For the legislative and political week June 13-17
Welcome to the June 13-17 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
Regulatory Nightmares Ahead
Last week, two state agencies met to begin their processes for adding even more regulations to an already regulatory heavy state. These would not be just any regulations; one can fairly be described as the mother of all regulations.
- On Wednesday (June 8), the freshly minted California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) met to give its executive director the green light to initiate the agency’s rulemaking process, much of which can be found in its 66-page first draft. Come Jan. 1, 2023, there is to be a law in place at the expense of driving businesses crazy with compliance.
- The Agency was created by a 2020 ballot initiative, which was sold as just affecting the big boys who collect a lot of data on their customers. Not so, says Edwin Lombard of the California African American Chamber of Commerce, who told Politico, “The claim that small businesses will not have to shoulder the burden of these costs is simply not true. Small businesses rely increasingly on online platforms, and making these platforms more costly and less effective will have a direct impact on them and the consumers and communities they serve.”
- NFIB California was an early and vociferous opponent of Proposition 24, which created the California Privacy Protection Agency. So much so that Alastair Mactaggart, the real estate developer who bankrolled the ballot measure, made a point of meeting with NFIB State Director John Kabateck personally to assure him that it would bring no harm to small business. Still, what is started with the best of intentions can have the worst of consequences once it’s in the hands of bureaucracies to manage and implement. Monitoring the CPPA will long be a priority for NFIB.
- The next day, June 9, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a hearing on its Advanced Clean Cars II rule. Click on the link and take a scroll down its 50 or so appendices, and you’ll see why it’s a leading candidate for the title of Mother of All Regulations – in the history of California.
- NFIB California called on its members to take action to register their concerns. Last week’s Main Street Minute highlighted our biggest worries.
- We’re not alone. “At a public hearing that stretched on for nine hours in Sacramento, auto company representatives, environmentalists and car owners showed up in droves to voice their concerns,” reported CalMatters. “Some said the rapid transition could harm the disadvantaged communities it aims to help … The rules would mandate increased sales of electric or other zero-emission vehicles in California, beginning with 35% of 2026 models. In 2035 sales of all new gas-powered cars would be banned. Currently only about 12% of new car sales in California are zero-emission vehicles.”
- The CalMatters article is highly recommended for seeing the arguments others are making over the proposed rule. The CARB board is set to make a final decision in August.
- Unlike the legislative process, which NFIB is a past master at influencing at the right moment, the CPPA was created by a ballot initiative and the CARB rule was started by an executive order from the governor. These avenues present their own challenges, but NFIB is also a past master at making noise, the kind that prompted Alastair Mactaggart’s visit. We’re able to create that noise because of the membership that makes up NFIB, the small-business owners whom politicians and bureaucrats don’t want to run afoul of. A special thanks goes out to our members who respond to our action alerts. It is making a difference.
It will be a busy week of lobbying for NFIB on some of its agenda items.
- Today, (June 13), the Senate Labor Committee will take up Assembly Bill 257, which NFIB is vehemently opposed to. It calls for upending the fast-food franchise model and handing all working-condition decisions, including wages, over to a new state agency.
- Tomorrow (June 14), the Senate Governmental Organization Committee hears Assembly Bill 2164, which NFIB supports, and which would provide small businesses with a financial pathway to be more accessible to people with disabilities.
- Also tomorrow, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will take up Senate Bill 1162, which NFIB opposes, and which would require employers who hired workers through labor contracts to provide the Department of Fair Employment and Housing with certain specified information, including pay data.
Update on Three Other Measures
- Senate Bill 1044, which would allow workers who feel unsafe to walk away without fear of retribution, has been double referred to the Assembly Labor Committee and to the Assembly Emergency Committee.
- Double referral is “typically used for sensitive subject areas that transcend the jurisdiction of one policy committee. Both committees must approve the measure to keep it moving in the process,” according to this glossary of terms webpage provided by the State Senate.
- California is not lacking in regulations protecting workers, as this June 9 business coalition letter reminded members of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. However, “Senate Bill 1044 completely ignores the protections that these regulations already provide. Instead, this bill just allows workers to walk away … While the most recent amendments do attempt to limit the scope of the bill, the bill still renders these existing regulations meaningless because a worker can allege they feel unsafe.”
- The next meeting of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee is scheduled for this Wednesday, June 15, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 444 of the State Capitol, yet SB 1044 was not on the agenda as of the posting of this Main Street Minute. NFIB is part of the business coalition.
- Another bad-for-business proposal is Assembly Bill 1751, which would extend the sunset date on the existing workers’ compensation presumption for COVID-19 by two years to January 2025. It was just referred to the Senate Labor Committee last Wednesday, June 8.
- One of this Legislature’s signature markings is its inability to leave well enough alone, and Senate Bill 1127 is one of the many examples of that. It would fundamentally alter longstanding rules and timeframes for determining eligibility for workers’ compensation claims. It’s up for a hearing in the Assembly Insurance Committee, June 22.
- A new state budget for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 will be passed this week by June 15. “The budget will be what the two houses have agreed to,” reports Kevin Pedrotti, NFIB California’s chief legislative advocate. “Negotiations continue with the governor. Expect a flurry of budget trailer bills to be acted upon before summer recess on July 1 or after legislators return in August.”
The Primary Election
- When it comes to levels of apathy, California voters put in a new basement floor last Tuesday, June 7. It mailed 22 million ballots to registered voters. So far, just over 3.6 million have been counted. The final official tally will come July 15.
NFIB California in the News
- State Director John Kabateck tells the Southern California Record that a bill creating CARE courts to combat some crimes is a possible step in the right direction. “We support the concept of giving people a combination of diversion and rehabilitation as well as getting the homeless and others off the street. We don’t know necessarily that CARE Court is the cure for everything that we’re facing but we do see it as a step in the direction of giving people some care and treatment.”
- For the same publication, Kabateck commended the governor’s proposed state budget for committing $4 billion for small businesses in his proposed 2022-2023 state budget. “The fact that he is investing $4 billion in direct grants to small business owners as part of this package is going to help put more money back in the pockets of small business owners right now, and allow them to reinvest and rehire.”
- NFIB’s annual Washington D.C. Fly-In starts today (June 13) and runs until Wednesday (June 15). “The Fly-In offers NFIB’s most active small business owner-advocates a chance to make their voices heard in Congress and talk face-to-face with legislators and their staff,” says this article that explains more.
- REMEMBER! Next Monday, June 20, official Washington will be closed in celebration of the new Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday, which is actually on the 19th of every June, but because this year’s falls on a Sunday, Monday is the day. NFIB members doing business with federal agencies should plan accordingly.
- “With the detriment of inflation, worker shortages, and supply chain disruptions, the Biden administration and Congress must adopt a do no harm approach and rule out any tax increases and mandates on small businesses, and specifically promote policies that would strengthen the small business recovery.” So said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s vice president for federal government relations in this June 10 news release.
- Tomorrow, June 16, NFIB will release its latest, monthly Small Business Optimism Index.
Next Main Street Minute June 20.