Priorities

Each year the California Chamber of Commerce releases a list of job killer bills to identify legislation that will decimate economic and job growth in California. The CalChamber released a preliminary list of job killer bills on March 29 to call attention to the negative impact that 20 proposed measures would have on California’s job climate and economic recovery if they were to become law.

The list is preliminary at this point because CalChamber expects to add more bills to the list in the coming weeks as legislation is amended.

CalChamber will periodically release job killer watch updates as legislation changes. Readers are encouraged to track the current status of the job killer bills on www.cajobkillers.com or by following @CAJobKillers on Twitter.

“These job killer bills represent the worst of the worst legislative proposals currently under consideration by lawmakers,” said Allan Zaremberg, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “As everyone knows, California has areas that are booming economically and other areas that are stagnating.  Each part of California has unique problems and these job killers will negatively impact future economic growth.  Whether they create barriers to providing affordable housing for workers, or increase costs for companies trying to grow or stay in business, these job killer bills should not become law.”

The preliminary list of 2016 job killer bills follows:

Arbitration Discrimination

AB 2667 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) Arbitration Agreements Discrimination — Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements and therefore is likely preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, which will lead to confusion and litigation, by prohibiting arbitration of Unruh Civil Rights violations made as a condition of a contract for goods or services.

AB 2879 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley) Employment Arbitration Agreements Discrimination — Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements and is likely preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, which will lead  to confusion and litigation, by prohibiting an employer from requiring an individual who is a member of the military to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement as a condition of employment.

Affordable Housing Barriers

AB 2162 (Chu; D-San Jose) Erodes Housing Affordability — Increases the cost of and delays housing and other development projects by eliminating existing mitigation options for impacts to oak woodlands under the California Environmental Quality Act and instead imposes an entirely new and separate permitting process for the removal of even one valley oak tree.

AB 2502 (Mullin; D-South San Francisco/Chiu; D-San Francisco) Erodes Housing Affordability — Increases the cost and reduces the supply of housing by authorizing local governments as condition of development to impose a costly and inflexible price-controlled inclusionary housing requirement and, in doing so, legislatively repeals an established court decision upholding developers’ ability to set initial rental rates for new dwelling units.

SB 1150 (Leno; D-San Francisco) Erodes Housing Availability — Increases liability risk and the cost of residential loans by allowing a party not on the mortgage loan to interfere with appropriate foreclosures and creates a private right of action for violations of overly complex and burdensome requirements.

SB 1318 (Wolk; D-Davis) Erodes Housing Affordability — Inappropriately leverages necessary affordable housing in order to solve  infrastructure issues with the consequence that the housing won’t be built by imposing requirements on water or waste water districts to serve certain communities first.

Economic Barriers

Budget Trailer Bill. Increased Permit Processing Costs — Significantly increases the costs of permitting aerospace, recycling, oil and gas, and other critical waste facilities by eliminating permit applicants’ option to be charged a predictable flat permitting fee and instead giving the Department of Toxic Substances Control carte blanche to charge whatever fee it determines, notwithstanding well-recognized and self-acknowledged deficiencies in DTSC’s current permitting program that have resulted in excessive delays in permit processing.

Increased Labor Costs

AB 1727 (Gonzalez; D–Sherman Heights) Price-Setting by Independent Contractors — Harms consumers and the California economy by essentially allowing independent contractors in almost every industry to collaborate and set prices for their services as well as other terms and conditions of their contracts, which will raise prices for consumers as well as subject them to costly litigation with the threat of triple damages if consumers terminate those contracts.  Failed Deadline; Assembly Judiciary Committee 4/21/16.

SB 878 (Leyva; D-Chino) Mandated Scheduling Requirement —  Eliminates worker flexibility and exposes employers to costly penalties, litigation, and government enforcement, by mandating employers in the retail, grocery, or restaurant workplace, including employers who have hybrid operations that include a retail or restaurant section, to provide a 21-day work schedule and then face penalties and litigation if the employer changes the schedule with less than 7 days notice, even when the change is at the request of the employee. Failed Deadline;  Senate Appropriations Committee 5/27/16.

SB 1166 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Imposes New Maternity and Paternity Leave Mandate — Unduly burdens and increases costs of small employers with as few as 10 employees, as well as large employers with 50 or more employees, by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for maternity or paternity leave, and exposes all employers to the threat of costly litigation.

Meritless Litigation

AB 2748 (Gatto; D-Glendale) Increases Environmental Litigation — Eliminates incentives to settle lawsuits and instead exposes businesses to multiple rounds of litigation at great expense to the parties and the courts by creating statutory prohibitions on “release” clauses in settlements pertaining to “environmental disasters.”

SB 899 (Hueso; D-Logan Heights) Increased Meritless Litigation Costs — Drives up consumer costs and increases frivolous litigation similar to the disability access lawsuits in California, by prohibiting a retailer or grocery store from discriminating against a person on the basis of gender with the price of goods and subjecting them to a minimum $4,000 of damages for each violation.

California Oil Production Barriers

AB 1759 (Bonta; D-Alameda) Gas Price Increase — Jeopardizes the production of California based fuel by banning the use of hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid at facilities that use more than 250 gallons and are located within two miles of a residence, notwithstanding the fact that there are significant safety regulations in place at the local, state and federal levels.

AB 1882 (Williams; D-Santa Barbara) Gas Price Increase — Jeopardizes the production of California based fuel by substantially complicating the existing permitting process for the Underground Injection Control program by imposing duplicative requirements and requiring the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to cede aspects of its permitting authority to the regional water quality control board. Failed Deadline;  Assembly Appropriations Committee 5/27/16.

AB 2729 (Williams; D-Santa Barbara/ Thurmond; D-Richmond) Gas Price Increase — Jeopardizes the production of California based fuel supply and increases costs to the industry by revising the definition of an idle well and requiring permanent closure of 25% of California’s long-term idle wells each year.

Tax Increase

ACA 8 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases —  Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners by giving local governments new authority to enact special taxes for storm and wastewater infrastructure, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

AB 2782 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) Targeted Tax —  Threatens jobs in beverage, retail and restaurant industries by arbitrarily and unfairly targeting certain beverages for a new tax in order to fund health programs.

2015 JOB KILLER CARRY-OVER BILLS

Burdensome Environmental Regulation

SB 32 (Pavley; D-Agoura Hills) Slows Economic Growth — Increases costs for California businesses, makes them less competitive and discourages economic growth by adopting further greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2030 without regard to the impact on individuals, jobs and the economy.

SB 654 (de León; D-Los Angeles) Creates Unworkable Hazardous Waste Permitting Process — Discourages investment in upgrading and improving hazardous waste facilities by shutting down hazardous waste facilities if the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) fails to take final action on the permit renewal application within a specified timeframe, even if the permit applicant acted diligently and in good faith throughout the permit application process.

Increased Labor Costs

SB 3 (Leno; D-San Francisco) Automatic Minimum Wage Increase — Unfairly imposes a potential 50% increase in the minimum wage by 2022 (actually an 87% increase over an 8-year period when combined with the last increase just implemented in January 2016), and automatically adjusts minimum wage beyond 2018 according to national inflation, with no “offramps” to suspend the indexing if employers are struggling with other economic factors or costs. Signed 04/04/16—Chapter 4, Statutes of 2016.

Tax Increase

SCA 5 (Hancock; D-Berkeley) Split Roll — Undermines the protections of Proposition 13 by unfairly targeting commercial property owners and increasing their property taxes by assessing their property based upon current fair market value instead of acquired value.  Such costs will ultimately be passed on to consumers and tenants through higher prices and will result in job loss as businesses struggle to absorb such a dramatic tax increase.

Cumulative Job Killer Vetoes

2015: 19 job killer bills identified, 3 sent to Governor Brown, 1 signed, and 2 vetoed;

2014: 27 job killer bills identified, 2 sent to Governor, signs 2;

2013: 38 job killer bills identified, 1 sent to Governor, signs 1;

2012: 32 job killer bills identified, 6 sent to Governor, 2 vetoed;

2011: 30 job killer bills identified, 5 sent to Governor, 4 vetoed;

2010: 43 job killer bills identified, 12 sent to Governor, 10 vetoed;

2009: 33 job killer bills identified, 6 sent to Governor, 6 vetoed;

2008: 39 job killer bills identified, 10 sent to Governor, 9 vetoed;

2007: 30 job killer bills identified, 12 sent to Governor, 12 vetoed;

2006: 40 job killer bills identified, 11 sent to Governor, 9 vetoed;

2005: 45 job killer bills identified, 8 sent to Governor, 7 vetoed;

2004: 23 job killer bills identified, 10 sent to Governor, 10 vetoed;

2003: 53 job killer bills identified, 13 sent to Governor, 2 vetoed;

2002: 35 job killer bills identified, 17 sent to Governor, 5 vetoed

2001: 12 job killer bills identified, 5 sent to Governor, 2 vetoed;

2000: No job killers identified. Of 4 bad bills identified at end of session, Governor Davis signs 2 and vetoes 2.

1999: 30 job killer bills identified, 9 sent to Governor, 3 vetoed;

1998: 64 job killer bills identified, 11 sent to Governor, 11 vetoed.

1997: 57 job killer bills identified, 9 sent to Governor, 9 vetoed.

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