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 any
ESS 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:
- 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).
- 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
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]