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WECA Political Update January 20, 2022Thursday, January 20, 2022
Solar Conflict Heats Up. Politico reports, “The California Public Utilities Commission proposal to cut solar incentives for homeowners conflicts with a two-year-old state requirement that new homes install green technology — and that panels remain within financial reach. Wall Street has said that the CPUC’s proposal slated for a future vote would make installing rooftop solar a near-worthless investment unless paired with expensive batteries. And that could undercut the California Energy Commission’s solar mandate for new homes. ‘I think there are real questions about the compatibility of this decision,’ Michael Wara, a Stanford University law professor who directs the school’s climate and energy policy program, said in an interview about the CPUC proposal. ‘The big question will be at what point will the Energy Commission say anything publicly, or will they try to operate in private around this issue? They have to be concerned.’ When approving its solar mandate, the Energy Commission assumed installation incentives known as net metering would remain generous, easing the cost burden for developers and property owners. That helped the solar mandate comply with a cost-effectiveness test found in state law.

But the CPUC’s proposed overhaul of California’s net metering program would dramatically change the equation, reducing incentives and adding monthly fees — $48, on average — for most new solar owners unless they also install battery packs for use after the sun sets. After activating their panels, most existing solar owners would face that monthly surcharge and lower benefits for 15 years. The CPUC has argued that the changes would make solar owners pay their share of grid costs, in addition to stabilizing the electric system by incentivizing the storage of solar energy. That power would be discharged in the evenings during hot summer months when air conditioner usage drives up demand and threatens rolling blackouts.”

The proposal released last month stunned many solar supporters and attracted the attention of various public figures, including Elon Musk, who urged regulators to reconsider. In addition, former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a longtime champion of rooftop solar, published a New York Times op-ed on Monday that said the draft plan “should be stopped in its tracks.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom said recently that there was “work to do,” a signal the proposal might be in for revisions.

“The CPUC, which tells utilities how much and what type of electricity to buy, has long said battery storage should be part of the procurement puzzle. But instead, its proposed rules are an attempt to juice the market by incentivizing solar storage — and sharply phasing out benefits for those with just photovoltaic panels.

But battery storage is costly — $11,000 for an average-sized battery, according to solar and storage installer Sunrun — and pandemic-era supply chain constraints and demand from recent years’ power outages have made it harder to find. Those challenges would make it difficult for solar owners to avoid losing their benefits under the changes, at least in the near term.”

The CPUC would give prospective solar owners a market transition credit that would gradually lower bill reductions to ease the transition. But in a one-sentence mention buried 121 pages into its draft document, the agency said homes complying with the CEC’s solar mandate wouldn’t be eligible. One possible explanation is that installing solar on new homes is cheaper than existing ones.

Morgan Stanley equities analysts were grim in their assessment of the proposal’s impact, writing in a research note that the draft plan “would, in our view, eliminate the economic benefits of rooftop solar in California, absent the inclusion of storage.” A solar industry-commissioned study by EQ Research reached a comparable conclusion, saying bill credits would decrease up to 84 percent compared to current incentives.

This has startled the California Building Industry Association, whose new homes must comply with the CEC’s solar mandate. CBIA earlier this month sent a letter to the CPUC, writing that the “political battleground” issue of net metering necessitates “rules that will ‘calm things down’ and move us to a place where we have reasonable, understandable, and dependable rules from which rational economic decisions can be made.” The agency’s draft plan “does the opposite,” CBIA’s letter continued, adding that the monthly fee on solar owners “may well place the cost-effectiveness of rooftop [photovoltaics] into question” and potentially violate state law. “We’ve had follow-ups with folks at the Energy Commission since,” Chris Ochoa, CBIA’s senior counsel for codes, regulatory and legislative affairs, said in an interview, “and we get the feeling that they were as shocked as anybody at how harsh the proposed decision was toward the rooftop solar industry.”

For its part, the CPUC in December acknowledged concerns over how its proposed decision would interact with the CEC’s solar mandate. “The Commission intends to collaborate with the California Energy Commission on the Title 24 [solar mandate] and its interactions with the [net metering] successor tariff,” a CPUC judge wrote.

CEC spokesperson Lindsay Buckley said in a statement that her agency “can confirm we’re coordinating with the CPUC and evaluating impacts to the cost-effectiveness of the solar mandate,” adding that CEC commissioners “will have something to say later in the process,” after the final solar decision is published.

Newsom’s critical comments and his appointments late last year of two commissioners — including the agency’s new president, Alice Reynolds, who has been assigned the solar proceeding — could shake up the process, said Mike Florio, a former CPUC commissioner who voted on the previous round of net metering reforms in 2016. The proposed decision “was a little more aggressive than I was expecting,” Florio, now a senior fellow at Berkeley-based consultancy Gridworks, said in an interview. “And I have a sneaking suspicion that gives them room to back off a little bit in the final decision and not make it quite as harsh on solar.”

“There’s gold in them thar hills!” (With apologies to Mark Twain and Coldplay) Well, in this case – it is white gold – lithium. For those of you old enough to have watched “Connections,” the excellent BBC documentary series of the late 1970s – that traced the path from a particular event through a series of seemingly unrelated connections to a fundamental and essential aspect of life – you know that is kind of how my mind works.

Today, I was reminded of that when I read George Skelton’s LA Times article about lithium and the Salton Sea – that Coachella Valley body of water created by a breach in some canals that connected the Colorado River to the old Alamo River in 1905. I grew up in Southern California in the 1960s. I remembered that the Salton Sea was a popular resort destination until a lack of new freshwater started an inevitable decline (exacerbated by flooding in the 1970s).

The geothermal activity below the Salton Sea loosens up lithium that can be mined. Due to increased demand for lithium, which is crucial for electric-vehicle battery production, lithium extraction is expected to boost the local economy. In July 2021, General Motors announced partnering with Controlled Thermal Resources to develop a combined lithium extraction and power generation facility in the Hell’s Kitchen geothermal field in the Salton Sea, employing a closed-loop process. The brine will be extracted from the ground, using geothermal steam to drive a turbine generating electricity and reacting with the brine to separate the lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate used for battery production.

As Skelton pointed out, “People have been fighting Salton Sea shrinkage, salinity, and stench for decades without much success. But now, the local economy could be headed toward a boom. Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to help energy companies tap into a huge underground reserve of lithium that’s in high demand for the big rechargeable batteries needed to power carbon-free automobiles. ‘We have what some have described as the Saudi Arabia of lithium,’ Newsom told reporters in unveiling his $286-billion state budget proposal, referring to that country’s vast oil reserves. ‘California is leading the world in forging an oil-free future,’ the Governor said. ‘We will not sell [new] traditional gas-powered, internal combustion engines by 2035. This is dramatic. It’s profound. You can’t get serious about climate change unless you’re serious about tailpipe emissions.’ Newsom is proposing $350 million in tax credits that lithium entrepreneurs can apply for — plus regulatory streamlining to cut the lengthy, frequently agonizing process of obtaining government permits for their projects.”

So, what is the connection – beyond California’s goal of fewer gas-powered vehicles?

Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia introduced AB 983 last year that “authorizes a public entity to use, enter into, or require contractors to enter into a community workforce agreement (CWA) for construction projects related to battery manufacturing and lithium-based technology in the Salton Sea geothermal resource area.”

The only listed support was from Alianza Coachella Valley, who wrote, “CWAs are innovative PLAs which in addition to standard PLAs, integrate targeted hiring provision for individuals from underrepresented communities. AB 983 is another important step for fostering community engagement in the lithium supply chain.” Alianza describes themselves as “the only alliance in the Coachella Valley bringing together community members, nonprofits, and government to lead efforts we need for a thriving region.” Alianza’s most recent 990 (that reported over $2.0 million in grants reported their “mission is to transform the socio-economic conditions of the Coachella Valley so that people in all communities have opportunities to prosper.” I wonder if non-union workers, apprentices, and contractors are included in that inclusive community?

WECA was the only opposition, observing there is no prohibition in law to adopting a CWA, and saw it as subterfuge. For reasons not related to our opposition -- Garcia tabled the bill, but I am sure it will be resurrected this year -- particularly with money in the Governor’s budget for tax credits -- which I am sure whetted Warren Buffet’s appetite! I expect if it comes back, it will include a PLA requirement -- similar to the one in AB 680 by Assembly Member Burke from last year -- which mandates a PLA for any construction project of $1 million or more that is funded by grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).

Union in decline: UFW membership hits “statistically zero” as legal, political losses pile up The San Joaquin Valley Sun wrote recently, “Following a crushing U.S. Supreme Court defeat last June that overturned a 47-year-old rule that granted United Farm Workers representatives virtually unfettered access to farming outfits to recruit workers, the union finds itself in a lurch, a new report says. The court defeat was followed by an even more crucial legislative defeat that would have enacted a card-check voting system for farmworker union elections, all at the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Membership is so low that UC Merced researchers say farmworker union membership is now statistically zero.” Is there a model here that could be replicated?

Sen. Mark Kelly supports change to Senate’s filibuster rule for voting-rights legislation Unlike Arizona’s senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the Arizona Republic has reported Sen. Mark Kelly, (D-Ariz.), “will support a change to the filibuster rule, showing for the first time a willingness to bend on an issue that has tied the Senate in knots for a year as the Democratic legislative agenda has stalled. Kelly, who is up for reelection this year, will back a ‘talking filibuster’ rule only for the proposed voting rights legislation that he co-sponsors.” Unfortunately, Kelly is a little late as the change collapsed late Wednesday night with a 52-48 vote. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sinema joined all 50 Republicans in opposing the rules change that would have allowed the voting rights bill to advance with a simple majority.

Sinema’s moderate stance is not universally popular – particularly in parts of the donor community. According to Politico, “a group of big-dollar donors who have spent millions electing Sinema and other Democratic senators is threatening to sever all funding to her if she doesn’t drop her opposition to changing Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. In a letter to the Arizona lawmaker, 70 Democratic donors — some of whom gave Sinema’s 2018 campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law — said they would support a primary challenge to Sinema and demanded that she refund their contributions to her 2018 campaign if she doesn’t budge.” This is just stupid. The last two Senate elections in Arizona (2018 and 2020) were decided by only 2.4 percent. If a more progressive Democrat were to get the nomination – the general election would almost certainly go to the Republican.

Former California Legislator, County Supervisor Jeff Stone to seek state Senate seat in Nevada After spending much of his career in Riverside County and California politics, Jeff Stone wants to return to a state capitol — but not the one in Sacramento. Instead, Stone, whose career includes stints on the Temecula City Council, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, and in the California State Senate, is seeking a seat in the Nevada State Senate, after the self-employed pharmacist moved with his wife in 2020. Story

Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) recently launched Career Forward -- a new training and work placement program that prepares transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses for employment within in-demand careers. After completing their certificates, graduates may be hired directly or complete an internship with host companies. Since launching, HOH has enrolled more than 1,300 learners in the Career Forward program. These military community members learn industry-validated skills through a Google Career Certificate in data analytics, IT support, IT automation with Python, project management, or user (UX) design. HOH is inviting companies to use the Career Forward program to see firsthand the exceptional value that veterans and military spouses may provide to your workplace. Connect with HOH

Birds Know If your company is looking to scale, it may be wise to learn from the birds. Flying in a “V” formation, one bird sets the pace, and the others know to cycle to the front when the leader needs to sink back. It’s a mindset that ensures everyone feels valued while the company is the primary focus. That’s the advice of Tony Bates, chairman, and CEO of Genesys, after his time leading Cisco System Inc.’s service-provider business and serving as CEO of Skype, where he was responsible for expanding the company to more than 170 million connected users. He spoke with The Business Journals’ Marq Burnett about how a simple framework is key to growth, along with empathy and no in-fighting. Story
WECA Political Update December 21, 2021Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Another Week, Another COVID-19 Rule The State just revised the application of the indoor mask mandate - it now applies to employers (previously, employment was covered by the ETS adopted by Cal-OSHA). 

CDPH updated its guidance to clarify the application of the indoor mask mandate. Previously, the ruling by the CDPH referenced “indoor public settings” without further definition. In the updated guidance, the CDPH clarifies that “the guidance applies to all workplaces, regardless of whether they serve the public, or are open to the public. Masks may be removed, “if the workplace consists of a single employee, or may be removed while an employee is alone in a closed office or room.” 

Cal/OSHA also updated its FAQ for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to state that the ETS requires that employers “provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees when required by orders of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). (8 CCR § 3205(c)(6)(B).) The December 13, 2021 CDPH guidance is such an order.” 

California officials say the new month-long statewide indoor mask mandate is critical to preventing another surge of COVID-19. 

But it’s unclear who is responsible for enforcing that mandate. When asked about the lack of enforcement mechanism for the mandate, which went into effect Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he “has faith” in Californians to follow it but didn’t provide specifics on what would happen if they didn’t. “I have more faith than you do in the capacity of people to do the right thing. That’s the response,” Newsom told a reporter during a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday.” 

More on the IBEW effort to Kill Rooftop Solar From Politico “Eight members of California's congressional delegation on Tuesday urged state regulators to reconsider draft rules that would slash rooftop solar installation incentives, warning that the policies would ‘severely damage’ the growth of customer-owned photovoltaic panels. The letter from the U.S. representatives to California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer brings high-level heft against the agency's proposed decision. Last week, the draft proposal drew backlash from environmentalists, solar installers, and local governments, among other supporters of the popular net metering program. The members of Congress told Batjer that the CPUC's draft rules, which include lower bill credits and a monthly charge on solar owners, would have the effect of ‘potentially putting rooftop solar out of reach for many Californians, undermining grid resilience, and making it harder for our nation to reach its national clean energy targets.’ They specifically lamented the proposed ‘grid participation charge’ of $40 to $48 per month for an average-sized photovoltaic system, citing solar industry-commissioned research that the fees would be the highest of any investor-owned utility in the country. Export compensation would also be lowered from retail electricity rates to the ‘avoided cost’ value of customer-owned solar power. 

The California Democrats who signed the letter were Reps. Mike Levin, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Barbara Lee, Ro Khanna, Alan Lowenthal, Katie Porter, Jared Huffman, and Mark DeSaulnier. Gov. Gavin Newsom, other members of the CPUC, and state legislative leaders were copied on the members' letter, as was Alice Reynolds, the governor's energy adviser who starts as CPUC president later this month to replace Batjer. 

Net metering was one of the most contentious California energy issues this year, drawing arguments from utilities and consumers and environmental groups that the bill credits shift grid maintenance costs to households without photovoltaic panels. The solar industry disputes that premise, contending that customer-owned energy produce grid and environmental benefits for everyone. Mayors of some of California's largest cities also oppose the monthly fee. The solar proceedings have prompted lobbying from various energy players, including Walmart and Big Wind. Public comments on the proposed net metering decision are due on Jan. 2, followed by comments five days later. The CPUC is scheduled to vote on Jan. 27 on the draft rules, although that date could be delayed if the agency needs more time to make revisions or fill a vacant seat. Last week, the commissioner who led the CPUC's net metering review left the agency for a new position as a U.S. EPA regional administrator. 

One of the BBB provisions bothers our allies. The union-made EV tax credit currently included in the BBB bill continues to pick up international opposition from Canadians. Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, and International Trade Minister Mary Ng sent a letter to eight senators on Friday, formally threatening retaliatory tariffs targeting the auto sector “and several other sectors of the U.S. economy” if the EV provision remains intact. “If there is no satisfactory resolution to this matter, Canada will defend its national interests, as we did when we were faced with unjustified tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum,” read the letter, referencing a 2018 trade dispute that Freeland was on the front lines of at the time. In addition, the European Union, Mexico, and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) have said they oppose the $4,500 tax credit for union-made electric vehicles, on top of existing incentives. The credit would primarily benefit Detroit-based U.S. automakers whose employees are unionized. 

Reapportionment/Resignation Update With California’s topsy-turvy redistricting process reaching its peak, Central Valley Democrats are beginning to jockey for positions to run for new seats and jobs in 2022. The first report, via David Taub at GV Wire, finds that two Fresno Democrats are already attempting to stake claims for a to-be-drawn Congressional seat covering southern Fresno County amid Rep. Devin's abrupt retirement Nunes (R–Tulare). Fresno Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-is considering a congressional run, multiple sources tell GV Wire. The Democrat is eyeing the seat — in the latest iteration — that would cover parts of Fresno, eastern Fresno County, and parts of Tulare and Kings counties. GV Wire has also learned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official campaign arm of the House of Representative Democrats, has met with Andrew Janz. Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor, ran against Devin Nunes in 2018, falling by five points. However, that was the closest showing of a Democrat ever during Nunes’ 10 terms. Recently, Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez told KSEE 24 that he wasn’t yet considering pulling the trigger on a Congressional bid. “Not right now,” he clarified to host Alexan Balekian, adding that he was strongly considering a run following finalized district boundaries from the state’s independent commission. “I’ve had a lot of folks ask me to consider running, but I enjoy serving the community of southeast Fresno,” Chavez said. “Obviously, we’ve got to wait until the maps are final, then once the maps are final, I think you’ll see a lot of folks throw their hat into the ring.” A Congressional run by Arambula or Chavez in 2022 would open up their respective seats in the California State Assembly and Fresno City Council during the 2022 election. In the same GV Wire report, it appears that at least one name is floating to run should Arambula forego running for his fourth of six possible terms in the Legislature: Fresno City Council member Nelson Esparza. Esparza, who represents central Fresno on the Fresno City Council, announced a candidacy to succeed Chavez as Council President in January is also up for reelection in 2022, opening another seat on the City Council. The digital pub reports are one prospective candidate to fill the Council seat if Esparza leaps Legislature, Fresno County Board of Education trustee James Martinez. 

12 Democrats who could replace Joe Biden in 2024 Combine President Joe Biden's age (he'll be 82 shortly after the 2024 election) and his ongoing political struggles (he's mired in the low 40s in job approval), and you get this: a series of stories examining whether Biden runs again and, if not, who might take his place. The New York Times recently published a big takeout on the potential Biden replacements within the Democratic Party over the weekend. The White House, aware of the whispers, made clear Biden is planning to go for a second term. "The President has every intention of running for reelection," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said when asked. But what if Biden's plans change? Below, a look at the most mentioned names for 2024 contenders and a single line on their viability. 

Kamala Harris: She's undoubtedly struggled as vice president, but she's still the most likely Democrat not named Biden to wind up as the Democratic nominee in 2024. 

Pete Buttigieg: The most naturally talented candidate in the 2024 field, "Mayor Pete" has also been front and center selling Biden's infrastructure bill. 

Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator is still popular among liberals -- and wouldn't be splitting the vote with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this time around as she did in 2020. 

Amy Klobuchar: Other than Buttigieg, the Minnesota senator was probably the best regarded of the losing candidates in 2020 -- and her Midwest roots are always a plus given the electoral map. 

Roy Cooper: Term-limited out of office in 2024, the North Carolina governor has ample time to consider his next step -- starting with his service as the vice-chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. 

Mitch Landrieu: Being tasked with implementing the infrastructure bill is a big (and high-profile) job that the former New Orleans mayor has taken to with relish. 

Gina Raimondo: She made the leap from Rhode Island governor to Biden administration commerce secretary, but doubts remain as to whether she is too moderate to win a Democratic primary at this moment. 

Gretchen Whitmer: The Michigan governor needs to win what could be a tough reelection race next year before she can turn to consider a national run in earnest.  

Phil Murphy: The record of New Jersey governors running for president isn't great of late (sorry, Chris Christie!), but Murphy could use the next few years of his governorship as a testing ground for some national policies for the party. 

J.B. Pritzker: Pritzker has two things going for him -- 1) He's the governor of a major Midwestern state (Illinois), and 2) he's very, very rich. 

Stacey Abrams: Abrams talked openly about running in 2020 before passing on the race, but she needs to win the Georgia governor's mansion in 2022 before overthinking about 2024. 

Andy Beshear: The first-term Kentucky Governor replaced an unpopular Republican in a very Red state (and home of Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul). His primary focus will be on the rebuilding effort in Western Kentucky – but if he continues to be able to work with the Republican Legislature – he could be perceived as someone who could work with a possibly Republican Congress in 2025 and beyond. 
The Point: If Biden decides not to run, chances are we would be looking at a very crowded field of Democrats seeking to replace him. 

Democratic Leaders Unveil Budget Outlines, Suggest Changes to Spending Limit Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly released outlines of their priorities for the 2022-23 state budget this week, with no specific references to tax increases but many proposals for increased state spending – described in the documents as “investments.” The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene on January 3, and Governor Gavin Newsom has a January 10 constitutional deadline for presenting his budget proposal to the Legislature. Neither the Senate budget plan, titled “Putting California’s Wealth to Work for a More Equitable Future,” nor the Assembly plan, titled “Delivering Prosperity and Strengthening the Future,” includes detailed proposals. Instead, they highlight values the majority caucuses intend to pursue when negotiating the budget. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released its 2022-23 budget outlook in November and found that state revenue is increasing at historical rates, potentially creating a $31 billion surplus. The LAO also estimated that the state would need to allocate roughly $14 billion – “for example by spending more on capital outlay or making taxpayer rebates and school and community college payments” – to stay under the state appropriations limit (the Gann limit) for 2020-21 and 2021-22. The Senate plan outlines priorities including paying down state debt, improving public health access and affordability, expanding broadband infrastructure, and assisting older Californians. The Assembly priorities are increased school funding to aid students facing learning disabilities and mental health issues, Employment Development Department improvements to ensure that unemployed Californians can access benefits, creating a “living wage” through “state investment,” and spending an influx of federal funds on new infrastructure projects. 

The Gann limit, approved by voters as Proposition 4 of 1979 and modified by a subsequent initiative, places a limit on appropriations made by state and most local governments. If the state has revenue that cannot be appropriated because of the limit – meaning the state has “excess revenue” – the excess must be returned to taxpayers or spent on certain expenditures outside the limit (such as transportation projects or other capital outlay expenses). Both budget plans acknowledge that the Gann Limit will likely become a significant factor in the 2022-23 budget. The Senate plan states that the Legislature should “consider future reforms to modernize [the] Gann Limit while respecting [its] original intent.” The Assembly outline says simply that the Assembly Democrats’ budget proposal will “address” the Gann limit. With the spending limit in play and the Department of Finance reporting record revenue collections in 2021 (personal income tax 27.3 percent above budget expectations, corporate taxes 47.8 percent above budget expectations, and sales and use taxes 13.2 percent above budget expectations), it is unclear whether lawmakers will propose new taxes in 2022. This year, similar conditions existed when lawmakers proposed a cumulative $236.4 billion in higher annual taxes and fees

From CSLB – New Laws for 2021 As we make our way into the new year, CSLB would like to highlight some construction-related laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2022. 
AB 569 (Grayson) This bill increases from $5,000 to $8,000, the maximum administrative civil penalty CSLB can assess against a licensed contractor for most violations, and from $15,000 to $30,000 for the most serious violations relating to unlicensed practice and workers compensation insurance violations. This bill also authorizes CSLB to issue a Letter of Admonishment for more than one violation at a time. The bill amends Business and Professions Code (BPC) sections 7099.2 and 7099.9. (Chapter 94, Statutes of 2021)  

AB 830 (Flora) As it relates to CSLB, this bill defines the responsibilities of the qualifying personnel members on a contractor’s license regarding their duty to supervise the construction operations of the licensed entity. The bill provides definitions of “bona fide employee” and “actively engaged” for a responsible managing employee’s duty on a contractor’s license. The bill defines the qualifier’s duty of “supervision and control” to mean “direct supervision or control or monitoring and being available to assist others to whom direct supervision and control have been delegated.” The bill authorizes CSLB to require an applicant for a contractor’s license to provide the qualifier’s current employment duty statement describing their responsibilities under the license and allows CSLB to take disciplinary action for failing to do so. As it relates to the Contractors State License Law, this bill amends BPC sections 7068 and 7068.1. (Chapter 376, Statutes of 2021)  

SB 607 (Min) As it relates to CSLB, this bill increases existing and adds new licensing and application maintenance and service fees for support of CSLB effective January 1, 2022. The bill additionally reorganizes CSLB’s fee statute by fee type, including different renewal fee amounts dependent on the license entity type (the current sole owner renewal fee of $450 is not being increased). Here is a link to a CSLB bulletin about the fee increases. In addition, effective July 1, 2022, this bill requires Department boards and bureaus to waive application and license fees for military family members. Also, effective January 1, 2023, this bill increases the CSLB qualifier, license, and disciplinary bonds from $12,500 and $15,000, respectively, to $25,000 for all three bonds. (Chapter 367, Statutes of 2021) 

AB 107 (Salas) Effective July 1, 2023, this bill requires boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs (Department) to, after appropriate investigation, issue a temporary license to an applicant married to or otherwise in union or partnership with an active-duty military member when the applicant has a current similar license in another state. The bill identifies specified requirements to be met as a condition of issuing the temporary license. It requires a board to issue the temporary license within 30 days of confirming the applicant has met those requirements. The bill provides that the temporary license is not renewable and expires 12 months after issuance or when an original license is issued. The bill additionally requires boards within the Department to publish information about the licensing options available to military spouses on their internet website. (Chapter 693, Statutes of 2021) 

AB 137 (Committee on Budget) The provisions of this bill that affect CSLB add Article 6.5 (commencing with Section 7086) of Chapter 9 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code. These provisions create the Solar Energy System Restitution Program within the Contractors State License Law. Together with the 2021 Budget Act, the bill makes a $5 million General Fund appropriation for CSLB expenditure until June 30, 2024, for the program. The bill makes restitution under specified criteria available for any consumer who used a contractor after January 1, 2016, to install a solar energy system on a single-family residence. Qualifying criteria include demonstrating a financial loss resulting from fraud, misrepresentation, or another unlawful act committed by a residential solar energy system contractor that has not been and will not be fully reimbursed from any other source. The bill provides procedures and criteria for the implementation of the program. (Chapter 77, Statutes of 2021) 

AB 246 (Quirk) This bill makes a licensed contractor’s unlawful dumping of debris a cause for disciplinary action against the contractor. The bill also reorganizes BPC Section 7110 from paragraph form to an enumerated form to provide clarity and improve readability. (Chapter 46, Statutes of 2021) 

SB 757 (Limón) This bill clarifies that a contract for a residential solar energy system is considered home improvement when installed on a residential building or property for the home improvement contract requirements under the Contractors State License Law. The bill further ensures home improvement salespersons must be registered to the contractor they solicited, negotiated, or executed contracts for. They must inform the homeowner on whose behalf they are soliciting. Where existing law prohibits a contractor from accepting payment for work not performed or materials not delivered, this bill extends that prohibition to any such payments from lenders or financiers. Finally, the bill requires any representations made to a consumer about a solar energy product or performance to be included in the home improvement contract. The bill amends BPC sections 7151, 7152, 7156, 7159.5, 7162, and 7170. (Chapter 249, Statutes of 2021)  

SB 826 (Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development) This bill makes technical, non-substantive changes to the Contractors State License Law. The bill clarifies that CSLB employs investigators and special investigators, not enforcement representatives. The bill also clarifies that the C-22 Asbestos Abatement Contractor License is an appropriate license classification to engage in asbestos-related work. The bill also replaces an incorrect reference to the law in the Business and Professions Code section regulating letters of admonishment with the correct section of law. Finally, the bill clarifies that the consumer’s right to cancel a home improvement contract referenced in the solar disclosure document (required by Business and Professions Code section 7169) is three days for most contracts and five days for contracts with a senior citizen. (Chapter 188, Statutes of 2021) 
California State Capitol

Merit Shop Advocacy for California

Richard Markuson, WECA Lobbyist

Richard Markuson

"Merit shop electrical contractors throughout California are under pressure from a political system that limits their ability to compete for and win public works contracts. Through our coordinated efforts to further the interests of the merit shop community, we will make doing business in California fair and profitable again."

WECA Government Affairs

Political Advocacy and Government Affairs

WECA is the only organization in California that focuses exclusively on the needs of electrical contractors and their employees. We are proud to represent thousands of electricians and hundreds of contractors. Our members believe that fair and open competition is the key to a robust and growing economy. Our members embrace the idea that political action is not simply prudent, but essential to preserving and enhancing their ability to pursue business opportunities in both the public and private marketplace.

The WECA governmental affairs staff works hard to protect the rights of merit shop business owners and their employees throughout California, but our efforts cannot succeed unless those in the merit shop community get involved.

Routine activities of the GA staff includes:

  • Monitoring all State Legislative and Regulatory proposals for beneficial and detrimental changes
  • Regular interaction with other business and construction groups in California and nationwide
  • Maintenance of a regular presence in Washington DC through membership in the US Chamber of Commerce and trips to Capitol Hill to lobby on Federal initiatives
  • Maintaining close working relationships with other merit shop groups such as CFEC, ABC chapters, AGC, ASCA, and Calpasc
  • Routinely monitors more than 305 local agencies including Cities, Counties, School Districts and other Special Districts
  • Evaluates state-wide ballot measures and candidates and recommends support for those causes and candidates that support WECA’s core values
  • Encourages appointment of state and local officials who will approach their assignments without prejudice
  • This website is designed to both educate our members and to empower them to have the greatest possible impact when it comes to effecting political change on the local, state and federal levels. Check out the latest political news and action alerts, learn more about the WECA Political Action Committee (WECA-PAC), and take a moment to visit the partner organizations we work with.

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WECA Political Advocacy