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Thursday, May 25, 2023   WECA Political Update May 25, 2023

The National Pork Case Suggests Peril for Federal Challenges to Bills Like SB 830 In 2018, California voters approved the ballot measure to ban the sale of meat and egg products from farms that did not raise their “veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens” in spaces that give them room enough to stand up and turn around. The proposition was supposed to go into effect in 2022, but two out-of-state organizations, the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation, sued to stop the measure.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently voted in a 5 to 4 ruling that didn’t follow the typical conservative-liberal split. In the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that rather than California regulating out-of-state businesses unconstitutionally, businesses are attempting to restrict a state’s ability to “regulate goods sold within their borders.” He was joined by Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas.

  • Gorsuch: “Consider an example. Today, many States prohibit the sale of horsemeat for human consumption…. Under the lead dissent’s test, all it would take is one complaint from an unhappy out-of-state producer and — presto — the Constitution would protect the sale of horsemeat.”

In their partial dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Brett Kavanaugh said that the measure would place a “substantial burden against interstate commerce”:

  • Roberts, in his opinion: “Petitioners identify broader, market-wide consequences of compliance — economic harms that our precedents have recognized can amount to a burden on interstate commerce…. California has enacted rules that carry implications for producers as far-flung as Indiana and North Carolina.” 

Because 99% of the pork Californians eat comes from out of state, opponents of the proposition argued that the measure gave California an outsized role in restricting interstate commerce, running afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce ClauseProducers estimated their costs would rise by 9% to comply with the rule, and the Biden administration stood with the pork producers, saying the measure would throw “a giant wrench into the workings of the interstate market in pork.”

So, why does this story about pork living conditions matter to contractors? Senate Bill 830 (Smallwood-Cuevas) is a long-expected bill sponsored by the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers that expands the definition of “public works” that makes custom fabrication of sheet metal ducts or similar sheet metal products for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems produced offsite and solely and specifically designed and engineered for installation in a particular public works project subject to the payment of prevailing wages. This bill would reverse a prevailing wage determination dating to 2008 and a 2014 California Appeals Court decision that upheld the determination.

One of the arguments against SB 830 is that “There is no practical way for public entities or prime contractors to enforce prevailing wage requirements for off-site fabrication. First, California cannot force SB 830 requirements for work performed outside of the state, nor is it clear that the state can mandate that someone in Boise or Tijuana receive California prevailing wages. Were California to create an artificial barrier to entry for products manufactured out-of-state, because workers in those states are not paid California prevailing wages, the law would likely run afoul of the Dormant Commerce Clause, which is intended to prevent the imposition of protectionist state policies that favor state business at the expense of out-of-state business.

Readers will note that the SCOTUS decision in the pork case upheld the state’s ability to “regulate goods sold within their borders.” Would the court make the same decision in the event SB 830 is before them?


An Update on the 2024 Presidential Campaign As of May 11, 2023, there are three noteworthy Democratic presidential candidates, eight noteworthy Republican candidates, and one noteworthy Republican exploratory committee. Below is a summary of each candidate’s campaign activity from early May.

  • Democratic candidates
  • Joe Biden spoke in Hudson Valley, New York, on May 10. He supported raising the debt ceiling and criticized the Republican-backed Limit, Save, Grow Act. He also attended a fundraising event in New York City hosted by former Blackstone executive Tony James.
  • Marianne Williamson held a town hall in East Palestine, Ohio, on May 9, and is set to speak at a bookstore in Washington, D.C., today.
  • Republican candidates
  • Nikki Haley held a rally in Greer, South Carolina, on May 4.
  • Vivek Ramaswamy campaigned in New Hampshire on May 4, and in Michigan from May 6 to May 7. Ramaswamy began a campaign tour of Iowa on May 9, which is set to last through May 13.
  • Corey Stapleton held a town hall in New Hampshire on May 4.
  • Donald Trump issued a statement about Ramaswamy, and Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) endorsed Trump on May 5. Trump participated in a CNN televised town hall on May 10.
  • Tim Scott (R), announced his presidential candidacy on May 22, held a town hall in Iowa on May 6 and campaigned in New Hampshire from May 8 to May 9
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his highly-anticipated presidential bid during a Twitter spaces session Wednesday and broke Twitter. The app repeatedly crashed Wednesday night as thousands of listeners attempted to tune in to hear the Florida governor announce he was entering the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Thirty minutes into the event, DeSantis was finally able to begin speaking.
  • Other noteworthy candidates include Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (D), Larry Elder (R), and Asa Hutchinson (R).



Former U.S. Rep. Will Hurd Discusses Tech Policy, Semiconductor Manufacturing, and More at Arizona Chamber Roundtable Republican Congressman Will Hurd – a former CIA operative turned politician – has long been dedicated to advancing policy to strengthen America’s economic and national security. And, as he made clear during a recent visit to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, he’s not slowing down anytime soon. [Story]


CHC BOLD PAC, The Campaign Arm of The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Is Endorsing Two Democratic Candidates in Key California House Races. They are backing Tim Sanchez in California’s 12th District and Kim Nguyen in California’s 45th District. Sanchez, an Afghanistan veteran and entrepreneur, is aiming to succeed Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is running for Senate and leaving behind her Oakland-area seat. Nguyen is running to unseat Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.). Despite representing a district President Joe Biden won in 2020, Steel has proven difficult to defeat in the past two cycles. Nguyen currently sits on the Garden Grove city council. [Politico]


New York Building Trades Chief Sentenced in Bribe Scheme A federal judge sentenced the former president of New York State’s construction unions to more than four years in prison for taking bribes to help a non-union contractor win contracts and gain other benefits of organized labor association without employing union workers. Records show that James Cahill was the last of 11 defendants to be sentenced in connection to the bribery scheme and received the most severe sentence. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan sentenced him May 18 to 51 months in prison, to be served at a medium-security federal prison camp in Otisville, NY. McMahon also ordered Cahill to pay a $150,000 fine. Story


Budget Woes The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) predicts California revenues will fall $30 billion short of what’s needed to cover Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed spending for the 2024 fiscal year, adding to its doubts about the administration's budget plan. “Our analysis suggests that level of revenue is very unlikely — there is less than a one-in-six chance the state can afford the May Revision spending level across the five-year period,” Fiscal and Policy Analyst Ann Hollingshead wrote in an analysis Tuesday. The nonpartisan LAO last week forecasted that the governor’s May budget proposal would fail to close a $6 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year despite calling for several billions of dollars in cuts. The latest report argues the revenue forecasts underlying Newsom’s proposal are “optimistic, but plausible” through the 2023 fiscal year, but “they are improbable in the out-years.” The LAO called for $6 billion more in cuts to one-time spending cuts in the coming fiscal year and for one-time spending in future years to be eliminated entirely.


CEQA Fix? On Tuesday, Mendocino County took a major step to remedy the backlog of cannabis license applications in one of the nation's oldest weed-growing regions. In a unanimous move, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted to allow the state to take over the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process in northern California. Through a $17 million grant, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) will also provide funding for the county to hire staff and purchase technology to reduce the backlog of provisional cannabis permit holders waiting for approval for permanent annual licenses. The county currently has 757 cannabis licensees, 696 of whom are still provisional, according to the DCC. "CEQA is unique to California, and it has been a pain point for a lot of licensees in the cannabis space," DCC Chief Deputy Director Rasha Salama told POLITICO in an interview last week. "This makes it easier to stay in the licensed market" in California, she added. According to the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, the county has approved less than one percent of all provisional license holders for annual licenses — compared to 62 percent of licensees in Humboldt County and 23 percent in Trinity County, the other two counties making up the Emerald Triangle. [Politico]


PAGA Standing at Issue in California Supreme Court Oral Argument On May 9, 2023, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Adolph v. Uber to decide “[W]hether an aggrieved employee who has been compelled to arbitrate [their individual] claims under the [California Labor Code] Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) . . . maintains statutory standing to pursue PAGA claims arising out of events involving other employees . . . in court or in any other forum the parties agree is suitable.” The Court’s answer to the question is of critical importance to employers who utilize (or are considering utilizing) arbitration agreements. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana that an employee who has been compelled to arbitrate their individual PAGA claim(s) lacks standing to pursue PAGA claims involving other employees in court. The decision made employment arbitration agreements increasingly attractive to employers because it potentially allowed arbitration agreements to dispose of most, if not all, of a PAGA action. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision also left open the possibility that the California Supreme Court might disagree with its conclusion and, because the issue is a matter of pure state law, the California Supreme Court’s decision would control at the end of the day. [CalMatters]


New Arizona Candidate Marlene Galán-Woods, former TV journalist, has launched a campaign for Rep. David Schweikert's seat. Galán-Woods, widow of former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, joins four other candidates in the Democratic primary race. They hope to be the party's nominee to take on Schweikert, (R-Ariz.), in the 2024 general election. Story


Newsom Unveils New Proposals to Build California’s Clean Future, Faster Newsom’s proposals would “Streamline projects to unleash construction across the state – accelerating the building of clean infrastructure so California can reach its world-leading climate goals while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.” The legislative package and executive order will:

  • Speed Up Construction: Current construction procurement processes drive delays and increase project costs. The Governor’s proposals include methods to offer a streamlined process for project delivery to reduce project timeframes and costs.
  • Expedite Court Review: Legal challenges often tie up projects even after they’ve successfully gone through environmental review. These proposals would authorize expedited judicial review to avoid long delays on the back end and advance projects without reducing the environmental and government transparency benefits of CEQA.
  • Streamline Permitting: Makes various changes to California law to accelerate permitting for certain projects, reducing delays and project costs.
  • Address cumbersome CEQA processes across the board: Streamlines procedures around document retention and review.
  • Maximize Federal Dollars: Establish a Green Bank Financing Program within the Climate Catalyst Fund so that the state can leverage federal dollars for climate projects that cut pollution, with an emphasis on projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged communities.


Lead Cal/OSHA proposes reducing the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) from 50 micrograms to 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air and the Action Level (AL) from 30 micrograms to 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. These proposed levels would impose significant burdens on the entire construction industry in California, most notably mid and small contracting businesses.


Workplace Violence Reduction Act Cal/OSHA has a workplace violence regulation for healthcare and is presently developing a workplace violence regulation for all industries – with multiple published draft texts and years of work already completed. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is not satisfied and persuaded Senator Cortese to introduce SB 553 to impose rules stronger than those that apply to hospitals to all businesses with more than one employee.


Workforce Housing The State Building and Construction Trades Council has sponsored SB 584, which requires a PLA to build “Laborforce housing," defined as public housing with a mixture of household income ranges at or below moderate income. It would be paid for by a new 15% fee collected from transient occupancy residential property owners - like Airbnb owners. The housing would be built by public agencies.


Workers Compensation AB 336, an Iron Workers-sponsored bill, will require a contractor who has on file with the CSLB a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance or is required to provide those certificates to certify on the license renewal form the workers’ compensation classification codes endorsed on the licensee’s policy. The author, sponsor, and supporters of this bill contend that unscrupulous contractors do not purchase the appropriate workers' compensation policies for their work. Although workers’ compensation insurance is a condition for licensure for those contractors who have employees —and soon to be all contractors regardless of the number of employees — CSLB is not responsible for enforcing the state’s labor laws and therefore does not verify that contractors have an appropriate workers’ compensation insurance policy for the work that their employees do. Consequently, this bill is unlikely to affect enforcement. Any reduction in insurance fraud will likely be contingent upon any deterrent effect created by this bill. Although this bill would make licensees’ workers’ compensation insurance classification codes available to consumers by posting them online, this additional information is not likely to be helpful to the average consumer with limited knowledge of the construction industry, workers’ compensation insurance, or industry-specific classification codes.


Thursday, May 11, 2023   WECA Political Update May 11, 2023

Legislative Calendar:

·        May 12 – Last day for policy committees to meet before June 5

·        May 19 – Last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house

·        June 2 – Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house

·        June 15 – Budget must be passed by midnight

·        July 14 – August 14 – Summer recess

San Diego Decides to Elect a Fletcher Replacement Last week, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors decided to replace possibly soon-to-be-ex-Supervisor Nathan Fletcher by a special election, which will take place on Aug. 15. If no one captures more than 50 percent of the vote, then the contest will go to a runoff election on Nov. 7. However, Voice of San Diego points out “Fletcher’s position is not yet vacant, and we’ve heard no word from him since he resigned as Metropolitan Transit System chair following allegations of sexual harassment and assault and announced he would resign from the Board in May. His office says he’s been at a treatment center without outside contact. So, if Fletcher’s resignation comes to pass, this special election will be triggered. San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe and Janessa Goldbeck, a Marine veteran and LGBTQ+ advocate, have announced their candidacy.” The Democratic majority on the board is over, and the board is split on party lines. With Fletcher gone, there are two Democrats and two Republicans, and much work is needed, such as passing the county budget. It must be a bipartisan deal, with Fletcher’s seat presumably vacant for several months. The Politics Report confirmed that one name would not be on the ballot. San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn is not going anywhere. He plans to stay on the city council. For weeks, insiders saw Whitburn as the likeliest contender to fill Fletcher’s seat. He seemed to have a chance if there was an appointment or a special election. But he’s not going anywhere. “That work to significantly decrease street homelessness is at a critical juncture right now, and I intend to see it through,” he said.

Laborforce Housing Senator Anna Caballero has co-authored SB 584 (Limón - D), which would create the Laborforce Housing Financing Act of 2023. The bill would impose the first statewide Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) of 15 percent on short-term rentals like Homeaway, VRBO, and Airbnb. What is unique about SB 584 is that it is sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and because of that, the bill requires a PLA for all construction. The fact that the bill’s sponsorers would obtain the sole-source, no-bid contract for all construction labor did not trouble the author and the Democrat Senators on the committee, who all voted AYE. General trade and public sector unions have contributed over $700,000 to Limón – the top two donor categories.

On a related topic…Can California incentivize developers to build at a rate that would help solve our housing shortage and also require them to ensure jobs for unionized construction workers? As CalMatters housing reporter Ben Christopher explains, “That’s the question at the center of a nondescript housing project in Saratoga. Known as Quito Village, the project kicked off in 2020 when its original developer agreed to follow a strict labor standard that favors hiring “skilled and trained” union workers. The standard was included in a 2017 law and aimed to speed up construction of dense housing. Construction began in 2022 after an Atlanta-based real estate company, PulteGroup, took over the project. To date, it’s the only known project in California that has broken ground under the law’s union-hiring rule.

The law will expire in 2026 and is up for renewal. But Democrat lawmakers are debating whether to nix the “skilled and trained” requirement, arguing that it’s too heavy a burden for developers — and point to Quito Village as evidence. Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, Oakland Democrat and chairperson of the housing committee, says “So that’s one in five years. That to me kind of says it all.” To complicate matters, it’s not entirely clear that PulteGroup is even satisfying the union-hiring requirement. When it took over Quito Village, its legal team attested that law does not mandate the company to abide by the hiring standard imposed on mixed-income projects. The city of Saratoga disagrees and noted that PulteGroup has not been submitting monthly reports that would prove it’s complying with the rule.

So, the true number of projects that have resulted under the law might not be one, but zero.

One possible explanation for this: syntax. The text of the law gives certain exemptions for projects “Located within a jurisdiction located in a coastal or bay county with a population of 225,000 or more.” Saratoga is located in Santa Clara County, which has a population of nearly 2 million and is considered a bay county. Saratoga itself, on the other hand, has only 30,000 residents. Does the 225,000 threshold apply to the county or the city? If the threshold applies to Saratoga, PulteGroup would be exempt from the “skilled and trained” obligation. It would also mean that under this standard, only 12 cities out of California’s 482 would meet the law’s requirement.

NLRB Ruling Sets Higher Bar for Discipline A new ruling from the National Labor Relations Board raises the standards for termination of an employee engaging in workplace organization, reports Andy Medici of The Business Journals. The ruling reverses a previous decision in a case involving General Motors LLC that the agency says made it easier for employers to sanction misconduct that occurs as part of a protected activity. In the decision, the NLRB said that conduct occurring during the course of a protected activity must be evaluated as part of that protected activity — and that workers have a right under the law to organize and advocate for better working conditions. The latest decision comes not long after another NLRB ruling that gutted nondisclosure agreements and nondisparagement agreements.

Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff joined the California Labor Federation in Sacramento on Sunday night for their first-ever appearance together since each launched their campaigns to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein. It was a chance not only for the three to give voters a side-by-side-by-side comparison in real time, but also an opportunity to curry favor with one of the most critical sectors of the electorate — organized labor. Unions are frequently among the top donors to campaigns and top spenders when it comes to lobbying and can deploy an army of precinct marchers and door-knockers for whoever should be so lucky to win their favor. Notably, it was labor that rallied tens of thousands to help beat back the recall of Gov. Gavin NewsomAnd for what has historically been a formidable force, the labor movement in California has grown steadily louder since the pandemic, manifesting in high-profile actions in Sacramento and across the state — pushing hard on housing bills, retention rights, and a bill to unionize Legislative staff in addition to high-profile strikes by Los Angeles teachers and Hollywood writers.

The three senatorial hopefuls worked to capitalize on that momentum Sunday night, speaking forcefully about workers’ rights and doing their best to rile up the room with their pro-union talking points.

Schiff led the audience in chants to pass the labor-backed PRO Act. Lee got cheers for being arrested while marching with a union in Berkeley. And Porter got one of the biggest pops of the night when she called union-busting in the name of industry transformation “some real bullshit.”

A Senate race between three popular Democrats with powerful fundraising machines will be competitive, and labor’s blessing could be the difference between victory and failure. The California Labor Federation won’t make its endorsement until December. But as the audience swarmed the candidates afterwards to shake hands and take selfies, one worker --- Claudia Fletcher of the flight attendants union — said a decision will be tough. "There's too much good talent,” she said. “I think it's a good problem, quite frankly.” [CalMatters]

California Employers May Request a Deferral to File Labor Contractor Employee Report On May 10, 2023, private employers with 100 or more employees, with at least one employee based in California, must file their annual pay data reports with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).  

Annual pay data reports consist of (1) a Payroll Employee Report, and/or (2) a Labor Contractor Employee Report.

  • A Payroll Employee Report covers pay and demographic data for employees on an employer’s payroll in the prior calendar year.
  • A Labor Contractor Employee Report separately covers pay and demographic data for labor contractor employees hired through labor contractors in the prior calendar year (for example, temporary employees).
  • The Labor Contractor Employee Report is new for 2023.
  • A labor contractor is an “individual or entity that supplies ... a client employer with workers to perform labor within the client employer’s usual course of business.”
  • A labor contractor employee is an “individual on a labor contractor’s payroll, including a part-time individual, and for whom the labor contractor is required to withhold federal social security taxes from that individual’s wages, and who performs labor for a client employer within the client employer’s usual course of business.”
  • A Labor Contractor Report is required only if a private employer has 100 or more labor contractor employees working for it.
  • To gather data for the Labor Contractor Report, employers must request the data from their labor contractors, who in turn are obligated by law to provide specified data to their customers.

Since April 18, 2023, CRD has been accepting “enforcement deferral requests” to allow employers more time to file the Labor Contractor Employee Reports. To make such a request, an employer must first register itself in the CRD’s pay data reporting portal and then submit the request through the portal. If the request is granted, it is not considered an extension. The CRD will simply defer – through July 10, 2023 – seeking an order of compliance for the employer to file its Labor Contractor Employee Report. More

Su nomination on hold as Feinstein questions linger; Julie Su’s nomination to be the next Labor secretary remains stalled. The HELP Committee cleared Su on April 26. However, with unified GOP opposition and several Democratic moderates still refusing to say how they’ll vote, this nomination isn’t going anywhere. The continued absence of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also plays into the Su fight. With Feinstein out, there’s almost no chance Su can get confirmed (she may not be anyway, to be honest). There’s been enormous speculation about Feinstein’s potential return, but we have no indication right now that Feinstein will return this week. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who also chairs the Judiciary Committee, was pressed by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. Durbin, who can’t move several controversial nominees in his panel nor issue a subpoena over the Supreme Court ethics scandal, urged Feinstein to announce her plans as soon as possible. “I hope she does what is best for her and her family and the state of California and makes a decision soon as to whether she is coming back,” Durbin said of the 89-year-old Feinstein. Note the inclusion of “soon” there. In a statement from her office last week, Feinstein pointed out that the Judiciary Committee has continued to move judicial nominees despite her absence. [Punchbowl]

April PIT Revenue $3.8 Billion Below Budget Projection The state collected $7.49 billion in personal income tax (PIT) revenue during the month of April – approximately $3.8 billion less than anticipated in Governor Gavin Newsom’s January budget proposal – according to the PIT revenue tracker maintained by the State Controller’s Office. The revenue figures are not good news for a state facing an operating deficit estimated to be at least $22.5 billion – a January projection that is expected to grow significantly when Newsom unveils his updated budget plan and fiscal projections this week. From the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year through the end of April, the state collected $79.68 billion in PIT revenue, or roughly $45 billion less than during the same period last year.

However, the figures are not an apples-to-apples comparison, as the filing deadline was extended this year (from April 18 to October 16 for most California taxpayers), making it likely that much of the state’s PIT revenue will arrive far later in the year than usual. Newsom’s 2023-24 budget proposal, released in January, estimated that April PIT collections would total $11.29 billion, representing 5.44 percent of total general fund revenue of $207.34 billion projected for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which ends June 30. The January projection was based on the filing deadline being extended to May 15, as the estimate was made before the second extension of the deadline. Newsom's deadline is May 14 – Mother’s Day this year – to release a revised budget proposal with new revenue and spending projections.

The Legislature’s deadline for sending a budget bill to the governor is June 15. The courts have ruled that this bill does not have to comprise a complete budget, so budget “trailer bills” often are approved after the deadline. Given the uncertainty of the PIT collections, which typically account for roughly half of the state’s total revenue, observers expect the Legislature to delay many budget decisions until late in the year, after an expected rush of payments near the October deadline. [CalTAX]

Tickets Going Fast Seats at WECA’s 2023 Lincoln-Reagan dinner table are almost goneIf you’d like to join WECA members on June 3 from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the Marriott Marquis, Downtown San Diego, email WECA at communications@goweca.com and request a seat or two.


Friday, April 28, 2023   WECA Political Update April 28, 2023

Legislative Calendar:

·        April 28 – Last day for policy committees to hear fiscal bills

·        May 5 – Last day for policy committees to hear non-fiscal bills

·        May 12 – Last day for policy committees to meet before June 5

·        May 19 – Last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house

·        June 2 – Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house

·        June 15 – Budget must be passed by midnight

·        July 14 to August 14 – Summer recess

Now and Then, a Win!  Freshman State Senator Aisha Wahab (D - Fremont)  introduced SB 574 earlier this year; it would have prohibited state agencies from undertaking major construction projects exceeding $35 million unless that project was governed by a project labor agreement (PLA) and that PLA included a “community benefit goal.” While the bill took influence from President Biden’s Executive Order (EO), her bill was both an expansion of that EO and, at the same time, failed to include several exceptions that are included in Biden’s EO. The California Conference of Carpenters, continuing their “personal distancing” on PLAs and Skilled and Trained Workforce, submitted a letter of concern stating: “A mandated PLA requirement may unfairly exclude certain types of construction workers and restrict contractors from utilizing the most qualified workers to the detriment of the project, the state agency, and the construction workforce. What’s most desperately needed in the construction industry is greater enforcement of existing labor law.” (Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction’s Eric Christen couldn’t have said it better)! The author’s office indicated that she would amend the bill to exempt transportation, water, and housing projects from her bill.

In addition to the State Building and Construction Trades Council, SB 574 was supported by the California State Association of Electrical Workers, the California State Pipe Trades Council, and the Western Council of Sheet Metal Workers. The Construction Employer’s Association (CEA), the Plumbing-Heating, Cooling Contractors Association of California (CAPHCC), and WECA opposed it. The CEA noted, “PLAs often conflict with subcontracting clauses due to jurisdictional disputes between various crafts, placing general contractors in the unenviable role of violating their CBAs. For example, a PLA may mandate using one craft even though more than one can 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.” WECA and CAPHCC noted a PLA mandate “is discriminatory and increases the cost of construction.” The Senate Governmental Organization Committee was scheduled to hear the bill on April 25, but the author withdrew the bill the Sunday before the hearing.

So, why did Wahab pull her bill only days before a hearing? First and probably foremost, sources in the Senate said the committee chairman didn’t like the bill. Most legislation is “transactional,” meaning “you want something, I want something.” SB 574 was straightforward. The State will give the State Building and Construction Trades Council and their constituent unions a no-bid, sole source contract for all construction labor on State construction (above $35 million.) Second, the trades are quite pleased with the obsequious conduct of the Newsom administration to mandate PLAs on major State construction without legislation spotlighting current contracting by the State. According to our sources, the trades were not even asked about the bill before it was introduced.

Wahab is the first Muslim elected to the California State Legislature. Wahab served on the Hayward City Council from 2018 to 2022 and was one of the first Afghan-Americans elected to public office, alongside New Hampshire state representative Safiya Wazir. Wahab was born in Queens, New York City, to refugees who fled Afghanistan in the 1980s. Her father was murdered, and her mother died soon after, leaving Wahab and her sister in foster care. They were adopted by an Afghan couple in Fremont, California, and moved to Hayward in 2008.

She is not shying away from taking up controversial issues. In addition to SB 574, she is the author of SB 403, a bill that would make California the first in the nation to outlaw caste-based discrimination. She is reportedly receiving Islamophobic threats from the U.S. and abroad. She has said her office was flooded with dozens of hateful calls, hundreds of emails, and individuals yelling at staff in her district office after she introduced the legislation last week.

Hundreds of witnesses appeared this week to provide testimony for and against this bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee. People of South Asian descent, particularly Dalits at the lowest strata of the caste system, say the bill is crucial to protect them from discrimination in housing, education, and tech sectors. Among the organizations supporting the measure are Hindus for Caste Equity and the Sikh Coalition, which noted that Sikhs know "firsthand the pain and trauma that comes with being repeatedly targeted by hate and discrimination." It also spurred pushback from groups such as the Hindu American Foundation and the Coalition of Hindus of North America. They say the bill targets Hindus and Indian Americans commonly associated with the caste system. The organizations have submitted letters of opposition, saying Wahab's measure "seeks to codify" negative stereotypes and stigmas that Hindus and Indian Americans face. Critics also say current laws offer protections against discrimination, including caste. After more than three hours of testimony, the Committee approved the bill unanimously.

Wahab is also attempting to impose job limitations on former staff like those placed on lawmakers. Specifically, SB 573 would prohibit legislative staffers from taking a job in a lobbying firm for two years after leaving the Capitol. Wahab argues that such a policy would protect the integrity of the legislative process and prevent high turnover. Still, opponents say it unfairly restricts workers who may have few other opportunities outside of a legislative position. The bill has reignited conversations about the meager pay (and sometimes poor treatment) legislative staff receives — issues central to the ongoing push for staff unionization. Things got contentious at a committee hearing when Wahab suggested that opponents, including the leaders of a group born out of the #MeToo movement, We Said Enough, were using survivors as “a prop to not have lobbying reform.” That set off a wave of outrage from staffers, survivors, and lawmakers who called Wahab’s remarks an unacceptable public attack. In a tweet, We Said Enough said it is exploring legal options for the two women who testified in opposition, former-staffers-turned lobbyists Samantha Corbin and Alicia Benavidez. Nevertheless, the bill passed out of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. A spokesperson for Wahab sent Politico a prepared statement on the incident, saying the senator supports victims and survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. She “respects everyone’s right to speak their truth on matters that impact them,” the statement said, and hopes “to continue to engage with the opponents of this bill.” Wahab’s comments caught the attention of Assemblymember Tina McKinnor, who was part of the legislature’s #MeToo movement in 2017 and this year is championing the bipartisan bill that would allow staff to form a union. McKinnor said she found Wahab’s comments disturbing and added that such a bill would have the opposite of the intended effect and “stop people from even wanting to work here. This is an important job,” she said. “We need our staff here.” Like SB 574, Wahab decided she’d hold 573 until next year.


California Legislature Specializes in Bad Ideas

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee passed SB 584 (Limón - D), which would create the Laborforce Housing Financing Act of 2023 and define “laborforce housing” as housing that, among other things, is owned and managed by specified entities solely for the benefit of residents and households unable to afford market rent, and whose residents enjoy certain protections. The bill would impose the first statewide Transient Occupancy Taxe (TOT) of 15% on short-term rentals. In recent years, internet-based platforms like Homeaway, VRBO and Airbnb have facilitated increasing numbers of short-term rentals of homes and rooms within residences. Short-term or vacation rentals are usually an individual’s residential property, such as a home, room, apartment, or condominium, that they rent out to a visitor for fewer than 30 consecutive days. Generally, the home-sharing industry involves three primary participants: (1) the home-sharing platforms, such as Airbnb, that advertise residential properties offered for temporary rental and facilitates connecting renters with hosts for a fee, and process payment for the rental, (2) the consumer who is often referred to as the “renter” “guest,” or “visitor” of the residential property, and (3) the supplier, owner, operator, or “host” of the residential property. Short-term rentals are not a new practice, but the development of online hosting platforms, bookings, advertisements, and payments has increased.

What is unique about SB 584 is that it is sponsored by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and because of that, the bill requires that a PLA would do all construction under SB 584. The fact that the bill’s sponsorers would obtain a sole-source, no-bid contract for all construction labor did not trouble the author, Senator Limon, and Senators Blakespear, Caballero, Cortese, McGuire, Skinner, Umberg, Wahab, and Wiener, who all voted AYE. Republican Senators Ochoa Bogh, and Seyarto voted No, while Senator Padilla abstained.

Expedia (the parent company of VRBO) and Airbnb are in “negotiations” with the sponsors, but those would only mitigate their exposure to the TOT, and we have alerted the hotels that they will be the next TOT target.

General trade and public sector unions – the top two donor categories – have contributed over $700,000 to Limon.


The Senate Education Committee approved SB 394 (Gonzalez - D) This bill requires the California Energy Commission (CEC), upon appropriation by the Legislature, to convene a group of agencies and stakeholders to develop a master plan for healthy, sustainable, and climate-resilient schools. WECA opposes requirements in the bill that mandate the plan includes “recommendations to ensure that local educational agencies have access to sufficient technical assistance, professional learning, training programs, and pipelines of sustainability and climate resilience personnel to implement decarbonization and adaptation plans that include high road labor standards, project labor agreements with unionized workforces…’ 

SB 830 (Smallwood-Cuevas - D), which overturns the Russ Will decision and makes the custom fabrication of sheet metal ducts or similar sheet metal products for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems produced offsite and solely and specifically designed and engineered for installation in a particular public works project subject to the payment of prevailing wages. WECA opposes and expects this will eventually be expanded to all material purchases.

Arizona Has More Water Too many Valley residents have noticed water flowing in the normally dry Salt River as snow from this active winter continues to melt. As Arizona grapples with the Colorado River shortages and a drought that has persisted for decades, this winter has been a huge relief for SRP’s reservoir system, which provides water to about 2.5 million Valley residents. Because of the productive storms experienced this winter and the subsequent runoff, SRP reservoirs on the Verde and Salt Rivers have reached or will soon reach full capacity. Full reservoirs provide three years of water supply for SRP customers. Story

Arias throws hat in the ring for Fresno Co. Supervisor seat: Fresno City Council member Miguel Arias turned a once-straightforward mentor-mentee fight on its head. Arias announced joining the race to oust two-term Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero. In the process, Arias will face off against one of his colleagues, Luis Chavez. Once an acolyte and chief of staff to Quintero, Chavez kicked off his candidacy earlier in the year with a call for a change of representation at Fresno County's Hall of Records. Arias, who routinely relishes a good battle on the dais at Fresno's City Hall, will likely bring a new dynamic to the campaign trail providing a sharper contrast between how the city and county of Fresno operate.

Legislative Staff to Unionize? State lawmakers have agreed to include language protecting minority-party staffers in a bill that would eliminate a ban on collective bargaining in the Capitol, according to a Republican lawmaker pushing for the change. The announcement from Assemblymember Tom Lackey’s office came right before the Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee approved the closely-watched Assembly Bill 1 by Assembly Member Tina McKinnor, previously a legislative staffer at its first hearing. The effort to give legislative staffers the same right to unionize already granted to other state employees has run into roadblocks in recent years, stalled by opposition from some moderate Democrats. Support from even a handful of Republican lawmakers could give the hard-fought legislation an edge. Lackey’s office said this week that the Palmdale Republican wanted to see bill amendments requiring minority-party staffers to receive equal pay and be included in the same collective bargaining group as those from the majority party. That request stems from what Republican lawmakers say is longstanding unequal treatment for their staffers. “Republicans have been treated as second-class citizens within this institution for decades, with unequal pay for the same titles, inability to participate in certain legislative-sanctioned caucuses, and equal access to committee consultants,” said George Andrews, Lackey’s chief of staff in a Monday email.

Palm Springs Democrat Christy Holstege has officially launched a challenge to Republican Greg Wallis in Assembly District 47 after losing the seat by just 85 votes last year.


Thursday, April 13, 2023   WECA Political Update April 13, 2023

New Member of CSLB Governor Newsom appointed Amanda Gallo (D – Oakland), management analyst in the Fremont City Manager's Office, to the Contractors State License Board. Salary: $100 per diem. She was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Santa Clara County Housing Authority from 2014 to 2018. Gallo is a member of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California, Emerge California, and the New Leaders Council in Oakland. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. This position requires Senate confirmation.

Reappointed to California Apprenticeship Council: Mark Burri (D – Burlingame), business manager, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 467 since 2016; Yvonne de la Pena (D – Elk Grove), executive director, California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee since 1990; Richard Harris (R – Villa Park), president, Residential Contractors Association since 1987; Sheri Learmonth (R – San Leandro), CEO, Bay Point Control Inc. since 2018; Louis Ontiveros (D – Riverside), director of training, Southwest Carpenters Training Trust since 2017; Jason Rafter (D – Nicolas), Ironworkers Apprenticeship Director for I.E.B.C. since 2021; Paul Von Berg (No party preference – Newport Beach), former executive vice president, Brutoco Engineering and Construction Inc. Salary: $100 per diem.

Legislative Calendar:

·        April 10 – Legislature reconvenes

·        April 28 – Last day for policy committees to hear fiscal bills

·        May 5 – Last day for policy committees to hear non-fiscal bills

·        May 12 – Last day for policy committees to meet before June 5

·        May 19 – Last day for fiscal committees to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in their house

·        June 2 – Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed an effort in Arizona to embrace a type of third party. Well, the Arizona Democratic Party didn’t like the idea and Sued third-party No Labels and Arizona Sec. of State Fontes The Arizona Democratic Party filed a complaint against Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and newly recognized third-party No Labels. The Maricopa County Superior Court complaint challenged No Labels’ status as a political party, calling it a “dark money” group that wasn’t following requirements. “No Labels is not following the rules for political party recognition while attempting to be placed on the ballot alongside actual, functioning political parties who do,” Morgan Dick, executive director for the Democrats, said in a press release. Story

Amazon's Consultant Fees Mirror Rise in Unionization Efforts As unions accelerate across disparate economic sectors — health care, logistics, retail, and education — during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, so too did Amazon's spending on labor consultants, reports the Puget Sound Business Journal. The Seattle-based tech giant doled out over $14.2 million in 2022 — about triple the prior year's number — to several consulting firms in "response to large-scale union organizing efforts," according to a company filing with the Department of Labor. Amazon previously told the PSBJ, "As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees." It's a sentiment that CEO Andy Jassy has expressed publicly as well. While efforts by large companies to discourage labor organizing aren't uncommon, Amazon's hefty payments to consultants are. The company says they reflect the size of the petitions and elections it was facing. The filings indicate that firms were paid to talk to Alabama and New York employees.

More Power California needs to add seven times more new energy to its grid each year than was estimated two years ago, according to a draft transmission plan recently published by the California Independent System Operator. The plan, updated annually, calls for adding 7 gigawatts of energy production every year through 2033 to keep pace with California’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, according to a CAISO blog post on the report. That’s up from a 2020 estimate of 1 GW per year, which was in line with what the state has been adding each year in new solar power, according to the California Energy Commission. The new estimate underscores the enormous challenges ahead as the state accelerates adding new renewable energy generation and transmission to the grid. CAISO listed 46 proposed generation and transmission projects it identified as best suited to meet the projected needs for a total expected cost of $9.3 billion.

Gov. Hobbs on Track for Veto Record After Rejecting 4 Republican-Backed Bills Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed four more Republican-backed bills Monday, putting her on pace to smash the record for the number of legislative proposals rejected in a single year. Former Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano set the record 17 years ago with 58 vetoes while working with a Republican-controlled legislature. Hobbs has already killed 24 pieces of legislation since January, and this looks like it could just be the beginning. The governor started the session with a clear message to lawmakers: don’t send legislation based on agendas and conspiracies. Story

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bob Bartlett’s favorite US Senator, Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), is preparing to run for reelection. You know who reads the Wall Street Journal? People who run hedge funds. You know who gives to Sinema? People who run hedge funds. Here’s what Rebecca Katz, a senior adviser to Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D - AZ) Senate bid said: “Sinema’s the most unpopular statewide elected official in Arizona, and it’s not even close. She has no path to victory.” Sorry, I know several Arizona officials less popular!

Right-To-Work Opponents Stake Out New Battleground: Abortion rights might have been the policy deemed the biggest maybe-winner after last week’s state Supreme Court election in Wisconsin. But the state’s now-liberal-leaning court — and the authority on redistricting that comes with it — could also soon cause right-to-work backers to break a sweat. “We want Wisconsin to be the next Michigan,” said Ryan Neibauer, political director at IBEW Local 494. The union’s PAC backed Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz in the race. Michigan last month became the first state in decades to repeal a right-to-work law, laws that allow union-represented workers to opt against paying union dues as a condition of employment. The union victory came after an independent redistricting commission helped make it possible for Democrats to win unified control of the state’s legislature. Some union representatives say they’re looking for another W in Wisconsin. “To overturn the right-to-work law, the primary issue here is, elect someone who is going to take a fresh look at the gerrymandered maps,” said Richard Kolodziejski, a spokesperson for the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters. The union funds the Wisconsin Carpenters PAC, which backed Protasiewicz. From across the issue: “Their political investments are paying off handsomely,” National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix said of unions’ support for Protasiewicz in the race, which POLITICO previously reported attracted more spending than every state Supreme Court election in 2018 combined. (State Democrats backed Protasiewicz, while state Republicans backed her opponent.) Mix expressed some concern that wins for unions could come directly from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But “ideally, it’s the maps,” Neibauer said. Other labor laws simmering: Wisconsin public employees have had their ability to collectively bargain limited under the former Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10, and the state in the last decade repealed its prevailing wage law.

Spending Against Su: The “Stand Against Su” coalition against the nomination of Julie Su as Labor Secretary has placed newspaper ads in Arizona, Maine, Montana, and West Virginia, the group announced Friday. The Arizona and Montana ads suggest Su will turn those states “into California,” referencing her time as California’s labor secretary as her opponents have repeatedly done in recent weeks. She heads into an anticipated Senate confirmation hearing on April 20. The group, which says it has spent “in the low six figures” opposing Su, has also bought billboards and “targeted digital content,” a press release said. NBC News previously reported resistance to Su’s nomination may come from moderate senators, including Joe Manchin (D -WV), Jon Tester (D - MT), and Kyrsten Sinema (I - AZ), who collectively represent three of the four states targeted.

Readers love all the salacious tidbits we find every week, but sometimes we need to get back to why we all love Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature – so here goes.

Special Mention – PLA Mandate for all State Construction

AB 574 (Wahab - D) This State Building and Construction Trades Council-sponsored bill prohibits a state agency from undertaking a major construction project that will exceed $35 million, unless that project is governed by a project labor agreement (PLA), and that PLA includes a community benefit goal. While this bill takes influence from President Biden’s EO, this bill is both an expansion of that EO and, at the same time, fails to include several exceptions that are included in President Biden’s EO. The California Conference of Carpenters has submitted a letter of concern stating the following: “A mandated PLA requirement may unfairly exclude certain types of construction workers and restrict contractors from utilizing the most qualified workers to the detriment of the project, the state agency, and the construction workforce. What’s most desperately needed in the construction industry is greater enforcement of existing labor law.” The author’s office has indicated that the author will take amendments to exempt transportation, water, and housing projects from the bill. In addition to the State Building and Construction Trades Council, SB 574 is supported by the California State Association of Electrical Workers, the California State Pipe Trades Council, and the Western Council of Sheet Metal Workers. The Construction Employer’s Association, the Plumbing-Cooling Contractors Association of California, and the Western Electrical Contractors Association oppose it. The Construction Employer’s Association noted, “PLAs often conflict with subcontracting clauses due to jurisdictional disputes between various crafts, placing general contractors in the unenviable role of violating their CBAs. For example, a PLA may mandate using one craft, even though more than one craft can 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.” The Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California (CAPHCC) “believe this mandate is discriminatory and increases the cost of construction. In addition, a study published in August by the Rand Corporation found that a bond measure passed by Los Angeles-area voters in 2016 failed to deliver its intended results, primarily because of a PLA.” The Senate Governmental Organization Committee will hear the bill on April 25. WECA Position: STRONG OPPOSE


SB 332 (Cortese - D) It would require the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to evaluate the effectiveness of the requirement for schools to notify each apprenticeship program in the same county of a career or college fair. (Based on 03/28/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 247 (Muratsuchi - D) Would put the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2024 as a state general obligation bond act providing an unspecified amount to construct and modernize education facilities. This bond act would become operative if approved by the voters in a 2024 statewide election. No PLA language in the bill (unlike SB 28). (Based on 04/03/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

Business Issues

SB 279 (Niello - R) This bill would require a state agency to provide a minimum 21-day public comment period to determine whether the proposed adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation would be a “major regulation” that requires a standardized regulatory impact analysis. (Based on 03/21/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

SB 394 (Gonzalez - D) Would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to develop a Master Plan for Healthy, Sustainable, and Climate-Resilient Schools on or before November 1, 2024, if an appropriation is made for that purpose. The bill would require the commission to consult with specified state agencies and engage with diverse stakeholders and experts to develop the master plan, as provided. The bill would require the master plan to include specified elements, including, but not limited to, an inventory of the state’s public elementary and secondary school buildings and grounds and a set of priorities, benchmarks, and milestones for health, resilience, and decarbonization of public school campuses and support facilities. (Based on 03/13/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose


SB 393 (Glazer - D) This bill requires a CEQA plaintiff to disclose any contributions he or she has received of $1,000 or more to help fund the legal action. It also prevents a CEQA action from being filed against a housing project included in a larger plan or project already approved under CEQA. (Based on 04/10/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

SB 794 (Niello - R) This bill requires CEQA actions challenging a commercial, housing, or public works project that has at least $25 million invested in it to be resolved within 365 days of filing. It also requires a CEQA plaintiff to disclose any contributions he or she has received of $100 or more to help fund the legal action. (Based on 03/20/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 377 (Muratsuchi - D) Requires the consolidation of specified K-12 career technical education (CTE) programs, increases ongoing funding for the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program (CTEIG), administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), to $450 million per year; requires specified CTE staffing at the state and regional level to support local CTE programs and pathways; and deletes authorization for the K-12 Strong Workforce Program (SWP) administered by the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges (CCCCO). Also requires the CDE to establish a stakeholder workgroup to consider improvements to the CTEIG program. (Based on 03/01/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 421 (Bryan - D) Progressive politicians and their allies, particularly labor unions, dislike business use of ballot measures to thwart their legislative gains. AB 421 will require unpaid volunteers to gather at least 10% of signatures on all referenda and initiatives seeking to repeal or amend recently enacted laws. Assembly Bill 421 also would require paid signature gatherers to undergo mandatory training, register with the state for the specific measures they are presenting to voters, wear badges, and use unique identification numbers that would allow their petitions to be traced back to them. It is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise Californians and help out partisan special interest backers. The bill would also change how referendum questions are presented on the ballot. Currently, a “yes” vote is to uphold the law, and a “no” vote is to repeal the law. (Based on 03/23/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

SB 858 (Niello - R) This bill would require the Legislative Analyst to replace the Attorney General in preparing a circulating title and summary of an initiative or referendum measure, which includes an estimate of the financial impact. This will only happen if the voters approve SCA 3 in the 2023-24 Regular Session. (Based on 03/20/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 930 (Friedman - D) Would authorize the legislative bodies of 2 or more local governments, defined to include a city, county, special district, or transit agency, to jointly form a Reinvestment in Infrastructure for a Sustainable and Equitable California district (RISE district) by specified procedures. The bill would require the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to develop standards for forming RISE districts by November 30, 2025. The bill would establish a governing board of a RISE district with representatives of each participating local government. (Based on 02/14/2023 text) WECA Position: Disfavor

AB 1169 (Wilson - D) Would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to administer a program to provide financing assistance for the creation of affordable rental housing for employees of a qualified school district, as defined. The bill would require financing of rental housing assistance to be in the form of specified types of loans. When making loans to qualified developers under these provisions, the bill would require the department to establish and use a project selection process that meets specified requirements. The bill would create the California School Employee Housing Assistance Fund in the State Treasury for these purposes. The bill would make the implementation of these provisions subject to appropriation by the Legislature. (Based on 03/02/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

SB 4 (Wiener - D) The bill would make projects on land owned by an independent institution of higher education or a religious institution "use by right" so that local governments can approve them as long as the development meets specific standards. This includes making sure the units are affordable and provide off-street parking. It also allows for ancillary uses on the ground floor. The bill would also give developers incentives and concessions. The bill would not require the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for ministerial approval of projects. (Based on 03/28/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 423 (Wiener - D) This bill eliminates the sunset on SB 35 (Wiener, Chapter 366, Statutes of 2017) and makes other changes. (Based on 03/28/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 584 (Limón - D) Would enact the Laborforce Housing Financing Act of 2023 and define “laborforce housing” as housing that, among other things, is owned and managed by specified entities solely for the benefit of residents and households unable to afford market rent, and whose residents enjoy certain protections. The bill would establish, in the State Treasury, the Laborforce Housing Fund to be continuously appropriated to the department for the creation of laborforce housing and other specified housing projects by public entities, local housing authorities, and mission-driven nonprofit housing providers. (Based on 03/21/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

Labor Law

SB 592 (Newman - D) This bill would prohibit the imposition of punishment or liability for costs upon a person who has relied upon a published opinion letter or an enforcement policy, as defined, of DLSE that is displayed on the internet website of the division, except for restitution of unpaid wages, for violations of statutes or regulations in judicial or administrative proceedings if the person pleads and proves specified facts. The bill would require a person asserting this defense to have acted in good faith, relied upon, and conformed to, the applicable opinion letter or enforcement policy, and provided true and correct information to the division, among other things. (Based on 02/15/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


AB 1383 (Ortega - D) This bill would require the CSLB to adopt regulations by January 1, 2025, that prevent people not complying with a child support order or judgment from getting a license. Furthermore, the bill requires licensees to notify the board's registrar in writing if they have an earnings assignment order for child support. Failure to do so after 120 days would result in the automatic suspension of the license. The regulations would also provide procedures for suspending the license if the licensee is out of compliance with an order of support requiring them to pay unsatisfied arrearages. (Based on 02/17/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 601 (McGuire - D) This bill would require that a home improvement contract by a prime contractor for the reconstruction, restoration, or rebuilding of a residential property that was damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, as specified, include a specified provision requiring the prime contractor to file separate performance and payment bonds that meet prescribed criteria. (Based on 03/22/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 630 (Dodd - D) This bill would require an applicant, registrant, or licensee with a valid email address to provide the CSLB with that email address at the time of application or renewal. (Based on 02/16/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 802 (Roth - D) This bill permits the CSLB to deny a license if the applicant or licensee has been subject to formal discipline or convicted of a crime related to their job or profession. (Based on 02/17/2023 text) WECA Position: Support


SB 778 (Ochoa Bogh - R) This bill, among other changes, would revise the definition of “subsurface installation” to include non-pressurized sewer lines, non-pressurized storm drains, and other non-pressurized drain lines. The bill would revise requirements for notifying operators of subsurface installations within a proposed excavation area, specify conditions under which an excavator is required to contact the regional notification to request a return trip, and revise requirements for an excavator to use vacuum equipment. Then inaccurate field mark. (Based on 02/17/2023 text) WECA Position: Further Study

Public Works

AB 587 (Rivas, Robert - D) Requires any copy of records made available for inspection by, or furnished to, a multiemployer Taft-Hartley trust fund or joint-labor management committee, to be on forms provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) or have the same information as the forms provided by DLSE. Additionally, this bill clarifies that electronic certified payroll records cannot be used to satisfy payroll record requests made by Taft-Hartley trust funds and joint labor-management committees. (Based on 02/09/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

AB 1121 (Haney - D) This bill would require awarding authorities to add the names of any contractors suspended or debarred to DIR’s electronic project registration database. (Based on 03/20/2023 text) WECA Position: Support

AB 1204 (Holden - D) In short, this bill forbids a contractor from contracting with two or more subcontractors with the same license classification unless they accredit those subcontractors with individuals in that license classification. Violations of this bill are subject to disciplinary action by the Board. (Based on 02/16/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch

SB 830 (Smallwood-Cuevas - D) This bill would expand the definition of “public works” to include an offsite, custom fabrication of sheet metal ducts or similar sheet metal products for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems produced as a nonstandard item solely and specifically designed and engineered for installation in a project. (Based on 03/27/2023 text) WECA Position: Oppose

Workers Comp

AB 336 (Cervantes - D) This Iron Workers-sponsored bill would require a contractor who has on file with the CSLB, a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance or is required to provide those certificates to certify on the license renewal form the workers’ compensation classification codes endorsed on the licensee’s policy, as specified, and would prohibit renewal without that certification. This bill's author, sponsor, and supporters contend that unscrupulous contractors do not purchase the appropriate workers' compensation policies for their work. To curb that unlawful practice, this bill would require CSLB to collect a licensee’s workers’ compensation insurance classification codes at the time of license renewal. Although workers’ compensation insurance is a condition for licensure for those contractors who have employees—and soon to be all contractors regardless of the number of employees—CSLB is not responsible for enforcing the state’s labor laws and therefore does not verify that contractors have an appropriate workers’ compensation insurance policy for the work that their employees do. Consequently, this bill is unlikely to affect enforcement. Any reduction in insurance fraud will likely be contingent upon any deterrent effect created by this bill. Although this bill would make licensees’ workers’ compensation insurance classification codes available to consumers by posting them online, this additional information is not likely to be helpful to the average consumer with limited knowledge of the construction industry, workers’ compensation insurance, or industry-specific classification codes. (Based on 03/23/2023 text) WECA Position: Watch






Thursday, March 30, 2023   WECA Political Update March 30, 2023

Construction Employment Increases in 45 States Construction employment increased in 45 states in February compared with a year ago, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Texas saw the largest number of jobs added, increasing by 37,900, or 5 percent, from February 2022 to February 2023. Utah grew 7.3 percent (9,400). West Virginia saw the largest drop, losing 2,200 jobs, or 6.5 percent, over that period. From January to February, construction employment increased in 24 states, held steady in six, and declined in 20, and Washington, D.C. “Unfavorable weather may have held back construction in many states last month compared to January,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC chief economist. “But construction employment continued to expand almost everywhere in February compared to a year ago, despite a slump in homebuilding.” For the month, construction employment increased in 24 states, held steady in six states, and declined in 20 states and D.C. California added the most jobs over the month (7,600 jobs, 0.8 percent), followed by Texas (2,600 jobs, 0.3 percent), New Jersey (4,000 jobs, 2.5 percent) and Minnesota (2,200 jobs, 1.7 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Minnesota and Rhode Island (1.7 percent, 400 jobs), followed by North Dakota (1.5 percent, 400 jobs) and Mississippi (1.5 percent, 700 jobs). Story

California Seeks to Ban Criminal Background Checks for Most Private Sector Employers Existing California law regulates inquiries into and using criminal history information in hiring and personnel decisions. Existing California law also substantially impedes the ability of employers (and background check companies) to obtain such information from public records. However, the existing restrictions pale compared to draconian restrictions proposed earlier this year. On February 17, 2023, two state senators introduced Senate Bill 809 (SB 809) to replace one of California's primary laws with the “Fair Chance Act of 2023.”1 SB 809 is currently pending review by the Senate Judiciary Committee and contains eight sections, the primary ones summarized below. Because the bill seeks outright to ban criminal background checks by most private sector employers, employers should monitor the progress of this bill in Sacramento. Story

From Our Friends at CFEC Here are the latest PLA threats in Sandy Ego that you should be fighting:

·        City of La Mesa - all work

·        Oceanside USD - $160 million Measure W school bond

·        La Mesa-Spring Valley School District - $136 million Measure V school bond

Please let CFEC know if you are interested in helping fight one or all of these PLAs!

Utah Enacts Laws Allowing Employers to Obtain Workplace Violence Protective Orders and Restricting Use of Vaccination or Immunity Status in Employment Decisions Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox signed H.B. 324 into law amending Utah’s protective order statute to allow employers to petition for and obtain workplace violence protective orders against an individual who has engaged in or threatened potential workplace violence. The law will become effective on July 1, 2023. He also signed H.B. 131, which prohibits employers, government entities, and places of public accommodation from using an individual’s immunity status as a restriction. The law goes into effect on May 3, 2023.

Wyoming Passes Fair and Open Competition Act for Construction SF 147 – The Fair and Open Competition Act – was passed by the Wyoming legislature and signed by Gov. Mark Gordon. SF 147 protects Wyoming taxpayers by ensuring that all of the state’s skilled construction workforce can compete on a level playing field for contracts to build state, state-assisted and local public works projects. Once in effect on July 1, Wyoming will be the 25th state with an active policy restricting the use of government-mandated project labor agreements. Story

And because there is always bad with the good: Michigan Governor Repeals Right-to-Work Law, Reinstates Prevailing Wage Rules Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law S.B. 34 and H.B. 4007, which respectively repeal the state’s right-to-work protections and reinstates prevailing wage requirements for public construction projects. The actions reward labor unions’ substantial financial and political contributions to Michigan Democrats’ unified state governmental control and garnered significant opposition from ABC of Michigan, the wider business community, and Republican lawmakers. Michigan enacted right-to-work laws in 2013, and state Democrats have long sought restoration of organized labor’s power to compel dues payments from nonunion workers despite the fact that Michigan voters’ overwhelming opposition to a constitutional amendment advanced for that purpose by the United Auto Workers beginning in 2012. Story

Last Year’s Labor Fights Are Back in Sacramento Two hotly contested housing bills by Sen. Scott Wiener got their first hearings, revisiting familiar arguments about labor provisions and the urgent need to construct affordable housing in California. At issue are provisions that the State Building and Construction Trades Council (BTC) insists upon, particularly the requirement that trained and skilled workers (S&TWF) build new housing projects. The group has torpedoed housing legislation without S&TWF, but lawmakers reached a rare deal involving a dual-bill solution last year. Senate Bill 423 by Wiener would make permanent a 2017 law meant to cut through red tape around construction projects in cities and counties that aren’t meeting state housing plan requirements. But it would do so without the “trained and skilled” requirement for workers. Instead, it would require employees to be paid a prevailing wage based on their field and location, in addition to requiring health care on larger projects. That has the resounding support of the carpenters’ unions and various YIMBY groups, who say the prevailing wage and health care requirements are preferable to strict labor rules that can slow down much-needed construction. But the BTC says it will hurt workers and create unsafe structures. “We oppose this as a matter of principle,” said Sara Flocks, the California Labor Federation's legislative and strategic campaigns director, standing with the BTC in opposition. “It is unacceptable to strip labor protections and labor standards from any worker in California.” Similar arguments were at the heart of Wiener’s other bill, Senate Bill 4, which would streamline housing construction on property owned by religious organizations and institutions of higher education. Both bills passed the Senate housing committee, but much remains to be settled. Many members, including the author, expressed a desire for compromise. But Wiener expressed frustration at the opponents’ reluctance to negotiate, saying, “It takes two to tango.” Sen. Anna Caballero was among those who said she wanted to see the disagreement resolved. “I want to hope that there’s a sweet spot where we can get to ‘yes,’” she said. “I don’t want to kill housing bills because we can’t agree.”

Arizona lawmakers are considering a bill to reduce taxes for startup businesses. On March 14, the Arizona Senate voted to pass bill SB1559 to reduce taxes for startups and new businesses with an attenuated tax reduction over the course of the first three years in operation, starting with full exemption in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and 25 percent in the third year. Story

Tackling Salt Lake City’s Affordable Housing Crisis with Empathy and Accountability What’s in a name? Until last year, Tony Milner was director of Salt Lake City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Division. Now it’s the Department of Housing Stability. Milner said that the city changed the name to signal that affordable and available housing “is the generational challenge” that Salt Lake City and most U.S. cities are facing. Story

Utah Governor Signs Bill Adopting New State Flag, Veto Referendum Filed Against It Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed Senate Bill 31 (SB 31), establishing a new state flag, on March 21. The new flag below will become official on March 9, 2024. The current state flag, adopted on March 9, 1911, and shown below, will be called the historic state flag.

Proposed new Utah state flag

Current Utah state flag

Voters, however, might have the chance to weigh in. On March 6, after the Legislature approved SB 31, a campaign called the 2023 Utah Flag Referendum filed a veto referendum against the bill. The campaign has until April 12 to gather 134,298 valid signatures. If successful, SB 31 will be put on hold until voters decide whether to adopt the new flag on Nov. 5, 2024. This would be the fifth veto referendum in Utah’s state history. Two veto referendums appeared on the ballot in 1954, one in 1975, and one in 2007. In all cases, voters repealed the targeted law. Utah is the latest state to attempt a flag redesign. In 2020, Mississippi voters approved a statewide measure adopting a new state flag with 73 percent of the vote.

The five states that redesigned their flags before Mississippi are:

  • Louisiana - 2006
  • Georgia - 2003
  • South Dakota - 1992
  • Nevada - 1991
  • Florida - 1985

Click this link to see each state’s current flag:

California may have a budget deficit, but a plan to repay Black residents for generations of discrimination could cost $800 billion, economists have told the panel considering the payments. Story

Author (Wife of former Legislator/Supervisor) of Plagiarized Book Will Keep $1 Million in Tax Dollars from Santa Clara County Despite discovering that she plagiarized much of her writing, Jean McCorquodale will keep the $1 million given to her by Santa Clara County to write a book about the county’s history, the San Jose Mercury News reported on March 13. McCorquodale, a former county employee and the wife of former Santa Clara County Supervisor and state Senator Dan McCorquodale, was awarded a no-bid contract in 2018 to write a history of the county. The county said she was selected because of her “unique and unparalleled knowledge of the county’s history and leadership,” the Mercury News stated. After McCorquodale turned in her 580-page manuscript – two years after her deadline – the Mercury News studied the writing. It determined that approximately 20 percent was copied nearly word-for-word from Wikipedia and other sources. The history project has been scrapped, but the $1 million payment will not be returned. County Counsel James Williams told the Mercury News that the only option for the county would be to file a contract dispute that could cost the county more than $1 million. McCorquodale was a grant writer for the county. Since 2009, the county has paid her company more than $2.5 million.


Thursday, March 16, 2023   WECA Political Update March 16, 2023

Job Numbers Released As released on Friday, job openings were 10.8 million at the end of January. While down 410,000 from December, openings are still extremely high. There are 5.1 million more job openings than unemployed workers. Job openings are not dropping as fast as many anticipated because businesses still badly need many workers and because the economy is not cooling as quickly as expected. For more snapshots of the U.S. economy from the Economic Policy Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, click here.

The Race is On for Arizona Senate Nothing shakes up local politics like an open congressional seat. The dominos are already beginning to fall after Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego’s decision to run for U.S. Senate in 2024. Progressive would-be candidates are sizing up the 3rd Congressional District, which favors Democrats by 24 points in terms of voter registration. Noteworthy politicos considering running for Rep. Gallego’s seat include:

  • Phoenix Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari
  • Phoenix City Councilmember Laura Pastor
  • Phoenix City Councilmember Betty Guardado
  • State Sen. Raquel Terán (D-Phoenix)

Terán’s decision is already being felt at the Capitol. Terán resigned as Senate Minority Leader recently to focus on her potential congressional run. With Sen. Rosanna Gabaldón (D-Green Valley) also stepping down from leadership for personal reasons, Senate Democrats elected new leadership.

The new Democrat Senate leadership team is:

  • Sen. Mitzi Epstein (D-Tempe) - Senate Minority Leader
  • Sen. Juan Mendez (D-Tempe) - Senate Minority Assistant Leader
  • Sen. Eva Burch (D-Mesa) - Senate Minority Whip
  • Sen. Lela Alston (D-Phoenix) will remain as Senate minority caucus chair

[Veridus LLC]

Coastal Cash Dash President Joe Biden came to California to raise campaign money. It’s the latest sign that the 80-year-old president is readying another run for the White House. Biden’s trip west took him to Rancho Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, where he reportedly put all the California cash on “red.” (Bartlett/Markuson gambling strategy with 50% success rate)

AGC Economist Dismisses a 2023 Recession Strong job openings, wage growth, and robust investment into equipment, IT, and overall plant construction indicate the U.S. economy should avoid a recession this year, said Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America, during an AGC webinar on the construction outlook. “I remain optimistic that we’re not going to have one,” said Simonson, referring to a recession. “There’s just a lot of spending power on the consumer and business sides. State and local governments at all levels also have much money to spend. Tax revenues have held up in a way that you don’t see during a recessionary period.” Story

Labor Department Enters $20M Partnership to Open Doors to Women, Minorities in Trades The Department of Labor has entered a $20 million agreement with TradesFutures — a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit — to advance equitable opportunities in the construction industry, according to a press release shared with Construction Dive. The nonprofit will partner with the DOL, the National Urban League, and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) to develop a gateway for women, people of color, veterans, Native Americans, and other underrepresented groups to access apprenticeship programs. The project will initially explore programs in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee before expanding to other states. Story

California Continues to Lead the Nation – in Energy Costs The added costs of California’s policies and regulations continue to keep prices at the highest or near the highest among the contiguous states across all energy sources. 


California Requires Bereavement Leave California’s new bereavement leave law, which became effective beginning January 1, 2023, requires most employers to allow their employees to take up to five days of leave upon the death of certain family members.  Although vetoes had stymied previous bills providing for bereavement leave, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the new legislation — Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1949 — into law as an “important step” to ensure that low-wage workers “can access the time off they’ve earned while still providing for their family.”  The new law makes California one of the few states requiring employers to provide bereavement leave. Story

The Basics of Community Solar Projects and Their Application to Multifamily Projects In recent years, the share of energy produced in the United States through solar photovoltaic (PV) technology has increased exponentially. In 2008, installed solar capacity totaled a mere 0.34 gigawatts, but that figure has now reached 134 gigawatts. One type of solar facility that has contributed to this dramatic growth is community solar projects (CSPs). The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory defines a community solar project as a “distributed solar energy deployment model that allows customers to buy or lease part of a larger, off-site shared PV system.” The owner or developer of a CSP receives payment from customers “subscribing” to the CSP in exchange for certain economic, environmental, and social benefits. Story

Opinion: Utah Sen. Mitt Romney Has a Plan That Is Pro-Business, And Pro-Climate Romney recognizes that climate action and business do not need to be enemies on the national stage. Story

In a possibly related story, Utah’s Largest Coal Company Gives up on Coal Canyon Fuel Co. LLC will relinquish two mining leases and apply the social cost of carbon in the environmental analysis of a third lease as part of a settlement agreement reached last week with environmental groups and the federal government. The agreement comes as the Biden administration weighs a hike in the social cost of carbon — a metric for calculating the monetary damages caused by greenhouse gas pollution — and amid continued debate over fossil fuel production on federal land. Story

Could “No Labels” make a big difference in the 2024 election? The Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes announced that the national group No Labels submitted enough signatures to qualify in the state as a recognized political party - and just in time for the 2024 cycle. In a state where ultra-close statewide races have become the norm, politicos wonder if the No Label-ers could swing key contests next year for U.S. Senate, the White House, and more. Opinions differ. Secretary Fontes, a Democrat, believes No Labels candidates will bleed the GOP of support from traditional Republicans who’ve become alienated by MAGA messaging. Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts isn’t so sure, arguing instead that No Labels will benefit Donald Trump (or any other GOP nominee) by playing the “spoiler” in next year’s race for Arizona’s presidential electoral votes. Nationally, Democrat think tank Third Way is sounding the alarm and warned that President Joe Biden’s narrow 2020 victory was powered, in part, by his support from independent and third-party voters. New Labels threatens to steal that support, Third Way writes, and could be determinative in swing states where “even a paltry third-party performance would put 79 Biden electoral votes at risk.” Perhaps the most intriguing possibility for No Labels involves Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Adopting the political party as her new home would not only mean far fewer signatures for her to gather in qualifying for the 2024 ballot, but it also could provide her access to No Labels’ deep pockets, data modeling, and other party infrastructure. These are the kind of resources she gave up when she left the Democratic party in late 2022 - and could make her more formidable in a potential three-way General Election showdown against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego and a GOP nominee. [Veridus LLC]

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Governor Newsom is skipping the annual State of the State address and going on the road, writes POLITICO. Fresh off an easy reelection, Newsom has decided to forego a formal speech at the state Capitol and will instead lay out his agenda with a round-the-state series of events starting today in Sacramento. “He’s not interested in the pomp of the State of the State speech,” said political adviser Sean Clegg. “He wants to get a spotlight on these issues he’s going to talk about rather than getting up there and doing the laundry list.” Newsom will shine that spotlight as he rides political momentum into his second term. He overwhelmingly defeated an attempted recall in 2021 and then cruised to victory last November. Republicans who argue the governor has failed to allay pressing issues like homelessness and poverty have little power to impede his agenda in a Democrat-dominated Legislature.

Su for Labor? A potential promotion for former California labor chief Julie Su got even more contentious, as labor advocates squared off with conservative critics. Republicans and business advocates gathered in front of the state Capitol to blast Su’s nomination as U.S. Secretary of Labor over a laundry list of concerns. Those include support of a fast food labor regulation law that the industry is trying to kill in the 2024 election, a contract worker reclassification law that Uber, Lyft and others have so far blocked at the ballot box and in the courts, and a pandemic unemployment meltdown that delayed worker benefits while the state lost as much as $30 billion to fraud.

  • Kevin Kiley, a new member of Congress and former Assemblymember from Rocklin: “I am urging President Biden in the strongest terms to immediately withdraw Julie Su’s nomination. To say that Su failed in her previous role… is an extreme understatement.”
  • Tom Manzo, founder of the California Business and Industrial Alliance: “California is “over-regulating small, medium, large-sized businesses who cannot survive in this climate. And the last thing we need to do is export her policies to the United States.”

Backing Su are major labor unions, including SEIU and the California Labor Federation. They released a joint statement calling on the U.S. Senate to move ahead with her confirmation hearing after Biden nominated her last month. Supporters tout Su’s record as a civil rights attorney and policy efforts like ramping up California wage theft investigations.

  • The union statement: “Su is universally respected for her competence and dedication. She has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to upholding workers’ rights and has worked collaboratively with high-road employers to support efforts to improve job quality.”

Language Guides for Contractors The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has begun publishing Spanish-language versions of its licensing exam study guides. All study guides can be downloaded for free on the Examination Study Guides page of the CSLB website. As of March 15, 2023, the following exams have study guides also available in Spanish:

  • B-2 – Residential Remodeling Contractor
  • C-2 – Insulation and Acoustical
  • C-4 – Boiler Hot Water Heating and Steam Fitting
  • C-5 – Framing and Rough Carpentry
  • C-9 – Drywall
  • C-22 – Asbestos Abatement
  • C-29 – Masonry
  • C-31 – Construction Zone Traffic Control
  • C-32 – Parking and Highway Improvement
  • C-33 – Painting and Decorating
  • C-34 – Pipeline
  • C-35 – Lathing and Plastering
  • C-36 – Plumbing
  • C-38 – Refrigeration
  • C-39 – Roofing
  • C-42 – Sanitation Systems
  • C-43 – Sheet Metal
  • C-45 – Sign

The Spanish study guides for the remaining exams will be released over the next few weeks. In addition, CSLB is in the process of getting 10 exams translated into Spanish, including the Law and Business; B – General Building; C-8 – Concrete; C-9 – Drywall; C-15 – Flooring and Floor Covering; C-27 – Landscaping; C-33 – Painting and Decorating; C-36 – Plumbing; C-39 – Roofing, and C-54 – Ceramic and Mosaic Tile. This process is expected to be completed later this year. For these exams, Spanish-speaking applicants will take the exam in Spanish rather than using a CSLB-approved translator. Spanish-speaking applicants can still use a translator for the remaining exams that are not being translated.


WECA Phoenix Gets a New Councilperson Unofficial results show two City Council candidates endorsed by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego as the winners in Tuesday’s runoff election. The election was required by law because no candidate received a majority of votes last November. The race for Phoenix City Council District 8 is historic. Kesha Hodge Washington, an attorney from Laveen, is on track to become the first African American woman to serve on the Phoenix City Council. “I find it exciting because I do understand the value of representation at the table, but I’m also committed to ensuring that I’m representing the entirety of the district. I don’t want any demographic to feel that I am not representing them,” she said. Story

Arizona Housing Bill Rejected by State Senate Over Affordability, Local Control Worries The Arizona State Senate on Monday failed to pass a bill that would have mandated local zoning reforms to encourage the development of lower-cost starter homes. Almost half of Senate Republicans and nearly all Democrats voted against Senate Bill 117 in a 20-9 vote. According to local news reports, those voting against it largely opposed the measure over concerns that it would excessively limit local control and lacked affordable housing requirements. Gov. Katie Hobbs-D, also opposed the bill, telling reporters in February that she didn’t support “a one-size-fits-all approach” to address the state’s growing affordable housing and homelessness crises. Story

Because California Apparently Has Enough Water, the Biggest Dam Removal Project in US History is Set to Start in California, Oregon Preconstruction work is underway on the largest dam removal and river restoration project in U.S. history. The $450 million project will take out four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California to restore habitat and passage for migrating fish. Omaha, Nebraska-based Kiewit is the prime contractor, while Knight Piesold, headquartered in South Africa, is the civil prime design partner on the project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project in November 2022, and it is set to wrap up in 2024. Story

EVITP Requirement in Oregon On the heels of the Biden Administration’s refusal to adopt a nationwide mandate for EVITP certification for all level two and above EV charger installations, Oregon State Senators Wagner, Lieber, and Representative Fahey have introduced SB 582 to impose a state requirement like AB 841 in California. Portland General Electric, Climate Solutions, and the Sierra Club all testified in favor of the bill last week.


And Finally, a Bill to Streamline Water Storage Projects in California AB 66 would require the Natural Resources Agency, and each department, board, conservancy, and commission within the agency, to approve the necessary permits for specified projects that meet certain employment conditions within 180 days from receiving a permit application and would deem those permits approved if approval does not occur within this time period. What employment conditions, you ask? Most readers will not be surprised to read that to qualify for this permitting process, the project must be subject to a PLA. What you might be surprised about is who the authors of the bill are.

·        Assembly Member Devon Mathis (R-Porterville)

·        Assembly Member Juan Alanis (R-Modesto)

·        Assembly Member Philip Chen (R-Yorba Linda)

·        Assembly Member Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach)

·        Assembly Member Heath Flora (R-Modesto), [Modesto has two Assembly members?]

·        Assembly Member James Gallagher (R-Yuba City)

·        Assembly Member Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale)

·        Assembly Member Low (D-Campbell), [Really, only one Democrat?]

·        Assembly Member Marie Waldron (R- Valley Center)

·        Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee)

None of the Republicans would explain why they were supporting a PLA bill.



Thursday, March 2, 2023   WECA Political Update March 2, 2023

California State Bat We mentioned recently that California is poised to have a state mushroom. Existing law establishes the state flag and the state’s emblems, including, among other things, the California redwood as the official state tree and the California gray whale as the official state marine mammal. SB 732 (Menjivar-D), when enacted, would establish the pallid bat (antrozous pallidus) as the official state bat!

Admittedly the pallid bat sounds pretty cool (and is cute):  


·        Bats eat many pest species, including those contributing to health risks, such as mosquitoes, wasps, and flies. A female bat nursing her young will eat more than two-thirds of her body weight in insects and arthropods every night.
·        Bats provide more than $1,000,000,000 worth of pest control to California agriculture.
·        Bats eat bark beetles and wood borers, reducing wildfire risk in California forests.
·        Bats can live up to 40 years and typically raise just one pup a year. This low birth rate makes their populations particularly vulnerable to disruptions like humans encroaching on their habitat and climate change.
·        The pallid bat is as diverse as Californians – pallid bats live in California’s deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwood forests, and high up into the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They live in social colonies and have a rich language of calls to communicate with one another. The food they eat and the way they catch it varies both within and between different communities of pallid bats around the state.
·        Naming antrozous pallidus as the official state bat of California will help promote the appreciation, study, and protection of bats in this state.

Thanks, Senator Menjivar!


Amazon Closes, Cancels More Warehouses as Cost-Cutting Persists Amazon has canceled, closed, or delayed 99 facilities, impacting nearly 32.3 million square feet of active or planned ground-level space in 30 states, Marc Wulfraat, president and founder of MWPVL International, said in a Feb. 24 email. In September, the firm recorded 66 impacted facilities totaling 24.6 million square feet of ground-level space. Story


CHIPS Act Funding to Open as US Plans Semiconductor Manufacturing Clusters The United States will open its first round of applications for CHIPS and Science Act funding for manufacturing facilities next week, Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo said during a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday. The pot of $39 billion in federal funding is meant to incentivize semiconductor manufacturers to build sites in the United States, Raimondo said. More funding will be released for supply chain and R&D operations in the coming months. The Wall Street Journal and others have noticed “Chip makers will also have to pay construction workers prevailing wages set by unions and will be “strongly encouraged” — i.e., required — to use project labor agreements (PLAs), which let unions dictate pay, benefits and work rules for all workers. States restricting PLAs may have to change their laws if they want to benefit from the federal largesse.” Story I know you were as shocked as I am about that. “Any applicant that does not commit to using labor agreements will need to submit a construction workforce continuity plan to demonstrate exactly how it would ensure projects stay on schedule. Funding recipients that request more than $150 million in direct funding also must submit plans to provide construction and facility workers with access to affordable, reliable and high-quality childcare,” Commerce officials announced.


Rooftop Solar Advocates Request New CPUC Hearing Rooftop solar advocates opposed to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) recent decision to cut the amount new solar users will be compensated for supplying power to the grid are petitioning for a chance to be reheard. Following months of hearings in 2022 that included hours of public comment mostly against the CPUC’s decision, attorneys for two groups filed requests with the CPUC for a chance to argue again. Tri-Valley advocates of rooftop solar agreed that the CPUC should revisit its decision. In a 25-page application for rehearing filed Jan. 17, Michael Boyd, president of Californians for Renewable Energy (CARE), accuses California Gov. Gavin Newsom of conspiring with CPUC board members to violate state and federal antitrust measures that benefit the state’s three largest public utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric, which serves Northern California. Story


Sacramento Bee Notices State Building and Construction Trades Council Stymies Construction of Housing “The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, backed by the California Labor Federation, insists that lawmakers require developers to use a ‘skilled and trained’ workforce made up of largely union workers. On the other side, the California Conference of Carpenters supports a prevailing wage requirement — typically the union rate — rather than limiting which workers builders can hire.” Story


Californian Julie Su Tapped to be Labor Secretary President Joe Biden introduced Julie Su as his pick to succeed Marty Walsh as labor secretary when Walsh leaves the administration later this month. Biden lavished praise on Su – Walsh’s deputy – who will serve as acting secretary once he goes to lead the NHL Players' Association, for her legal career representing low-wage and immigrant workers and her years of experience overseeing labor laws in California. The president also said Su, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, exemplifies the American dream and that “She’s committed to making sure that dream is in the reach of every American.” Su could face a familiar gig worker fight if confirmed as labor secretary, said the San Francisco Chronicle: Republicans previously opposed Su’s confirmation as deputy secretary of the Labor Department in 2021. She was confirmed on a party-line vote, with 50 Democrats voting in favor and 47 Republicans opposing. During that confirmation battle, Senate Republicans repeatedly raised the multi-billion-dollar scandal that engulfed California’s Employment Development Department, in which the state improperly paid jobless benefits to fraudsters.


Fall Back No More? Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) reintroduced his bill to make daylight saving time permanent, which snuck through the Senate in a surprise last year but died in the House. Rubio has a bipartisan group of 11 co-sponsors in the upper chamber, and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) is introducing a House version of the bill. Will it meet a different fate there with Republicans in charge this year? PSA: You still have nine days of early-morning sunshine — clocks spring ahead at 2 a.m. on March 12. Story Last year, the Washington Post (Bob Bartlett's newspaper of choice) said about Rubio’s previous effort, “Sleep experts widely agree with the Senate that the country should abandon its twice-yearly seasonal time changes. But they disagree on one key point: which time system should be permanent. Unlike the Senate, many sleep experts believe the country should adopt year-round standard time.” Story


News from our Friends at Coalition for a Democratic Workforce (CDW)

PRO Act Reintroduced On February 28, Congressional Democrats reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (HR 20, Senate companion does not yet have a bill number). The bill is a wish list of radical labor policies that would infringe on workers' and employers’ rights, diminish opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and devastate the economy. CDW’s statement on the news can be read here. CDW will send a letter to all members of Congress urging them to oppose the legislation.  

Senate HELP Planning Hearing on Union Organizing The Senate HELP Committee is planning to hold a hearing on “defending the right of workers to organize unions free from illegal corporate union-busting” on March 8. It will likely circle around the PRO Act, so CDW will send a letter to the committee on the bill's dangers and highlight past letters sent to the committee.

Sen. Sanders to Subpoena Starbucks CEO On March 1, Sen. Sanders announced the HELP Committee would hold a hearing to authorize the issuance of a subpoena to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, requiring him to come before the committee and provide testimony on the company’s tactics against union organizing in their stores. Sanders also seeks seemingly blanket authorization for committee investigations into “violations of federal labor law by major corporations.”

CDW Sends Letter to Congress Calling for Aggressive Oversight over NLRB, General Counsel On February 27, CDW sent a letter to both House and Senate labor committees urging them to conduct extensive oversight over the Board and General Counsel Abruzzo for their actions “promoting changes that are contrary to the bedrock principles of our democracy, like free speech, open debate, the right to cast a vote privately, and the promise of a workplace free from harassment.” The letter can be found here

Board Issues Decision on Severance Agreements On February 21, the Board issued its decision in McLaren Macomb, establishing that employers cannot offer employees severance agreements that require employees to waive their rights under the NLRA. The decision states that the “mere proffer” of a severance agreement that conditions receipt of benefits on the “forfeiture of statutory rights” violates workers’ collective bargaining rights. The decision overturned two Trump-era decisions, Baylor University and IGT, which broadly permitted employers to include confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions in severance agreements. The Board did not request amicus briefs in this case, despite the decision overturning precedent and making a significant change to policy. More on this policy here.


Who’s Running for POTUS? Five noteworthy presidential candidates have declared for 2024 – nine fewer than this point in the 2020 cycle. Last week, Ballotpedia added two noteworthy 2024 presidential candidates to the list: entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy (R), and author and 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson (D). The total tally currently stands at five noteworthy 2024 presidential candidates. Ramaswamy joins former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), former President Donald Trump (R), and former Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton (R) in the Republican primary. Williamson is the first Democratic candidate to have declared a campaign for the nomination. President Joe Biden (D) has not officially announced whether he intends to run for a second term.

At this point in the 2020 cycle, 14 noteworthy candidates had announced their campaigns:

·        Jan. 20, 2017: Donald Trump (R)

·        Aug. 10, 2017: John Delaney (D)

·        Nov. 6, 2017: Andrew Yang (D)

·        Jan. 1, 2019: Tulsi Gabbard (D)

·        Jan. 12, 2019: Julián Castro (D)

·        Jan. 15, 2019: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

·        Jan. 21, 2019: Kamala Harris (D)

·        Jan. 23, 2019: Pete Buttigieg (D)

·        Jan. 28, 2019: Marianne Williamson (D)

·        Feb. 1, 2019: Cory Booker (D)

·        Feb. 9, 2019: Elizabeth Warren (D)

·        Feb. 12, 2019: Amy Klobuchar (D)

·        Feb. 19, 2019: Bernie Sanders (I)

·        March 1, 2019: Jay Inslee (D)

Biden, the eventual Democratic nominee and supposed winner of the 2020 presidential election, announced his candidacy on April 25, 2019. In the 2016 election cycle, no noteworthy candidates had launched their campaigns as of March 1, 2015. The first announcement came on March 23 from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Hillary Clinton (D), the eventual Democratic nominee, announced her campaign on April 12, 2015. Trump, the eventual Republican nominee, announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015.