- HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
- MIDPOINT OF A WACKY LEGISLATIVE SESSION
- BUDGET DEAL STILL BEING WORKED ON
- COMMERCIAL RENT DEFERRAL / LEASE BREAK BILL STALLED IN COMMITTEE
- STATEMENT ON SB 939 BEING HELD ON SUSPENSE
- THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT SUPPORTED THE EFFORT
- LONG WAY TO GO – MUST CONTINUE TO PAY ATTENTION
- NEW JOB KILLER – TWELVE WEEKS OF LEAVE PLUS LAWSUITS!
- CBPA 2020 CALENDAR
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
What started out as a celebration to mark our young nation’s independence from England more than 200 years ago, has evolved into a national holiday that celebrates the American spirit and our nation’s independent and powerful leadership in the world. Our nation was founded by recognizing a person’s inherent rights and responsibilities. We were founded on the principles of equality, religious tolerance, and opportunity. These beliefs have been challenged many times over the years but have always been defended by men and women willing to protect these principles, sometimes by risking the ultimate sacrifice.
Now, more than ever, during the pandemic, and recent social turmoil, many in our country are reflecting on those values, our nation’s founding principles, and how we as a nation have evolved – and what adjustments need to be made as we continue to move forward.
As you celebrate this year, take a moment to personally reflect on the unique and great nature of this country and to thank those who have given their lives to defend our way of life, as well as the current men and women in uniform in harm’s way and those that are peacefully expressing frustrations, questioning policies, and asking for change, in public squares across the nation.
Because we have the freedom to do so, we sometimes get lost in the details of whatever societal argument we are currently in and a day like the 4th of July provides a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends (socially distanced with masks on, of course), enjoy our freedoms, and reflect on what a truly great nation we live in, warts and all.
MIDPOINT OF A WACKY LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Today marks the mid-point of the shortest, weirdest, and most chaotic Legislative Session of modern times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic everything in the state stopped in March. Legislators went home to their districts, and our government went into emergency-mode under the Governor’s direction.
In May, the Legislature reconvened for a truncated session which lasts through August 31. Legislators were asked to narrow the scope of their bill package to focus on pandemic related measures. Some legislators have done just that, while others have used the crisis to push longstanding policy goals.
The idiom, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” has oft been repeated as bill after bill has been tweaked to mention the word COVID-19, while retaining language from before all this started.
However, Legislative Leadership in both the Assembly and Senate have made notable attempts to “herd cats” and keep the body focused on bills that are needed to address policy issues related to the pandemic. Leadership has also been visibly more active in the committee process attempting to filter bills that are a distraction. It is a tough job with 120 legislators that have their own political and policy goals, but we commend them for the effort.
Today, is the “First House Deadline,” meaning all Assembly bills need to be voted over to the Senate, and visa versa, or they are dead. This is a big important deadline as it will somewhat re-set the template for the last half of session and give us a better idea of what measures have legs and which are stalled for the year.
After today the Legislature will take a two-week break, then come back for the second half of July and all of August. In that time, all bills that are still alive will need to move through the second house policy committee, second house fiscal committee, and the Senate or Assembly Floors – some bills will need to clear both Floors.
The Mr. Toad’s Wild Legislative Ride of 2020 is far from over, but at least after today we get a quick breather to assess the situation.
BUDGET DEAL STILL BEING WORKED ON
If you thought the budget was passed on June 15, you were right. Kinda. The “framework” was passed – the bill that let the Legislature tick the box that they had met the Constitutional deadline to pass a budget, but most of the details were still being worked out.
We expect both houses of the Legislature will take up many of those details today and vote on a spending plan for fiscal year 2020-21 that deals with the estimated $54 BILLION budget hole that COVID-19 has punched into our state’s finances.
Lots of details will follow on this deal, but you can expect debt, a reliance on federal funds, and a restriction on some of the tax incentives many businesses rely upon to keep their workforce in place. Stay tuned, and in the meantime the Sacramento Bee lays out the major parts of the plan. Click here to read.
COMMERCIAL RENT DEFERRAL / LEASE BREAK BILL STALLED IN COMMITTEE
If you have not heard the good news yet, please know that SB 939 (Weiner; D-San Francisco) the bill that would have delayed commercial rent for an indefinite period of time and allowed certain tenants to break their lease with little penalty, was held in the Senate Appropriations committee.
The bill raised serious concerns with a wide variety of business groups and public entities as being a well-intentioned measure that would actually make matters worse, create a commercial mortgage foreclosure crisis, and leave tenants and property owners in a worse position than before the COVID-19 shelter in place orders.
This action effectively means SB 939 is dead for the year, however we must remain vigilant as the idea and language can show up again, and the author has noted he will continue to push the legislature commercial issues.
STATEMENT ON SB 939 BEING HELD ON SUSPENSE
Here is a statement released to the press on behalf of the coalition that coalesced to oppose this measure:
SB 939 (Weiner) fails to pass Senate Appropriations Economic ramifications of this bill far too serious to play politics
Sacramento -- Opponents of SB 939 (Wiener), including minority business groups like California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic 100, and TELACU today were relieved that the bill was held on the suspense file and failed to make it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Below is a statement from Rex S. Hime, President and CEO, California Business Properties Association (CBPA) about SB 939:
“Thankfully, legislators made the right choice to keep this bill on suspense. SB 939 is a bad bill. It is far too broad and would have done serious damage to California’s economy. We applaud those who believe policy is more important than politics in addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The negative impacts of SB 939 would have been particularly bad for affordable housing projects that rely on the commercial portion to secure funding, and currently underserved communities where investment capital is already difficult to attract.
“Even though this bill is stalled out for now, we’ll be keeping watch to make sure the language doesn’t find its way back into another bill at some point.”
Click here to see a list of groups that joined together to push back against this ill-conceived policy measure.
Here is a news story:
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT SUPPORTED THE EFFORT
This positive defense of our industry against a broadside attack based on false premises took many many people and organizations to make happen. Thank you to everyone that helped analyze the bill, write alternative language, come up with alternat proposals, communicate with allied business groups and take our message directly to Members of the Legislature.
Normally, CBPA does not ask for so much assistance. But it was needed here, and you answered the call.
In addition to the long list of partners on the Coalition letter, this would not have happened without the thousands of companies that took the time to reach out to legislators and explain what our industry is currently doing to help tenants. This would not have happened without our national groups at ICSC, BOMA, NAIOP, AIR CRE, Nareit, and IREM, working with local associations, chapters, and members to make sure they understood the impacts of the bill.
Thank you to the companies that stepped-up to help support the communications effort that allowed us to get the message out to people outside of our industry to explain the problems with the bill.
LONG WAY TO GO – MUST CONTINUE TO PAY ATTENTION
The Legislative session goes for another two months, and the group behind SB 939 won’t give up. They will continue to try to push their language into other bills.
There are several bills out there in this area that we must continue to monitor and engage – some cause a lot of concerns, others may present opportunities to work with reasonable legislators to come up with balanced approaches that help all businesses impacted by the COVID-19 recession.
In the latter category, a bill that we have continuously pointed to as one that lays out a workable framework for assisting both tenants and property owners is SB 1410 (Caballero). Is this bill perfect? No. But the author and leadership are engaging in productive conversations and taking concerns into account as they try to draft a balanced solution.
This bill has become a vehicle for consensus and framework of a bill on how to deal with these complicated issues. SB 939 took attention away from serious and thoughtful proposals like this, we now hope to engage in a positive and proactive manner on this measure to address real issues caused by COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders on our tenants.
On the other end of the spectrum is AB 1436 (Chiu) which, similar to SB 939 could deprive residential property owners rent revenue or years, it will overturn contracts, and doesn’t even require any proof of COVID-19 related hardship.
There is a long way to go this session and we will do our best to stay on top of issues and keep you in the loop on what is happening.
NEW JOB KILLER – TWELVE WEEKS OF LEAVE PLUS LAWSUITS!
Our friends at the CalChamber are ringing the alarm on a bill requiring that all employers provide 12 weeks of protected family leave that also includes a private right of action has been labeled a job killer by the California Chamber of Commerce.
The bill, SB 1383 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) significantly expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which currently only applies to larger employers, to any employer with only one employee and requires these small employers to provide each eligible employee with 12 weeks of protected leave from work.
The 12 weeks of leave mandated under SB 1383 is enforced through a private right of action that includes compensatory damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees. This provision would particularly hit small businesses who do not have a dedicated human resources team or in-house counsel to advise them on how to properly administer this leave.
We are working closely with the CalChamber and other business groups to address the serious concerns raised by SB 1383 and hope to amend the bill or stop it in the Legislature.
CBPA 2020 CALENDAR
NOTE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC EVENTS ARE BEING ADJUSTED TO TELECONFERENCE OR PENDING SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS BEING LIFTED
Thursday, November 5: CBPA Board Meeting – via Zoom
For more information on any of our events, please contact Melissa Stevens at 916-443-4676 or email@example.com.