You may not have noticed a collective sigh of relief going up around the state on June 5th, but anybody following the legislative process in Sacramento was holding their breath through that date. That’s because on June 5th, all of the 2,348 bills that were introduced earlier this year had to be passed out of their house of origin by then or they were dead for this session. Mostly. Kind of.
During the first 5 months of the year, your Southwest California Legislative Council adopted positions on 62 bills we felt would have either the most positive of negative impact on our members, your businesses and our region. Of those 62 bills, the SWCLC SUPPORTED 31 and OPPOSED 29. Bills we are WATCHING account for the 2 you’re missing, if you’re doing the math. Of the 31 bills we SUPPORTED, just 12 made the final cut while 16 of the 28 we opposed are still alive.
SUPPORTED bills include SB25 (Roth), the perennial bill to return pilfered VLF funds to Menifee, Wildomar, Jurupa Valley and Eastvale. That bill’s still alive. We also SUPPORTED 3 bills attempting to eliminate or reduce the fire ‘fee’ implemented on rural residents 4 years ago. Those are all dead. (It’s very easy to get new taxes in Sacramento, almost impossible to get rid of them.) There were also 4 bills dealing with ADA compliance issues trying to reduce the impact of frivolous lawsuits on businesses. Only 1 of those is still alive (SB 251 Roth).
Assembly member Brian Jones again introduced a bill (AB 1038) to allow businesses to work with employees who would prefer a more flexible work schedule – like 4 X 10 hour days without paying the mandatory overtime after 8 hours. Dead. Senator Jeff Stone introduced a bill (SB 495) that would have allowed homeowners and investors to pay any required tax when they normally pay taxes rather than remit to the state when the property sells and then try to get back what’s owed later. Dead. Assemblymember Chang introduced a bill (AB476) that would have raised the homeowners exemption for the first time in 40 years to more accurately reflect current housing values. Dead.
Fortunately a number of the bills we OPPOSED also failed to proceed including Lorena Gonzalez bill (AB 67) that would have mandated double pay on holidays. The Assemblymember famously delivered pumpkin pies to every other legislator in an attempt to sway their voted on this turkey. Amazingly, a majority saw it for what it was and the bill got stuffed. Proposed taxes on sugared beverages (SB 203 & AB 1357) failed as did two bills trying to lower the voter threshold allowing cities to raise taxes more easily.
However, too many bad business bills are still alive and proceeding including one to accelerate the already mandated increase to minimum wage (SB 3 Leno) and the proposal to expand rules on carbon emissions to mandate an 80% reduction under 1990 levels by 2050 (SB 32 Pavley). Another onerous bill would force Temecula and Murrieta to start electing city council members by district whether voters want to or not (AB 278 Hernandez). Alive. A bill that greatly expands the scope and definition of who qualifies for protected employment leave (SB 406 Jackson) and a bill that would force public work sites to pay cement truck drivers the same wage as highly skilled workers (AB 219 Daly) are also alive and giving us nightmares.
A complete listing of all bills the SWCLC has evaluated thus far is available at www.SouthwestCa.biz. The last half of this session will be much more negative as we are forced to OPPOSE far more bills than we can SUPPORT. As always, we invite you to join us every month as we debate these issues and communicate your wishes to our legislators.
For a complete list of those bills, click here: Mid-year Bill Tracker