For the legislative and political week March 7-11
Welcome to the March 7-11 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
The Unmasking of California
- To a small bit of fanfare last Monday (February 28), Gov. Gavin Newsom teamed up with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington state to announce all three states were relaxing their mask mandates.
- Later that day, he made this announcement, “Following the California Department of Public Health’s release of new indoor masking guidance, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order that updates the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in keeping with the current guidance.
- “In California, starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated workers indoors, consistent with the updated CDPH guidance, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. Employers must still provide a face covering upon request of an employee.”
- A report in CalMatters discusses the vaccine working group of legislators and the eight bills they are pushing to pass.
- One bill, according to the article, mandating all employees and independent contractors in the state show proof of vaccination, drew this response from NFIB California State Director John Kabateck, “Why in the world would we want to advance this kind of policy that further burdens not just small business owners but all Californians and communities? This policy is over-reactive and over burdensome for already stretched small business owners trying to keep their doors open and their people employed.”
“An Incredibly Irresponsible Giveaway”
- Given California is still in hock to the federal government for just-under $20 billion in unemployment insurance loans, you might think that the $3 billion Governor Newsom asked for in the next state budget is a small amount of change. But you would be wrong!
- According to the California Labor Federation, it is an “incredibly irresponsible giveaway” that “would directly reward the employer community for their chronic refusal to adequately fund the UI system.”
- In a letter to Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee, Labor argues, “Benefits were last raised in 2004, leaving workers with wildly inadequate weekly payments while California’s cost of living has skyrocketed. As a result, employers have now for decades enjoyed some of the lowest UI taxes in the country while workers suffer under ever lower UI benefits and wage replacement rates.”
Retail Theft Bills
- There are 14 bills addressing retail theft in the Legislature. Click here to see their status, location, and summary of them. NFIB is currently assessing each of them.
Flexible Work Schedules
- Check out this letter of support for Assembly Bill 1761 that NFIB and 74 other business groups sent to Assembly Member Randy Voepel backing his measure calling for flexible work schedules.
- “California is one of the only states that requires employers to pay daily overtime after eight hours of work in addition to weekly overtime after 40 hours of work. Even other states that impose daily overtime requirements allow the employer and employee to essentially waive the daily eight-hour overtime requirement through a written agreement. California, however, provides no such common-sense alternative.”
Tomorrow is NFIB California’s Small Business Day
- Tomorrow (March 8) is NFIB California’s annual Small Business Day. It will be a virtual event from 11 a.m. to Noon. It’s free and you’re invited to bring a guest. If you haven’t already, click here to register and for more information about the event, including three top legislators who will be guests.
- Also, tomorrow (March 8), Governor Newsom gives his State of the State Speech at 5 p.m. It will be live streamed here: @CAgovernor Twitter page, California Governor Facebook page, and California Governor YouTube page.
- Congress liberally scents its bill numbers with heavy doses of the cheapest advertising cologne, so it was interesting to read the slightly humorous twist on S.3546/H.R. 6913, the Stop the Nosy Obsession with Online Payments Act (SNOOP Act).
- The SNOOP Act and H.R. 3425 (the Saving Gig Economy Taxpayers Act) would repeal a provision in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which will require Third-Party Settlement Organizations (TPSOs), such as PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App, to issue a 1099-K for goods and service transactions totaling $600 or more in annual gross sales. Previously, TPSOs were only required to issue a 1099-K for users with $20,000 in goods and services transactions and more than 200 transactions in a calendar year.
- NFIB supports the repeal. You can read NFIB Vice President Kevin Kuhlman’s reason here.
Highlights from NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlin Lanzara’s weekly report:
- On March 2, NFIB hosted a webinar titled, “Live with the CPA: Claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and Tips for Tax Season with special guest Kristi Stone, CPA.” Watch it here. Learn more here.
- On February 28, NFIB signed a coalition letter in support of including the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6161 / S. 3625) as a standalone measure or as part of a larger package.
- On February 28, NFIB signed another coalition letter in support of the Fair and Open Competition Act (S. 403 / H.R. 1284), sponsored by Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13). The bill pushes back against Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) as a condition of winning a federal or federally assisted, taxpayer-funded construction contract.
Next Main Street Minute March 14.