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WECA Political Update October 14, 2021

Thursday, October 14, 2021

BESS Update Effective October 1, 2021, the Contractors State License Board will not enforce or implement its July 27, 2021, decision to limit BESS installations to A, B, or C-10 contractors. The Board stipulated to not implement its July 27, 2021, decision until any appeals brought by the California Solar Energy Industries Association, Inc. are resolved.

Chamber takes Aim at BBB The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a significant, six-figure paid advertising campaign in opposition to the multi-trillion reconciliation bill (BBB) that poses a significant threat to the American economy. The ads, which can be viewed here, target key Congressional districts and future rounds may include more districts. The first round of ads targeted districts represented by several democrats including Josh Harder (D-CA-10).They can be viewed here.

Last Call for 2021 Governor Newsom took final action on the bills from 2021:

In 2021, the Legislature sent 836 bills to Governor Newsom for consideration, nearly twice as many as last year during the state’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic but still fewer than have come across the governor’s desk in other past years covered in this report. As the pandemic continued into 2021, the Senate and Assembly both limited the number of bills that legislators could move to the other house, reducing the number of bills considered by the Legislature this year.

Of the 836 bills Governor Newsom considered this year, 313 were Senate bills and 523 were Assembly bills. In total, he signed 770 into law and vetoed 66 bills. This is a veto rate of 7.89% for his third year in office.

The number of vetoes for 2021 is the ninth lowest of all the years reviewed in this report, beginning with 1967. The three years with the lowest number of vetoed bills were under Governor Jerry Brown (1982, 1981, 1978). In 1982, he vetoed just 30 of the 1,674 bills he considered, representing a veto rate of 1.79%.

Five of the six years with the highest percentage of vetoed bills (2008, 2010, 2009, 2004, 1998) were with Republican governors and Democratic majorities in both legislative houses (the exception was Governor Davis in 2000).

Governor Schwarzenegger holds the record for the highest percentage of bills vetoed in a year, 35.17% in 2008.

The Governor signed 13 bills which included PLA references. The worst was AB 680 (Burke) which requires recipients of GHGRF grants to adopt a PLA for any construction that exceeds $1.0 million. You can see a list of all WECA bills below.

Raquel Terán Assumes Office as Arizona State Senator, Creates Vacancy in State House Raquel Terán (D) assumed office as the senator for District 30 in the Arizona state Senate on Sept. 28. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Terán (D) to the district on Sept. 15. The seat became vacant in August when former state Sen. Tony Navarrete (D) resigned after being arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor. Terán will serve the remainder of Navarrete’s term, which was set to expire in January 2023. At the time she was appointed, Terán was serving her second term in the Arizona House of Representatives. Terán ran for the District 30 seat in the state Senate in 2012 and was defeated 51% to 49% by incumbent Robert Meza in the Democratic primary. Terán’s appointment to the state Senate creates a vacancy in the state House. When a vacancy occurs in the Arizona legislature, the board of county supervisors must select a replacement. Arizona is one of seven states that fill state legislative vacancies through board of county commissioners appointment.

Guide to Federal Contractor Obligations under Recent COVID-19 Executive Orders The federal government’s complicated multi-pronged approach to implementing COVID-19 safeguards related to federal contractors has left many confused. Littler offers this brief guide to help contractors understand their obligations and the timelines for implementation. Here
If California was made up of just these 35 counties, Gavin Newsom would have been recalled: “Without the Bay Area counties — some of which have the highest shares of ‘no recall’ votes — Newsom would no longer be in office” Story

Harris's poll numbers rise as Biden's fall, “Harris got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the administration, including a botched response on why she hadn’t traveled to the Mexican border, when she said she hadn’t been to Europe either. But her allies say Harris, whose difficult start provoked questions about her ability to be a future presidential candidate for the party, ‘has found her place’ in the White House.”

Harris Casts Ninth Tie-Breaking Vote as Vice President Vice President Kamala Harris (D) cast her ninth tie-breaking vote as the president of the Senate on Sept. 30. She voted to support a motion invoking cloture on the nomination of Rohit Chopra for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after a 50-50 tie. Chopra was ultimately confirmed by a 50-48 vote. Six of Harris’ tie-breaking votes have been related to advancing or confirming presidential nominees. In the past 40 years, only Vice President Mike Pence (R) has cast more tie-breaking votes: 13. John Adams cast the first tie-breaking vote on July 18, 1789. In total, there have been 277 tie-breaking votes from 37 vice presidents. Twelve vice presidents, including Joe Biden (D) and Dan Quayle (R), never cast a tie-breaking vote during their time in office. [Ballotpedia]

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expires - Now What? California’s latest supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) law, SB 95, which requires certain employers to provide paid leave to employees for qualifying COVID-19-related reasons, expires on September 30, 2021. No legislation has been passed to extend it and there are no bills on the horizon to replace it. This has left employers wondering what, if any, obligations they have if employees are absent for reasons related to COVID-19. Story

Project Labor Agreements

AB 137 (Committee on Budget-) Provides for the implementation and administration of a new statewide program to incentivize the construction of new multifamily and single-family market-rate residential buildings as all-electric buildings or with energy storage systems. Provides for the implementation of a Solar Restitution Program, to be administered by the Contractor State License Board and using one-time resources appropriated by the Legislature. The program would provide restitution to homeowners who were defrauded by licensed or unlicensed solar installers after January 1, 2016. It would cap awards to individuals at $40,000 and would require the board to deduct the amount the consumer recovered from other sources from the amount payable upon the consumer’s claim. Authorizes the Department of General Services to use the progressive design-build procurement process for up to three public works projects (with the usual SBCTC language). WECA position: Oppose

AB 143 (Committee on Budget-) Authorizes the Judicial Council to use a design-build procurement process in contracting and procuring public works projects and would authorize the Judicial Council to award contracts using either the best value or low bid selection method for all projects (with the usual SBCTC language) WECA position: Oppose

AB 271 (Rivas, Robert -D) AB 271 permits the Santa Clara Valley Water District to award contracts on a best value basis for any work of the Anderson Dam project. The bill would require the contractor to comply with the State's STWF mandates unless the District has a PLA. WECA position: OUA

AB 680 (Burke-D) Enacts the California Jobs Plan Act of 2021 which requires the Labor and Workforce Development Agency 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. Construction projects over one million dollars ($1,000,000) must be built with a project labor agreement (PLA). WECA position: Oppose

AB 846 (Low-D) Authorizes job order contracting (JOC) for community college districts in a manner similar to that authorized for school districts. Committee staff notes that language in AB 846 requiring the use of a skilled and trained workforce is redundant, given the requirement that a PLA is required on all work before a community college or school districts can use JOC. WECA position: OUA

AB 1174 (Grayson-D) Makes changes to the streamlined, ministerial process created by SB 35 (Wiener, Chapter 366, Statutes of 2017). WECA position: SIA

SB 7 (Atkins-D) This bill reenacts the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (Act), and expands the Act’s eligibility to include smaller housing projects, until January 1, 2026. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the requirement to submit certified payroll records, and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. WECA position: Oppose

SB 44 (Allen-D) Establishes expedited administrative and judicial review of environmental review and approvals granted for “environmental leadership transit projects” that meet specified requirements. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the requirement to submit certified payroll records, and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. WECA position: Oppose

SB 51 (Durazo-D) Makes changes to the Roberti Act (the Act) to encourage the sale of homes owned by Caltrans, located within the State Route (SR) 710 corridor in the El Sereno neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles (Los Angeles), for low- and moderate-income rental housing. Exempts PLA projects from CPRs and STWF. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. WECA position: Oppose

SB 144 (Portantino-D) Makes changes to the Film and TV Tax Credit administered by the California Film Commission (CFC), housed within the Governor’s Office of Business and Development (GO-Biz). Requires that the operation and maintenance of the soundstage must be performed by a workforce paid at least the prevailing rate that is either directly or through a payroll company employed by the soundstage owner or lessee; or a skilled and trained workforce, as defined in the Public Contract Code Chapter 2.9 (beginning with section 2600), if services are provided by a third-party vendor. WECA position: Oppose

SB 162 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review-) Establishes the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Program, to be 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. Requires the program to provide financial support to establish highroad transition collaboratives to design region and industry specific economic recovery and transition strategies. The Inter-Agency Leadership Team shall award planning grants on a competitive basis to each region. The plans must address economic diversification, industry planning, workforce development and safety net programs. The plans must prioritize high-quality jobs and equitable access to them and emphasize the development of sustainable industries. Provides that the Inter-Agency Leadership Team shall award competitive grants to implement the plans. Grant recipients must align with regional workforce needs by linking with high road training partnerships or high road construction career training programs. The implementation grants shall meet all of the following requirements:

(A) Support work prioritized through the high road transition collaborative planning process with the high road intent of this program.

(B) Demonstrate support of the regional intermediary and alignment with the high road transition collaborative plan.

(C) Support labor standards where applicable, such as prevailing wage, project labor agreements, or community workforce agreements.

SB 381 (Portantino-D) This bill makes changes to the Roberti Act to encourage the sale of homes owned by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for low- and moderate-income housing in the State Route 710 corridor in South Pasadena. Provides that, as a condition of sale of the property to a housing-related entity, the entity shall provide a commitment that if the entirety of the project is not a public work for which prevailing wages must be paid, all construction workers, except apprentices, employed on the project will be paid at least the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for the type of work and geographic area. For those portions of a project that are not a public work, the housing-related entity shall ensure that the prevailing wage requirement is included in all contracts for the performance of all construction work. Bars the DLSE from labor code enforcement on PLA jobs and relieves contractors from CPRs. WECA position: Oppose

SB 626 (Dodd-D) This bill would authorize DWR to use the design-build and CM/GC processes for project delivery for facilities of the State Water Project, excluding through Delta conveyance. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates. WECA position: Oppose


AB 36 (Gallagher-R) Authorizes the Paradise Irrigation District and the Town of Paradise to use the design-build contracting process. WECA position: Watch


AB 340 (Ward-D) This measure conforms state law to federal law; thereby allowing taxpayers the ability to benefit for expenses related to eligible apprenticeship programs and payments on principal or interest of a qualified education loan.

AB 565 (Lackey-R) This bill would add the director of the State Department of Social Services as a member of IACA. It would require IACA to create a subcommittee to study and report on issues related to the participation of homeless youth and foster youth, as defined, in apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships.

AB 643 (Ramos-D) This bill would require a school district or school to notify each apprenticeship program in the same county as the school district or school of a career or college fair it is planning to hold. WECA position: Watch

SB 779 (Becker-D) SB 779 amends the definition of “earn and learn” programs, and specifically, the definition of “transitional and subsidized jobs” under the California Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act. This bill further adds to the California Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act a definition of “employment social enterprise” and clarifies that for purposes of the Act the definition of “worker cooperative” has the same meaning as it does in Section 12253.5 of the Corporations Code. WECA position: Watch

Business Issues

SB 255 (Portantino-D) Would authorize a specific association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met WECA position: Watch

SB 718 (Bates-R) Would authorize a specific association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met WECA position: Watch

SB 727 (Leyva-D) Extends the joint liability of a direct contractor on a private construction project to include civil penalties and liquidated damages associated with unpaid wages, fringe benefits, or contributions to labor trust funds. Under existing law, that joint liability is limited to unpaid amounts only. The bill also establishes a mechanism for direct contractors to avoid liability for penalties and liquidated damages by showing that the underlying violation has been fully abated. Requires any lower-tier subcontractors to provide the direct contractor award information that includes the project name, name, and address of the subcontractor, the contractor with whom the subcontractor is under contract, anticipated start date, duration, and estimated journeymen and apprentice hours.

SB 791 (Cortese-D) This bill creates the Surplus Land Unit within the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), to facilitate the development of housing on local surplus property. WECA position: Watch

Construction Practices

AB 930 (Levine-D) Awards reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to an excavator that is found not liable for damaging a subsurface installation because of errors or omissions by the operator of the installation.

SB 297 (Durazo-D) enacts the Wade Kilpatrick Gas Safety and Workforce Adequacy Act of 2021. The bill would prescribe a civil penalty of up to $100,000 to be imposed on an operator or excavator, as specified, who knowingly and willfully violates provisions relating to excavations and subsurface installations and damages a gas or hazardous liquid pipeline subsurface installation in a way that results in the escape of any flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid. WECA position: Watch


AB 970 (McCarty-D) Establishes specific time frames in which local agencies must approve permits for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

SB 68 (Becker-D) require the Energy Commission to gather or develop, and publish on its internet website, guidance and best practices to help building owners, the construction industry, and local governments overcome barriers to electrification of buildings and installation of electric vehicle charging equipment.


SB 10 (Wiener-D) Authorizes a city or county to pass an ordinance that is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to zone any parcel for up to ten units of residential density if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site.

SB 330 (Durazo-D) requires the governing board of the Los Angeles Community College District to develop and implement a pilot program to provide affordable housing to students or employees of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Labor Law

AB 1003 (Gonzalez, Lorena-D) Makes the intentional theft of wages, gratuities, or other compensation in an amount greater than $950 from any one employee or independent contractor, or $2,350, in aggregate, from more than two or more employees or independent contractors, in any 12 consecutive month period, punishable as grand theft, an alternate felony/misdemeanor.

AB 1023 (Flora-R) Makes a contractor or subcontractor who fails to furnish payroll records relating to its employees in the manner specified liable for a penalty of $100 per day, as specified, not to exceed $5,000 per project, to be deposited into the State Public Works Enforcement Fund. Prohibits the Labor Commissioner from levying penalties until 14 days after the deadline for furnishing records and requires that these penalties accrue to the actual contractor or subcontractor that failed to furnish those records. WECA position: Oppose

SB 331 (Leyva-D) prohibits the use of non-disclosure agreements to settle employment and housing-related legal claims involving unlawful harassment, discrimination, or related retaliation of any kind, with limited exceptions when requested by the complainant. The bill also prohibits the inclusion, in an employment severance agreement, of terms that restrict the separated employee’s ability to discuss unlawful conduct at their former workplace, unless the separated employee agrees to those terms under specified conditions designed to safeguard the separated employee’s rights.

SB 606 (Gonzalez-D) This bill expands the authority of Cal/OSHA to issue citations, require abatement, and seek court orders to address violations of workplace safety laws. The bill also establishes a presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of when that employee tries to address unsafe working conditions. WECA position: Oppose

SB 657 (Ochoa Bogh-R) This bill allows employers, in any instance the employer is required to physically post information, to additionally distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. Additionally, this bill clarifies that email distribution or relevant documents pursuant to the proposed statute does not alter the employer’s obligation to physically display the required posting. WECA position: Support


AB 246 (Quirk-D) This bill would add illegal dumping to the list of violations that constitute a cause for disciplinary action against a contractor by the CSLB. WECA position: Support

AB 569 (Grayson-D) Increases the maximum civil penalty amounts that can be assessed against licensed contractors for violations of the Contractors State License Law consistent with changes in the Consumer Price Index. Authorizes the Contractors State License Board to issue a Letter of Admonishment in lieu of a citation for multiple violations at a time. WECA position: Watch

AB 830 (Flora-R) Makes minor changes to CSLB law related to qualifyer WECA position: Watch

SB 607 (Min-D) Increases, beginning January 1, 2023, the amount required for a contractor’s bond for licensure from $15,000 to $25,000


SB 646 (Hertzberg-D) Prohibits janitorial employees working under a collective bargaining agreement, containing specified provisions, from the right to bring an action under the labor code’s private attorneys general act (PAGA). WECA position: Watch


AB 1124 (Friedman-D) Revises the definition of "solar energy system" to clarify that it must be designed to serve one utility retail customer on the same property, more than one utility retail customer on the same property, one utility retail customer on the same, adjacent, or contiguous properties, or more than one utility retail customer on the same, adjacent or contiguous properties, and not be designed for procurement of electricity by an electric utility.

Clarifies that:

a structural design feature of a solar energy system includes elevated solar support structures, including the aboveground superstructure and associated foundation elements that support the solar collectors or other solar energy devices, as specified.

that a residential permit fee applies to an application for a solar energy system that is installed on the property of a single- or two-family dwelling.

that a commercial permit fee applies to an application for a commercial solar energy system that includes, but is not limited to, a solar energy system that is installed on the property of multifamily housing that has more than two family dwellings.

that nothing in this bill or existing law governing permit fees for solar energy systems precludes a city, county, city and county, or charter city from conducting a plan check to confirm the safety of a solar energy system pursuant to specified existing law and the California Building Standards Code

WECA position: Watch


AB 525 (Chiu-D) Requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a strategic plan by December 31, 2022, for offshore wind development off the California Coast. The development of the strategic plan regarding workforce development shall include consultation with representatives of key labor organizations and apprenticeship programs that would be involved in dispatching and training the construction workforce. The plan must include an analysis of the workforce development needs of the California offshore wind energy industry, including occupational safety requirements, and the need to require the use of a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work. The assessment shall also analyze work, and the need for the Division of Apprenticeship Standards to develop a curriculum for in-person classroom and laboratory advanced safety training for workers. It will include recommendations for workforce standards for offshore wind energy facilities and associated infrastructure, including, but not limited to, prevailing wage, skilled and trained workforce, apprenticeship, local hiring, and targeted hiring standards, that ensure sustained and equitable economic development benefits. WECA position: Watch

AB 692 (Waldron-R) Extends the deadline to liquidate grant funds by five years for the Lake Wohlford Dam project from June 30, 2023, to June 30, 2028. Conditions the extension for liquidation of funds on the City of Escondido using a skilled and trained workforce for the Lake Wohlford Dam project.