Deadline week for Legislation

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 30, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Hundreds of bills moved from one house to the other during this deadline week. Bills that did not pass their house of origin this week are likely dead for the year, but it is possible one or more may come up again depending on the type of bill, rule waivers, tax levies, gut and amends, etc. Here are highlights of the most important actions taken this week on bills manufacturers care about:
 

CORPORATE COUNSEL

SB 1188 (Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara).

One of the most troubling bills this year would let consumers sue manufacturers for product defects occurring after the warranty expires. Currently such suits can proceed only if there is fraud or health and safety issues. SB 1188 passed out of the Senate with a bare majority of 21 democrat-only votes with the trial attorneys group actively lobbying the legislators.

 

ENERGY

SB 1139 (Ben Hueso, D-San Diego).

Already high electricity rates would go even higher if this bill to mandate that utilities purchase 500 megawatts of geothermal energy becomes law. If geothermal is the best value, it will be chosen in the regular competitive procurement processes regularly conducted by utilities and no mandate is necessary. Only democrats gave this bill the 21 votes needed to move to the Assembly. 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

SB 1381 (Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa).

This bill would have required manufacturers to label all food products that contained any ingredient that could possibly have been genetically modified as “genetically modified” ( a characteristic that has never been shown scientifically to have an adverse health effect). It also incorporated private right of action. SB 1381 was defeated on the Senate Floor with only 19 “Aye” votes – two short of the 21 needed for passage.

SB 1132 (Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles).

Although the bill on the surface appeared to be about oil well stimulation, it was essentially designed to serve as a moratorium on fracking in California. Estimates are that the Monterey Shale Deposit could create as many as 194,000 jobs in California. The Senate defeated this legislation with a vote of 16 Aye’s to 16 Nay’s.

AB 2589 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica).

While our members are already plagued by too much regulation, this bill would have funded the Weights and Measures Departments of the counties to go into manufacturing facilities and warehouses and randomly conduct unlimited inspections. The bill appeared to have momentum in committee hearings, but was lobbied heavily by the business community and was dropped by the author before it came up for a vote in the Senate.

SB 1000 (William Monning, D-Carmel).

A last minute amendment by the author eliminating recordkeeping requirements allowed this bill to get off the Senate Floor after initially getting only 17 of the 21 required votes. The bill would require the manufacturers of sugar-sweetened beverages with 75 calories or more per 12 ounce serving to carry a label that states:  “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” This would be a California-only warning requirement.

AB 1699 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica).

Regarding Microplastics and three other extended producer responsibility bills – AB 1893 (Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley) Sharps; AB 2284 (Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara) Batteries; and SB 1014 (Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) Pharmaceuticals – were significantly amended to no longer be EPR-specific framework bills. All but AB 1893 moved on to their second house. AB 1893 is set for hearing on the Assembly floor this Monday, June 2nd.

 

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

AB 1522 (Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego),

This bill requires an employer to provide their employees paid sick leave upon the seventh day of employment at an accrual rate of one hour per 30 hours worked. National attention has been paid to this issue as many states grapple with adopting similar proposals. In California, it is a priority issue for the Legislative Latino Caucus and a signature piece for the author who campaigned on it and worked on it for many years as a member of organized labor. Co-sponsored by the California Labor Fed, AFL-CIO and the California State Council of Service Employees also as a priority issue to help the working poor, AB 1552 advanced off the Assembly Floor on a 52-23 vote, with three Democrats and one Republican abstention.

AB 1792 (Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles).

Requires several state agencies to collaborate in creating a report that identifies which employers have workers on specified public assistance programs (CalWorks, CalFRESH, Medi-Cal and WIC) and what the cost impact is to the State. The report will be posted on the Department of Finance website and provided to the Legislature to guide future policy decisions related to the working poor. It is a follow-up to a high priority labor bill that was lost in the Assembly last year. Many of the Legislators who did not support that measure found it difficult to not support AB 1792, which they viewed as a modest data-collection measure. This bill has also been identified as a “priority” issue for Labor and is co-sponsored by SEIU, CA Labor Fed and UFCW.  It sailed out on a 52-26 vote, with one Democrat abstention.

AB 1897 (Roger Hernández, D-West Covina).

One of the most troubling labor bills introduced this year holds an employer legally liable for wage/hour, workers’ comp, tax or occupational health and safety requirements of another employer whom they contract with for labor or services as part of their “usual course of business.” Such risk could discourage the use of contracted labor. The bill was amended the day before the Assembly Floor vote but the changes did nothing to get at the heart of our opposition – imposing liability against an employer for the wrongful acts of another when they have no control over the occurrence of those wrongful acts. AB 1897 is co-sponsored by CA Labor Fed, AFL-CIO, the Teamsters and UFCW and was passed by the Assembly on a 51-23 vote, with four Democrat and one Republican abstention.

AB 2416 (Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley).

Allows an employee, their representative or a government agency to record a lien on an employer’s property or any property where the work was performed for an alleged yet unproven wage claim. This bill is a repeat of a similar measure that was never presented on the Assembly Floor because the author lacked the votes needed for approval.  On first call, AB 2614 also severely lacked the sufficient number of votes to move off the Assembly Floor and it appeared that it would suffer the same fate as its predecessor. However, once the call was lifted, the measure squeaked out on a 43-27 vote, with nine abstentions. Several business-friendly Democrats either voted against the bill or stayed off.

 

TAX

SB 1372 (Mark DeSaulnier, D-Walnut Creek).

This attempt to tax a corporation more or less depending on average wages for workers compared to the highest paid executive received only 19 votes when a two-thirds supermajority of 27 votes was required for passage. The bill gained national notoriety as a response to growing wage inequality but was soundly defeated as a bad idea with the additional challenge of being impossible to implement. As a tax levy the bill remains technically alive for a future vote.

AB 2372 (Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and Raul Bocanegra, D-Los Angeles).

The original version of AB 2372 was a business-opposed attempt to whittle away protections in Proposition 13 and move closer to a “split roll” for property tax assessments. In the last few weeks, the bill has been revived to host a business-lead deal to prevent certain transactions structured for the purpose of avoiding “change of ownership” reassessments from succeeding. CMTA has moved to a “neutral” position and the bill moved out of the Assembly with 57 bipartisan votes.

 

To see the status of other important CMTA bills, go to “Legislative Watch” on our website at http://www.cmta.net/page/legwatch.php

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