS. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1162 (Cortese - D) This bill expands existing law, which requires contractors and bidders on public projects to use a skilled and trained workforce, by also requiring them to report the date of birth of each worker every month Location: 6/3/2024-A. L. & E. WECA Position: Support if Amended

SB 1243 (Dodd - D) This bill changes the length of certain campaign contribution windows, increases the size of the maximum contribution amount, and adjusts certain definitions and deadlines in the Levine Act. Location: 5/28/2024-A. ELECTIONS WECA Position: Support

SB 1321 (Wahab - D) This bill, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers, changes standards on ETP funds by prioritizing high-quality training programs, requiring plans for targeted recruitment and hiring plans, and increasing transparency and data submission to support accountability of public funding. A coalition of opponents states, “This bill poses a significant threat to the vital interests of manufacturers and small, diverse businesses throughout the state of California. SB 1321 proposes fundamental changes to the Employment Training Panel (ETP) that would render the very businesses that fund the program ineligible to participate. Such a change would undermine the essence of the ETP, jeopardizing the development and sustainability of California's workforce." Location: 5/28/2024-A. L. & E. WECA Position: Oppose

Rare Win for California Employers In Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, the case’s second appearance before the California Supreme Court in two years, the Court confirmed that an employer does not incur civil penalties for failing to report unpaid wages or any other required information on a wage statement if the employer reasonably believed that it was providing a complete, accurate wage statement. Naranjo is a rare win for employers in the California Supreme Court. When facing a class action, employers often face significant liability due to stacking derivative claims, such as Labor Code sections 203 and 226 claims. This ruling reduces the risk of some liability employers may face. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court clarified that the “knowing and intentional” standard applies only to whether employers are subject to monetary penalties for violating Labor Code section 226. Accordingly, if an employee successfully brings an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance with Labor Code section 226, a plaintiff could still recover costs and attorneys’ fees. MoreMore, and More.

Half of Assembly Signs Letter Urging Rejection of Governor’s Proposals to Suspend NOL Deduction and Limit Tax Credits A bipartisan group of 40 state Assembly members – half of the house’s membership – signed a May 22 letter asking leadership to reject Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to suspend the net operating loss deduction and limit tax credits for research and development. The letter by Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris, a Democrat from Irvine, was signed by 32 of the Assembly’s 62 Democrats – including Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, who chairs the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee – and eight of the house’s 18 Republicans. If the lawmakers remain opposed, the governor’s proposed NOL suspension and tax credit limitation would fall far short of the 54 votes needed to clear the Assembly. CalTax is leading a coalition opposing the tax increases, noting that the tax increases would harm the economy, lead to job losses, and have long-term negative impacts on the economy and tax revenue. The lawmakers’ letter, addressed to Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, states in part: “California has been the birthplace for the breakthroughs and innovations that have shaped the modern world and have, consequently, built California into the world’s fifth largest economy. We strongly urge you to preserve the R&D tax credits and NOL deductions that will help fuel innovation, create great jobs, and deliver continued economic growth and prosperity for the Golden State.” [CalTax]

Sinema Urges Business Leaders to Prioritize Arizona’s Best Interests At the recent Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s annual Update from Capitol Hill luncheon, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) urged business leaders to overcome partisan divides and advocate for common sense legislation that puts Arizona first. Sinema called on the business community to engage in the legislative process and avoid extreme political rhetoric. More

Supervisor Karen Speigel WECA proudly supports Riverside County Supervisor Karen Speigel, shown here with WECA Southern California Government Affairs Representative Dave Everett at her May 23, 2024, re-election event. Unlike its neighbors to the north and south, Riverside County embraces fair and open competition when it has a public works construction project. This not only saves taxpayers millions of dollars, but it also allows the 98% of black and Latino contractors (who choose to work in a non-union environment) to participate and bid on those jobs. Supervisor Spiegel has been an elected public servant since 1996, serving in several positions in the City of Corona, including City Treasurer and Council Member, and serving four times as Mayor. First elected in 2018 and sworn into office for her second term on January 10, 2023, Supervisor Karen Speigel will likely be the only Republican Riverside County Supervisor after this year when Republican Supervisor Kevin Jeffries retires. Democrat former Assemblyman Jose Medina (who passed a Project Labor Agreement on construction at Riverside Community College District in 2010) is running to replace supervisor Jeffries. He faces Democrat State Senator and retired General Richard Roth this November. Regardless of the outcome, WECA’s government affairs team will continue to make sure our members’ voices are heard in Riverside County, which is the geographic size of Massachusetts, and has a population larger than New Jersey.

Republican Labor Board Nominee Brings Quiet Power to Major Cases President Joe Biden’s nominee for a Republican spot on the National Labor Relations Board, Joshua Ditelberg, may be the most prominent labor attorney you’ve never heard of. A partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Chicago, he’s spent the last three decades quietly shaping some of the most consequential issues in the field—from joint employment and corporate restructuring to race-related protests in professional football—all while going out of his way to eschew personal recognition, those who know him say. Story