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Thursday, July 09, 2020   WECA Political Update July 9, 2020

How to Manage and Respond to Suspected and Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 on the Jobsite The AGC has developed a situation flow chart designed for contractors with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the job-site. WECA advises members to discuss their COVID-19 response strategies with their insurance companies and legal counsel on what other steps should be taken. View the workflow chart here.

Yolo Issues Emergency Regulation on COVID-19 Compliance Yolo County just issued the following order with fines up to $10k for not abiding by local and state health orders:
https://www.yolocounty.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=65086
More here:
https://www.yolocounty.org/Home/Components/News/News/12038/26
 
Santa Clara County issued an updated Shelter in Place order. In addition to the order, the County issued industry specific mandatory directives which will become effective on July 13th, 2020. The Directive applies to all construction projects, but restrictions vary by the size of the project. Here is the full directive as well as a summary of what the directive entails.

Legislature sets July 27 return date The Legislature will return on July 27, leadership announced on Thursday. It will mark a two-week delay spurred by a coronavirus resurgence that has infected two Assembly members. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the July 27 return date, citing in a joint statement the imperative to "minimize potential COVID-19 exposure and transmission in the California State Capitol." This further narrows the already-tightened window for passing bills ahead of the end of the legislative session on August 31. Leadership already had delayed a planned July 13 return from recess as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have spiked around the state. Assembly members Autumn Burke (D-Marina del Rey) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) both tested positive in recent days. When lawmakers return they'll have just five weeks to pass about 1,000 bills out of committees and then off the respective floors of their houses — an attenuated session that could constrain opportunities to shape policy. [Politico]
 
NLRB Specifies Recommended Protocols for Manual Elections During COVID-19 After months of permitting almost exclusively mail ballot elections due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the National Labor Relations Board released “suggested” protocols on July 6, 2020 for holding manual elections. These protocols will facilitate a return to in-person secret ballot voting, which is generally considered far superior to mail ballot voting both in terms of maximizing employee participation and in terms of ensuring employee free choice. Given the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, the protocols are understandably stringent, and will require significant effort on the part of employers that wish to take advantage of them. Nevertheless, the protocols represent a welcome development for employers that wish to ensure free and fair representation elections. Learn More
 
Webinar on California’s Flat Sum Bonus Overtime Rules One area of California labor law that can be troubling is California's overtime requirements for flat sum bonuses. While California's Labor Commissioner has long found that a different overtime calculation must be used for certain “flat sum" bonuses, many employers failed to comply with this position. But when the California Supreme Court adopted this view in its Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. decision in March 2018, there was no longer a place to hide. Yet, many employers still do not fully understand the difference between a flat sum bonus and a production bonus or the significant impact on the overtime calculation if they get this wrong. Littler is offering a complimentary presentation, that will focus solely on addressing this unique quirk in California law, including a detailed overview of what qualifies as a flat sum bonus, samples of the overtime calculation applicable to flat sum bonuses, and options for changing the parameters of certain compensation to remove the payment from flat sum bonus consideration. The event is on July 22 at 11:00 am Register

Budget. Newsom and the Legislature reached a final resolution on how to balance the budget with a variety of accounting tricks and expectation of the receipt of federal bailout money. Here’s a two-minute video recap from Cal-Matters on the budget.

November ballot The Secretary of State released the ballot measure that will be on the November ballot:
  • Proposition 14: Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 15: “Split roll” change to untether commercial property taxes from Proposition 13 protection from annual increases. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 16: Repeals Proposition 209 of 1996 (also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative or CCRI). (ACA 5 Webber)
  • Proposition 17: Constitutional amendment allowing felony parolees to vote. (ACA 6 McCarthy)
  • Proposition 18: Constitutional amendment allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they are 18 for the general election. (ACA4 Mullin)
  • Proposition 19: Constitutional amendment allowing elderly and disabled Californians, and wildfire victims, to retain lower property tax rates when they change properties. (ACA 11 Mullin)
  • Proposition 20: Rolls back sentencing and parole reforms enacted via Propositions 47 and 57. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 21: Removes statewide constraint on local governments enacting rent control. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 22: Allows gig tech companies like Uber and DoorDash to continue classifying their drivers/delivery people as independent contractors. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 23: Authorizes new regulation of kidney dialysis clinics, including staffing requirements. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 24: Expands California’s online consumer privacy law. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 25: Referendum to overturn California’s prohibition on cash bail. (Initiative)
There was an exciting political drama associated with ACA 11 (Prop 19). The California Association of Realtors qualified an initiative altering property taxation and then agreed to withdraw it to make way for a compromise constitutional amendment — but the group wrote Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office that it would only pull its prior measure on the condition that the Legislature passed ACA 11.

After an official in Padilla’s office acceded to that request, Assembly Speaker Rendon wrote to Padilla’s office that it had no authority to do so — and Rendon argued that the first measure had to remain on the ballot. Padilla sided with CAR over Rendon by removing a measure previously passed by the Realtors despite Rendon asserting he could not do so. Since then – at least two bills have been amended to outlaw the practice of “contingent withdrawal.”
And proving the adage that politics make strange bedfellows – a bill that exempts solar farms from the split-roll ballot initiative (Prop 15) won’t be heard until the Assembly returns from their well-deserved summer vacation in mid-July, with sources pointing to behind-the-scenes drama driving the delay.

AB 105 (Ting D-San Francisco) was “gut and amended” last week as an agreement between the solar industry and Prop 15 backers on how solar farms would be treated were voters to approve the initiative this fall. Despite being packaged with budget trailer bills, AB 105 didn’t advance as the Legislature moved fiscal measures to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. [As an aside – Assembly Member Ting is in a bit of a personal mess; see article]

Solar energy advocates warn they will reconsider supporting the marquee split-roll proposal if the “solar fix” bill isn’t passed quickly. Legislative sources that AB 105 stayed in the Legislature because the measure deals with policy issues, rather than fiscal ones and lawmakers generally wanted to keep the two separate. However, the measure became collateral in an unrelated dispute over the natural resources trailer bill, AB 92. The sources said Scott Wetch, a longtime labor lobbyist, threatened to kill the solar-related AB 105 if the resources bill, AB 92, kept language that reinforced the state’s permitting authority over energy projects that also require federal approval. One of those is the contested Eagle Mountain hydropower venture that would be built outside Joshua Tree National Park. The threat by Wetch didn’t end up affecting the resources trailer bill, however. The Assembly on Friday passed AB 92 with the permitting language still included, sending it to Newsom for his expected signature. AB 105, the solar fix to the split-roll initiative, was referred Friday to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, which hasn’t set a hearing on the bill. It will eventually have to clear the full Assembly before going to Newsom. The chamber returns from recess on July 13. An insider said solar farms would be harder to finance if AB 105 isn’t eventually passed, which in turn could make the solar industry change its position on supporting split-roll because the initiative’s current provisions would apply a tax hike to existing solar farms — which are already excluded from 1978’s Proposition 13 that split-roll backers want to reform. Solar advocates and split-roll supporters have previously agreed to exempt existing solar farms from the initiative’s tax hike.

On to measures moving:

AB 5 Fix

AB 1850 (Gonzalez D-San Diego) exempts from the “ABC test” for employment status certain occupations such as musicians, insurance inspectors and competition judges, appraisers, and certain master teachers. This bill also revises the freelancer exemption and recasts the exemption for referral agencies. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3)

Apprenticeship
 
SB 795 (Beall D-San Jose) allocates $2 billion 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). Gives $8 million to union-sponsored construction pre-apprenticeship programs. Approved by Senate (Y:29 N:10 A:1)
 
Business Issues
 
AB 2471 (Maienschein RD-San Diego) provides senior citizens an additional two days to review, evaluate, and possibly rescind specific contracts (including home improvement contracts) that are associated with increased risk of unfair business practices. Approved by Assembly (Y:78 N:0 A:1)

AB 3254 (Limón D-Santa Barbara) requires that people who will be cosigning certain contracts, negotiated primarily in the Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean languages, receive translated copies of those contracts to review before they sign. Approved by Assembly (Y:75 N:0 A:4)

SB 939 (Wiener D-San Francisco) would have established, for all commercial tenants, a temporary moratorium on evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 related state of emergency, and a yearlong period in which to make up rental payments missed during that state of emergency. Died in Senate Appropriations Committee

CEQA
 
AB 3279 (Friedman D-Glendale) revises CEQA litigation procedures by (a) reducing the deadline for a court to commence hearings from one year to 270 days, (b) allowing a lead agency to decide whether a plaintiff prepares the administrative record, and (c) authorizing a court to issue an interlocutory remand. It is opposed by the Sierra Club and State Building and Construction Trades Council but was approved by Assembly (Y:64 N:2 A:13) Amendments are expected in the Senate.

SB 974 (Hurtado D-Sanger) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells. It was larded up with State Building and Construction Trades Council language at the last minute. You can watch the floor presentation here. Senate approved (Y:33 N:6 A:1)

SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego)Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025. It makes housing projects that meet specific requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. Amended to appease BTs Passed by Senate 32:4:4 Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) who is in a tight race voiced support for CWTAs on the floor – video here. Senator John Moorlach spoke in opposition (Video here).

SB 899 (Wiener D-San Francisco) Provides that housing is a use by right on land owned on or before January 1, 2020, by a religious institution or nonprofit college if the development meets all of a variety of criteria. Passed by Senate 39:0:1 despite BT opposition (and advertising campaign that was pulled), Beall called Wiener out on the floor for not protecting workers (video here).

Labor Law
 
AB 1947 (Kalra D) 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. Approved by Assembly (Y:46 N:23 A:10) (P)

AB 3075 (Gonzalez D) Allows interference with corporate formation based on arbitrary, unclear, and unfair standards. The bill would also result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions by authorizing them to impose their wage payment requirements as long as they are “at least as stringent” as state law requirements. CalChamber “Job Killer.” Approved by Assembly (Y:53 N:19 A:7) (P)

AB 3216 (Kalra D) 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. The bill creates additional burdens on California employers at a time they can least afford it. CalChamber “Job Killer.” Approved by Assembly (Y:44 N:17 A:18) (P)

Licensure
 
AB 2210 (Aguiar-Curry D) Allows the CSLB to discipline tree work contractors without serious injury and extends the time from 180 days to 18 months for CSLB to commence an action based upon an OSHA complaint. Sponsored by CSLB Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

AB 2232 (Grayson D) Sponsored by CSLB - This bill requires the CSLB to grant retroactive license renewals if certain conditions are met. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

AB 3087 (Brough R-Dana Point) authorizes the CSLB to contract with a public or private organization to administer its licensing examinations and to contract for materials and services related to the exams. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3)

SB 1189 (McGuire D) authorizes the B-2 Remodeling License, makes home improvement contract laws applicable to disaster rebuilds. CSLB sponsored. Approved by Senate (Y:39 N:0 A:1) (P)

PAGA
 
AB 2570 (Stone, Mark D) This bill will introduce private attorneys into tax enforcement by amending the False Claims Act (a legal tool applied outside the tax world) to also apply to tax statements. In short – PAGA for taxes. In addition to bringing in private attorneys, it will also create conflicts with existing tax law, which, for some reason, the author has simply refused to correct. This bill will lead to frivolous, abusive litigation targeted at successful California businesses, as has occurred with litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Proposition 65. Approved by Assembly (Y:44 N:20 A:15) (P)

Public Works
 
AB 2231 (Kalra D) This bill defines a public subsidy as “de minimis” to pay the prevailing wage in public works projects if the support is both less than $500,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. For single-family homes, a public subsidy is de minimis if it is less than 2% of the total project cost. This standard will apply for bids advertised or contracts awarded after July 1, 2021. This bill is like AB 520 (Kalra), of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, which was vetoed by Governor Newsom. Approved by Assembly (Y:57 N:15 A:7) (P)

AB 2765 (O’Donnell D) This bill expands the definition of “public works” to include any construction, alteration, demolition, installation or repair work done under private contract on a project for a charter school when that project is paid for, in whole or in part, with the proceeds of conduit revenue bonds issued on or after January 1, 2021. AB 1613 (O’Donnell), of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, proposed language identical to this bill. The Governor vetoed the bill. Approved by Assembly (Y:61 N:15 A:3) (P)

STWF
 
AB 2311 (Low D) Public contracts: skilled and trained workforce requirement: notice. This bill requires a public entity to include in all documents and contracts a notification that a project is subject to the skilled-and-trained workforce requirement, when applicable. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

Taxes/Fees
 
AB 398 (Chu D) COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Act. Previously relating to visual and performing arts, it was gutted and amended May 27 to impose instead a $275-per-employee tax on companies that employ 500 or more workers who perform any part of their job duties within California. Revenue from the tax would go into the newly created COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Fund to be used by local jurisdictions and schools. Vote: Two-Thirds (Tax Increase)

Workforce Development
?
SB 1103 (Hurtado D) SB 1103 would (1) require the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) to establish and administer a supportive services program to provide grants to consortia that would provide supportive services necessary to enable low-income individuals to participate in High Road Training Partnership programs successfully, and (2) direct CWDB to develop additional High Road Training Partnerships programs to address the displacement of workers, including southern Central Valley farmworkers, and disconnected/at-risk youth. Approved by Senate (Y:32 N:4 A:4) (P)
Last Appeal Denied The Last Appeal statues of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus in the Capitol Rotunda was removed last week, to be returned to the donor's descendants (if they want it). Now it will only be a memory of those of us who used to pitch pennies on the last night of session from the second floor, aiming to the Queen's crown. The CHP halted that practice several years ago as the Queen's crown was eroding. More
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Thursday, June 25, 2020   WECA Political Update June 25, 2020

Face Covering Update On June 18, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidance that requires Californians to wear a face-covering in high-risk settings. The direction mandates the use of cloth face coverings by the general public statewide when outside the home, with limited exceptions. 

Pertaining to work, workers must wear face coverings when they are in the situations listed below:
  • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
  • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
  • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
  • In any room or an enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face-covering:
  • Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they can maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
At present, this new guidance doesn’t impact the current industry-specific guidance covered in the Construction Industry COVID-19 Exposure Response and Prevention Plan developed by San Diego Construction Associations.

California Bill Update

B-2 Residential Remodeling Contractor SB 1189 (McGuire D- Healdsburg) creates a residential remodeling contracting classification, the B-2 Residential Remodeling Contractor, as a recognized branch of the general building contracting profession. WECA is seeking an amendment to require that electrical work performed by the B-2 be done by a certified electrician. The bill was passed by the Senate and will be considered in the Assembly in July.

CEQA We talked about SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego) last time. It extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025. It makes housing projects that meet specific requirements, including affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. The bill had been opposed by State Building and Construction Trades Council, who testified in support of the bill in committee – now we know why. Atkins agreed to include the BT’s “suitcase of amendments” that include:
  • Similar STWF unless there is a PLA
  • Requires PW payments on any project - even if it is not a PW
  • Requires all contractors and subcontractors to maintain and verify payroll records under Labor code unless there is a PLA
  • It allows payment of less than the PW hourly wage if subject to a CBA
  • Create new penalties for failing to meet STWF ratios of $10,000 per month and $200 per day per employee - which penalties do not apply if a PLA is in place. As you may recall – AB 3018 from 2018 created a penalty of $5,000 for a first offense - not sure why there is a new penalty in 974 - when there is one in existing law.
Another CEQA bill is SB 974 (Hurtado D-Spanger) that exempts from CEQA specific water infrastructure projects for small disadvantaged community water systems that improve the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water reliability. The BTs opposed the bill, and Hurtado made changes on June 18, like SB 995. These will surely make it easier and more affordable to provide clean water for small disadvantaged communities.

Skilled and Trained Workforce AB 2311 (Low D- Campbell) requires a public entity to include in all documents and contracts a notice that a project is subject to the skilled-and-trained workforce requirement. The State Building and Construction Trades Council rejected WECA’s request for indemnity language. The bill is in the Senate Labor Committee.

Family Leave Senators are poised to approve a job-protected family leave proposal backed by Gov. Newsom that was inserted late Tuesday into a gutted policy bill as part of the budget process. SB 1383 (Jackson D – Santa Barbara) would give all employees who are eligible for the state’s Paid Family Leave Program up to 12 weeks over 12 months to care for themselves, a new child, or a seriously ill spouse or domestic partner, sibling, grandparent or grandchild, mirroring Newsom’s January budget proposal. The bill would take effect in January. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure. On Wednesday, the group added SB 1383 to its feared list of “Job Killer” bills, saying it was the wrong time to place new burdens on small businesses struggling to avoid shutting permanently because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

November Election

After hours of debate in which lawmakers repeatedly invoked the imperative to move closer to racial equality and invoked prejudice they had faced in their own lives, the Senate passed ACA 5 (Weber D – San Diego) on a 30-10 vote. If passed by voters, the measure would overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 voter-passed initiative that prohibited race as a factor in admissions policies for universities and government hiring and contracting decisions. Several Chinese American groups oppose reinstating affirmative action, arguing it would discriminate against Asian Americans, who are currently over-represented in both the CSU and UC systems. State Sen. Ling Ling Chang, a Diamond Bar Republican: “The answer to discrimination is not more discrimination.” Voters will have the final say in November. Fifty-five percent voted to pass 209 in 1996. [Politico & CalMatters]

California voters will also decide whether to let parolees vote. ACA 6 (McCarty D-Sacramento) was a priority of the California Legislative Black Caucus and of civil rights groups who said it would restore basic rights to people who have served their debt to society through incarceration. California law currently requires people to finish their parole terms before they can register to vote. The Senate passed the measure on a 28-9 vote that was largely along party lines, with Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Simi Valley) the sole Republican vote in favor. The parole measure is promoted by 31-year-old Esteban Núñez, son of a former Speaker of the California Assembly. He was convicted for his role in the 2008 killing of 22-year-old college student Luis Santos. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2011 reduced Núñez’s sentence from 16 years to seven, a decision that angered Santos’ parents and others who said Núñez’s political connections allowed him to circumvent justice. Núñez now works for a criminal justice nonprofit, advocating for bills like ACA 6 to help give the incarcerated a second chance.

Several other Legislative efforts will probably end up on the ballot. But as Joel Fox points out in Fox&Hounds, “the Democratic majority in the Legislature is at it again, attempting to manipulate election rules to favor a desired outcome with voters. It has happened a number of times in the last decade. The current effort is SB 300 by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) to place all constitutional amendments passed by the Legislature in the coming days on the November ballot where the majority feels they have a higher chance for success. Under current law, any measure that qualified after 131 days before the election would appear in the next election, June 2022 ballot.”
Ask Richard
Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
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Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.
 
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Thursday, May 28, 2020   WECA Political Update: May 28, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
_______________________________________
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.
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Thursday, May 14, 2020   WECA Political Update: May 14, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
_____________________________________
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.
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