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OpinionsThursday, August 08, 2019

Richard Markuson

Did IBEW Just Put a Nail Into the C-46 Coffin? In a meeting of the California State Labor Board Legislative Committee - one filled with charges of inexperienced and untrained workers involved with the installation of energy storage systems (ESS) - the Committee instructed staff (lucky them) to craft a proposal that would limit the heretofore unfettered ability of solar contractors to install ESS for only smaller residential projects, and then bring it back to the Committee. C-46, therefore, could install ESS if:
  • It is limited to a PV system up to 10kW on a single-family dwelling or duplex with a battery system that must not exceed a 5kW backup/20kWh energy.
  • The battery system is installed at same time as solar PV system.
  • No upgrade or alteration is made to the existing electrical system.
The hearing, which lasted more than five hours, was still standing room only despite the meeting having been moved to a large auditorium at the California Employment Development Department. What's more is that so many people watched the hearing online, that the Web server crashed several times.
Supporters of an outright ban on C-46 installing anyESS included IBEW, NECA, and - of course - a group of Democrat legislators who regularly feed at the IBEW trough, such as Diane Ravnik (the former head of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards and a former IBEW training director), California Apprenticeship Committee member Yvonne de la Peña, and the Sierra Club. Wait - don't they want more solar? Sorry, I am confused.
While the final outcome will take months (or years) to complete, two things this episode should remind merit-shop leaders of are:
  1. IBEW may not wait for the board to act and could amend a bill in the last month of session to accomplish this change (if so, the bill would go into effect January 1, 2020).
  2. The power of labor - and in particular IBEW - to decimate another contractor group is ignored at peril.
An excellent write up of the day is here.
State ElectionsThursday, August 08, 2019
Special Election in AD 01 (Northeast California) The same interests that got together to buoy Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) in the SD 01 special election earlier this year are now back together to push to fill his former Assembly seat with his wife, Megan Dahle. The California Realtors Association and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association have each kicked in $50,000 to a new independent expenditure effort for the August 23 special primary. While Dahle is the favorite, it's going to be tough for her to exceed 50 percent in the special primary. Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt will likely receive around 30 percent. That leaves 70 percent to split among five Republicans, making that majority very tough. The special general would be on November 5. [The Nooner]

2020 Primary in CD 50 Former San Diego councilman Carl DeMaio announced he's planning to challenge Republican Duncan Hunter, whose legal troubles make him a target in 2020. "If we don't change who the nominee is going into the 2020 election, I'm worried Republicans will lose yet another seat," DeMaio said in his announcement. Hunter goes on trial next month for alleged campaign finance violations. The proceedings could get ugly, with a judge authorizing testimony on Hunter allegedly spending campaign money on extramarital affairs. DeMaio isn't the only one to sense an opening, with multiple other Republicans already in the running. But the big wild card is former Rep. Darrell Issa, who gave up the adjacent CA-49 seat since claimed by Rep. Mike Levin. [Politico]
California State Capitol

Merit Shop Advocacy for California

Richard Markuson, WECA Lobbyist

Richard Markuson

"Merit shop electrical contractors throughout California are under pressure from a political system that limits their ability to compete for and win public works contracts. Through our coordinated efforts to further the interests of the merit shop community, we will make doing business in California fair and profitable again."

WECA Government Affairs

Political Advocacy and Government Affairs

WECA is the only organization in California that focuses exclusively on the needs of electrical contractors and their employees. We are proud to represent thousands of electricians and hundreds of contractors. Our members believe that fair and open competition is the key to a robust and growing economy. Our members embrace the idea that political action is not simply prudent, but essential to preserving and enhancing their ability to pursue business opportunities in both the public and private marketplace.

The WECA governmental affairs staff works hard to protect the rights of merit shop business owners and their employees throughout California, but our efforts cannot succeed unless those in the merit shop community get involved.

Routine activities of the GA staff includes:

  • Monitoring all State Legislative and Regulatory proposals for beneficial and detrimental changes
  • Regular interaction with other business and construction groups in California and nationwide
  • Maintenance of a regular presence in Washington DC through membership in the US Chamber of Commerce and trips to Capitol Hill to lobby on Federal initiatives
  • Maintaining close working relationships with other merit shop groups such as CFEC, ABC chapters, AGC, ASCA, and Calpasc
  • Routinely monitors more than 305 local agencies including Cities, Counties, School Districts and other Special Districts
  • Evaluates state-wide ballot measures and candidates and recommends support for those causes and candidates that support WECA’s core values
  • Encourages appointment of state and local officials who will approach their assignments without prejudice
  • This website is designed to both educate our members and to empower them to have the greatest possible impact when it comes to effecting political change on the local, state and federal levels. Check out the latest political news and action alerts, learn more about the WECA Political Action Committee (WECA-PAC), and take a moment to visit the partner organizations we work with.

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WECA Political Advocacy