- APPROPRIATIONS SUSPENSE FILES
- LACTATION ROOM MANDATE PASSES SUSPENSE WITH AMENDS
- RENT CAP / “JUST CAUSE” BILL PASSES SUSPENSE
- DYNAMEX/GIG ECONOMY BILL PASSES SUSPENSE
- FALSE CLAIMS ACT BILL HELD ON SUSPENSE
- FIRE EGRESS ROUTES BILL PASSES SUSPENSE
- UNEMPLOYMENT FOR STRIKING WORKERS BILL PASSES
- PARKING ENFORCEMENT REPEAL UP NEXT WEEK
- CBPA 2019/2020 CALENDAR
APPROPRIATIONS SUSPENSE FILES
Today is the deadline for fiscal committees to deal with all the bills that have been tucked away on the “Suspense File.” Suspense, as its referred to in shorthand, is ostensibly where any bill goes that will cost the state’s General Fund $150K or more.
Though nothing is as simple as it seems. Suspense is often a place where bills are sent to die, regardless of cost, in order to avoid a public vote.
It’s a very interesting part of the process, for political junkies; but it can be a very frustrating part of the process for others.
And today was crazy in the Assembly Committee as hundreds of Anti-Vaccination protestors descended on the Capitol and filled the hearing room to protest a bill they oppose. The hearing was disrupted for long periods of time as protestors stood on chairs and chanted loudly. The Chairwoman of the committee, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), ended up plowing forward with the hearing having to speak over loud chanting and disrupting yelling. It was a wild scene!
A few years ago Dan Walters from the Sacramento Bee did a great write-up on what he refers to as the Suspense “ritual.” Click here to read it.
LACTATION ROOM MANDATE PASSES SUSPENSE WITH AMENDS
SB 142 (Weiner; D-San Francisco) the bill seeking to require lactation rooms in all buildings, was amended Friday and passed the Appropriations committee.
Although we have not seen the exact language yet, we believe it is the language we have been advocating for over the past two months. That language would change the building code mandatory language into a guidance document on how to comply the law when a tenant must accommodate an employee.
The sponsors of the bill, a San Francisco-based advocacy groups called Legal Aid at Work, and the California Breastfeeding Coalition are dead-set of putting something into the building code, even though by their own testimony the bill only requires “a table, a chair, and policy,” which is actually accomplished in Section 3 of the bill, the mandate on employers requiring a service be provided to employees.
We asked that they remove the building code language, and they refused. We the suggested as a compromise, instead of mandating a full-blown technical process that a building code “guidance document” be produced. They have also rejected that request, but we took that compromise to the committee and the Governor.
The Governor’s Department of Finance, agreed with us and released an analysis stating the bill would cost the state millions of dollars in compliance – both in terms of the non-existent building code process, and construction costs in state buildings. DOF estimates a cost of $149,000 in each impacted state building and it seems the argument prevailed.
Actions from Suspense will not be fully available until after the weekend. We will follow up, but for now, great news!
RENT CAP / “JUST CAUSE” BILL PASSES SUSPENSE
A bill opposed by our industry that seeks to bring residential rent caps to California, AB 1482 (Chiu; D-San Francisco), passed the Assembly Suspense file.
This bill has been a top priority for us to defeat. However, just recently Governor Newsom announced support for the bill which has pushed opposing groups to work harder at compromise language knowing that support increases the likelihood it could pass the Legislature and be signed into law.
We are not working with allies to try to amend the bill in a manner that will mitigate some of the negative impacts. Stay tuned!
DYNAMEX/GIG ECONOMY BILL PASSES SUSPENSE
Since 1989, California courts and regulators applied a set of rules called the Borello test for deciding whether a worker was an independent contractor. This approach weighed nine different factors to account for the variety of California industries and professions that would be regulated.
Despite this test being used for over three decades, the California Supreme Court made a surprising and unprecedented departure in April 2018 by replacing these nine factors with a one-size-fits-all approach consisting of just three factors which are also far more restrictive.
This new test, called “ABC,” has never existed in any form of California law, either in statute or by regulation. The ABC test is the first time in U.S. history that such a test has been imposed by a court, without legislative approval, with three independently dispositive factors.
A bill you have probably read about, AB 5 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), seeks to codify the court decision in a manner that some industries thing brings clarity and certainty to while others see it as a threat to how they do business.
Initially, AB 5 exempted doctors, insurance agents, and securities advisers from what would become the new standard. While we agreed that these professionals should be exempted from the application of Dynamex and AB 5, we fought hard to include commercial real estate brokers and real estate agents and were successful. That exemption remains in the bill
This is an odd and complicated bill but we are hoping to be able to support AB 5 once it is in a shape to deal with the professional and licensed classifications in a way that maintains their true independence.
FALSE CLAIMS ACT BILL HELD ON SUSPENSE
AB 1270 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley), a bill we vociferously opposed was held in committee. The bill would have allowed private attorneys to bring actions against taxpayers even when the tax agencies or attorney general determine no action is warranted.
The bill is modeled after other states where rampant abuse in led to a study that showed 72 percent of actions brought by private attorneys were frivolous (2007 study by Columbia Law Review). The bill would have opened the floodgates for costly frivolous tax litigation, similar to the experience with California’s PAGA and ADA statutes. Under the bill, taxpayers would have had to litigate to defend themselves even after the tax agencies audit their tax returns and clear them of wrongdoing.
We are happy the committee decided to hold AB 1270, effectively killing it for the year.
FIRE EGRESS ROUTES BILL PASSES SUSPENSE
A small, but important bill for people with homes and businesses in fire prone areas that we support, passed Suspense. AB 394 (Olbernolte; R- Big Bear Lake) exempts from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), until January 1, 2025, egress route projects undertaken by a public agency that are specifically recommended by the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) that improve the fire safety of an existing subdivision if certain conditions are met.
AB 394 is a common sense bill that will make California safer. We applaud Mr. Olbernolte for writing the bill and the committee for moving it forward!
UNEMPLOYMENT FOR STRIKING WORKERS BILL PASSES
AB 1066 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) a bill that would allow striking workers to collect unemployment benefits passed committee today on a party line vote.
Under current law, individuals are not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits if they left work because of a trade dispute. Such individuals remain ineligible for the period during which they continue out of work because the trade dispute is still in progress. When it learns that a trade dispute is in progress, current law requires EDD to promptly conduct an investigation and make investigation findings as to the nature, location, labor organizations and employers involved. Additionally, EDD must, upon request, make its findings available to any employer, employers’ association or labor organization involved in the trade dispute.
This bill would (1) permit workers involved in a trade dispute to collect UI after a four-week waiting period, and (2) codify a California Supreme Court Decision (Coast Packing Co. v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (1966) 64 Cal. 2d 76) that found workers subject to a lockout eligible for UI benefits.
Our industry opposes this measure and will continue fighting it on the Floor and on to the Governor’s Office.
PARKING ENFORCEMENT REPEAL UP NEXT WEEK
The Senate Appropriations Committee held AB 516 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) a bill that sought to repeal several existing parking laws that could have a severely negative impact on commerce, especially in urban and already congested areas.
The commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry understands there is good intent behind the bill and having a car towed can be a financial hardship. However, removing all recourse for maintaining a modicum of organization of parking in public places is not the answer.
Without the ability to remove vehicles individuals will just store them in a manner that impedes commerce, shopping, cultural events, and will induce gridlock in areas by making it extremely difficult for citizens to park in residential areas and commercial districts alike.
We are happy the bill was held effectively killing it for the year.
CBPA 2019/2020 CALENDAR
Thursday-Friday, December 5-6
Strategic Issues Conference
Embassy Suites Napa Valley
Wednesday, February 26
CBPA Winter Board Meeting
Thursday, April 2
CBPA’s Industry-Wide Legislative Committee Meeting
Tuesday-Wednesday, June 9-10
California Commercial Real Estate Summit
& Annual Meeting
Thursday, October 22
Industry Awards Dinner
The Renaissance Hotel, Newport Beach