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WECA Political Update: May 28, 2020Thursday, May 28, 2020
Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
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The State Legislature continued to hear bills on a variety of topics.

Here are the results on a couple we are tracking.

AB 1107 (Chu) which would have raised unemployment payments by $600 a week and cost business as much as $40 billion over the next ten years - has been significantly amended and now has nothing to do with raising unemployment insurance costs. So, though the vehicle lives on, the substance is dead. The new text of AB 1107 bill relates to sharing emergency proclamations in various languages.

AB 1947 (Kalra) Doubles, from 6 months to one year, the time in which a person who believes that they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against to file a complaint with the DLSE. Also, AB 1947 overturns the existing balance by prohibiting an employer from recovering its attorney’s fees, which could create an incentive for more potentially frivolous litigation. The Assembly Labor Committee (chaired by Kalra) approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 2185 (Patterson) Requires each board within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to issue a license to any applicant who is the spouse or partner of an active duty member of the Armed Forces if the applicant is licensed in another state. Hearing in Assembly Business & Professions cancelled. (Support)

AB 3075 (Gonzalez) Requires that articles of incorporation include an attestation that the filer is not affiliated with an employer that has an outstanding judgment issued by the DLSE or a court of law for violation of any wage order or provision of the Labor Code. The bill interferes with corporate formation based on unclear and unfair standards and the bill will result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions. The Assembly Banking Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 3216 (Kalra) New COVID-19 Employment Leave Mandate. Provides for unlimited job protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state and local levels, and will further burden California employers at a time they can least afford it. The Assembly Labor Committee (chaired by Kalra) approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 3279 (Friedman) Revises California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation procedures by (1) reducing the deadline for a court to commence hearings from one year to 270 days, (2) providing that a lead agency may decide whether a plaintiff prepares the administrative record, and (3) authorizing a court to issue an interlocutory remand. AB 3279 addresses common delays in litigation over CEQA actions to promote swifter and more efficient resolution of lawsuits regarding all projects. Labor (State Building and Construction Trades Council), environmental, and environmental justice advocates, typically aligned with CEQA petitioners oppose. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on a bipartisan vote with two Dems, Muratsuchi and Mark Stone voting NO. (Support)

SB 795 (Beall) SB 795 allocates $10 billion over five years to several existing housing, homelessness, and pre-apprenticeship programs, as well as creating two new infrastructure financing programs at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). It allocates $5 million each year for five years to the California Workforce Development Board for distribution to local agencies to participate in, invest in, or partner with new or existing pre-apprenticeship training programs. The $5 million for pre-apprenticeship training programs must be “established pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 14230 of the Unemployment Insurance Code” that requires that the pre-apprenticeship training in the building and construction trades fund programs and services that follow the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum implemented owned by the State Building trades. So - it would seem that this $5 million a year goes to union pre-apprenticeship programs - more money for unions. Approved by the Senate Housing Committee on a party-line vote. (Oppose unless amended)

SB 1189 (McGuire) this CSLB sponsored bill creates a new residential remodeling license (B-2) that would prohibit a B-2 from “contracting to make structural changes to load bearing portions of an existing structure and from contracting to install, replace, or extend electrical or plumbing systems or their component parts, or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems” but would allow them to make “minor alterations to existing electrical or plumbing systems to effectuate the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing electrical and plumbing fixtures.” WECA opposes this language and is seeking amendments that prohibit the B-2 from doing any electrical work. It was approved by the Senate Business and Professions Committee and now goes to Appropriations. (Oppose unless amended)

Caltrans head says gas tax decline won't be as bad as feared The drop in gas tax revenue for road maintenance and repairs isn't looking as bad as California officials feared at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the head of the state Transportation Department told lawmakers Wednesday. “The projections that we're seeing is the revenue is not going to drop as much as we were originally anticipating,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee. He said about 25 road projects had been delayed due to the pandemic but that funding isn't an issue. Omishakin said the state is projecting a loss of $1.8 billion over the next five years due to lowered gas tax revenue as people drive less during the pandemic and a statewide stay-at-home order. He said officials had been estimating higher losses based on initial driving declines of about 35 percent on state highways. The University of California, Davis projected earlier this month that revenue fell by $370 million for the first two months of the shutdown. Omishakin said that based on Department of Finance estimates, revenue would fall by about $380 million per year for the next five years. [Politico]

Santa Clara Water takes Steps to Adopt a PLA. At their May 26 meeting the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, comprised of seven members, each elected from equally-divided districts of Santa Clara County, voted to proceed with a PLA for district work. Assemblyman Ash Kalra, and Senator Jim Beall both wrote strong letters of support for the PLA. Beall has run in 5 races for public office, winning 5 of them. He has raised a total of $3,840,613 – with almost ½ from “labor.” Kalra has run in 4 races for public office, winning 3 of them. He has raised a total of $2,090,433 – ½ from labor. You can see their letters here.
WECA Political Update: May 14, 2020Thursday, May 14, 2020
Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
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Senate Returns The State Senate returned to Sacramento this week
and proceeded to commence hearing bills. Here are a couple
we are tracking.

SB 1189 (McGuire) creates a new residential remodeling license (B-2) Sponsored by CSLB, the bill would prohibit a B-2 from “contracting to make structural changes to load bearing portions of an existing structure and from contracting to install, replace, or extend electrical or plumbing systems or their component parts, or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems” but would allow them to make “minor alterations to existing electrical or plumbing systems to effectuate the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing electrical and plumbing fixtures.” WECA opposes this language and is seeking amendments that prohibit the B-2 from doing any electrical work.

AB 2210 (Aguiar-Curry) extends the time from 180 days to 18 months for CSLB to commence an action based upon a Cal-OSHA complaint. (CSLB bill)

AB 1107 (Chu) would, until March 1, 2021, provide that once the temporary federal unemployment increase due to the COVID-19 outbreak has ceased, an individual’s weekly State benefit amount would be increased by $600.

AB 5 modifications. There are still several moving. SB 806 (Grove) will amend the “ABC” test for determining employee versus independent contractor status in order to provide necessary flexibility to the test so that individuals who choose to be independent contractors can continue to work and earn income.

SB 900 (Hill) one of several bills CalChamber supports IF AMENDED to provide a more comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing independent contracting.

AB 3216 (Kalra) New COVID-19 Employment Leave Mandate. Provides for unlimited job protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state and local levels, and will further burden California employers at a time they can least afford it.

“Mods” urge Newsom to limit business liability, delay rulemaking A group of 17 moderate Assemblymembers have appealed to Gov. Gavin Newsom to mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with new measures that include limiting liability for businesses that adhere to safety standards and delaying new rulemaking procedures by four months. You can see the letter here. The legislators urged Newsom to sign an executive order that would extend public comment deadlines for 120 days on new regulations not directly connected to the pandemic response. The first signatory listed is Democrat Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) who was joined by 15 Democratic colleagues in the Assembly, as well as Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, a former Assembly Republican leader who became an independent last year. No word from the Governor if he will follow or respond.

San Diego PLA Ban may be challenged: The San Diego City Council Rules committee advanced a measure backed by construction unions to overturn the 2012 Measure A that restricted the use of project labor agreements on city infrastructure projects. Councilman Mark Kersey and Barbara Bry opposed advancing the measure. The City Council will soon vote on whether to put the repeal on the November ballot. WECA is in touch with the merit-shop groups who supported Measure A about an opposition effort.

Pay When Paid Decision. While it has been more than twenty years since the California Supreme Court determined, in Wm. R. Clarke Corp. v. Safeco Ins. Co., that “pay-if-paid” provisions in subcontracts were unenforceable, following a recent decision from the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, general contractors, or any other contractors that contract directly with owners, should review their subcontracts to confirm that they do not contain potentially unenforceable “pay-when-paid” provisions. Following the California Supreme Court’s Wm. R. Clarke decision, many direct contractors (defined by California Civil Code § 8018 as a contractor with a direct contractual relationship with an owner) revised the payment provisions in their subcontracts from “pay-if-paid” (where payment by the owner is a condition precedent for payments to the subcontractor) to “pay-when-paid” (requiring the contractor to pay the subcontractors within a defined period after payment by the owner). In the recent Crosno Construction Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeal determined that such “pay-when-paid” provisions may be unenforceable if they run afoul of California’s statutory waiver and release statutes (California Civil Code § 8120 et seq.). More

Executive Order Presumes Employees Who Contract COVID-19 Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits On May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order No. N-62-20. The order states that employees will be presumed to have contracted COVID-19 in the course and scope of employment for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits if all of the following conditions are satisfied More

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 Infection Prevention Guidelines for Certain Essential Businesses On May 5, 2020, Cal/OSHA published updated COVID-19 prevention guidelines for specific essential businesses in Agriculture, Child Care, Construction, Grocery Stores and Logistics. With limited exceptions, the guidelines cover a number of general safety topics previously discussed in Cal/OSHA’s prior publications, such as training, cleaning and disinfecting, increasing physical distancing, sanitation practices, and precautions for dealing with a worker who becomes sick with COVID-19, each discussed below. More

California’s 25th Congressional District special election Mike Garcia (R) won the special general election for California's 25th Congressional District after Christy Smith (D) conceded on May 13. At the time Smith conceded, Garcia had 56% of the vote to Smith's 44%. The special election was called to fill the vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned on November 1, 2019, amid allegations of extramarital relationships with staffers. The remainder of the term will expire on January 3, 2021. Smith and Garcia will run again in a regular general election on November 3 for a full, two-year term. His victory represents the first time in 22 years that California Republicans have captured a congressional seat from Democrats.

Melendez wins state Senate seat Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) claimed an open state Senate seat on Tuesday, besting Democratic education board member Elizabeth Romero. Melendez jumped out to a wide lead on Romero in the first wave of ballots. Her victory puts into play the solidly Republican 67th Assembly district seat Melendez has held since 2013. The result held the line for Senate Republicans, who were defending a vacant seat after former state Sen. Jeff Stone left for a Trump administration post in the Labor Department.
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