For the legislative and political week September 12-16
Welcome to the September 12-16 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
Fast Food Fight
- To no one’s surprise, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Labor Day signed Assembly Bill 257 into law. NFIB California was part of a coalition expressing its opposition to this first-time-in-any-state measure taking control of all wages and workplace decisions out of the hands of fast-food franchisees and turning it over to a new state agency.
- But “Less than 48 hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed landmark legislation regulating fast food labor, a group led by the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association filed a referendum seeking to overturn the law,” reports Politico California. “They needn’t win this battle to reap some benefits. Qualifying a referendum suspends the law in question until voters can weigh in.”
- Reports CalMatters, the secretary of state’s office “… plans to issue a circulating title and summary for the proposed referendum by Sept. 16. Proponents have until Dec. 4 to submit more than 623,000 valid signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2024 ballot.”
On Other Legislation …
Speaking of NFIB and its coalition partners, last week it sent the following veto-request letters to the governor.
- Assembly Bill 1041 would expand the class of people whom an employee may take paid and unpaid leave to care for.
— “The existing provisions of CFRA [California Family Rights Act] are already challenging, confusing, and burdensome, and small employers who are struggling as a result of this pandemic are overwhelmed by the current law. Additionally, existing paid sick leave laws are difficult to administer. Expanding both of these laws as proposed under AB 1041 will simply expedite the shutdown of more small businesses in California and further expose employers to unnecessary costs and more litigation.” Read the entire veto-request letter here.
- Assembly Bill 1601 would punish businesses for moving their call centers out of California.
— “AB 1601 will deter companies from creating jobs in California because it improperly penalizes any companies who move California call center operations to a different country. You vetoed this same bill in 2019 for this exact reason. AB 1601 also appears to exceed the boundaries of California’s jurisdiction by regulating activities in other countries and, therefore, is likely unlawful.” Read the entire veto-request letter here.
- Assembly Bill 2188 would create a protected class for marijuana users.
— “AB 2188 … elevates marijuana use to a protected class, above alcohol or other legal drug use. Under California law, we believe that marijuana should be treated like alcohol – its use is legal in certain settings, but impairment must be kept out of the workplace. We see AB 2188 as going beyond that by creating new litigation concerns related to its new protections for marijuana use.” Read the entire veto-request letter here.
- Senate Bill 1127 would make anti-business changes to the workers’ compensation system.
— “SB 1127 … proposes to truncate the claims review process required of employers without giving them the tools to make decisions more quickly. SB 1127 reduces the timeline for employers to make a decision about covering workers’ compensation insurance claims covered by a presumption statute from 90 to 75 days, and it imposes penalties as high as $50,000 per claim if an employer unreasonably rejects liability for one of these workers’ compensation claims.” Read the entire veto-request letter here.
Yes, CARE Court
- Not all the letters NFIB California and its coalition partners sent to the governor last week asked for his veto. One asked for his signature on Senate Bill 1338.
— “Homelessness affects all of us and the CARE Court proposal provides a compassionate, innovative approach to addressing this issue that clearly a majority of Californians care about. Homelessness has become an all-too-common feature of our communities, impacting public safety and public health. SB 1338 is a bold step toward reversing the tide of homelessness in California.”
A Look Back, A Look Ahead
- From NFIB California’s chief legislative advocate Kevin Pedrotti, “The two houses collectively introduced 4,476 bills during the 2021-22 Legislative Session. Governor Newsom has until September 30 to act on the 900+ measure sent to him in the final weeks of session. As of September 3, he has acted on just over 250 bills (and vetoed 7 so far).
- “Politically, between reapportionment, early retirements, term limits, and the general drag of being a public servant in a pandemic combined to induce or force 35 of the 120 incumbent legislators to vacate their seats. Thus, next year roughly 30% of the legislature will need to learn the difference between the Swing Space and the Capitol and what it means to be a legislator. While leadership in both houses has been stable, if changes there occur (already rumored in the Assembly), additional ripples will disturb the legislative ecosystem (think committee chairs, memberships, and sour grapes).”
- NFIB’s five-week social media campaign alerting small-business owners to the California Air Resources Board’s 2022 Scoping Plan received 56,033,288 impressions. We thank our members who made their voices heard on CARB’s development of new environmental regulations.
Highlights from NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlin Lanzara’s weekly report
- Tomorrow (September 13) NFIB will release its monthly Small Business Economic Trends report (aka The Optimism Index). Sneak peek: “Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved 10 points from July to a net negative 42%, the highest level since February 2022, but a dismal outlook.”
- Speaking of the SBET report, NFIB came out last Wednesday with its industry-specific Small Business Economic Trends report highlighting small businesses in the construction, manufacturing, retail, and services industries. The overall Optimism Index in July was 89.9.
- On September 9, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center released the August issue of “The Docket,” a monthly update of its work.
- On September 7, NFIB hosted a webinar on “Every Dollar Counts: Small Business Debt Collection and Credit Management Strategies.” Watch it here.
Next Main Street Minute September 19.