For the legislative and political week September 6-10
Welcome to the September 6-10 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
The first order of business is to throw a Labor Day salute to all those who are the first to show up to work, the last to leave, and the last to get paid—Small-business owners!
- The state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been entirely conducted by the executive branch of government. Wanting to do something, or appear to be doing something, the legislative branch wanted to get in on the act.
- Assembly Bill 455 was to have been the vehicle for the Legislature’s attempt to require every Californian entering “a bar, restaurant, gym, hotel, event center or sports arena to show proof that he or she is fully vaccinated,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “It also calls for all employees, job applicants and independent contractors to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or take a weekly COVID-19 test with proof of a negative result.”
- The vaccine language was to have been amended into AB 455, which in its current form calls for creating public-transit-only lanes on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It’s not unusual to amend bills with unrelated topics, in fact, it’s part of the legislative process.
- However, serious issues brought forth by the business community and California health insurers caused the author to scrap plans for a bill this year. Despite what you may read, AB 455 is dead for the year. It was never amended, and draft language changed by the hour. In fact, the author agreed to remove the customer-facing language after objections from the restaurant industry and retailers.
- Enter Assembly Bill 1102. Please don’t click the hyperlink just yet. It’s a bill about telephone medical advice services. AB 1102 has yet to be amended since leadership has asked to see a vote card on the bill prior to allowing it to go into print. The measure will have a two-thirds vote requirement because it is an emergency measure.
- Because AB 1102 clarified that employers may require vaccines if they so choose, it had earned the support of a coalition of 50 business groups, including NFIB.
- But wait! Late last week, labor unions demanded AB 1102 include much greater and unaffordable paid-leave time. So, NFIB and six other business associations, not knowing what may be included in AB 1102, or in an as-yet-to-be-seen budget trailer bill, sent a letter objecting to any last-minute extensions of paid COVID leave, which is set to expire at the end of September. The business community is OK with a “clean” recitation of current law on permissive vaccine requirements, but not a loaded-up bill with employer-related mandates and costs.
Attention 39th Congressional District NFIB Members
- Working with NFIB California’s Grassroots Manager Taylor Criddle, U.S. Rep. Young Kim will host a Business Roundtable in her district, Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 11 a.m., which will run for a scheduled hour.
- Topics will include the Pro Act, tax Increases, the federal budget reconciliation, and the Paycheck Protection Program. The Roundtable is free of charge, but registration is required and can be made here at this link. For more information, send an email to Taylor.Criddle@nfib.org.
- The 39th Congressional District includes the Orange County communities of Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia, and Yorba Linda and the Los Angeles County communities of Diamond Bar and Walnut.
- Check out NFIB California’s latest podcast with Five Star Bank president and CEO James Beckwith. Banks are flush with cash, he says, and it’s a good time to get a loan.
On the Sweet Side of a Lawsuit
- NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center has filed a friend-of-the-court brief (amicus) in support of See’s Candies in the case of See’s Candies, Inc. and See’s Candy Shops, Inc., v. Los Angeles Superior Court at the California Second District Court of Appeal.
- The case primarily concerns whether employees can subject employers to unlimited tort liability for alleged workplace injuries that are intended to be addressed in the workers’ compensation system. Click here to read NFIB’s news release, which contains a link to the amicus brief.
- See what else NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center has been up to by clicking here.
- Apologies. Last week’s Main Street Minute promised to have an updated report on the status of the 31 bills of small-business importance this year. Given this is the last week of the session, we thought we’d delay the update until we have a complete one that will serve for the rest of the year. How busy is it? Legislators may regret they delayed Senate Bill 519 decriminalizing a lengthy list of psychedelic substances until 2022.
- Not good news. The headline on an NFIB news release sent last Thursday, August 2, says it all, New NFIB Jobs Report: Staggering 50 Percent of Small Business Owners Report Job Openings They Can’t Fill.
- Last week’s news wasn’t all bad. Congress was out of session.
- But it’s coming back this week with a vengeance. Click here for a story on what it will be doing, how you can take action, and scroll down to a handy calendar of activity titled Key Dates To Watch: Congress And The Threat Of Small Business Tax Increases.
Next Main Street Minute September 13.