SACRAMENTO, CA, June 22, 2017 - The fight continues against proposed legislation making its way through the California Legislature that hinder job creation and economic growth.
While bills to make it burdensome to conduct business in California are still alive, there are industry coalitions organized to resist passage. In addition, IIABCal is supporting three bills that strengthen the economy and support a business climate that requires their expertise.
The Assembly Labor Committee early this week approved SB 63 (Jackson, Dem-Santa Barbara) to expand parental leave with a child to 12 weeks. Not only is this bill disruptive to the workplace and there is already significant leave laws in place, it opens employers up to family medical leave lawsuits that even if found without merit cost employers in the $125,000 range to resolve.
It is worthwhile to mention which bills will be heard next week or shortly thereafter. AB 450 (Chiu, Dem-San Francisco) prohibits employers from providing federal immigration enforcement agents’ access to the workplace without verifying a warrant is in place. The California Chamber of Commerce and a long list of organizations oppose the measure because it places employers in a no-win situation between federal immigration enforcement and state enforcement by punishing employers – rather than providing tools and resources for employees when federal immigration enforcement appears at their workplace regardless of whether a violation of law has been committed by the employer.
Another labor bill, AB 569 (Gonzalez-Fletcher, Dem-San Diego), prohibits discrimination against an employee for use of reproductive health medications. Despite this already being illegal under federal law, it has been awarded a hearing next Wednesday. Also next week, the Senate Labor Committee will take up AB 1008 (McCarty, Dem-Sacramento), which prohibits obtaining job candidate prior criminal history until a conditional offer of employment is made. This is a bill which has been introduced in previous sessions, but a Chamber-led coalition is not relenting because of its significant risk to the business community.
SB 33 (Dodd, Dem-Davis), which previously directly impacted all of the insurance sector, but now only imperils individuals that sell annuities, allows a person alleging financial services fraud to avoid arbitration to resolve the dispute. This bill will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee next week. The author introduced the measure in the wake of the Wells Fargo fake account setup scandal. The lobbying effort to narrow the language to more directly respond to a circumstance like the Wells Fargo debacle continues.
As reported on extensively, SB 562 (Lara, Dem-Bell Gardens) mandates everyone use a government-run healthcare system. The price tag of the program is $400 billion. The entire California government annual budget is about $178 billion. With no way to pay for a single payer health system, it will eventually stall. But for now, it is pending in the Assembly but not referred to committee.
Another measure that has been introduced before which is of concern is SB 66 (Wieckowski, Dem-Fremont). The bill prohibits tax deductions related to punitive damage award payments. It will be heard next week. At one point, it appeared stalled in the Senate, but was approved at the eleventh hour. The fight against the bill has intensified now that it is in its second house.
While not calendared but also sponsored by the Legislature’s most prolific anti-employer legislation sponsor, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, AB 1209, requires employers publish wages by gender. This business community shaming measure is flawed on multiple levels. There is no real way to amend the bill, including providing a manageable way to differentiate between positions by gender ranging from administrative assistants to executive officers. The one piece of good news is that it is not labor-sponsored.
Also problematic is SB 632 (Monning, Dem-Carmel), which requires, in any civil action for injury or illness based upon exposure to asbestos, a deposition examination of the witness by counsel be limited to seven hours of testimony if the deponent is over 70 years of age and his or her health is such that a deposition of more than seven hours will prejudice the deponent’s interest in the litigation well-being. SB 632 is in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Regarding legislation IIABCal is supporting, and sponsoring in this case, AB 1460 (Dababneh, Dem-Encino) updates 50-year old law to allow agents and brokers to use interstate banking services for premium deposit. Just as is the case in 47 other states, this bill allows use of customized banking services provided by financial institutions that have particular understanding of insurance products. The bill is one step from the Governor’s desk, and should be approved by the full Senate shortly.
Another positive legislative development is AB 1641 (Daly, Dem-Anaheim). This allows for new, innovative products for the non-admitted insurance market. It is pending consideration by the Senate Insurance Committee, where it is expected to be approved in the coming weeks. The third bill IIABCal supports is SB 189 (Bradford, Dem-Compton). It allows public company executives or private company partners with at least 10% equity to be exempt from workers’ compensation. It is expected to meet the approval of the Assembly Insurance Committee when it is heard on July 12.