NFIB California Main Street Minute

Date: January 25, 2021

For the legislative and political week ending January 29

Welcome to the January 25 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your small-business advocacy team in Sacramento.

  • On Friday, January 22, NFIB and the National Retail Federation filed their response for a motion for a preliminary injunction against the new Cal/OSHA regulations. Background story here. The matter will be heard in a San Francisco Superior Court this Thursday, January 28.
  • From both associations’ Reply in Support of Plaintiffs’ Application for Order to Show Cause, “Without a hint of irony, Defendants’ Opposition seemingly blames employers for the recent ‘spike’ in COVID-19 cases. … Notably, Defendants’ supporting authority states nothing about this spread being work-related. … Retail employees (and all California employees, for that matter) face the hazard of COVID-19, not because they are employees, but because they are human beings living on this planet. The threat exists wherever they are – Thanksgiving dinner, nights out with friends, holiday celebrations with families, and any number of other life activities, all of which an employer cannot control. Cal/OSHA rightfully expects employers to institute protocols to keep employees safe while they are at work. But it is wrong to impose on employers the massive costs and burdens of a global pandemic where employers can control a person’s activities only during a fraction of their day – through, in particular, paid exclusion leave and mandatory testing – without even the benefit of due process.”
  • Because of the Martin Luther King holiday last Monday, the inauguration of President Joe Biden two days later, and the shutdown of the State Capitol in expectation of possible unrest, which fortunately didn’t happen, it was a slow week for legislative news.
  • But don’t expect that to last. The deadline for introducing bills is February 19, and as NFIB’s chief legislative advocate Kevin Pedrotti has reported in past Main Street Minutes, there is pent-up demand from legislators to move on initiatives that stalled last year.
  • Disunity, discord, and disharmony. Last week, the Republican caucus in the state Senate replaced its leader, Shannon Grove, with Scott Wilk. On the Democratic side, earlier this month, reacting to a news story that Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed paperwork to run for reelection in 2024 when she will be 91, fellow Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, an assembly member from San Diego, tweeted: “This is not ok.”
  • Remember when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the latest unemployment and inflation rates were the big economic barometers? Today, we live in a time when ICU-bed capacity and rents have muscled to the fore. Could this story in The New York Times have found a new metric to add: the burrito meter?
  • “Nikil Viswanathan, who co-founded the blockchain start-up Alchemy, recently fled San Francisco. … But the expats still find one another. Not long ago, he stumbled on a cluster at a party. ‘I knew it was an S.F. crew because when I walked in, they had the full dual monitor with the ergonomic keyboard on a standing desk,’ Mr. Viswanathan said, adding that conversation revolved around the lower cost of living. ‘One of the S.F. guys was like: “I just had a burrito for $6. It was amazing.” ‘ The last burrito he had in San Francisco cost $15.”
  • Speaking of media, a slow news week didn’t slow coverage of NFIB’s thoughts on the pressing issues of the day. The Southern California Record quoted State Director John Kabateck on NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends report. “Government is erratic and unpredictable relative to COVID shutdowns, which is not only making it hard for small business owners to plan accordingly but also to hire accordingly.”

Nationally

  • The next NFIB COVID-19 webinar is this Wednesday, January 27, when small-business experts from Anders CPAs will discuss the expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and PPP updates. Click here to register for it.
  • Reports our lobbying team in D.C., “On Tuesday, January 19th, the Senate Finance Committee held a nomination hearing for former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become Secretary of the Treasury. Dr. Yellen is likely to be confirmed imminently. At the request of NFIB, Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Steve Daines (R-MT) received commitments from Dr. Yellen that the Treasury Department would work with small business stakeholders to mitigate regulatory burdens as Treasury implements beneficial ownership reporting requirements included in the NDAA late last year.”
  • Responded Secretary Yellen, “I agree strongly on the need for federal banking agencies, including but not limited to FinCEN, to consult with the small business community when promulgating regulations, including on the promulgation of rules and guidance to implement the beneficial ownership reporting requirements. If confirmed, I will ensure this consultation occurs.”

Next Main Street Minute, February 1.

Photo snip of Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh courtesy of the California State Senate website

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