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Thursday, September 15, 2022   WECA Political Update September 15, 2022

California Legislative Session Ends Without Extending CCPA Employee-Data Exemptions: Next Steps for Businesses On August 31, 2022, the California legislature adjourned without extending the temporary exemptions under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) for workforce and business-to-business data. As a result, companies must take steps to comply with the CCPA regarding such data by January 1, 2023, when the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) amendments take effect. Story

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San Diego City Attorney Tells Council President She ‘Won’t Be Silenced’ City Attorney Mara Elliott accused Council President Sean Elo-Rivera of trying to silence her Monday and said the expectations he and other council members expressed for her office had never been applied to her predecessors, who were all men. Story

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CA Legislature Expands Pay Transparency and Data Reporting Requirements; Extends COVID Supplemental Paid Sick Leave California employers should take note of two significant bills recently passed by the state Legislature awaiting likely approval by Governor Newsom. The first, Senate Bill 1162 (SB 1162), would further expand California's already progressive requirements for employers regarding pay transparency and data reporting. The second, Assembly Bill 152 (AB 152), is expected to extend the state's current Covid-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave expiration date from September 30 to December 31, 2022. Story

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California Court of Appeal Upholds Construction Industry CBA Exemption from PAGA The California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District upheld the construction industry collective bargaining agreement exemption to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) in Oswald v. Murray Plumbing and Heating Corporation. Story and Story

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PROAct Pressure A coalition of unions, green groups, and other progressive organizations pushing to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act will launch a new campaign focused on Senate battleground states ahead of the midterm elections this week. They hope to put lawmakers on the record as having voted for or against the bill by forcing it to the Senate floor for a vote. That way, union members — and those who back them — will know “who the real pro-worker members of the U.S. Senate are” as they cast their ballots, IUPAT President Jimmy Williams Jr. told Politico. But this week’s campaign will act as a reignition of grassroots efforts in key states — Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida — to pressure Senate Democrats to get behind the bill and lambast Senate Republicans who oppose it after a recent poll found that 71 percent of Americans approve of unions. Organizers plan to hold protests, visit offices, coordinate call campaigns, host town halls, and more.

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War Chest Waiting: Governor Gavin Newsom had $5.6 million in his ballot initiative account at the end of June (some of which is left over from the tens of millions he raised to beat the 2021 recall). Will he spend some of that on 2022 ballot initiatives? (No on San Diego’s Measure D, perhaps?) One interesting nugget from Politico: The California State Association of Electrical Workers has sent six-figure contributions to Newsom’s ballot committee and the Yes on 30 campaigns. The yes campaign also got $1 million from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Prop 30 is the new tax measure to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles by Lyft drivers to help Lyft comply with State mandates to deploy ZGHG vehicles. CALMatters described it like this, “The opponents of Proposition 30, a proposal to tax millionaires to fund electric car incentives and infrastructure, want California voters to keep one thing in mind when they decide how to vote on the measure: Gavin Newsom’s face. So a new “No on 30” ad features the governor — and only the governor — speaking out against the proposal in no uncertain terms.”

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It Turns Out Kamala Harris is Less Popular Than Mike Pence The Washington Examiner examined (sorry) lobbying records and found that VP Kamala Harris’ office isn’t a top-rated destination in the influence industry. “About half as many companies and outside groups have hired lobbyists to influence Harris’s office during her first two years compared with her predecessor, Mike Pence. Among those lobbying Harris and her aides were representatives of drug companies, technology firms, and energy businesses, according to the records.”

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NLRB Reverses Precedent on Employer Dress Codes and Joint Employer Standard Consistent with its pro-union agenda, the National Labor Relations Board recently reversed the precedent established under the prior administration concerning employer dress codes and the joint employer standard. Specifically, on August 29, 2022, the Board held that an employer’s dress code policies preventing employees from wearing pro-union apparel were unlawful. Furthering its agenda, on September 6, 2022, the Board released a new proposed joint employer standard, which would roll back the standard established under the prior administration, making it much easier for companies to be deemed joint employers. Story

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Arizona Minimum Wage Set to Increase Again In 2023 For the sixth year in a row, Arizona’s minimum wage will go up at the beginning of 2023. Following the release of the latest Consumer Price Index report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers in Arizona will have to pay workers at least $13.90 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2023. Currently, the minimum wage is $12.80 an hour. Story

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Can Solar Investment Help Farmers Survive the Central Valley Water Crises? Agricultural businesses are under growing economic pressure as drought conditions worsen and inflation continues to climb. Rising energy costs have been a particularly damaging repercussion of the drought, with farmers spending more on electricity to keep wells and irrigation systems pumping water to their crops. Story

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Phoenix Inflation at Record 13% Shows Divergence Among Cities Inflation soared to 13% in Phoenix last month, a record for any US city in data going back 20 years and more than twice as high as San Francisco. Other cities across the South and Southwest saw double-digit increases in consumer prices, with the Atlanta metropolitan area posting annual inflation of 11.7% and Miami reaching 10.7%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Overall inflation was resurgent in August, dashing hopes of a nascent slowdown even as gasoline prices declined. But the national average of 8.3% masks growing disparities among cities, making the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation more complicated. Story

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CSLB Reminds Contractors of Requirements for Mechanical Systems Acceptance Tests The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) issued an Industry Bulletin for contractors performing mechanical systems acceptance tests. Any person performing these tests in a nonresidential building must be certified as an acceptance test technician (ATT) by an acceptance test technician certification provider (ATTCP). The mechanical systems ATT requirement is part of the Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Code) Section 10-103.2. If you are performing acceptance tests, or plan to in the future, be sure to look at this bulletin.

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Changes to Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2021 Since the inception of the 2008 Act, regulators have become increasingly concerned the collection of thermostats has been lackluster. Furthermore, they believe outreach by the thermostat industry has failed to properly inform appropriate entities that collection is available, and many consumers and retailers alike are unaware of the program. In addition, there has never been any dedicated funding for DTSC’s oversight and enforcement of the 2008 Act, which has led to lax oversight of the thermostat industry’s performance. So, Assemblymember Bill Quirk carried AB 707 in 2021, which made several changes to the 2008 Act. Stakeholders discovered several technical issues that needed to be addressed. AB 732 makes changes, collectively requested by stakeholders, to the Act to address these technical issues. Significantly, AB 732 requires each manufacturer, or group of manufacturers, to provide collection bins for out-of-service mercury-added thermostats to a thermostat wholesaler in the state by eliminating the requirement that the wholesaler request a collection bin. AB 732 is waiting for action by Governor Newsom, who has until September 30 to sign or veto bills sent to him last month.



It’s that Time CFEC will hold their annual Sacramento soiree on October 18 from 4:30 – 6:00 at the Elks Tower. 

And on September 22nd, at Bergelectric's office in Tustin, they will be holding an event to raise funds to help fight PLAs and union CEQA extortion.

RSVP for either event to Eric Christen at (858)431-6337 or ericdchristen@gmail.com.

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Taking a break… I’m traveling for the next three weeks – so this is the last edition until I return on October 13. So be well, dear readers.

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And finally, Bedbugs Have Returned to The Office with Our Employees. What Should You Do? I know WECA members have been working both in the field and in the office for the duration of COVID-19, but I had to chuckle when I saw this article and wanted to share this article about the “tiny vampires” who “feed on human and animal blood.” Story

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Thursday, September 1, 2022   WECA Political Update September 1, 2022

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more” Some of you older readers may recall, lo those many years ago (ten to be more exact) when voters in the City and County of Sandy Ego did the right thing and prohibited PLAs in city and county-funded construction. But, in their usual style, the State Building and Construction Trades Council pulled their puppet strings in Sacramento. The Legislature passed not one but two bills, and Governor Jerry Brown slavishly signed them to punish cities and counties with the temerity to establish their municipal contracting boundaries. The bills cut off state funding to cities and counties that prohibit PLAs on locally funded construction.

Cue 2022; even though no city or county has lost state funds because of PLA bans, the San Diego Building Trades and their new puppets in City Hall now want to repeal 2012’s Measure A. Measure D is officially on the ballot. Measure D repeals Measure A, which ensures fair and open competition on City of San Diego projects by banning discriminatory PLAs. AGC San Diego, National Black Contractors Association (NBCA), WECA, and the Building Industry Association San Diego (BIA) plan to show voters how Measure D discriminates against 80% of the local construction workforce and hurts the very people it purports to help.

Make no mistake about it, we are up against a potent and influential political machine, and it will take significant resources to overcome the deceptive campaign that has already begun. So please join us by contributing whatever you can toward our fight against discrimination. The Committee, San Diegans Against Discrimination, Opposing Measure D, is officially open and can accept personal or corporate checks. Please see the information below:

Full Committee Name: San Diegans Against Discrimination, Opposing Measure D, sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of America San Diego Chapter, Inc.
FEIN: 88-3867843 (W-9 available upon request)

It is acceptable to make checks payable to San Diegans Against Discrimination.
If you are mailing a check, please send it to:
San Diegans Against Discrimination
C/O C. April Boling
7947 Hemingway Ave
San Diego, CA 92120

Street Sweeping Bill Dies One of the few (perhaps only) trades-backed prevailing wage expansion bills to die was AB 1886 by now former Assembly Member (soon to be Sacramento County Sheriff) Jim Cooper. His bill would have made street sweeping a public work meaning every contract driver would be paid the heavy equipment operator wage. So, what happened? Until Wednesday night, the bill had enjoyed party-line support with ample Democrat sycophants to move it along. The Senate sent the bill back to the Assembly on the 29th with 25 aye votes with a couple of Democrat objections, including Ben Allen (Santa Monica), Bob Archuleta (Norwalk), and Ben Hueso (San Diego) voting No and three more Demos absent or abstaining. But when the Assembly considered it on concurrence, it died 38-13-29, a huge undervote as the 29 abstentions were primarily Democrats. These same Democrats had just voted to pass three other PW expansions, so what was different? Well, first, Cooper was one of only six Democrats who had refused to support SB 918 (Portantino), which would have created a new issuing process for concealed carry weapons licenses (CCW licenses) following the June 2022 United States Supreme Court ruling in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. Second, Cooper was chairman of a committee assigned to review AB 1577 (Stone) that would have permitted Legislative employees to unionize. The bill died after Cooper initially refused to allow a vote in his committee on the final night before the lawmakers adjourned for the year. Cooper reversed his decision minutes later and allowed a vote on the bill, which failed to earn enough support for passage. Cooper was joined by Democrats Ken Cooley (Rancho Cordova), Patrick O'Donnell (Long Beach), and Republicans Kelly Seyarto (Murietta) and Randy Voepel (Santee) to defeat the bill in committee. “The reason I held this is not to make these folks take a hard vote,” Cooper said when he spoke in opposition to the legislation. “So, you can get on Twitter. I don't care. You can get on Facebook. I don't care. It's doing what's right.” So, the Assembly played a little tit-for-tat with Cooper’s PW expansion.

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Housing Production Bills Bound for the Governor. Lawmakers moved quickly after announcing a plan to send Newsom two bills taking different approaches to expedited homebuilding on commercial land — both a measure long supported by the State Building and Construction Trades Council (SB 6) and a bill with less-stringent labor rules that the Trades stopped actively opposing (AB 2011).

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Study Finds CEQA Lawsuits Challenged Nearly 48,000 Homes in California in 2020 Lawsuits alleging environmental harm under CEQA challenged roughly 39% of the homes approved in California in 2020, according to a report published by the California Center for Jobs and the Economy this month. The study's authors arrived at its conclusion by obtaining copies of every California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit filed in California that year from the state Attorney General’s office. Those complaints show “groups” opposed 47,999 residential units in 2020. Story

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PAGA News: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition for Rehearing in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana that bilateral arbitration agreements governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) may require arbitration of California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims on an individual basis only. In early July, Moriana, the named plaintiff-employee at the center of Viking River Cruises, filed a petition for rehearing with the Court. Moriana argued that the Court’s opinion went beyond the federal question and involved the unbriefed issue of state-law contract interpretation and statutory construction that exceeded the Court’s authority. On August 22, 2022, the high court denied the request for rehearing. It issued a final judgment, leaving intact the Court’s analysis of the severability language in Viking River Cruises’ arbitration agreement and the Court’s analysis of statutory standing under PAGA. Story

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Specialty Contractors in High Demand Amid Supply Constraints Steep inflation over the past few months has exacerbated a volatile market for construction materials, further complicating specialty contractors’ efforts to successfully navigate a post-pandemic environment where many markets remain active, albeit with resources in short supply. While there are indications that the spring-summer price acceleration may have abated, if not peaked, subcontractors remain wary. Story

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Court Partially Reinstates Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals partially reinstated President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors but still exempted seven states and members of Associated Builders and Contractors from having to get the shot. The ruling temporarily bars the vaccine mandate for ABC’s members engaged in federal procurement contracts and state agencies from the seven states party to the original suit: Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia. Story

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Who Do (Some) Californians Like for President? Overwhelmingly, according to a new poll, they do not want President Joe Biden to seek another term and see Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as a prime contender to succeed him. A recent Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll of California voters underscored the peril for Biden and potential for Newsom. A resounding 61% of voters surveyed online Aug. 9-15 said Biden should not run in 2024, including about half of Democratic voters and most independents. The president’s statewide approval rating sat at a lukewarm 48 percent, with three-quarters of Californians saying the country was on the wrong track. Newsom and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) — who finished first in the 2020 California primary — were tied as Democratic and independent voters’ top choices to replace Biden, followed by Vice President Kamala Harris. But the largest share of voters were undecided, indicating the nebulous state of the 2024 race. Biden has said he intends to run again. For Newsom to have a path, Biden would need to step aside — and Newsom would potentially have to challenge Harris, with whom he shares a Bay Area base.

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Easier PV Installations? A bill that would make it easier for people in California to put solar panels on their homes cleared the Assembly and is headed to the governor’s desk. State Sen. Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) SB 379 would require counties and cities to use an online permitting software designed to automate approval of residential solar and storage systems to increase the technology’s use and lower greenhouse gas emissions. It was one of the more eagerly watched bills by environmentalists this month because it unexpectedly failed to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee last year. The California Contract Cities Association argued the bill placed too heavy a mandate on cities. The bill passed 50 to 7 along party lines.

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Arizona Needs to Cut 300,000 Olympic Pools’ Worth of Water. Here Is Who Will Be Hit the Hardest Arizona farms are first in line to bear the brunt of the most significant restrictions on using the Colorado River’s water after officials declared an unprecedented shortage last week. Story

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The ‘Bonus’ Tax Deduction in The Inflation Reduction Act for Construction Firms While most of the tax deductions and incentives to build climate-friendly structures in the Inflation Reduction Act go to building owners, one area can significantly benefit contractors as well, a construction tax expert said. Contractors can earn up to a $5-per-square-foot tax deduction (increased from $1.88 currently) for specific projects under the new law starting in 2023 if they meet prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements. I bet you didn’t see that coming! Story

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State NEVI Plans Raise Concerns About EV Charging Infrastructure Rollout All 50 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, submitted EV charging deployment plans by the Aug. 1 deadline for funding under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure formula program. The $5 billion program created by the bipartisan infrastructure law is designed to develop a network of EV charging stations every 50 miles along the interstate highway system or within one mile of an interstate exit, with the Biden administration’s goal of a total of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers nationwide. Federal funds will cover up to 80% of NEVI project costs. But supply chain and semiconductor shortages could hinder the production of EV charging equipment, especially when combined with Buy America provisions where the U.S. doesn’t have a depth and breadth of DC fast charging manufacturing, causing some industry experts to wonder if this will be yet another government finance boondoggle. Story

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California Air Agency to Ban Sales of Gasoline-Powered Cars by 2035 The California Air Resources Board (CARB) votes Thursday on a sweeping rule requiring all new cars sold in the state by 2035 to have zero emissions — paving the way for other states to adopt the requirement and transforming the country’s car market. The program — announced by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom nearly two years ago — would also require automakers to ensure that 35 percent of all new passenger cars sold by 2026 have no emissions. This threshold would increase to 68 percent by 2030. So far, in 2022, about 16 percent of new vehicles sold in California have no emissions.

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Arizona Saw High Turnout in Primary Election Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has certified the primary election results; she said voter turnout was higher than in previous midterms. Hobbs noted that more than 1.5 million people in the state cast a ballot, marking a voter turnout of about 35%.

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OFCCP Replaces Controversial Directive on Contractor Pay Equity Audits Synopsis. On Thursday, August 18, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) replaced its Directive 2022-01, entitled “Pay Equity Audits” (effective March 15, 2022, the “March Directive”), with a new Directive 2022-01, entitled “Advancing Pay Equity Through Compensation Analysis” (“New Directive”). The New Directive provides that the OFCCP will not require contractors to produce privileged pay analyses to prove their compliance with 41 CFR §60-2.17(b)(3). Section 60-2.17(b)(3) requires contractors to undertake an “in-depth analysis” of their entire employment process to ensure nondiscrimination, including compensation systems. Contrary to the March Directive, the New Directive expressly recognizes a contractor’s right to assert attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrine concerning compensation analyses. In addition, the new Directive eliminates the March Directive’s statements that assume, without authority, that contractors are required to perform an undefined “pay equity audit” and replaces that term with “compensation analyses.” More

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Labor Board’s ‘Whore Board’ Graffiti Ruling Survives Review The NLRB had adequate justification for ruling that an aluminum products maker violated federal labor law for firing a worker who wrote “whore board” on overtime sign-up sheets, a divided federal appeals court in Washington held. The National Labor Relations Board’s decision against a Constellium NV subsidiary sufficiently addressed the conflict between Andrew Williams’s protections under the National Labor Relations Act, and the company’s anti-discrimination obligations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in its 2-1 ruling. Story

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Cal/OSHA Begins Enforcing Indoor Heat Safety Under §3203 Cal/OSHA’s outdoor heat illness prevention standard is well known by employers with employees who commonly work outside. And while there is no official indoor heat illness standard, employers still need to consider heat hazards when evaluating workplace safety, especially considering Fed/OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (“NEP”) for Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards. Story

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Leaders Hit the Road to Address Arizona’s Affordable Housing Problem The Arizona Legislature’s committee for housing supply is traveling the state next month to hear from communities about what they need to address housing shortages. The committee will be in Flagstaff, then Tucson, Sierra Vista, and Sedona to take information from constituents. The committee was formed to put together plans to address housing shortages in the state. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates Arizona has about 200,000 extremely low-income renter households and only 26 affordable places to rent for every 100 households.  The committee expects to have a final report of its findings by the end of the year. [KJZZ]

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Subsidizing Dues California workers who pay union dues will get a tax credit starting in 2024, and the first-in-the-nation proposal could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions annually. A bill introduced in the Senate on Friday fleshed out a proposal for the credit, initially included in the state budget passed in June. State lawmakers and union organizers say the program would help low-wage employees, who are less likely to itemize taxes and weren’t taking advantage of an existing union dues deduction. [Politico]

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LAUSD's Hefty School Board Salaries Spared by Senate Bill “A Senate bill awaiting the governor’s signature would change California’s education code to align with how Los Angeles Unified pays its school board members, allowing for compensation more than five times the code’s initial cap. LAUSD currently pays $125,000 to school board members who do not have outside employment, in contrast to the $24,000 currently allowed for a district of its size under the education code. LAUSD currently operates by a Los Angeles City charter rule, which says compensation should be set by a compensation committee comprising stakeholders and community members chosen by officials outside the district, which the bill would make clear is permissible. The compensation committee’s decisions over salary have put LAUSD board members at a compensation level of nearly seven times the amount earned by board members at the second-largest school district in the state. According to 2021 data from Transparent California, school board members at San Diego Unified earn $18,000 — the maximum under the state cap for a district of its size. The district’s average daily attendance is just under 100,000 for the 2020-21 school year, according to EdData.” [EdSource]

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THC Testing Cannabis is legal in California, but employees and job applicants can still be fired or denied employment for using it off the job. A bill prohibiting employers from testing workers and applicants for traces of non-psychoactive cannabis cleared the state Legislature Tuesday. If Newsom signs Assemblymember Bill Quirk’s (D-Hayward) AB 2188, California will become the seventh state to offer such protections to recreational users and the 22nd to shield medical users. Jobs requiring a federal background test, or a drug test under federal or state law, would be exempt from the ban, as would construction operations. For supporters, it’s a common-sense change: Employees shouldn’t be punished for using a legal substance during their free time, especially since they can test positive for doing so weeks after use. But business interests have fought the bill, warning they could face lawsuits if they punish employees for legitimate causes, such as on-the-job pot use. [Politico]

 

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Thursday, August 18, 2022   WECA Political Update August 18, 2022

Recently, I noted a troubling trend for public works in California that required PLAs to qualify for state funding. In August, we saw mixed results.

·        AB 2419 (Bryan - D) This bill mandated that for a construction project that will cost $5,000,000 or more, IIJA funds may be allocated only if the construction project will be performed under a PLA. Status: DIED in Senate Appropriations. Caltrans and DWR noted higher costs and project delays because of the PLA mandate – thanks State Building and Construction Trades Council!
·        S.B. 22 (Glazer - D) This bill would have required DGS to prioritize projects for funding that used a PLA. Status: Died in Senate Education. No school bonds this year.
·        SB 1020 (Laird - D) requires new procurement of clean energy by the state to be constructed with contractors using multi-craft project labor agreements. Status: Assembly floor
·        SB 1105 (Hueso - D) This bill created the San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Finance Agency and grants it the authority to impose taxes and fees. The bill would have required the agency to execute a PLA with the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council before placing a measure on the ballot to raise revenue for the agency. Status: Died in Assembly Appropriations.

While it might appear the Legislature is acting in a more prudent manner, the truth is more complex and worthy of a graduate school thesis. Nonetheless, we will take the win where we can!

Legislation

PLAs

SB 6 (Caballero - D) This bill, until January 1, 2029, enacts the Neighborhood Homes Act, which authorizes housing on any parcel zoned for office or retail uses. On PLA projects bars the labor commissioner from enforcing the labor code and exempts these projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on all projects - even if private. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 679 (Kamlager - D) This bill provides that any construction project receiving funding or financing from Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA) shall constitute a public work for which the contractor must pay prevailing wages. All contractors and subcontractors must use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work on projects (with the usual SBCTC language). Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 1020 (Laird - D) This bill requires retail sellers or local publicly owned electric utilities to require its contractors to use a PLA for the construction of the zero-carbon resource or eligible renewable energy resource. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

APM/DB/CMaR

AB 902 (O’Donnell - D) AB 902 establishes an alternative design-build pilot project to procure school construction contracts. According to CDE, in 2019-20, 11 school districts had an enrollment of more than 50,000 students. Fiscal Impact: This bill was not expected to result in high costs to local school districts or the state. For school districts electing to utilize the design-build contract methodology proposed by this measure, there could be cost savings for those facility projects compared to other procurement methods. The bill had no opposition, so why was it killed? Good question. Status: DEAD

SB 991 (Newman - D) SB 991 will allow Local Water Agencies (LWA) to contract with entities that utilize the Progressive Design-Build method to execute a public works project. Progressive Design-Build (PDB) is a contracting model in which a public agency hires a single entity to design and construct a project at the earliest feasible stage. Includes a mandate for STWF, including an exemption for projects covered by a PLA. It contains language that deems a union contractor “safe.” Status: 8/8/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 1422 (Hertzberg - D) SB 1422 authorizes, until January 1, 2028, a state or local agency to use alternative contracting procedures for the purchase or installation of carpet, resilient flooring, synthetic turf, or lighting fixtures, so long as the installation work is not performed in connection with new construction, and the contractor complies with specified wage and labor requirements. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

Apprenticeship

SB 1351 (Durazo - D) This bill establishes a program within the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, called the California Youth Apprenticeship Program, to develop new or expand on existing apprenticeship programs targeting 16 to 24-year-olds who are unhoused in the welfare or juvenile justice system or otherwise facing barriers to labor market participation Status: 8/10/2022 - Dead

Business Issues

AB 732 (Quirk - D) This bill changes the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2021, deletes obsolete provisions related to registered hazardous waste transporters, and makes additional technical and conforming changes. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

Construction Practices

AB 1867 (Lee - D) This bill requires the governing board of a school district intending to seek state funding for specified school modernization projects to include, as part of the project, faucet aerators and water-conserving plumbing fixtures in all bathrooms. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

SB 1393 (Archuleta - D) This bill requires local governments to consider the CEC’s guidance on building electrification when adopting ordinances that require the electrification of existing buildings. Status: 8/10/2022 - Dead

EVC

AB 1738 (Boerner Horvath - D) AB 1738 will require the Building Standards Commission (BSC) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to research, develop, and propose the adoption of mandatory building standards for the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in existing multifamily dwellings and nonresidential development when existing parking facilities are being retrofitted, added, or altered. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

AB 2061 (Ting - D) This bill would require entities receiving state or ratepayer funding for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure to report on charging station uptime and excluded time and would require the California Energy Commission (CEC) to assess this data and consider adopting tools to improve related metrics. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

SB 1482 (Allen - D) This bill requires access to an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for each dwelling unit with access to a parking space in a multifamily dwelling. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

GHG

SB 905 (Skinner - D) This bill tasks CARB with several responsibilities surrounding geologic carbon sequestration demonstration projects, including but not limited to developing a geologic carbon sequestration demonstration initiative; funding 1-3 projects therein by January 1, 2026; developing program guidelines and criteria; and acting as lead agency under CEQA for any geologic carbon sequestration demonstration projects. It requires projects to use a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless there is a PLA. Status: 8/3/2022 - Assembly floor

Housing

AB 2011 (Wicks - D) AB 2011 would enact the “Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022” to create a ministerial, streamlined approval process for 100% affordable housing projects in commercial zones and mixed-income housing projects along commercial corridors, as specified. The bill would also impose set labor standards on those projects, including requirements that contractors pay prevailing wages, participate in apprenticeship programs, and make specified healthcare expenditures. On PLA projects, no CPRs are required, and the Labor Commissioner may not enforce the labor code. On development projects of 50 or more units, a contractor with construction craft employees shall make health care expenditures for each employee in an amount per hour worked on the development equivalent to at least the hourly pro-rata cost of a Covered California Platinum level plan for two 40-year-old adults and two dependents 0 to 14 years of age for the Covered California rating area in which the development is located. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

SB 886 (Wiener - D) This bill exempts faculty and staffing housing projects and student housing projects meeting specified requirements from CEQA. There are at least 12 existing CEQA housing exemptions, some of which may apply to a university housing development project depending on the project’s scope, size, and individual characteristics. Requires the use of a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless there is a PLA. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 1226 (Durazo - D) This bill allows, until January 1, 2032, private, nonprofit corporations that provide services to zero-emission transportation systems or facilities to join a joint powers authority (JPA) or enter into a joint powers agreement with one or more public agencies to facilitate the development, construction, and operation of zero-emission transportation systems or facilities that lower greenhouse gases, reduce vehicle congestion and vehicle miles traveled, and improve public transit connections. Exempts PLA projects from CPRs, Skilled and Trained Workforce, and Labor Commissioner enforcement. Status: 8/4/2022 - Assembly floor

Labor Law

SB 1044 (Durazo - D) This bill prohibits an employer, in the event of a state of emergency or an emergency condition, from taking or threatening adverse action against an employee who feels unsafe and leaves or refuses to report to the workplace. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

Licensure

SB 216 (Dodd - D) This bill does four things: it requires the C-8 (concrete contractors), C-20 (HVAC contractors), C-22 (asbestos abatement contractors), and D-49 (tree service contractors) license classifications to the license classifications required to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have no employees, as a condition of being licensed by the CSLB; it requires, beginning January 1, 2026, all classifications under the CSLB’s jurisdiction to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, even if that contractor has no employees, as a condition of being licensed by the CSLB; it exempts joint ventures from the workers’ compensation insurance requirements, and prohibits the CSLB from accepting certificates of exemption from workers’ compensation on behalf of a licensee beginning January 1, 2026. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

Practice

SB 1164 (Stern - D) This bill requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop and implement (1) statewide electronic heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment sales registry and compliance tracking system and (2) an electronic statewide compliance document data registry. Status: 8/3/2022 - Dead

Public Works

AB 1717 (Aguiar-Curry - D) AB 1717 expands the definition of “public works” to include fuel reduction work paid for in whole or in part out of public funds performed as part of a fire mitigation project. It increases the cost of crucial fire mitigation projects around communities and critical infrastructure by including these projects in the definition of ‘public works,’ thus subjecting them to prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

AB 1851 (Rivas, Robert - D) AB 1851 would expand the definition of “public works” to include the on-hauling of materials used for paving, grading, and fill onto a public works site if the individual driver’s work is integrated into the flow process of construction. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

AB 2143 (Carrillo - D) This bill requires a contractor to pay prevailing wages on renewable energy installation projects with a generating capacity of more than 15 kilowatts (kWs) and which receive service under an electric utility’s net energy metering (NEM) tariff. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

SB 954 (Archuleta - D) This bill requires DIR to develop and implement an online database of certified payroll records submitted to comply with Public Works requirements. The Labor Commissioner or a joint labor-management committee can then use this information to streamline checking for compliance. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 1422 (Hertzberg - D) SB 1422 authorizes, until January 1, 2028, a state or local agency to use alternative contracting procedures for the purchase or installation of carpet, resilient flooring, synthetic turf, or lighting fixtures, so long as the installation work is not performed in connection with new construction, and the contractor complies with specified wage and labor requirements Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SES

AB 2316 (Ward - D) This bill would require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish a new community renewable energy program that meets specified criteria. PLA construction means no CPRs or Labor Commissioner authority. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

STWF

AB 1602 (McCarty - D) This bill establishes the California Student Housing Revolving Loan Fund Act of 2022 (Fund) to provide zero-interest loans to qualifying applicants of the University of California (UC), the California State University (CSU), and the California Community Colleges (CCC) to construct affordable student, faculty, and staff housing. Requires using a Skilled and Trained Workforce UNLESS there is a PLA and exempts PLA projects from keeping CPRs. Status: 8/2/2022 - Dead

AB 1775 (Ward - D) This bill imposes workplace safety training, certification, and staffing requirements for which an entertainment events vendor must provide written certification to a contracting entity. The entertainment events vendor must certify that its employees and any subcontractors’ employees meet the conditions for a skilled and trained workforce. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

AB 2046 (Medina - D) This bill establishes the Inland Rising Fund to support the multiyear operating costs for the development, operation, and maintenance of economic development and innovative climate change research efforts, and health care and medical research operations at the UC Riverside (UCR) and UC Merced. This bill requires STWF, but with a PLA, no penalties or reporting are needed. Status: 8/11/2022 - Senate floor

SB 1136 (Portantino - D) This bill expands a provision in existing law that requires public agencies, at the time of adoption of a rule or regulation requiring the installation of pollution control equipment or a performance standard or treatment requirement, to perform an environmental analysis of the reasonably foreseeable methods of compliance, to also apply to the adoption of a rule or regulation requiring the reduction in greenhouses gases (GHG), criteria air pollutants, or toxic air contaminants. This bill also requires projects to meet specific labor requirements to utilize a focused environmental impact report (EIR), including payment of prevailing wage and use of a “skilled and trained” workforce, unless there is a PLA. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 1295 (Limón - D) This bill establishes labor requirements for specified activities related to plugging and abandoning oil and gas wells and authorizes an increase in the annual expenditure limit from the Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administrative Fund (OGGAF). The bill would require the division to develop a procurement process to group multiple oil well projects and use project labor agreements to deliver projects. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

Taxes/Fees

SB 485 (Portantino - D) This bill extends the Film and TV Tax Credit 3.0, which authorizes the California Film Commission to allocate $330 million in tax credits each fiscal year from 2024-25 to 2029-30. Status: 8/3/2022 - Assembly floor

Workers Comp

AB 2894 (Cooper - D) AB 2894 requires all active licensees to, at the time of renewal, provide workers’ compensation classification codes to the CSLB. Status: 8/2/2022 - Dead

SB 216 (Dodd - D) This bill does four things: it requires the C-8 (concrete contractors), C-20 (HVAC contractors), C-22 (asbestos abatement contractors), and D-49 (tree service contractors) license classifications to the license classifications required to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have no employees, as a condition of being licensed by the CSLB; it requires, beginning January 1, 2026, all classifications under the CSLB’s jurisdiction to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation insurance, even if that contractor has no employees, as a condition of being licensed by the CSLB; it exempts joint ventures from the workers’ compensation insurance requirements, and prohibits the CSLB from accepting certificates of exemption from workers’ compensation on behalf of a licensee beginning January 1, 2026. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

SB 1127 (Atkins - D) This bill modifies various timelines and penalties under the workers’ compensation system. The bill fundamentally alters longstanding rules and timeframes for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation claims and, as drafted, would dramatically increase systemic friction and litigation. Status: 8/11/2022 - Assembly floor

Legislative Calendar:

  • August 15 – 31: Floor Session only. No committees, other than conference and Rules, may meet for any purpose
  • August 25: Last Day to amend bills on the Floor
  • August 31: Last Day for each house to pass bills - Final Recess begins at the end of this day's session
  • September 30: Last day for Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before Sept. 1 and in the Governor’s possession on or after Sept. 1
  • November 8: General Election.
  • November 30: Adjournment Sine Die at midnight
  • December 5: Convening of the 2023-24 Regular Session
  • January 1, 2023: Statutes take effect

Lawmakers, Lobbyists Gather in Napa Ahead of Key Votes Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Artificial intelligence. Facial recognition technology. Health care innovation. The energy industry. Building tech economies in “underestimated” cities such as Fresno. Understanding the benefits of remote work. Helping small businesses thrive online. Those are among the topics that state lawmakers and tech industry lobbyists discussed recently at the luxurious four-star Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa Valley as part of an event dubbed the Technology Policy Summit, according to a draft copy of the agenda CalMatters obtained. The two-day conference — which, according to the draft agenda, began with a panel on how 5G technology can help address climate change and was followed by a reception and dinner — came precisely a week before lawmakers returned to the Capitol to make do-or-die decisions on a slate of controversial tech bills, including proposals to significantly expand kids’ privacy rights online, allow public prosecutors to hold social media companies liable for intentionally addicting youth, and regulate the cryptocurrency industry. Story

Why Is Lyft Bankrolling This California Ballot Measure on Electric Cars? California voters will decide in November whether to hike taxes on wealthy people and earmark the money for climate projects. But the effort has been bankrolled by an unlikely cheerleader: Lyft, the ride-hailing app that contributed to increased car emissions. Lyft has poured more than $15 million into the campaign for Proposition 30, a ballot measure to raise the income-tax rate for wealthy people to pay for programs to get more drivers into electric cars. The company’s involvement has divided Democrats who otherwise tend to be aligned over the state’s ambitious goals to reduce heat-trapping emissions that exacerbate climate change. Many environmentalists and building labor groups support the measure, while Gov. Gavin Newsom and the teachers' unions oppose it. Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton skewered the effort today.

Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake has embraced far-right positions and election denialism. Still, the former TV anchor retains an advantage that many other MAGA insurgent candidates lack: camera-ready polish and longtime familiarity with voters. Moreover, she has no campaign manager — unlike some other Republicans, she is engaging with the press these days. “I am beloved by people, and I’m not saying that to be boastful,” Lake tells Bender. “I was in their homes for the good times and the bad times.” On the trail, Lake “blurs the line between seriousness and showmanship” with finesse, he writes, drawing big crowds and even stirring 2024 Vice President chatter if she wins.

Surprising? Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) axed a tax adjustment in the Democrats’ recent tax, climate, and health care bill that would have increased taxes on investment income, especially for private equity and hedge fund managers. The move is just the latest she’s made to shield an industry that is also a significant funder of her campaigns. “Sinema has long aligned herself with the interests of private equity, hedge funds, and venture capital, helping her net at least $1.5 million in campaign contributions since she was elected to the House a decade ago. But the $983,000 she has collected since last summer more than doubled what the industry donated to her during all her preceding years in Congress combined,” reports the Associated Press in a review of campaign finance disclosures.

Under Arrest: The FBI arrested former one-term Democratic Rep. T.J. Cox on dozens of charges related to financial fraud, according to public records with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. The arrest took place around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Fresno. A statement from the Justice Department said the former congressman was charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering; one count of financial institution fraud; and one count of campaign contribution fraud. According to the Justice Department, if convicted in the 28-count indictment, Cox faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for wire fraud and money laundering. The indictment accuses Cox of using a cluster of business entities to enrich himself while saddling business partners with losses. The document describes a scheme in which Cox siphoned money into secret accounts and used the proceeds to pay debts, cover personal expenses such as private school tuition and fund his political campaign.

California Hospitals Use New Tactic to Delay Earthquake Safety Deadline California hospital interests want more time to comply with the state's earthquake-safety standards, and they have worked to get a significant hospital union on board with their legislative pitch — in exchange for a $25 minimum wage, four labor and industry groups familiar with negotiations have confirmed. SEIU-UHW is simultaneously lobbying to "establish healthcare worker minimum wage levels across the state and update 2030 seismic requirements to prevent hospital closures," according to a website it set up for the campaign. Any seismic deadline extension would have to come in the form of legislation since the earthquake requirements are set by state law. Proposed legislative language being circulated in the Capitol, dated Aug. 9, would extend the deadline to Jan. 1, 2037. Several labor groups — including the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which opposes such an extension — described negotiations involving seismic safety and higher wages in the works. The building industry stands to gain financially from the hospital retrofits required by state law. But the trades council says it opposes such a delay on safety grounds, arguing it could pose a risk to health care workers, patients, and anyone else who enters a California hospital. “We are advocates for raising the bar for what people make, but this just comes at too high of a cost,” said Erin Lehane, a spokesperson for the trades council.

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Thursday, August 4, 2022   WECA Political Update August 4, 2022

Travel Season — Lawmakers and interest group representatives spent part of the July recess in Montreal and Maine to learn about recycling for the latest California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy voyage. Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), Assemblymember Heath Flora (R-Ripon), and Treasurer Fiona Ma joined officials from waste management companies, Google, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the American Forest and Paper Association, and others. The trip comes after Allen shepherded a landmark plastics recycling bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk after multiple failed attempts in the Legislature, averting what looked likely to be an expensive campaign battle over a ballot initiative to overhaul plastic waste and impose a new tax on producers. Such trips have become a tradition for lawmakers and groups with business before Sacramento. CFEE, whose board is a cross-section of political players like unions, utilities, business organizations, and local government groups, covers the costs. The Chairman is former State Building and Construction Trades Council boss Bob Balgenorth, and their President/CEO is Jay Hansen, former building trades lobbyist. Wieckowski is leaving office on August 31 – so that trip will undoubtedly help immensely for his last month in the Senate!

Working in Colorado? They Enacted Wage Theft Amendments, Increasing Employer Penalties, and Permitting Class-wide Demands Colorado has modified the state’s wage theft laws with Senate Bill 22-161. Among other things, the wide-ranging amendments increase penalties for employers that do not timely pay wages, allow employees to demand wages on behalf of a class of similarly situated employees, permit the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Labor Standards and Statistics (“Division”) to investigate such demands on a class-wide basis, and severely limit employers’ ability to recover attorney’s fees for successfully defending a claim. The amendments also impose additional requirements on employers to deduct the value of unreturned company equipment from an employee’s final payment. While some provisions take effect on August 10, 2022, the most significant changes are effective on January 1, 2023. Colorado has again modified the state’s wage theft laws by enacting Senate Bill 22-161. Among other things, the wide-ranging amendments increase penalties for employers that do not timely pay wages, allow employees to demand wages on behalf of a class of similarly situated employees, permit the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Labor Standards and Statistics (“Division”) to investigate such demands on a class-wide basis, and severely limit employers’ ability to recover attorney’s fees for successfully defending a claim. The amendments also impose additional requirements on employers to deduct the value of unreturned company equipment from an employee’s final payment. While some provisions take effect on August 10, 2022, the most significant changes are effective on January 1, 2023. More

Does the new California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) apply to employers? Yes. More

Former President Donald Trump's sway among Arizona Republicans appears intact as his picks for Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Arizona Attorney General, and Secretary of State pull ahead. The most significant outstanding question mark from Tuesday’s primaries remains unanswered in the Arizona GOP gubernatorial race: Kari Lake (the Donald Trump-backed candidate) still leads Karrin Taylor Robson (the Mike Pence-backed pick) by two percentage points as of publishing time.
Lake led in every county but Maricopa.

Ruben Gallego's campaign teases Senate challenge to Kyrsten Sinema, raises money off idea Rep. Ruben Gallego is campaign fundraising off the prospect of his running against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona's 2024 Democratic primary. "Many people are asking Ruben if he will run against Senator Kyrsten Sinema," a promoted June 18 Facebook post says. "We know many of you hope he does, and he appreciates that fact. That’s one of the reasons he is asking you to contribute to his campaign today. Because if he is going to run against her, he’ll need to win his re-election campaign this November and build a strong grassroots movement." The Facebook ad says any contributions will go toward his House re-election effort this year. Story

The New York Times looked at the CHIPS+ bill and asked Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and NEC Director Brian Deese about it. “The legislation will hand significant power over the private sector to the Commerce Department (shudder), which will choose which companies qualify for the money. The department has already said it will prefer companies that invest in research, new facilities, and workforce training, rather than those that engage in the kind of share buybacks that have been prevalent in recent years.” However, the Times neglected to mention the requirements to pay local prevailing wages on construction projects receiving grants to aid semiconductor development. President Joe Biden said on July 26, "It was a top priority for me to ensure that incentives for semiconductors have a Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirement. And these semiconductor projects—there are billions of dollars and thousands of construction jobs in each of these sites." In addition, the bill contains $52 billion in subsidies and tax credits for any global chip manufacturer that chooses to set up new or expand existing operations in the United States, along with more than $200 billion toward scientific research in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law on Aug. 9.

One of my favorite maxims is "no good deed goes unpunished." And now the distillers and brewers who helped stave off hand sanitizer shortages during COVID are now being targeted by the FDA with threats of recalls and fines over harmless ingredients. Distillers across the U.S. are beginning to face the wrath of the health agency after promises that their cooperation in producing hand sanitizer to keep businesses, government agencies, and families stocked up would be met with leniency. For one Central Coast distiller, who produced hand sanitizer for Federal agencies, the FDA is applying intense pressure to institute a recall (or face fines) over the presence of a specific ingredient found in higher quantities in food and wines. Story

Inside the donor network reshaping CA politics Govern for California’s 18 chapters have so far donated more than $3 million to candidates across California in the 2022 election cycle. One of the top beneficiaries is Assemblymember Robert Rivas, a Salinas Democrat. Govern For California is funded mainly by a small group of tech leaders, financiers, and other wealthy donors from the Bay Area. Their goal: counter the sway of special interests, especially labor unions, in the state Capitol. The organization is the brainchild of Stanford lecturer David Crane. One of its longtime political advisors is Rick Rivas, Robert’s brother. Story
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Thursday, July 21, 2022   WECA Political Update July 21, 2022

NLRB Reaffirms Regional Directors’ Discretion to Dismiss Election Petitions Absent a Hearing On June 15, 2022, in Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Inc., 371 NLRB No. 109, the National Labor Relations Board reaffirmed that regional directors have the authority to dismiss representation and decertification petitions if the regional director determines there is merit to an unfair labor practice charge involving misconduct “that would irrevocably taint the petition and any related election.” This 3-2 decision illustrates a sharp division among Board members regarding the regional director’s discretion to administratively dismiss a timely filed decertification petition without first holding an evidentiary hearing on the impact of pending but unproven unfair labor practice allegations. More
 
November election news: In a sign that California could play a pivotal role in determining which party secures control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, five of the six candidates added Monday to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program are running in California. The candidates include Kermit Jones (running against Kevin Kiley in CA-03), Adam Gray (running against John Duarte in CA-13), Christy Smith (running for a third time against Mike Garcia CA-27), Asif Mahmood (running against Young Kim in CA-40), and Will Rollins (running against Ken Calvert in CA-41). They’ll receive fundraising, organizing, and other support from the committee as it seeks to flip GOP-held seats. Californians now account for more than one-fifth of the 33 candidates in the Red to Blue program, according to the Los Angeles Times. Two other candidates, Jay Chen, (running against Michelle Steel in CA-45) and Rudy Salas (running against David Valadao in CA-22), were already on the list. A similar program run by the National Republican Congressional Committee called “Young Guns” supports five California House candidates.
 
Fresno Council President Charged with Felony Over Alleged Extortion In allegations made by fellow city councilman Garry Bredefeld — and corroborated publicly by City Attorney Sloan – Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza allegedly told Sloan to work only for a majority of four councilmembers or face termination.
 
Fresno Supervisors Move $7B Measure C Renewal One Step Closer to Ballot A projected $7 billion transportation tax that could shape road building, mass transit, and maintenance for a generation is one step closer to the ballot. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on July 12 to advance a spending plan on the renewal of Measure C, the half-cent transportation sales tax on the books since 1986. The current version expires in 2027. Measure C leaders have been pushing for a November 2022 renewal to take advantage of project costs they say will only go up. Boosters also want to avoid a 2024 presidential ballot they predict will be “divisive.” Story
 
San Francisco Ranked the World's Most Expensive City for Construction The city overtakes Tokyo as inflation and supply chain snarls affect global markets. A new report by Turner & Townsend quantifies what contractors who work in San Francisco already know: Doing business there is expensive. The report, published this week, found that construction in San Francisco costs $4,728.50 per square meter ($439.29 per square foot) due to a perfect storm of inflation, supply chain issues, and demand from tech companies such as Google, Apple, and more. Last year’s top city, Tokyo, fell to the No. 2 spot on the list, followed by Osaka, Japan, which was included on the list for the first time.

In total, North America had four markets in the top 10. Aside from San Francisco, New York City ranked fourth, Boston ranked eighth, and Los Angeles ranked ninth, per the report. According to a press release, significant shifts in North American markets were driven primarily by the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, higher building material costs caused by supply chain disruptions, and high labor costs. A worldwide skilled labor shortage has bottlenecked development and forced contractors into delays and project disruptions. In this year’s survey, 79.6% of markets were experiencing skills shortages, and 15.9% were in balance. According to the release, only 4.5% of markets had a surplus in construction labor. The report comes as the U.S. construction industry battles wage and employment issues, with wages expected to beat projections even as hiring is slowing. More
 
Unions kill Amazon Hub in Newark, and Thousands of Jobs Love them or hate them, Amazon invests and creates jobs, but that didn’t stop a coalition of unions from helping to kill a planned airport cargo center in New Jersey, for which Amazon intended to hire 1,000 workers, and invest hundreds of millions of dollars over 20 years. The project, which hinged on a 20-year lease worth hundreds of millions of dollars, attracted opposition after the Port Authority disclosed it last summer. Story
 
Senate Retirement Tracker: Currently, six members (five Republicans and one Democrat) of the Senate have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2022. The Republicans are Pat Toomey (R-PA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Democratic member is Pat Leahy (D-VT). There will also be a special election to finish the term of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). That special election will coincide with the regular Senate election in Oklahoma, similar to the Georgia Senate elections from the 2020 cycle.
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House Retirement Tracker: Currently, 51 House members (19 Republicans and 32 Democrats) have announced that they will not seek re-election to the House in 2022. The Republicans are Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Mo Brooks (R-AL-05), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01), Ted Budd (R-NC-13), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04), Billy Long (R-MO-07), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01), John Katko (R-NY-24), Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-09), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02), Fred Keller (R-PA-12), Van Taylor (R-TX-03), Fred Upton (R-MI-04), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), and Chris Jacobs (R-NY-23). The Democratic members not running for re-election to the House are Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-02), Val Demings (D-FL-10), Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Conor Lamb (D-PA-17), Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Filemon Vela (D-TX-34), Karen Bass (D-CA-37), John Yarmuth (D-KY-03), David Price (D-NC-04), Anthony Brown (D-MD-04), Mike Boyle (D-PA-18), GK Butterfield (D-NC-01), Jackie Speier (D-CA-14), Tom Souzzi (D-NY-03), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04), Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-07), Bobbie Rush (D-IL-01), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), Albio Sires (D-NJ-08), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), Jerry McNerney (D-CA-09), Jim Langevin (D-RI-02), Earl Perlmutter (D-CO-07), Jim Cooper (D-TN-05), Kathleen Rice (D-NY-04), Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), and Kai Kahele (D-HI-02).
 
California Employers Soon May Be Subject to a Workplace Violence Safety Standard On May 17, 2022, Cal/OSHA released a draft regulation for workplace violence prevention that applies to all California employers, with only limited exceptions. Cal/OSHA is seeking input from interested parties by July 18, 2022. Currently, Cal/OSHA’s workplace violence regulations only apply to employers in the health care industry. For non-health-care industries, Cal/OSHA regulates workplace violence using the employer’s obligation to regularly identify and evaluate workplace hazards under Section 3203 of Cal/OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Standard. More
 
If Employers Test Union Certification and Lose, Will They Have to Pay? On June 24, 2022, the NLRB sought an order forcing an employer who refused to negotiate with a certified union to pay back wages and benefits to employees that they allegedly could have earned absent the delay in bargaining during the time the employer appealed the NLRB’s certification of the union as the exclusive bargaining representative in federal court. Story
 
Halfway through the primary calendar, the number of state legislative incumbents defeated in primaries is up 65% State legislative incumbents are losing to primary challengers at an increased rate this year compared to 2020. Across the 26 states that have held primaries, 132 incumbents — 27 Democrats and 105 Republicans — have lost. This represents a 65% increase from 2020 among these states at the same juncture in 2020. This increase has been driven by Republican losses, up 98% from 53 in 2020. For Democrats, the number defeated this year remains the same.



Here are five facts about state legislative incumbent primary losses:

·        In total, 5.0% of incumbents running for re-election this year have lost, up from defeat rates ranging from 2.4% to 3.4% since 2014.
·        Of the 26 states that have held primaries, 22 have had at least one state legislative incumbent lose in a primary.
·        The defeat rate is highest in Idaho, where 18 incumbents— all Republicans — lost to challengers. That represents 24% of all incumbents who filed for re-election.
·        Twenty-nine of the 132 incumbents defeated (22%) were guaranteed to lose because of redistricting (when states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can often end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections). Twenty-three Republican incumbents lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries, while six Democrats lost in incumbent v. incumbent primaries.
 
Arizona Business Groups Announce Opposition to Labor Union-Backed Debt Collection Initiative Two of the state’s leading business groups have announced their opposition to an initiative that would decimate Arizonans’ ability to secure credit and financing. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Greater Phoenix Chamber said they oppose what proponents have dubbed the “Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act.” Story
 
Hello From a New Citizens Initiative Voice of San Diego reported that former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer “is not just playing pundit on KUSI these days. He’s also making calls to gauge support for a new citizen initiative he wants to get on the ballot in November 2024. We are not entirely sure what the measure will be. Still, it would likely fall along the lines of one that voters in Sacramento will consider, which would make it illegal for unsheltered residents to camp on the street once there are enough city shelters and safe camping options.
 
UI Tax increases We mentioned last time that California mainly ignored the debt it incurred to pay the enhanced UI benefits during COVID. It turns out California is not alone. Connecticut, Illinois, and New York — all Democratic-led states with budget surpluses — have decided “not to fully repay the federal government for money borrowed to fund unemployment benefits,” according to the Wall Street Journal, “a move that will impose increased charges on businesses to help make up the difference.” What happens next: “If the debts aren’t fully repaid by Nov. 10, as officials in the four states envision, the federal government will start charging $21 per employee annually on all businesses in the states next year. In addition, state taxes on businesses to fund their unemployment programs will increase by varying amounts.” Story



Sinema’s vote critical as Senate Democrats attempt to pass slimmer Build Back Better The Biden White House and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer are negotiating with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin to pass a slimmed-down version of the failed Build Back Better bill, a sweeping multi-trillion-dollar domestic policy and spending package that collapsed last December. Ariz. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will determine whether a revised bill gains traction. Story
 
Calling Mulder and Scully The House voted last week to create a secure government system to report UFOs and to compel current and former officials to reveal what they might know about the mysterious phenomena by promising to protect them from reprisal. It was a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and passed without debate. I’ll post the link if you have something to report.
 
‘A very dangerous situation’ The most advanced category of mass-produced semiconductors — used in smartphones, military technology, and much more — is known as 5 nm. A single company in Taiwan, known as TSMC, makes about 90 percent of them. U.S. factories make none. The situation can potentially cause a national security crisis: If China were to invade Taiwan and cut off exports of semiconductors, the American military would be at risk of being overmatched by its main rival for global supremacy. One vocal opponent of the bill is the Chinese government. Its state media has criticized the idea as “bullying” and part of a “Cold War mentality.” No country’s share of semiconductor manufacturing has recently increased as rapidly as China’s. Story
 
Lawmakers Jet Around the World What exactly do state lawmakers do when they aren’t in Sacramento? A common activity is embarking on trips funded not by taxpayers but by special interests that lobby the Legislature — typically a combination of labor unions, corporations, and trade associations. For example, after finishing the legislative session last year, groups of lawmakers jetted off to Portugal and Maui on trips sponsored by various interest groups. Another delegation of lawmakers went to Iceland this spring. Story
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Top Five Labor Law Developments for June 2022
·        The National Labor Relations Board modified its electronic notice posting requirements for workplaces impacted by COVID-19.
·        The NLRB issued its spring rulemaking agenda, which focuses on the joint-employer status and its Election Protection Rule.
·        The NLRB’s General Counsel (GC) issued a memorandum updating the make-whole remedies that regional offices can seek in settlement agreements, including the cost of baby formula.
·        The NLRB’s Buffalo regional office filed a petition in district court for a nationwide cease and desist order against Starbucks.
·        Workers at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Augusta, Maine, filed an NLRB election petition, trying to become the first unionized location for the restaurant chain.

Madame Ambassador: Republican business executive and former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman will be the Biden administration’s ambassador to Kenya after winning Senate approval. It’s a full-circle moment for Whitman, who lost an expensive contest — much of it her own money — to Democrat Jerry Brown back in 2010. Fast-forward to 2020: Brown had left office as the state’s longest-serving governor, and Whitman had aligned with Democrats by endorsing Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention. That support helped Whitman secure a nomination. She has ironically fared better than Los Angeles Mayor Democrat Eric Garcetti, a top Biden campaign surrogate. Garcetti's India ambassadorship nomination has stalled allegations that the mayor knew of a former prominent aide’s alleged sexual misconduct. Garcetti's parents hired a top lobbying firm to help him secure the nomination. The firm, McGuireWoods Consulting, registered to lobby on behalf of Sukey and Gil Garcetti for “Outreach Related to Confirmation for Ambassadorship Nomination.” [Politico]
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Thursday, July 7, 2022   WECA Political Update July 7, 2022

A Troubling Trend for Public Works in California Until recently, the State Building and Construction Trades Council required authors of prevailing wage legislation to incorporate one or more of the following “boilerplate” provisions:

·        A mandate for a Skilled and Trained Workforce. But if a PLA is in place, the contractor is not required to report monthly of its compliance, and instead of the $10,000 per month penalties levied by DLSE, an arbitration alternative to solve the issue,
·        A waiver for contractors to keep and submit certified payroll records,
·        A prohibition of DLSE enforcement wage and hour violations on PLA projects,
·        A definition of “safe contractor” that includes all union contractors, regardless of their experience or safety record,
·        And a general requirement to pay prevailing wages, even on 100% private work.

However, in 2021, Assembly Member Burke – who authored AB 680 – started a trend when she renounced her elected position and abruptly quit her job on January 31, citing the “challenges of a post-COVID-19 landscape and wanting to spend more time with her family” and become a lobbyist. Burke announced via Twitter that she joined Axiom Advisors, “a full-service government affairs firm that provides strategic consulting to clients in Sacramento and throughout California, as a principal consultant.” Axiom is the brainchild of Jason Kinney. CalMatters noted after the 2018 election, referring to Kinney, “As the revolving door turns, a Capitol fixer is poised to ascend with Gavin Newsom—and legal weed.”

But back to the trend. AB 680 was the first bill to link State funds to a PLA. AB 680 established the California Jobs Plan Act of 2021, which requires the State Air Resources Board (CARB) to work with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to update, by July 1, 2025, the funding guidelines for administering agencies to ensure that all applicants to grant programs funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) meet fair and responsible employer standards and provide inclusive procurement policies. So, what did the State Legislature and Gavin Newsom define as “inclusive?” First, proponents shall provide evidence of a community workforce agreement for construction projects over one million dollars ($1,000,000) in funding. The bill defines a “community workforce agreement” as a project labor agreement that includes a targeted hire plan.

The passage of AB 680 and its enactment established that the Democratic leadership in California had zero concern about linking PLAs to state funding. As a result, in 2022, language similar to that in AB 680 is showing up in many bills:

·        AB 1161 (Garcia, Eduardo-D) Electricity: eligible renewable energy and zero-carbon resources: state agencies: procurement. Requires the Department of Water Resources to only purchase power from projects constructed using project labor agreements.
·        AB 2419 (Bryan-D) Environmental justice: federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Justice40 Advisory Committee. For a construction project that will cost $5,000,000 or more, IIJA funds may be allocated only if the construction project will be performed under a PLA.
·        SB 22 (Glazer-D) Education finance: school facilities: Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2022. It requires the Department of General Services to prioritize projects for funding, including using a project labor agreement (PLA).
·        SB 162 Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review establishes the Community Economic Resilience Fund Program, administered by the Workforce Services Branch at the Employment Development Department. The program shall be overseen by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Office of Planning and Research, and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development referred to as the Inter-Agency Leadership Team. Projects funded by CERF must “support labor standards where applicable, such as prevailing wage, project labor agreements, or community workforce agreements.”
·        SB 1020 (Laird-D) Clean Energy, Jobs, and Affordability Act of 2022. This bill establishes interim targets to reach SB 100 clean energy goals and requires state agencies to purchase 100 percent zero-carbon electricity by 2030 to serve their load. Requires new procurement commitments made on behalf of a state agency to be constructed with contractors using multi-craft project labor agreements. Requires new procurements made for the State Water Project after February 1, 2022, to use multi-craft project labor agreements for construction.
·        SB 1105 (Hueso-D) San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Agency. Creates the San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Finance Agency and grants it the authority to impose taxes and fees. The bill would also require the agency to execute a PLA with the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and the San Diego Housing Federation before placing a measure on the ballot to raise revenue for the agency.

From one bill in 2021 to six in 2022 is a troubling trend!
 
Why Does IBEW Hate Rooftop Solar? Our brothers and sisters at the IBEW are trying their best to put proverbial nails into the coffin of rooftop solar. Why and how?

First is their long-term effort to prohibit C-46 solar contractors from installing anything bigger than the rough equivalent of a “D cell” battery in any rooftop PV they install. They want all C-46 to become C-10 and hire only certified electricians. While many of you C-10s will agree this idea makes sense, it is another example of how the IBEW controls the industry – and how the government is a willing contributor. CSLB recently decided to open the regulatory process to cap the size of BESS a C-46 can install.

Second, for years IBEW has led an effort to revise the tariff for net-energy metering (NEM), which would drastically cut the payments rooftop solar owners receive from utilities for the energy they feed back into the system.

Third, and perhaps best is AB 2143 (Carrillo), which will require that prevailing wage be paid on renewable energy installation projects with a generating capacity of more than 15 kilowatts (kWs) and which receive service under an electric utility’s NEM tariff. The bill's sponsors, the California State Association of Electrical Workers and the Coalition of California Utility Employees, explained in their support letter that “AB 2143 addresses two critical issues surrounding the rooftop solar. First, it addresses the exclusion of lower-income communities from participating in rooftop solar.” (So, assuming a PW requirement raises the cost of rooftop solar, higher costs improve things for “lower-income communities”!) Second, “AB 2143 would require the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to submit an annual report to the Legislature documenting the progress of rooftop solar deployment by zip code and census track to fix rooftop solar inequities in communities facing the largest cost shifts.” Ah, that explains it!

Now, the why. IBEW represents both the employee electricians of signatory C-10 contractors AND utility employees! The union C-10s will, arguably, already be paying PW as part of the CBA, so it won’t make them any less competitive (and perhaps more competitive if every installer is now paying PW) and, more importantly, if this makes rooftop PV unaffordable, utilities will be left as the only supplier of solar power – a double win for IBEW.

Concerns about the impact on clean energy didn’t stop Democrats Dave Cortese, Maria Elena Durazo, and Josh Newman from passing the bill out of committee but Democrat (and frequent target of construction union animosity Scott Wiener) joined the only Republican on the Labor Committee, Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, in voting no. After that, the bill goes to the Appropriations Committee, then to the floor in August.
 
U.I. Loan California will pay down a fraction of its U.I. debt - only $1 billion over two years – toward the $17.8-billion federal loan that the state used to fill a hole left by a surge in unemployment claims during the worst of the pandemic. This is despite an almost $100 billion windfall budget surplus in 2021-22! “Why so little when the State could have paid all the debt it incurred with the budget surplus?”, you ask. A power play of public employee unions. They want to blow open the Jarvis-Gann Limit (Prop 13) and expect influential (and wealthy) groups, the realtors, the apartment owners, and other business groups to oppose it. Unions will bargain with these groups to remove or soften their opposition, or the unions will prohibit (through their control of Democrats) the State from repaying the loan, which will trigger massive increases in U.I. premiums on California employers. These premium jumps are required when a state borrows money but chooses not to repay it.
 
City of Phoenix forgoes more water from Lake Mead due to declining levels. The city of Phoenix said Friday that it would forfeit delivery of an additional 14,000 acre-feet, or 4.5 billion gallons, of Colorado River water to shore up Lake Mead. Story
 
Fresno lawmakers back off hefty pay raises: This proposal would reorient how Fresno's City Council is paid, tying their salaries to the hefty compensation offered to Fresno County Superior Court judges and Fresno County Supervisors isn't going to happen. Instead, lawmakers agreed to a more modest, scaled pay bump over the next three years to bring their pay closer to the city councils of the state's largest cities. The pay proposal, introduced amid Fresno's oft-contentious budget process, overshadowed record-spending for the fiscal year 2022-2023.
 
How many U.S. House incumbents lost re-election on June 28?

Election season is in full swing, and three U.S. House primaries incumbents — one Democrat and two Republicans — lost. Research suggests that the total number of incumbents defeated so far in 2022 is above the average decade. How many U.S. House incumbents lost in primaries, on average, between 2012 and 2020? 7? 14? 9? 4? I'll discuss the answer in a future bulletin.

And if things were not bad enough, Scientists predict a ketchup shortage by 2050. Scientists have a new concern about climate change... running out of ketchup. Story

Fifth Circuit Rules that COVID-19 Pandemic Did Not Trigger the “Natural Disaster” Exception to WARN Notice Requirements In the first such decision from a federal appellate court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled the COVID-19 pandemic is not a “natural disaster” that exempts employers from providing advance notice of mass layoffs and plant closures under the WARN Act. The court also opined that the natural-disaster exception requires proof of proximate causation, not but-for causation. Story

Unions protest $600M De Niro NYC Studio Project New York City union chapters took a united stance against Robert De Niro’s $600 million movie studio project on the Astoria waterfront that has broken ground and will primarily use non-union labor. The unions — including Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, Steamfitters Local 638, and Laborers’ Local 79 — protested the project on June 17, criticizing the actor for making outspoken pro-union comments publicly, but choosing to use non-union labor to build his Wildflower Studios building. Story

Transportation, Labor, Business, Environmental Groups Object to Biden Gas Tax Holiday Proposal; But At-Risk Democratic Members of Congress Applaud. Biden’s “gimmick” (Mitch McConnell’s words, not mine) has already received pushback from both sides of the aisle and prominent non-governmental organizations. In a letter sent to the White House, the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition and the Transportation Construction Coalition expressed their opposition as well. “Suspending the gas tax will not provide meaningful relief for consumers — it will instead subsidize the largest and most profitable industry on the planet,” the National Association of City Transportation Officials said in an emailed statement. Okay, I don’t have any photo of at-risk Democrats (or anyone, for that matter) applauding. Story

House Appropriations Subcommittee Advances Labor Spending Bill The House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee approved a bill funding the Labor Department for fiscal year 2023. Some of the labor policy provisions include a prohibition on the privatization of job search functions offered through the employment service system and a block on Trump-era apprenticeship programs overseen by the private sector. In addition, the measure would appropriate $319 million to the National Labor Relations Board — including $1 million to create a system for the agency to hold union elections electronically, a years-long push by Democrats. It would also spend $3.2 billion on unemployment insurance, which matches the White House’s request of $334 million more than fiscal year 2022. That does not include additional contingency funding to states if benefit claims spike. Lawmakers advanced the legislation by voice vote. But Republicans made clear they did not support the measure, which subcommittee ranking member Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said contained “poison-pill policy riders” that move the U.S. “toward a leftist agenda that is out of step with the American people.” Packaged alongside spending for the Education and Health and Human Services departments, the legislation proposes $15 billion in discretionary funds for DOL — a boost of $1.9 billion above what it had in fiscal year 2022 and $125 million more than President Joe Biden requested. That’s enough for sizable increases for the Employment and Training Administration ($1.3 billion more than fiscal year 2022) and OSHA ($100 million more than fiscal year 2022), among other agencies.

November Ballot

The Secretary of State's Office certified five initiatives for the November ballot recently, in addition to SCA 10, the Legislature's abortion constitutional amendment, which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 1 (specified by the passage of the SB 131 budget trailer bill), and the flavored tobacco referendum. Californians will not vote in November on raising the state's minimum wage to $18 an hour after a proposed ballot initiative fell just short of the ballot. Counties did not finish certifying that the measure had enough signatures before a June 30 deadline. The miss removes a high-profile — and likely expensive – fight from the ballot chessboard.

Legislative Calendar:

·        July 1 Summer Recess begins upon adjournment, provided Budget Bill has been passed
·        July 4 Independence Day / State holiday
·        Aug. 1 Legislature reconvenes from Summer Recess
·        Aug. 12 Last Day for fiscal committees to meet and report bills to the Floor
·        Aug. 15 - 31 Floor Session only. No committees, other than conference and Rules, may meet for any purpose
·        Aug. 25 Last Day to amend bills on the Floor
·        Aug. 31 Last Day for each house to pass bills
·        Final Recess begins at end of this day's session

And finally, a note from our friend and frequent collaborator, Eric Christen at CFEC.

Much is happening on the CEQA reform front:

ICON Lawsuit Against Union Extortion Notches Another Victory! In April, the ICON Company in Los Angeles had an appeals court unanimously reverse a lower court's decision on their project. Labor unions had used greenmail on the project to force ICON into “agreeing” to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). This was great news as ICON was now back to being fully entitled. BUT, then the unions filed a petition for review with the State Supreme Court. Ten amicus briefs were filed on the unions’ behalf requesting the review, including one from California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta! Well, the Supreme Court just denied their petition for review, which means that the published opinion is now and forever citable. ICON’s entitlements have been fully reinstated, and they should have smooth sailing in federal court with their antitrust case. Great news!

San Francisco Chronicle Opinion Piece Regarding Union CEQA Abuse: If you have not had a chance to read this op-ed by Robert Selna that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday regarding CEQA abuse by big labor special interests, here it is: Union CEQA Abuse Must Stop. Mr. Selna does an excellent job highlighting what we have been discussing and how reform is needed – now.
 
California Court Decries CEQA Abuse: In its stunning opinion delivered on May 12 in Tiburon Open Space Committee v. County of Marin, the First District of the California Court of Appeal upheld Marin County's approval of a 43-unit residential project following decades of "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) obstruction, governmental recalcitrance, and multiple court challenges. In so holding, the Court zealously denounced "official hostility" from "two levels of local government" and NIMBY litigation tactics aimed at preventing the construction of much-needed housing during a statewide housing crisis. The ultimate impact of the Tiburon Open Space Committee remains to be seen, but it has the potential to cast a long shadow. As acknowledged by the Court, "CEQA lawsuit abuse is worsening California's housing crisis. … Something is very wrong with this picture." Hopefully, the Court's forceful affirmation that CEQA is subordinate to state laws limiting the discretionary authority of local agencies to deny or pare the density of compliant housing projects will reduce opportunities to leverage CEQA as an "instrument for the oppression and delay" that has "become its own reward for project opponents." After all, as this important case makes clear, "CEQA is not meant to cause paralysis." Read the story here
 
Next Steps:
 
If your company is interested in CEQA reform and you want to join the next Zoom meeting, contact Eric Christen, Executive Director, Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction.
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