Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

Already Belong? Login

Political News

Thursday, April 11, 2024   WECA Political Update April 11, 2024

Prop 1 – Taxpayer Rip-off?

WECA opposed Proposition 1 on the March ballot, noting that the $6.38 billion general obligation bond followed $9.2 billion in relief payments—known as the Middle Class Tax Refund (MCTR)—to qualifying recipients. The MCTR was timed to coincide with Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 re-election campaign – even though he was running against a token Republican opponent, State Senator Brian Dahle from Bieber. Dahle received 40.8% of the November vote, considerably higher than the 24% Republican registration, suggesting many DTS and possibly registered Democrats were tired of Newsom.

Prop. 1 promises to fund behavioral health treatment, residential facilities, and supportive housing for veterans and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness with behavioral health challenges. These are laudable goals but also proverbial “drop in the bucket.” In early 2023, over 181,000 Californians were counted as experiencing homelessness. These funds are estimated to create only 4,350 housing units, with 2,350 set aside for veterans and 6,800 mental health and substance use treatment places for approximately 11,150 new behavioral health and supportive housing units statewide.

Prop. 1 will also shift dollars from counties to the state (from about 5% of total Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding to about 10%). This would result in about $140 million annually redirected to the state budget. However, this amount could be higher depending on the total revenue collected from the tax.

The MHSA restructuring will result in significantly less funding for core services, which could lead to counties:

·      Canceling contracts with community-based organizations. 

·      Closing programs that are currently serving Californians.

·      Reducing county staffing.

But back to the MCTR. Rather than have the state’s own financial system issue checks to taxpayers to facilitate these payments, the state hired Money Network Financial, LLC. This out-of-state vendor provides financial services. Under the agreement, Money Network produced and distributed debit cards and provided cardholders with customer service and fraud prevention services. Although MCTR issued payments relatively quickly, according to a recent audit, the provisions of the state’s agreement with Money Network created “certain difficulties related to the administration of the payments.”

The audit noted several critical deficiencies.

·      FTB did not ensure that Money Network consistently provided the required level of customer service to cardholders. Although Money Network received more than 29 million calls—the vast majority of which were handled by its automated system—Money Network did not answer nearly 900,000 of the roughly two million phone calls from callers seeking to speak with an agent about the MCTR program or issues with their debit cards. Weaknesses in FTB’s agreement with Money Network made holding Money Network accountable for its lack of customer service difficult.

·      Although Money Network reported a fraud rate to FTB of less than 1% of the amount distributed through debit cards, the state cannot determine the precise level of fraud in the MCTR program because Money Network did not answer a substantial portion of cardholder calls and has not specifically tracked fraud in the program.

·      Because the agreement’s payment structure bundles most services into a single per-card rate, FTB paid to Money Network nearly 90% of the agreement’s total cost in the first 15 months of the 49-month agreement period. This front-loaded payment structure does not fully safeguard the best interests of the state. In addition, the agreement with Money Network does not include provisions that would allow FTB to assess agreed-upon liquidated damages if Money Network does not comply with agreement terms—provisions found in other state agreements for similar services.

Finally, many debit card recipients have yet to activate their cards. According to information that Money Network provided to FTB, more than one million debit cards worth approximately $611 million in payments had not yet been activated by their recipients as of January 2024.

Time will tell if Prop. 1 will improve homelessness or mental health services. Still, if the history of the MCTR or Governor Newsom’s secretive $1-billion mask deal with Chinese automaker BYD is any bellwether, I am not expecting great results. 

Close Races

In CD-16 (San Mateo), former mayor Sam Licardo won the top slot for the November run-off. Assembly Member Evan Low and Supervisor (and former Assembly Member, former State Senator) Joe Simitian tied for number 2 and 3.

But here’s where, as Politico put it, “In a race that just keeps getting weirder, a Silicon Valley voter who called for a recount in [this] tied House primary election once worked for [Licardo]. The filing says it was made on behalf of candidate Evan Low, who, until this week, was heading to a three-way race in November. But Low vehemently opposes the recount, and the request came from a former staffer for ex-San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo, who advanced to the November general election weeks ago after finishing in first place. Voter Jonathan Padilla agreed to pay more than $300,000 for the recount. He worked for Licardo’s 2014 mayoral campaign and as a policy director for the City of San Jose in 2015 and 2016 while Licardo was mayor. He also donated $1,000 to Licardo’s campaign in December. A spokesperson for Licardo’s campaign denies working with Padilla or funding the recount. Low’s campaign isn’t convinced. ‘There’s zero doubt that Sam Licardo orchestrated this recount and Padilla’s declaration that the recount is on our campaign's behalf is simply disingenuous. Clearly, Sam Licardo doesn’t think he can win a three-way race because he’s showing he will do anything to avoid one,’ spokesperson Whitney Larsen told Politico recently on behalf of Low, bemoaning the ‘expensive and time-consuming’ recount.

A poll funded by the Licardo campaign shows Licardo still has a modest lead: 26%, followed by Low, 2%, Simitian, 20%, and 24% undecided.

In CD-45 (Fountain Valley), Michelle Steel (R) is in first place and will face Derek Tran in this D+5.2 district. Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen by under 5% in 2022, and the DCCC placed CD-45 on its 2024 target list.

In AD-2, Republican Michael Greer came out on top with 27% of the vote. But in this D+28 district consisting of the counties of Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino and portions of Sonoma, he will have a tough election against second-place finisher Santa Rosa Council Member Chris Rogers.

In AD-6 (Sacramento), Democrat Maggy Krell will face Republican Nikki Ellis in this D+30 Assembly seat.

In AD-58 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), Democrat Clarissa Cervantes came in second to Republican Leticia Castillo in this D+18 district, meaning this race was decided in March.

In AD-75, former Republican San Diego Council Member Carl DeMaio received 42.9% of the vote and will face another Republican, Andrew Hayes. The result caused a bit of turmoil in San Diego. Story


ABC Chapter Sues over Biden’s PLA Rule

ABC and its Florida First Coast chapter filed suit to stop the Biden administration’s scheme to mandate PLAs on construction contracts procured by federal agencies. ABC’s complaint asserts that President Joe Biden lacks the legal and constitutional authority to impose a new federal regulation, injuring the economy and efficiency in federal contracting and illegally steering construction contracts to certain unionized contractors, which employ roughly 10% of the U.S. construction workforce. Story


California Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of “Hours Worked” Under California Law

On March 25, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a highly anticipated decision in Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors, Inc. The court responded to the request from the Ninth Circuit to answer three questions about Wage Order No. 16 and clarify the scope of the term “hours worked.” Although the case discusses the “hours worked” standard in the context of the construction industry, the decision is likely to impact every industry, especially businesses that require employees to go through security checks at the beginning and end of the workday and businesses that confine employees to specific areas of company property during meal breaks. More


California Isn’t Coming for Your AC (Yet)

The California Energy Commission stopped short recently of pushing homeowners to install heat pumps to replace worn-out central air conditioners. The reason? Cost. “It was a difficult case to make, in terms of both the additional costs up front and then also potentially causing real energy costs overall to increase for some customers,” Commissioner Andrew McAllister told reporters. It was a blow for heat pumps, which are supposed to proliferate to 6 million in California by 2030 with support from federal tax incentives of up to $2,000 and additional state incentives.


New Sacramento Parking Garage at SMF

Sacramento-based Otto Construction was awarded the $229 million Design/Build contract. This will be the firm’s second parking garage project at SMF as they also constructed the Terminal A garage in 2004. Otto said at the award they were comfortable with building under a PLA—which was mandated by a 3-2 vote by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year.


California Legislature Sends Gavin Newsom Budget Deal to Slash Deficit 

Legislation that will reduce California’s budget deficit by $17.3 billion through spending cuts, deferrals, and other measures is headed for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The state Assembly and Senate approved Assembly Bill 106 along party lines today, advancing part of a deal negotiated by Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders over the past few weeks. The governor is expected to sign the legislation. Assembly Budget Chair Jesse Gabriel said the package was a first step and that the Legislature has the right to revisit the cuts and delays depending on future revenue figures.


Celebrating 13 Years of Serving Military-Connected Job Seekers 

March officially marked 13 years of Hiring Our Heroes! They have been dedicated to driving positive change for transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers for over a decade. Here's to another 13 years of empowering the nation’s heroes and making a lasting difference together! Information


Solar to Supreme Court

Politico writes the dispute over the value of rooftop solar is going to the California Supreme Court, which agreed Wednesday to hear a challenge from environmental groups to a 2022 California Public Utilities Commission decision.

The court agreed to hear the Center for Biological Diversity and two other groups' appeal of a lower appellate court's December ruling that upheld the CPUC's decision to slash rooftop solar reimbursements in its net energy metering program by about 75%. The development is a victory for the solar industry, and some environmental groups are pushing on multiple fronts for California to make small-scale solar power a central part of its transition to clean energy and utility-scale renewables. CBD senior attorney Roger Lin called it a "ray of hope" for the rooftop solar industry, which layoffs and bankruptcies have buffeted.

When the CPUC reduced the reimbursements, commissioners said the higher payments of the past had served their purpose of growing a mature rooftop market in the state. Since the programs are subsidized by people without panels (to the tune of $6.5 billion per year, according to a recent analysis), it was time to reduce them, commissioners said.

In their lawsuit, the CBD, Environmental Working Group, and the Protect Our Communities Foundation said that the CPUC had failed to fully account for rooftop solar’s social benefits, hadn't sufficiently promoted renewable energy, and had overlooked disadvantaged communities.


Biden: ‘Union labor and American steel’ will rebuild Key Bridge

Standing in front of the crumbled wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, President Joe Biden re-upped his commitment to the federal government funding the span’s replacement, saying he would “move heaven and earth” to rebuild it quickly. During a windswept afternoon on the banks of the Patapsco River, the president said the top priority remains opening the channel for port traffic and emphasized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ goal to clear a path for commercial vessels by the end of May. Biden said the new bridge would be built “with union labor and American steel,” as he stood on the grounds of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police headquarters, about a half mile east of the span. Story


Thursday, March 28, 2024   WECA Political Update March 28, 2024


Election Analysis Based on Unofficial Results. Results will be certified by April 12, 2024

Prop 1 Won by a Thread

It is passing by just 27,218 votes out of over 7.3 million cast. But the fallout is interesting. While Gavin Newsom called the win “huge,” two Orange County cities – Newport Beach and Huntington Beach – have severed ties with the California League of Cities over the League's support of Prop 1. Proposition 1 allows for a by right, streamlined approval process for developments funded by the bond. Developments that fall under the category of behavioral health treatment residential settings and drug addiction treatment facilities are included. If projects meet criteria and receive funding through the bond, cities can apply objective design standards to these projects. Still, they will otherwise be limited in slowing down or stopping a project from being constructed.

You can see the Secretary of State election reporting here.

Close Races

In CD-16 (San Mateo), former mayor Sam Licardo holds the top slot for the November run-off. Assembly Member Evan Low and Supervisor (and former Assembly Member, former State Senator) Joe Simitian are dueling for number two. As of March 26, only two votes separate the two in what will be a D-on-D race later this year. Both sides have said they’d expect a re-count. This is a D+37 district, so Licardo is probably disappointed that two Republicans were on the March ballot, splitting the R vote.

In CD-45 (Fountain Valley), Michelle Steel (R) is in first place, and two Democrats are fighting to run against her in November. About 200 votes separate Kim Bernice Nguyen-Penaloza and Derek Tran in this D+5.2 district. Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen by under 5% in 2022, and the DCCC placed CD45 on its 2024 target list.

In AD-2, Republican Michael Greer came out on top with 27% of the vote. But in this D+28 district consisting of Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties and portions of Sonoma County, he doesn’t stand a chance against likely second-place finisher, Santa Rosa Councilmember Chris Rogers.

In AD-6 (Sacramento), Maggy Krell will defeat the likely second-place finisher in this D+30 Assembly seat being vacated by Kevin McCarty, who, for some reason, wants to return to the Sacramento City Council he left to run for Assembly in 2014. McCarty came in second in his race for mayor and will face novice politician Dr. Flojaune Cofer. Flo promises to “solve our homelessness and housing crisis, make our streets safer, and create thousands of quality jobs while protecting our climate.” That may be tough in a city facing a $60 million deficit in a strong economy.

In AD-8 (Fresno), two Republicans, former Representative George Radanovich and David Tangipa, will face off in November. The big question is where the Democrats who supported Caleb Helsel will go. Will they stay home?

In AD-58 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), which Democrat will face Republican Leticia Castillo in November? About 200 votes separate Ronaldo Fierro and Clarissa Cervantes in this D+18 district. Cervantes is the Riverside Council sister of incumbent Sabrina Cervantes, who decided to move up to the “bigs,” thus giving her sister a shot at moving to Sacramento. Sis may have hurt her chance with two DUIs, but maybe voters in the district are willing to forgive and forget – kind of like Dave Min in CD-47. Ok, Dave only has one DUI.

In AD-75, former Republican San Diego Councilmember (there were Republicans on the San Diego City Council?) Carl DeMaio ended up with 43% of the vote and will face either Republican Andrew Hayes or Democrat Kevin Juza. Only 600 votes separate those two in the R+11 district. Hayes had a lock on the seat until DeMaio entered the race.


2024 OFCCP Certification Cycle Announced

In 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) began requiring that federal contractors and subcontractors subject to the affirmative action requirements of Executive Order 11246 annually certify that they are meeting their requirement to develop and maintain annual affirmative plans (AAPs). On March 25, 2024, OFCCP announced its third annual certification cycle. Beginning on April 1, 2024, OFCCP will accept certifications by federal contractors and subcontractors that they have developed and maintained compliant affirmative action programs for each establishment. Learn more


California Releases Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently published guidance to assist employers in complying with Senate Bill 553 ahead of the law’s employer compliance date of July 1, 2024. SB 553 requires virtually all employers to develop, implement, and maintain an “effective” written workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP), train employees, and create and maintain extensive records regarding workplace violence.

The guidance includes a model WVPP for general industry (non-healthcare settings), and fact sheets for employers and employees. Employers must customize the model WVPP for their specific workforce. Under the law, only certain healthcare facilities, employees teleworking from locations of their choice and not under the control of their employers, and places of employment with fewer than ten employees and not accessible to the public are exempt from the law’s requirements. Although Cal/OSHA is not required to adopt workplace violence standards until December 31, 2026, it may begin enforcing the law on July 1, 2024. Thus, employers must now take steps to draft, implement, and train employees on their WVPPs. Story


National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction scheduled for May

  • OSHA is gearing up for its 11th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, scheduled for May 6-10, 2024.
  • OSHA describes its Safety Stand-Down as a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.
  • The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction focuses on fall hazards and was created to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.
  • To help employers prepare for this year’s event, OSHA has developed a page that answers frequently asked questions about how to conduct a Safety Stand-Down, who can participate, how to receive a certificate of participation, and other information.

Read more


NorCal Lost its Only BOI Investigator

Cal/OSHA's Bureau of Investigations (BOI) will have no personnel in Northern California following the resignation of Julio Alfaro, a senior investigator who was the lone BOI representative in the north state. Alfaro accepted a position outside of state government effective immediately. BOI, mandated by the California Labor Code, is responsible for criminal investigations involving workplace fatalities and serious injuries. It also refers cases to local prosecuting authorities. Alfaro's resignation follows last year’s resignation of Chris Kuhns, a 14-year veteran who left, he says, after being denied an opportunity to become a compliance safety and health officer at the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The BOI's vacancy rate is now 85%, with one investigator left for the entire State of California. The Bureau has no investigators in Northern California, one in Southern California, and a supervisor based in the South. The resignation adds to the Department of Industrial Relations staff shortage. DIR is actively recruiting and interviewing to fill its open positions. [Cal-OSHA Reporter]


The Fletcher Lawsuit Mess

Grecia Figueroa’s lawsuit against former San Diego supervisor Nathan Fletcher keeps hitting snags. Figueroa is now parting ways with a second attorney in the case. She also failed to appear at a hearing Wednesday “where Fletcher’s lawyers were set to demand access to Figueroa’s phone and the phone of a witness, a friend of Figueroa’s,” as Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis reports. Figueroa is suing Fletcher and the Metropolitan Transit System, her former employer, for what she alleges were sexual harassment and assault by Fletcher. Fletcher, as part of his role as supervisor, was serving as chair of the MTS board at that time. Fletcher has reportedly reunited with his wife, Labor Fed CEO Lorena Gonzalez. More


Despite Opposition, Phoenix Passes New Heat Regulations

Several construction firms say they already meet the new heat requirements established by the city of Phoenix, while others say the new requirements raise questions that could negatively impact schedules and budgets.


Dave Everett (left), WECA's new Southern California Government Relations Representative, is shown giving a tour of WECA's Riverside Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center to San Bernardino City Councilman Damon Alexander (center) last Fall.

New Face at WECA

WECA is happy to announce an official addition to our Government Relations team! Dave Everett was hired earlier this month to serve as our Southern California Government Relations Representative. Dave has been working closely with our Government Relations team in a related capacity for the past few years, and will now focus on our San Diego and Riverside facilities while advocating for the merit shop philosophy and your ability as a WECA member to work in the greater area.

Dave’s hiring aligns directly with the Board’s Government Relations plan. By entrenching ourselves in the regions surrounding our campuses, we can more effectively impact grassroots and grass tops activities.

Dave’s background includes serving as a Political Consultant for Southern California Congress, Assembly, and County Supervisor candidates, the Government Affairs Director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Southern California Chapter (ABC SoCal), Executive Director for the Republican Party of Orange County, and District Director for former California State Assemblyman Van Tran. In each position, Dave worked closely with many top elected officials, organizations, and media outlets throughout Southern California.

Starting his political career by getting his political science degree from the University of California, Riverside, Dave then worked for Congressman Ken Calvert on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Liaison. The time in D.C. allowed him to learn a lot about the legislative process and even the opportunity to help pass several bills on the House floor. After returning to Southern California, Everett worked for Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, O’Reilly Public Relations, and served as Executive Director of the Riverside County GOP before taking the position with Assemblyman Tran in early 2006.

Dave’s passions are free enterprise, investing in infrastructure, reducing overburdensome regulations on California’s job creators, and anything involving the Los Angeles Angels baseball team or Los Angeles Lakers. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Nicole and resides in Costa Mesa, California, with their two daughters, Hailey and Summer.

Welcome, Dave!


Baskin-Robbins Opening New Fresno Location

Thirty-one people can win free ice cream for a year if they win a Baskin-Robbins contest at their new Fresno location. It’s all happening at the Saturday grand opening of the newest Baskin-Robbins at 8959 N. Cedar Ave., near Shepherd Avenue in the same shopping center as Vons. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I think we know where Rex Hime will be on Saturday morning. Read more here


Thursday, March 14, 2024   WECA Political Update March 14, 2024


Election Analysis based on unofficial results. Results will be certified by April 12, 2024

Prop 1 Hanging by a Thread

Wednesday evening’s update added 114,224 votes from Imperial, Kern, Lake, Mono, Napa, Orange, Riverside, Solano, and Tulare Counties, reducing Proposition 1’s passing margin by 24,824. Thus, it is passing by just 4,218 votes out of over 6.3 million cast.

Southern California Key Elections

In the race for Orange County Supervisor, current Supervisor Don Wagner beat Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan by a nearly two-to-one margin for the 3rd District. Because supervisorial races are technically nonpartisan, Wagner avoided a runoff by receiving more than 50 percent of the primary vote. WECA supported Wagner and opposed Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan. Khan led the effort for the City of Irvine to pass a PLA last year.

In Riverside County’s State Senate race (SD 31), WECA successfully kept PLA advocate Angelo Farooq from advancing to the run-off election in November in a district that leans heavily Democratic. Farooq had spearheaded a PLA at Riverside Unified School District last year. Farooq came in a distant third, with Democrat Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes the likely winner in November. 

In the Riverside County Supervisor races, WECA supported Democrat State Senator Richard Roth. Roth came in first place but did not get 50 percent of the vote so that he will run against former Democrat Assemblyman Jose Medina in November. Medina voted for a PLA in 2010 on the Riverside Community College District construction. He ran for State Assembly the next year, and his fellow board member Mark Takano ran for Congress. In the 3rd Supervisorial District, WECA supported Democrat Riverside County Supervisor 3rd Supervisorial Chuck Washington. Washington avoided a runoff by receiving more than 50 percent of the primary vote.

In Riverside City races, WECA supported Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson’s reelection. If the current results hold, the merit shop could pick up two more supporters on the Riverside City Council! Steven Robillard holds a 500-vote lead in Ward 3, and Sean Mill holds a 149-vote lead over Ward 5 Councilwoman Gaby Plascencia.

Three San Bernardino City Council incumbents were defeated, with Ben Reynoso, Kimberly Calvin, and Damon Alexander losing in last Tuesday’s election. Juan Figueroa cruised to reelection with 60 percent of the vote in Ward 3. He appears to have won outright. WECA supported Figueroa and Damon Alexander. Ben Reynoso had voted for the PLA at the City of San Bernardino. 

Assembly District 75: WECA supported Republican candidates Andrew Hayes and Carl DeMaio. DeMaio has received over 40 percent of the vote and will move on to the November runoff. Hayes is leading in an extremely tight battle with Democrat Kevin Juza for the second spot in the November runoff, with late counts trending in Hayes' favor.

Central Valley Key Elections

CA20 is heading to a November runoff to replace former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Assemblymember Vince Fong leads all voters into November and will face Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux to fill the vacancy.

Tulare County Supervisor D1: WECA-supported Incumbent County Supervisor Larry Micari won the March election outright with over 60 percent of the vote. His opponent was Joe Soria, brother of Assemblymember Soria, who was part of passing the Fresno City PLA before heading up to Sacramento. While Soria outraised Micari 2-1, this money did not move county voters.

Fresno County Supervisor D3: Heading to November runoff. Incumbent Sal Quintero is “friendly” compared to some of his opponents who passed/support the Fresno City PLA. Quintero won the primary and will be in the runoff against City Councilmember Luis Chavez. City Councilmember Miguel Arias, a strong proponent of PLAs, did not make it into the top two.

California State Assembly District 8: Heading to November runoff. Former Congressman George Radanovich is leading the way and will make the November runoff. It is an extremely tight race for second with young Republican David Tangipa holding a slim margin over Democrat Caleb Helsel with ballots still to be counted. 

In CA22, the AP declared Wednesday there will be a rematch between Republican Rep. David Valadao and Democrat Rudy Salas. Democrats had feared that they would be frozen out of the November race if Republican Chris Mathys had grabbed the second slot from the top-two primary. In the latest update by the Cook Political Report, the 22nd was one of four Republican-held districts rated as toss-ups just before the primary. No seats now held by Democrats are among the ten toss-ups nationally.

Northern California Key Elections

In Sacramento County Rosario Rodriguez is close to winning the Supervisor race in D4 outright. She is 387 votes above the 50 percent threshold to win without a November runoff. The next update will be released Friday afternoon. An estimated 83,886 ballots are left to count, but it is yet to be known how many are from D4.

In the race for Sacramento Mayor (a thankless job in the opinion of many), Flojaune Cofer, someone with no political experience, is running first with 17,547 votes. Second is former State Senator Richard Pan, who had 15,421 votes. The business community will almost certainly rally behind Pan (or whoever wins #2) to support anyone but “Flo.”

A political family’s strategy for both to land legislative seats failed. Wednesday, the AP declared that Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, a Stockton Democrat, didn’t make the top two in state Senate District 5 and that Edith Villapudua, who switched from that race to seek her husband’s seat, finished third in Assembly District 13. This isn't good for business as in SD 5 former Congressman Jerry McNerney will almost certainly beat Republican Jim Shoemaker in this D+23 district. McNerney did well in Congress; between 2006 and 2012, McNerney's calculated net worth increased by an average of 335 percent per year! In AD 13 (D+27), Democrat Rhodesia Ransom will beat Republican Denise Aguilar Mendez. The couple’s primary defeats marked a major win for unions, environmentalists, and attorneys and a blow to the oil industry and others who spent heavily to protect the Villapuduas.

You can see the Secretary of State election reporting here.

More Help on the Way for Striking Workers

Senator Anthony Portantino, who was currying favor with unionized voters, has reintroduced legislation to give strikers unemployment benefits. It doesn’t seem to have worked; he is coming in third to replace Adam Schiff on CA 30, losing to Assembly Member Laura Friedman (D) and Republican Alex Balekian. CA 30 is D+31 and voted Biden +46 in 2020, so Balekian is a long shot (TPIM).

But back to the bill. SB 1116 is a redo of Portantino’s SB 799, which the Legislature passed last year but Gov. Newsom vetoed. He said, in part, “Any expansion of eligibility for UI benefits could increase California's outstanding federal UI debt projected to be nearly $20 billion by the end of the year and could jeopardize California's Benefit Cost Ratio add-on waiver application, significantly increasing taxes on employers. Furthermore, the state is responsible for the interest payments on the federal UI loan and, to date, has paid $362.7 million in interest, with another $302 million due this month. Now is not the time to increase costs or incur this sizable debt.”

Senator María Elana Durazo, former head of the LA Labor Federation, introduced SB 1434, also wanting to give taxpayer money to striking workers. It changes the wage base from the current $7,000 to an undetermined amount until 2027, then to a higher undetermined amount until 2028, and then raises the base by an annual CLI. It also requires employers to pay .5% into an “Excluded Workers Fund” to pay “income assistance to excluded workers who are ineligible for the state or federal unemployment insurance benefits.”

But let’s not stop there with taxpayer largesse. Assemblymember Chris Holden amended his AB 1017 that, as introduced, would authorize any entity conducting an engineering and traffic survey to consider equestrian safety. The change would create the Striking Worker Emergency Homelessness Prevention (SWEHP) program administered by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to make zero-interest loans available to striking workers to assist them in paying their housing costs. Holden is generous with OPM. Holden has taken at least $1.7 million from the Labor sector since he was elected to the legislature. That represents 30 percent of his total campaign contributions. But I bet that doesn’t surprise readers.

No Statute of Limitations for You!

Assemblymember Pilar Schiavo, author of AB 2135, will extend the statute of limitations on complaints submitted to the Labor Commissioner from 18 to 24 months. The Labor Commissioner will be allowed to continue ongoing investigations beyond the statute of limitation for good cause. However, an open investigation will not be closed solely because the Statute of Limitations has been reached. Yikes. Schiavo was elected to the Assembly in 2022, unseating incumbent Republican Suzette Valladares by 522 votes. At the time of her election, Schiavo was an organizer for the California Nurses Association. She previously served as political director for the San Francisco Labor Council and as a legislative aide for San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano. Raised in Sonora, she graduated from Sonora HS and studied American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University and labor relations at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A 2016 Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention, she resides in Chatsworth.

Mo’ Money

Once again, the price tag for California's bullet train is on the rise to the tune of twelve figures. The increased sticker price for the state's still-developing rail system came amid testimony by the bullet train's outgoing CEO, Brian Kelly, to lawmakers in Sacramento on Tuesday. Perhaps, even more unsurprisingly, the bullet train needs a cash infusion to complete the segment in the San Joaquin Valley, which is currently undergoing construction. Here are the other nuggets from Kelly's testimony.

What Happened to 138 Local Ballot Measures Decided on March 5

California voters decided on 138 local ballot measures during the March 5 statewide primary. Below are the results from 11 notable measures:


Want a deeper look into each measure? See below:

  • Fresno County Measure B: Voters rejected Measure B, which followed The U.S. Board of Geographic Names’ renaming of Squaw Valley to Yokuts Valley in 2023. In 2022, the California Legislature unanimously approved AB 2022, which required the word “squaw” to be removed from geographic feature and place names in the state because the term “... has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur, particularly for indigenous women.”
  • Measure B would have amended the Fresno County Charter to state that the Board of Supervisors is responsible for establishing or changing “geographic feature or place names within the unincorporated portions” of Fresno County that are not subject to federal, state, or other local government jurisdiction.
  • Long Beach Measure RW: As of March 12, Measure RW was too close to call. “Yes” was leading with 52.74 percent. The measure would increase the minimum wage for qualifying hotel workers from $17.55 to $23.00 per hour on July 1, 2024, and increase each year until reaching $29.50 on July 1, 2028. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be adjusted based on inflation.
  • Los Angeles Measure HLA: Voters approved Measure HLA, which will require Los Angeles to implement the Mobility Plan 2035, a transportation-planning guidelines document adopted in 2015. Specifically, Measure HLA requires Los Angeles to implement street modifications, such as wider sidewalks and bike lanes, anytime a street improvement, such as paving, is made on a street segment that is at least one-eighth of a mile long.
  • Huntington Beach Measure 1: Voters approved Measure 1 in Huntington Beach. It requires voter identification and that ballot dropboxes be monitored for compliance.
  • Huntington Beach Measure 2: Voters also approved Measure 2. It prohibits the city from displaying flags on city property without a unanimous vote of the city council, with exceptions for certain flags, primarily government-related ones.
  • San Francisco Proposition B: Voters rejected Proposition B, which would have increased minimum police officer staffing levels. However, that would have been contingent on voters approving a new tax or changing an existing tax to fund those staffing levels.
  • San Francisco Proposition E: Voters approved this second policing-related measure in San Francisco. It changes several policing policies, including limiting the amount of time that officers spend on administrative tasks; requiring written reports for use-of-force incidents only if there is a physical injury or an officer draws a firearm; allowing the use of drones in vehicle pursuits; and permitting surveillance and facial recognition cameras without the need for approval from the police commission or board of supervisors.
  • San Francisco Proposition F: Voters approved Proposition F, which requires drug screening of individuals receiving County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP) benefits if the city suspects they are using illegal substances. It also requires the individual to participate in treatment programs (if the treatment program is free) to continue receiving assistance benefits.
  • San Francisco Proposition G: Voters approved Proposition G, which declares it the official city policy of San Francisco to urge the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to offer Algebra 1 to students by eighth grade. Proposition G has no binding effect on SFUSD. 
  • Mountain House Measure D and Measure E: California will have 483 cities on July 1, 2024, as voters approved Measure D, creating the City of Mountain House in San Joaquin County. Because Measure D was approved, Measure E will also take effect. Measure E gave voters three options for how to elect their future city council. They chose at-large elections.

As of March 12, Californians have approved 72 of the 138 local ballot measures and defeated 22. These numbers only do not include 44 that were too close to call. Looking at California’s statewide primaries from 2016 to 2022, 138 was less than the average of 174 local ballot measures appearing on primary ballots.


Thursday, February 29, 2024   WECA Political Update February 29, 2024

Bissextile Year Edition

Right up there with the bi-annual time change farce, we celebrate the 366th day of 2024. Arguably, December 31, 2024, will be the 366th day, but for literary purposes, today is what I am calling 366. Leap years are confusing (as opposed to the idiocy of changing our clocks twice a year). “Without the leap years, after a few hundred years, we will have summer in November,” said Younas Khan, a physics instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Christmas will be in summer. There will be no snow. There will be no feeling of Christmas.” But with climate change, maybe the snow thing is not an issue.

Greenmail Attack in Fresno Stopped: Could We See Less CEQA Abuse in The Future?

Last Thursday, February 22, the Fresno City Council denied a Greenmail appeal, an attempt to require a PLA on a private project through CEQA abuse - and gave Scannell Properties the green light to continue developing a million square foot warehouse.

The Fresno City Council voted to deny the appeal and approve the project with a 5-2 vote, with Councilmembers Arias and Chavez opposing. The project had previously been given approval by the Fresno Planning Commission on a 7-0 vote. While the city approved the project, a lawsuit could still be filed against Scannell, and the clock is now ticking on the 30 days for that to occur.

WECA’s Government Relations Director Rex Hime gave public comment at the meeting, fighting for fair and open competition for all projects and highlighting the CEQA abuse that was going on. Greenmail, or CEQA abuse to slow down or stop development altogether, isn’t just happening in Fresno or with large industrial projects. It has also been used to slow down much-needed housing projects trying to address the shortage in California, and a new state appellate court decision could reduce this from happening.

Dan Walters with CalMatters published an article highlighting the court ruling that could crack down on those tactics to slow or block construction.

Here’s a peek into that article: “Chris Elmendorf, a UC Davis law professor who is the state’s foremost authority on development laws, says the appellate court ruling is a major blow to the tactic of using CEQA to delay projects of any kind – not just housing – that conform to the standards of pre-existing general plans.”

Please let Rex know if you hear of any Greenmail threats in your area.

California Energy Commission OKs $1.9B for EV Charging Stations

The California Energy Commission on Feb. 14 approved $1.9 billion to expand the state’s network of charging and refueling infrastructure for zero-emission cars, trucks, and buses, set to create the most extensive charging and hydrogen refueling network in the country, say officials. The state funding comes from its Clean Transportation Program and will be spent over the next four years, with at least 50 percent targeted to benefit priority populations. Part of the $48 billion California Climate Commitment includes more than $10 billion for zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure. Story

Sacramento Mayor’s Race

Those lucky enough to live in the “City of Trees,” or “Farm to Fork Capital,” depending on which slogan you prefer, will recognize this pile of mail (one day’s worth) for the two leading contenders for Sacramento mayor. Why they covet this position (just another vote on the council as voters continue to reject various “strong mayor” initiatives, in part because few voters would trust a strong Mayor Steinberg) is beyond my comprehension, aside from the fact that they may want to be in a better position for Doris Matsui’s inevitable retirement.

CPUC and Solar Prevailing Wages

The CPUC has unveiled its website to implement its role in enforcing the prevailing wage obligations of contractors installing some rooftop solar and storage. They also have FAQs. WECA is reviewing its FAQs released last year.

Captive Audience Meetings

Organized labor has long sought to curb the practice, arguing that it unfairly allows employers to pepper workers with anti-union messaging — and the right to punish or fire workers who refuse to attend. For over a decade, Oregon has been the only state with a law preventing employers from penalizing workers who opt out of meetings on “religious or political matters.” Still, the issue has gained momentum in the Biden years. The National Labor Relations Board’s Jennifer Abruzzo has sought to outlaw them, and five states — Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and New York — have recently enacted laws in the same vein as Oregon’s. Employers contend that such bans infringe upon their free speech rights and present practical hassles to communicating with employees effectively, including on subjects not covered by these restrictions.

Time for Employers to Complete California Privacy Rights Act Compliance as Court of Appeal Lifts Injunction on Enforcement

Employers had a big win in late June 2023 when a trial court in Sacramento enjoined until March 29, 2024, enforcement of the final regulations under the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), the only one of 14 recently enacted, comprehensive state data protection laws that apply to human resources information. This extended grace period ended prematurely on February 9, 2024, when the California Court of Appeal rejected the lower court’s injunction and immediately restored enforcement authority to the California Privacy Protection Agency. The court’s decision also impacts enforcement of upcoming regulations addressing cybersecurity audits, risk assessments, and automated decision-making technology, as the appellate court also rejected a future, one-year stay on enforcement imposed by the Sacramento trial court. As a result, employers waiting until March 29, 2024, to complete their CPRA compliance work should accelerate those efforts and carefully monitor the rulemaking process for the three pending sets of regulations. Learn More

IBEW Sees Arizona Continuing to Expand Solar and Battery Storage Projects

Dean Wine, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 7th District international representative for renewable energy, sees Arizona continuing to be among the country's leading states in implementing renewable energy projects such as solar installations and battery storage facilities. Wine's 7th District comprises Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. “Arizona and Texas are among the top four states in the country when it comes to installing solar generation and battery storage facilities, among other renewables,” Wine pointed out. He added that Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Kansas are less involved in renewables but are becoming more engaged because of federal money being offered for projects. More


Thursday, February 15, 2024   WECA Political Update February 15, 2024

WECA Opposes Proposition 1

In 2022, the Governor and State Legislature approved $9.5 billion in tax refunds, part of a $12 billion relief plan hatched before the Governor’s re-election campaign.

For reasons known only to a handful of officials, most refunds were in the form of debit cards that would only be redeemable in a select ATM network. As of 2023, more than 1 million cards had not been activated.

Less than one year later, this same cabal of officials decided the state should borrow $6.38 billion for mental health treatment facilities ($4.4 billion) and supportive housing for homeless veterans and homeless individuals with behavioral health challenges ($2 billion).

WECA is recommending a NO vote.

Proposition 1 is the only proposition on the March ballot – at the insistence of Governor Newsom, who desired no competition on the ballot.

Newsom has contributed some of his campaign money and brow-beat business and labor to pony up more than $12 million to convince voters the state should borrow billions (repaid over 30 years) right after issuing refunds that would have more than paid for the programs in Prop 1.

By comparison, opponents of Prop. 1 have raised only about $1,000 so far. But their underdog effort to persuade voters may ultimately be bolstered by a history lesson.

Prop. 1 is a dual measure to reroute roughly $1 billion annually from mental health funding to housing for people with behavioral health needs. It includes paying for 4,350 supportive housing units and 6,800 mental health treatment beds. For reference, California’s homeless population is estimated to be about 175,000.

But as CalMatters explains, the measure is like a 2018 ballot measure, known as No Place Like Home, that has so far fallen short of its lofty promises.

Like Prop. 1, No Place Like Home used money earmarked for mental health services to pay for a $2 billion housing bond. The campaign to support the measure promised 20,000 new supportive housing units — a number in a Legislative Analyst’s Office report that projected “half of the units would likely be completed within five years” — and it was enough to persuade 63% of voters to say yes.

Five years later, however, the state has built just 1,797 No Place Like Home units as of Feb. 2, according to the program's most recent annual report.

Why the hold up? In addition to high construction and insurance costs, it can take years for developers to line up funds. Resistance from neighborhood groups and communities also delays projects. For example, two of the 10 No Place Like Home projects proposed by real estate developer Eden Housing were hit with environmental lawsuits.

Supporters of Prop. 1, such as Democratic Sen. Susan Eggman of Stockton, who authored part of the measure, said the state has learned lessons from No Place Like Home. Prop. 1 includes exemptions to California’s environmental law to speed up development, and it requires more transparency by mandating counties to submit annual spending reports.

Besides citing the difficulties of building more affordable housing, critics of Prop. 1 are concerned that the measure will slash current services for behavioral and mental health programs. Advocates for people with disabilities have also raised flags that Prop. 1 would allow money to be spent on involuntary confinement facilities.

And, of course, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and PLAs fit into this jigsaw puzzle. The trades made a $1 million contribution to Prop. 1 at the end of December and are in the top five of supporters. Is it coincidental that State Senator Wahab has reintroduced legislation to mandate PLAs on any state, UC, or community college construction project of $35 million or more?

WECA is not insensitive to the homeless problem in California but concluded that Prop. 1 is another government program that will only touch a small fraction of the problem, will be beset with delays and cost overruns, and is a callous ploy to give the Governor and legislative leaders cover on a problem many in California call one of the biggest problems facing the state.

The state could have banked the money it gave back to taxpayers in an election year but is betting many voters will tick a yes vote to “address” homelessness. WECA disagrees and recommends a “NO.”

No More Vacay Pics

A measure proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would allow lawmakers to move around airports protected from the attention of other travelers — and reporters, Politico reports. The move recalls the 2021 scandal in which Cruz was photographed jetting off to a tropical vacation amid the worst winter storm his state had seen in decades, triggering an avalanche of scorn and criticism. Cruz is trying to attach the amendment to the FAA reauthorization, slated to be marked up in the Senate Commerce Committee, on which Cruz serves as ranking member. The amendment would “offer lawmakers a dedicated security escort at airports, along with expedited screening outside of public view.” Federal judges, Cabinet members, and some of their families and staff would get the same privileges.

Cruz justified the measure by pointing to “serious security threats facing public officials” that require “reasonable measures to keep everyone safe.” Senate Republican Commerce Committee spokesperson Melissa Braid said: “This language was drafted in a bipartisan manner to address the growing number of serious threats to justices, judges, public officials, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. With rising security incidents at airports, this amendment ensures that — when law enforcement determines that there is a serious threat — reasonable security measures will be taken to keep everybody safe.”

But apparently, airport police agency representatives say it could present a burden, as the amendment language requires TSA to “arrange” escorts, but it could fall to local officials to provide them.

New Senate Leader

State leaders packed into the Capitol recently to witness the swearing-in of new President Pro Tem Mike McGuire.

McGuire takes the gavel from outgoing leader Toni Atkins, who is termed out this year and focusing her efforts on a 2026 gubernatorial run. Among the other political powerhouses in attendance were Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and head of the California Labor Federation Lorena Gonzalez.

McGuire opened his first remarks as pro tem by praising emergency workers responding to days of fierce storms. He also touted the record number of women serving in the Senate, California’s role as a global leader on climate, and the state’s economic prowess. “No matter what you watch on cable news, we are America’s economic engine,” McGuire said.

McGuire, whom his colleagues described as an “Energizer Bunny,” is now tasked with guiding the chamber through a bleak budget year and what are sure to be tough negotiations with the governor’s administration and the Assembly. [Politico]

Arizona Elections

Talk may be cheap. Arizona elections certainly are not. That’s the biggest takeaway from year-end campaign finance reports that became available this week for the state’s most competitive federal races. Some of Arizona’s most viral-worthy politicians are coming to a ballot near you, but these reports prove that campaigns know “clicks” alone won’t be enough this year. [Veridus LLC]

U.S. Senate It’s now or never for U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I). Arizona’s Senior Senator has $10.6 million in cash-on-hand - a significant cash-on-hand advantage over her rivals. But closing 2023 by only raising approximately $600,000 is cause for alarm. Meanwhile, the April 8 filing deadline is fast approaching, and, as an Independent, Sen. Sinema can’t count on help from the Democratic Party to help her campaign infrastructure stand up.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) continues to post impressive numbers, with $3.3 million raised during the period and $6.5 million in cash-on-hand. Republican Kari Lake raised $2 million, but only has $1 million in cash-on-hand. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb (R) raised $265,000 and has just over a quarter-million dollars in cash-on-hand.

CD-1 Rep. David Schweikert (R) finished 2023 with roughly $900,000 in the bank as the battle for this race’s Democratic nomination is shaping up to be fierce with several candidates lending their campaigns six-figure sums to boost fundraising totals. Among Democrats, businessmen Conor O’Callaghan and Andrei Cherny lead the pack as both have roughly $1 million in their campaign account.

CD-3 Phoenix City Councilmember Yassamin Ansari ($312,000) outraised former legislator Raquel Terán ($200,000) during the period, and has more than twice as much cash-on-hand. Advantage: Ansari.

CD-6 Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R) and former state legislator Kirsten Engle (D) each raised over $400,000 during the period, but the GOP incumbent has a commanding edge in cash-on-hand with a campaign war chest that exceeds $2 million.

CD-8 The end-of-year report gives the first glimpse at the Primary battle to replace retiring Congresswoman Debbie Lesko. Blake Masters is largely self-funding his effort thus far and lent his campaign $1 million during the period. Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma led the field in private fundraising, with $340,000 raised during the period. Meanwhile, Abe Hamadeh is lagging the money race with $288,000 raised and a little over $250,000 in cash-on-hand, but has already captured the coveted Trump endorsement and expects to have a well-financed Super PAC to support his effort.

OSHA Sends Worker Walkaround Final Rule to OIRA

On February 9, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sent its worker walkaround final rule to OIRA for review. The rule would empower OSHA inspectors to allow union organizers, community activists, or other third parties who do not officially represent the employees or the government to accompany OSHA on an inspection of a workplace, contradicting the plain language of OSHA’s governing regulations, longstanding agency guidance, and past interpretations of federal workplace safety law. It’s a thinly veiled attempt to bypass the NLRA and state property laws by allowing union organizers access to employer property to which they would otherwise not be entitled under the law.

The proposed rule was issued last August, and OSHA received nearly 12,000 comments.


Thursday, February 1, 2024   WECA Political Update February 1, 2024

Wahab Tries Again

State Senator Aisha Wahab (D-Fremont) has reintroduced her statewide PLA mandate legislation after last year’s effort failed. But to make the effort more palatable to PLA supporters, this year’s version will also require the University of California and community college system to use PLAs for their Capital Improvement Programs.

Last year, WECA and the Construction Employer’s Association (CEA) opposed Wahab’s bill. CEA—comprised of union contractors—noted, “PLAs often conflict with subcontracting clauses due to jurisdictional disputes between various crafts, placing general contractors in the unenviable role of being in violation of their CBAs. For example, a PLA may mandate the use of one craft, even though more than one craft is entitled to 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.”

While we don’t 100 percent agree with CEA, it’s great to have broader opposition and hope CEA will oppose again this year. And perhaps ABC and AGC, too!

San Diego Imposes PLA on All City Construction

In a virtual love fest, the San Diego City Council voted 8-0 to impose a seven-year PLA on all city construction work. The city’s financial analyst cautioned that a PLA could reduce the pool of bidders and thus increase costs. That didn’t deter council members, who sought every opportunity to tout the benefits of PLAs and the importance of union support when running for elected office. The PLA starts with a $5 million threshold, which only lasts two years. The San Diego Tribune opposed Measure D—placed directly on the Nov. 8, 2023 ballot by the San Diego City Council—that repealed 2012’s Measure A, an initiative backed by 58 percent of San Diego voters that banned the city’s use of union-friendly project labor agreements. They covered this week’s vote, but it may be paywalled. Story

Trader Joe’s “NLRB Unconstitutional”

Bloomberg reports that Trader Joe’s joined the growing collection of employers in the National Labor Relations Board’s crosshairs that have gone to federal court to argue that the 88-year-old agency is unconstitutional. “The structure and organization of the National Labor Relations Board and the agency’s administrative law judges is unconstitutional,” the company’s attorney Christopher Murphy said, according to a transcript of the proceeding that Bloomberg News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The broadside at the Jan. 16 hearing came less than two weeks after SpaceX filed a federal suit in Texas challenging the NLRB, arguing both that its use of administrative law judges and the board’s insulation from the White House violate the constitution's separation of powers doctrine, signaling a quickly spreading willingness to defang a main antagonist. Story


A National Labor Relations Board judge is set to hear arguments in a case that will serve as a big test of General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s ambitious push to curtail the use of non-compete agreements.

Abruzzo issued a memo last May detailing her position that non-compete agreements violate workers’ federal labor rights when they deny employees “the ability to quit or change jobs by cutting off their access to other employment opportunities that they are qualified for based on their experience, aptitudes, and preferences as to type and location of work.”

The agency has also targeted what it and some worker advocates call TRAPs—or training repayment agreement provisions—in which employers seek to recoup certain costs from employees who leave under certain conditions.

“She was pretty clear where she wanted to take the board,” said Maribeth Meluch, a partner at the Ohio-based business law firm Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. “The NLRB wants employees to be able to leave if the employment terms and conditions are not agreeable.”

In September, the NLRB issued a complaint along both these fronts against a national medical spa chain, Juvly Aesthetics, alleging that the company forced employees into unlawful non-compete and confidentiality requirements and demanded two employees pay $50,000 and $60,000, respectively, to recoup training costs.

Critics of such repayment conditions, which have received increased attention in recent years, argue that they unfairly restrict workers’ ability to change jobs and that the costs demanded are oftentimes exorbitant relative to an employee’s pay.

Attorneys for Juvly have argued in legal filings that the NLRB is exceeding its authority and denied wrongdoing. Following the hearing, the ALJ would likely rule later this year, though that decision can be appealed to the agency’s board—and from there, in federal court.

Eleven Candidates Are Running In The Top-Two Primary In California's 20th Congressional District

The top-two primary for California's 20th Congressional District is March 5. Three candidates lead in media attention: Mike Boudreaux (R), Vince Fong (R), and David Giglio (R). The primary is following former Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R) resignation in December 2023. More

Ten Candidates Are Running in The March 5 Top-Two Primary For California's 31st Congressional District

Incumbent Grace Napolitano (D) is not running for re-election, leaving the district open for the first time since 1998. Napolitano is one of 40 U.S. House members who have announced they’re not running for re-election in November. Ten candidates are running. Five lead in endorsements, media attention, and fundraising: Bob Archuleta (D), Gil Cisneros (D), Gregory Hafif (D), Mary Ann Lutz (D), and Susan Rubio (D). Four of the five are elected officials. More

Bill to Require Speed Limiters in California Cars Introduced in Senate

A bill to require all cars sold or made in California after 2027 to have devices limiting their top speed to only ten miles per hour above the speed limit was introduced in the State Senate.

Senate Bill 961, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would specifically require certain vehicles, commencing with the 2027 model year, to be equipped with an intelligent speed limiter that would limit the speed of the vehicle to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The bill would exempt emergency vehicles from this requirement and authorize the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol to disable the system on other vehicles. Story

This is like federal efforts to mandate speed limiters on commercial vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Significant Rulemaking Report, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to publish a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in May. Previously, the agency projected to unveil the speed limiter proposal in June and December last year. The rulemaking fell apart in 2016 and was resurrected by FMCSA in 2022 when the agency issued an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking. The notice suggested that commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more and equipped with an electric engine control unit capable of being governed would be subject to the mandate.

UC Hits Pause

The University of California backed away today from a plan to allow people without legal immigration status to hold campus jobs.

UC President Michael V. Drake announced that the university would hold off on the proposal for at least a year as the Regents emerged from a closed session at their meeting in San Francisco. The board then ratified that decision by vote.

The decision came after months of legal scrutiny and pressure from the Biden administration, which privately let UC officials know the proposal violated federal law and would likely leave the university vulnerable to a lawsuit or administrative action.

"We concluded that the proposed legal pathway is not viable at this time, and in fact carries significant risks for the institution and for those we serve," Drake said. "For that reason, it is inadvisable for the university to initiate implementation right now."

The decision leaves around 4,000 undocumented students across the 10-campus system unable to hold campus jobs, including paid positions and residencies that some need to graduate or pursue advanced studies.


No longer dancing around the subject, Joanna Weiss is taking direct aim at fellow Democrat Dave Min in the second ad for her CA-47 campaign, attacking the state senator for his recent drunk driving conviction in a six-figure ad buy.

The “Trust” spot highlighted an incident in May when Min was pulled over by California Highway Patrol, not far from the state Capitol in Sacramento. He was later sentenced to three years of probation and $2,000 in fines. "Min drove drunk, lied to the police, and endangered innocent lives,” says the narrator in the ad.

A spokesperson for Min’s campaign said the ad is an attempt by Weiss to distract from her record, pointing to a recent Daily Beast story that highlighted her husband’s history of defending the Catholic Church in sexual abuse cases. (I'm not sure why her husband’s clients are attributed to “her record,” but in politics…)

“Dave Min is endorsed by The California Democratic Party, Katie Porter, and the Los Angeles Times,” Orrin Evans said in a statement. “Who are you going to trust?”

The district is one of the state’s most hotly-contested races this cycle, with Republicans eager to flip the seat Porter has held onto since 2018. Weiss, an attorney and former nonprofit exec, has managed to mount a serious intraparty challenge to Min by scooping up support from some local Democrats and going on the attack. Republican Scott Baugh will face Min or Weiss in November—assuming he finishes first or second in March.

2024 California Contractors License Law & Reference Book Now Available

The 2024 edition of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) California Contractors License Law & Reference Book (Law Book) is now available. CSLB introduced a streamlined law book that includes essential information for the California construction industry.

The Law Book can be purchased directly from the publisher, or the online PDF version can be viewed or downloaded at no cost on the CSLB website.

The Law Book can only be purchased directly from publisher LexisNexis online or by calling (877) 394-8826. The price is $54.00 plus tax, shipping, and handling. The Law Book is available as a PDF on the CSLB website and can be downloaded for free.

2022 Energy Code Fact Sheets Now Available

The California Energy Commission has developed new solar photovoltaic (PV), battery storage, and electric ready online fact sheets to support the 2022 Energy Code. The fact sheets are available via the Online Resource Center:



The Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) is an alliance of over 240 business organizations that represent 420,000 employers with 5 million employees in Los Angeles County. As a united federation, BizFed advocates for policies and projects strengthening the regional economy.

To best understand our members, WECA has partnered with BizFed to find out the top areas of concern for the business community and the business outlook for the upcoming year.

Results from the poll will guide advocacy and help key policymakers in our region understand the needs of the business community. Your voice is imperative!

Take the poll here. (It should only take 10 minutes!)

U.S. Chamber White Paper on "Whole of Government" Union Support

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a White Paper detailing the various elements of the Biden/Harris administration's advocacy for unions. The report examines how President Biden's "whole of government" approach to using the federal government to promote unionization harms workers, employers, and the economy. Read the report here