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Monday, November 23, 2020   WECA Political Update 11-23-20

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
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What contractors need to know about PLAs in light of Biden Presidency The president-elect campaigned on providing good union jobs as part of a massive infrastructure plan, so discussion around project labor agreements could get ratcheted up a notch next year. Story
 
Possible CSLB Change Kevin Albanese, CEO, and Chairman of Northern California construction company Joseph J. Albanese Inc., one of the largest private companies in Silicon Valley, is leaving both positions to pursue other interests and spend more time with family. He's been CEO since 2014. His younger brother, Phillip Albanese, currently President and COO, will become CEO. Albanese is also on the CSLB – and will likely be replaced. Story
 
A Look at Partisan Balance in State Legislatures Partisan control changed in two state legislative chambers due to the 2020 elections—Republicans gained majorities in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the New Hampshire State Senate. This is the fourth time this decade that the New Hampshire Legislature has changed party hands. Story

Biden Transition – Continued Biden said at his event Monday that "union leaders are going to have increased power" in his administration. But it's going to be tougher to maintain their leverage if labor leaders, themselves, aren't on the same page, as is the case in discussions over Labor secretary Eleanor Mueller and Megan Cassella report. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and some of his organization's largest affiliate unions are voicing support for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a former head of the city's Building and Construction Trades Council who could appeal to construction workers that backed Trump in the election. But other member unions are publicly pushing for Rep. Andy Levin, a Michigan Democrat and former union organizer who also ran his state's job training program. The divide was laid bare at an AFL-CIO meeting on Friday. Union presidents who sit on the federation's political committee were expected to discuss a potential endorsement for the job. That didn't happen, and another meeting hasn't been scheduled, four people familiar with the discussions said. Still in the mix: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been lobbying for the position. And California Labor Secretary Julie Su is considered a leading contender, as well.

Property Owners Covering $1.7 Billion in Delayed Rent Payments During Pandemic Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, issued the following statement in response to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia that shows an estimated 24,000 renters statewide are behind on their rent, totaling nearly $1.7 billion in missed rent payments since the pandemic began: "The Federal Reserve study is clearly defining the economic sacrifices made by private property owners that have allowed renters to stay in their homes, helping to prevent homelessness—all with little to no support from the state or federal government. This new report magnifies the urgent need to assist property owners and tenants affected by COVID-related economic hardships. At the same time, the Legislature's short-term eviction protections are expiring early next year. We cannot afford to prolong the crisis for property owners and tenants, especially as the governor toggles counties between COVID-mitigation tiers and its related impacts on the workforce. We look forward to working with the governor and Legislature to jointly address financial support for housing and small business recovery immediately." The California Business Roundtable was one of the leading proponents of AB 1482 (Chiu-Grayson), which enacted a balanced approach to modernizing the state's rental housing laws to increase protections for tenants while also encouraging the construction of new affordable housing. The Roundtable also took a neutral position on AB 3088, the current rental housing eviction freeze set to expire on February 1, 2021.

Will 'Amtrak Joe' Biden bail out California's troubled bullet train? Don't bet on it. President-elect Joe Biden is a self-professed train fanatic who estimates that he has ridden more than 2 million miles on 16,000 trains. This fall, he rode the rails to campaign across Ohio and Pennsylvania, part of the "Build Back Better" train tour. For months, some supporters of California's troubled high-speed rail project have pined for a Biden presidency, hoping his administration would throw its support behind the planned system between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, with trains running at 220 mph. Story

State Offices Shape Local Real Estate Market The Sacramento Business Journal notes, "Telework is altering the real estate landscape in cities across the country. As companies make decisions about how much office space, if any, they need in a post-pandemic world, brokers could find properties newly available. In Sacramento, California, no entity may end up effecting more change than the biggest lessor of space: the state of California, which leases more than 9 million square feet in Sacramento County. 'If they dump 3, 4, 5 million square feet in the market, they're going to crush the market,' Barry Broome, CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, told the Sacramento Business Journal. But done strategically, Broome said, the state could leave space that companies would gladly snap up — and that could help create more dynamic business environments in certain areas, including downtown Sacramento. How the state will approach its lease obligations is evolving. Jason Kenney, deputy director of the real estate services division with the state's Department of General Services, said officials continue to adjust to the work-from-home situation as the pandemic continues."

Aloha Jordan and Blanca. Politico reports that two California assembly members said spending campaign funds on airline tickets to Hawaii for a conference last week, an event that has come under fire because of California's coronavirus surge and official warnings not to travel out of state, was appropriate. Assembly members Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) and Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) reported buying plane tickets on their late October campaign finance filings. Neither has responded to phone inquiries about attending the 100-person, four-day legislative conference at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui. The event, run by the Independent Voter Project has brought together lobbyists and lawmakers from California, Texas, and Washington, according to organizers. California lawmakers and lobbyists have been venturing to Hawaii each November to soak up the sun, socialize and attend panels, but never before during a worldwide pandemic. Rubio's campaign committee disclosed spending a total of $1,644 for three Hawaiian Airlines tickets for a conference in Hawaii this week. Cunningham's campaign committee reported spending $306 on a Southwest Airlines ticket for "11/15-Conference Travel, 1, CA/HI, RT." Legislators are required to file a campaign finance statement that details spending and contributions through Oct. 17. It is possible that other attendees purchased flights after that date or through means other than their campaign accounts. POLITICO contacted offices for 15 state lawmakers who reported having attended the same conference in recent years. The event typically draws moderate Democrats and Republicans and bills itself to bridge the political divide, all while being sponsored by major Capitol players. Of the 15 offices, eight said their lawmakers did not attend the trip, while seven have not returned calls, including spokespeople for Rubio and Cunningham. Rubio recently became head of California's moderate Democratic caucus — a role that presumes the kinds of connections with business groups that the Maui conference prizes. Cunningham recently fended off a well-funded Democratic challenger, keeping a battleground seat in the Republican column. The Independent Voter Project's Dan Howle has stressed the safety precautions in place, including Hawaii's requirement that visitors show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of arrival to avoid a lengthy quarantine. But the event launched the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new shutdowns in nearly the entire state as coronavirus spreads at an unprecedented pace. The event also began three days after Newsom issued a travel advisory asking residents not to travel out of state and to quarantine upon return voluntarily. The governor also has implored people to cancel their Thanksgiving plans. It also follows the San Francisco Chronicle's revelations that Gov. Gavin Newsom attended a 12-person birthday party at the exclusive Napa Valley Restaurant, the French Laundry. "Fair to say that the timing isn't great," said Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College. "Anybody organizing an in-person event should think carefully about the optics, particularly in California, where the governor has just sent most of the state into purple. There's a chance this will not be received well by the general public."

The best way to get a job in the Biden White House is to have once worked for President-elect Joe Biden. That much has become clear this past week, with 13 of the first 14 White House appointments going to former Biden staffers. Several were high-ranking officials on the 2020 campaign or were in the vice president's office, but many also go back decades — to his Senate office or even his 1988 presidential run. Biden's transition team is also full of Biden veterans, suggesting many more are likely to pop up in his administration. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who also served with Biden in Congress, described Biden's approach to politics as "street smarts" versus "Harvard smart."

New COVID OSHA Regs - After a lengthy hearing, the Cal OSHA Standards Board unanimously voted (6-0) to adopt the emergency regulation on COVID-19 workplace prevention standards. Thank you to all who answered our ongoing survey and responded with comments. Opponents were concerned that regulation timing did not afford adequate stakeholder engagement, which would have identified and possibly corrected inconsistencies and implementation challenges for manufacturers. The regulation now heads to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for approval. They have ten calendar days to act. While OAL could find that the rule exceeds Cal OSHA's authority and reject it (sending it back to the Division for additional editing), that outcome is highly unlikely as their involvement is usually pro forma. If approved, the regulation would go into effect on November 29, 2020, and remain in effect for 180 days with the possibility of two 90-day extensions. Draft Regulations
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Thursday, October 29, 2020   WECA Political Update October 29, 2020

Second wave of COVID-19 impacts construction, and the results aren't good A second wave of business impacts from COVID-19 is reverberating through construction contractors’ operations, and those consequences are getting worse as the pandemic wears on, according to the latest survey results from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Story

CalChamber Best Business Votes 2020 The California Chamber of Commerce has released its report of Legislative votes on business issues. Not surprising is a partisan tilt in the results. Only one Senate Democrat, Steve Glazer, scored in the top tier (80% or more with CalChamber). Eight Assembly Democrats and one NPP (former Republican Chad Mayes) scored in the top tier. You can see the vote list here.

Gov. Newsom Pledges to Ban Fracking in California – Then Greenlights More of It “On Sept. 23, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to ban hydrofracturing in the state by 2024. Just three weeks later, on Oct. 16, his administration approved permits to frack six new wells owned by a company with whom he has lobbying ties.” Story

Cutting Ties with Turkey: Politico reported that the national lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs was subjected to a pressure campaign by Armenian-American activists incensed by Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in ongoing hostilities with Armenia. The firm’s quick decision to scrap its $1 million contract with Turkey is a victory for Armenia in a conflict that’s playing out in Washington and California, as well as the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan. But it is a troubling signal that elected officials will resort to a type of “secondary boycott” to control advocacy efforts. The Armenian National Committee and another group, the Armenian Assembly of America, tried to put pressure on Mercury by holding protests outside its offices in Washington and Los Angeles and urging Mercury’s clients to cut ties with the firm if it kept representing Turkey. The campaign had an effect. Kathryn Barger, the chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and Hilda Solis, a supervisor and former Labor secretary in the Obama administration, wrote to Mercury to urge the firm “to immediately sever any business ties with the Republic of Turkey.” (Mercury is a contractor to Los Angeles County, which is home to a large Armenian population.) California state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and 16 other state lawmakers told Mercury they wouldn’t engage with the firm as long as it represented Turkey. And the Los Angeles Community College District informed Mercury that it would “begin to exercise the 30-day termination clause” in its contract if Turkey remained a client. Is this the future of advocacy in California, where elected officials refuse to talk–because a lobbyist has a client that is “out-of-favor” with a constituency? Will Democrats eventually refuse to talk to a lobbyist because they represent the merit shop community?

According to a story in Politico, Bernie Sanders makes a play for Biden Labor secretary…. “two people close to Sanders--including one former aide--said the senator has expressed interest in being in the administration should Biden win in November. Sanders has been making his push for the top job at the Labor Department in part by reaching out to allies on the transition team, one person familiar with the process said.” Yikes!

On the ballot in Arizona At the federal level, Arizona voters will elect 11 presidential electors, one U.S. Senator, and nine U.S. Representatives. Three seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission are up for election. Both chambers of the state legislature are on the ballot, with all 30 seats up in the state Senate and all 60 state House districts. Three seats on the state supreme court and 11 intermediate appellate court seats are on the ballot. Voters will also decide on two statewide ballot measures. Ballotpedia is tracking local elections taking place in six cities, two counties, and 42 school districts. Story

One Big Election - $14 billion The cost of this year's federal elections will hit close to $14 billion, shattering records and doubling the amount spent to influence presidential and congressional contests in 2016, according to an estimate released by the Center for American Politics.

More Exodus - CBRE said to be on the move Despite Democrats’ denial about California’s reputation as a business-adverse environment, CBRE Group Inc.--the world's largest commercial real estate services and investment firm--is moving its headquarters from Los Angeles to Dallas, according to multiple sources from the Dallas Business Journal with knowledge of the deal. With the relocation, CBRE would be the next in a line of companies moving to North Texas from California. Last year, McKesson Corp. left San Francisco for Irving--just after Core-Mark Holding announced it would leave the Bay Area for Westlake. More recently, Charles Schwab Corp. nailed down Jan. 1 as the move-in date for its headquarters in Westlake, relocating from San Francisco.

IRS Announces Retirement Plan Limitations for 2021 On October 26, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2020-79 to announce the cost-of-living adjustments applicable to pension and retirement plan dollar limitations for the 2021 tax year – most of which will remain unchanged from 2020. Additionally, the Social Security Administration has determined that the 2021 contribution and benefit base will be $142,800, up from $137,700 in 2020. No change in a limitation means that the increase in the cost-of-living index was not sufficient to trigger the applicable statutory cost-of-living adjustment ("COLA").

No Roadwork in Sandy Ego – for a bit The City of San Diego announced a shutdown of road construction within one mile of polling locations from Saturday-Tuesday. More

You might just not know what you are drinking. A couple dining in a NYC restaurant was mistakenly served a $2,000 1989 Mouton Rothschild after ordering a $18 Pinot Noir. The young couple were dining at Balthazar in New York and found themselves enjoying the Mouton Rothschild that had been ordered by four Wall Street businessmen at another table who had ordered the Bordeaux First Growth – the most expensive wine on the restaurant’s list. Neither of the groups noticed the mistake until informed by the restaurant manager. Then the Wall Street guys said they “had thought the wine wasn’t a Mouton.” (Yeah, right) Story
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Thursday, October 15, 2020   WECA Political Update October 15, 2020

WECA is publishing this list of its endorsements for ballot measures on the November ballot in California. An employer may share this list with its employees (and its own endorsements for state, local and federal candidates) but should not do so as a paycheck insert.

To view the ballot measures, please click on the document image or link below to open the full document. To view specific ballot measures within the document, please click on the applicable links to be redirected.

We’ll be back in two weeks with a comprehensive political newsletter.
Download 2020 Ballot Measures
Ask Richard


Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
Have questions or concerns?

Ask Richard!
Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.

Join the WECA conversation. Follow us on social media.
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About WECA

WECA is the premier independent merit shop contractors' association in the Western United States. We provide innovative training and education programs, critical business services, and responsive customer support to surpass the needs of our members and students. We are federally and state-approved, and our top-quality electrical training has found a nationwide audience. For over 90 years, we have been training the next generation of electricians, and advocating for and protecting fair and open competition in the electrical industry.
Learn More

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Classes for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen
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Thursday, October 01, 2020   WECA Political Update October 1, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
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Newsom Follows Guidance of his Bosses in Labor Governor Gavin Newsom “realigned” his agenda with the construction unions and signed several of their bills in the final hours of his review period that expired last night at midnight. He signed:

AB 841 (Ting) that requires all contractors who install most EV chargers to employ commercial electricians who have received training from EVITP – a unit of IBEW.

AB 2765 (O’Donnell) that requires all charter school construction is prevailing wage – even if built with 100% private funds – a bill he vetoed last year.

AB 2231 (Kalra) that replaces the case-by-case analysis of when public contributions trigger prevailing wage with a statutory floor of $600,000 on projects of any size. Newson and Gov Brown had both vetoed similar bills over the years – it must be the start of his 2022 election campaign.

AB 1947 (Kalra) Doubles, from 6 months to one year, the time in which a person who believes that they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against to file a complaint with the DLSE. Also, AB 1947 overturns the existing balance by prohibiting an employer from recovering its attorney’s fees, which could create an incentive for more potentially frivolous litigation.

We’ll cover these and other measures in more detail next time.

Election forecasters say 75% of this year's federal races will not be competitive, A Ballotpedia review of election forecasts found that 137 of the federal elections taking place this year (26.3%) are predicted to be competitive, with the remaining 384 all but certain to be won by one of the two major parties. Story

New Requirements for Federal Contractors President Trump issued an executive order late Tuesday on "Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping." It extends to federal contractors restrictions on diversity and inclusiveness training that the president recently placed on the federal workforce. The EO specifies "divisive concepts" (see section 2) that are not to be included in training. It also will require contractors to include language in their contracts, and any subcontracts, indicating these "divisive concepts" will not be part of employee training. In addition, the OFCCP is directed to set up a hotline to receive complaints from employees who feel they were subjected to training that was inconsistent with the EO. OFCCP will be conducting a Request for Information to collect information and training materials provided to employees. The EO became effective as of September 22, except that the contract language will not apply until contracts entered into 60 days after September 22. An initial reading of the EO is that this will not prohibit contractors from conducting D&I training, but contractors should review their materials to make sure they align with the restrictions identified in the EO.

Governor Newsom Signs Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 Governor Newsom signed an executive order to extend authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through March 31, 2021 and address a variety of issues in response to the pandemic. To protect local health officers and other public health officials on the front lines of the fight against the virus, the order permits these individuals to participate in the Secretary of State’s address-confidentiality program. The order also allows the Department of Managed Health Care to gather information to assess the impacts of the pandemic on health care providers and health care service plans. Additionally, the order extends provisions allowing certain posting, filing and notice requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to be fulfilled electronically. The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

Your Bank will Protect Your Privacy – if you’re Big Enough Top global banks shuffled huge sums of allegedly illicit funds around the globe even after noticing irregularities, according to an investigation dropped yesterday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), BuzzFeed News, and more than 100 media partners in 88 countries. In a treasure trove of leaked government documents, the investigators found at least $2 trillion worth of transactions were flagged as “suspicious” by banks’ internal compliance departments from 1999–2017. Which banks? JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon were named in the report for shuffling dirty money around even after promising the government they’d keep a more careful eye on money laundering. “Because the free flow of illicit money causes incalculable harm,” writes the ICIJ, fueling drug cartels, enabling tax evasion, and helping oligarchs consolidate power. Story.

Daylight Saving Time Causes More Than Grogginess The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is calling for an end to the annual practice of springing forward with daylight saving time in favor of a permanent, year-round standard time. Story

Proposition 15: Poll Shows Split-Roll Measure Losing Popularity A new poll shows that Proposition 15, the property tax increase initiative on the November ballot, is losing popularity with likely voters. A Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll released September 17 showed that voter support for Proposition 15 is barely above 50 percent and has fallen in recent months. The PPIC poll found that even after being subjected to more than a year of misleading campaigning by public employee unions, only 51 percent of likely voters say they support Proposition 15, while 40 percent are opposed. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent. Support has fallen by two percentage points since the PPIC asked a split-roll question in April. The poll was taken from September 4 through September 13. The Yes on 15 campaign launched a television ad campaign two days before the PPIC began polling, while the No on 15 campaign launched its television ads on September 8, midway through the polling. [CalTax]
 
Cal/OSHA Standards Board Requests COVID-19 Draft Emergency Regulation with Limited Opportunity for Stakeholder Input Cal/OSHA’s Standards Board voted to create a COVID-19 emergency regulation for industries not already covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard. Specifically, on September 17th, the Board approved its staff’s proposed decision (https://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/petition-583-propdecision.pdf), which provided for three things:

1) The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (the “Division”) must bring an emergency regulation to the Board for a vote at or before the Standards Board’s November meeting.
2) The Division must convene an advisory committee after the emergency regulation goes into effect.
3) The Division must convene an advisory committee after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted to discuss the potential for a new, “airborne infectious diseases” standard, which would include “novel pathogens.”

What should concern everyone watching is that the first two elements – a two-month deadline and a post-facto advisory committee – effectively prevent any stakeholder input before the emergency regulation goes into effect. Though the emergency regulation’s text will presumably be released two weeks before the November vote, by that point any real changes will be impossible. Story

Phoenix rises as US construction starts plummet
The Arizona city has seen starts leap by 82% over the first half of 2020. What makes this state capital special? While commercial and multifamily construction activity plummeted in the first half of 2020, one major metro area was spared – Phoenix Arizona. Story
 
Labor Department Proposes Revision Of Independent Contractor Test While President Trump has not had time to repeal 13502, the U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a federal independent contractor rule revising its interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's classification to "bring clarity and consistency" on how employers decide who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. Story

Gig Worker Bill: A Lousy Way to Make Law Dan Walters writes “California’s political conflict over gig workers [AB 5] exemplifies irrational, opaque lawmaking.” He observes “It’s a lousy way to make law — pass a sweeping decree and then exempt a few favored interests. It resembles the time-dishonored practices of granting specific exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act’s laborious processes…” but that’s “the way we roll.” Story
 
Phoenix firms partner for 400-home deal Mandalay Homes and Mosaic Building Group have embarked on a $100 million agreement to build 400 homes in northern Arizona. The two Phoenix companies are focusing on an area of the state where housing supply is decreasing while prices are rapidly increasing, said Salman Ahmad, founder and CEO of Mosaic, a construction technology company he formed in 2015 to make the homebuilding process more efficient, scalable and adaptable. Story (May require subscription)
 
Guidance on Payroll Tax Deferral On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order directing the Secretary of the Treasury to permit employers to defer the withholding and deposit of certain payroll tax obligations. In response, the Treasury Department released Notice 2020-65 (the Notice) furnishing guidance to employers. The Notice permits employers to defer withholding the employee portion of Social Security tax payments on wages or compensation paid between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 but applies only to compensation that is less than $4,000, as determined on a biweekly basis. Story

New California Leave Law Impacts All Companies with 5 or More Employees; And New COVID-19 Law for Large Employers On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation greatly expanding family and medical leave of absence requirements for all employers with at least 5 employees in California. More specifically, SB1383 expands the California Family Rights Act ("CFRA") and requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide certain unpaid, protected family/medical/military leave to eligible employees. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2021; thus employers must take steps to comply immediately. Story

Tom Steyer Meets with Biden Officials, Interested in A Role in Administration Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and former Democratic presidential candidate, is interested in serving in Joe Biden's administration and has discussed the possibility with Biden's advisers.

Steyer met over the weekend in Washington, D.C. with Jeff Zients, a co-chair of the transition team, and longtime Biden advisers Jared Bernstein and Ron Klain, according to a source with knowledge of the trip. Steyer, a former hedge fund manager from California, is co-chair of Biden’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council. Conversations with Biden's advisers touched on his interest in working in the administration on climate policy and the economy, but also on the role of climate, labor and economic issues in the campaign, the source said. [Politico]

Newsom signs mental health parity bill to expand coverage requirements Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that makes California a national leader on mental health coverage by greatly expanding the treatments that commercial health insurers must cover. CA SB855 (19R), authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), requires insurers to cover all non-emergency mental services, including those for substance use disorder and addiction. This greatly expands what is considered “medically necessary." Since Californian’s pay the highest gasoline and diesel prices, what will this do to health insurance costs?
 
California to launch its own consumer financial protection agency Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a consumer financial protection law that will bring a sharper watchdog focus to state regulators — a proposal he presented in January as a rebuke to the Trump administration's weakening of a similar, Obama-era bureau. The California Consumer Financial Protection Law, CA AB1864 by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), takes effect Jan. 1. It expands the existing Department of Business Oversight and renames it the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. The law gives the expanded department clear authority to target unfair and deceptive practices under the federal Dodd-Frank Act. It will be led by DBO Commissioner Manuel Alvarez. Newsom acknowledged that passing the bill — which did not go through the normal policy committee process, but through the Legislature as a budget bill — was not easy. He said his administration learned from Senate Budget Chair Holly Mitchell "how to use the budget to leverage good ideas" and attach funding to them. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) later made a quip about that strategy. “I don’t know if I would use the term 'leverage,' governor, but we certainly used the platform of the budget bill and the trailer bill process to effect a solid policy," Mitchell said, to laughter. "That’s what we did, Governor Newsom.” [Politico]
And finally, because we need something good ...

A herd of retired circus elephants that represents the largest group of Asian elephants in the Western Hemisphere is heading to northeast Florida. White Oak Conservation is creating a 2,900-acre preserve for the elephants north of Jacksonville, with Haskell serving as general contractor. The project is being funded by White Oak owners Mark and Kimbra Walter; the organization did not disclose the cost of the endeavor.

The 35 elephants currently are at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation south of Orlando, where they were put after the circus removed them from shows in 2016. They’ll be moved to White Oak, a 17,000-acre conservation space, as soon as this year, coming two by two (aww) in specially modified trucks. Michelle Gadd, White Oak chief of conservation, told the Jacksonville Business Journal: “We feel for these animals both as individuals and [as] a species. We can make it so these animals can behave like animals.” [The National Observer]
Ask Richard
Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
Have questions or concerns?

Ask Richard!
Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.

Join the WECA conversation. Follow us on social media.
Facebook ‌ Twitter ‌ Instagram ‌ LinkedIn ‌
About WECA

WECA is the premier independent merit shop contractors' association in the Western United States. We provide innovative training and education programs, critical business services, and responsive customer support to surpass the needs of our members and students. We are federally and state-approved, and our top-quality electrical training has found a nationwide audience. For over 90 years, we have been training the next generation of electricians, and advocating for and protecting fair and open competition in the electrical industry.
Learn More

Association Membership
Apprenticeship
Classes for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen
Contact Us
Join our mailing list!
Read more >>