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Inside the Capitol features hot legislative issues for the week along with CalChamber call to action requests on business legislation. To receive Inside the Capitol, sign up here.

Hot Issues for the Week of May 22, 2017

Economic Growth Incentives

SUPPORT AB 912 (Obernolte; D-Big Bear Lake) Small Business Penalty Relief — Recognizes the challenges small businesses face in implementing complex state rules by allowing adjustment of civil penalties based upon specific mitigating factors. Assembly Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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Affordable Housing Barriers

OPPOSE SB 224 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) JOB KILLER: Barrier to Housing and Economic Development — Creates significant uncertainty for developers by requiring the Department of Planning and Research (OPR) to amend the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines to redefine the baseline that may be used in the CEQA analysis and directing OPR, in drafting the Guidelines, to limit consideration of modifications to the environment at the project site caused by illegal, unpermitted, or emergency activities within the baseline conditions.  If prior illegal, unpermitted, or emergency activities are excluded in a project’s baseline, it may require projects to mitigate not only the impacts of the project itself, but also the impacts of other historical activities for which the applicant has no legal liability and over which it had no control. Senate Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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Arbitration Discrimination

OPPOSE SB 33 (Dodd; D-Napa) JOB KILLER: Discrimination Against Arbitration Agreements — Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements contained in consumer contracts for goods or services with a financial institution, as broadly defined, which is likely preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and will lead to confusion and unnecessary litigation. Senate Floor.

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OPPOSE SB 538 (Monning; D-Carmel) JOB KILLER: Arbitration Discrimination — Unfairly and unlawfully discriminates against arbitration agreements by restricting the formation of antitrust arbitration agreements in hospital contracts, leading to costly litigation over preemption by the Federal Arbitration Act. Senate Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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Increased Labor Costs

OPPOSE AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) JOB KILLER: Public Shaming of California Employers — Imposes a mandate on California employers to collect data on the mean and median salaries paid to men and women under the same job title or description without also considering any bona fide reason for differences in compensation, to publicly shame California employers and expose them to costly litigation for alleged wage disparity where no violation of the equal pay law exists. Assembly Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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OPPOSE SB 63 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) JOB KILLER: Imposes New Maternity and Paternity Leave Mandate — Unduly burdens and increases costs of small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding and exposes them to the threat of costly litigation. Senate Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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OPPOSE SB 562 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) JOB KILLER: Government-Run Health Care — Creates a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system financed by an unspecified and undeveloped “revenue plan” which will penalize responsible employers and individuals and result in significant new taxes on all Californians and California businesses. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing May 22.

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Increased Unnecessary Litigation Costs

OPPOSE AB 1576 (Levine; D- San Rafael) JOB KILLER: Gender Pricing Mandate — Unfairly exposes companies to costly, frivolous litigation with an automatic $4,000 in statutory damages for alleged gender pricing discrimination based upon different consumer prices for female versus male products that businesses will be forced to settle to avoid costs or spend significant legal fees demonstrating those differences are based upon objective, non-gender related specific factors. Assembly Floor.

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OPPOSE SB 49 (de León; D-Los Angeles) JOB KILLER: Creates Uncertainty and Increases Potential Litigation Regarding Environmental Standards — Creates uncertainty for businesses with respect to the federal environmental standards proposed to be incorporated into California law if backsliding occurs at the federal level and the standards/requirements to be adopted by state agencies, and increases the potential for costly litigation by creating private rights of action under California law when certain events occur. Senate Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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Tax Increases

OPPOSE AB 43 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) JOB KILLER: Targeted Tax on Contractors — Unfairly targets one category of taxpayers to fund a benefit for all of the state by imposing a tax on contractors for the privilege of doing business with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and requires the contractor to absorb the cost while maintaining a price of lowest responsible bidder. Assembly Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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OPPOSE SB 567 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) JOB KILLER: Multiple Tax Increases on California Employers — Proposes multiple tax increases on California employers, including requiring payment of capital gains on the inheritance of a family business as well as eliminating a deduction for corporations with regard to CEO compensation, when California already has the highest personal income tax and sales tax rates in the country, as well as one of the highest corporate tax rates, which will discourage job growth in California. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing May 22.

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OPPOSE SCA 6 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) JOB KILLER: 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, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to 55%. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing May 22.

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Labor and Employment

OPPOSE AB 168 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Exposure to Litigation — Exposes employers to costly litigation for inquiring into an applicant’s prior salary or failing to provide a pay scale upon demand, even though the employee has not suffered any harm or wage loss as a result of the violation. Assembly Floor.

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OPPOSE AB 1565 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) Significant Cost Increase on Employers and Costly Litigation — Unnecessarily accelerates the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees, which will significantly increase costs especially on small employers who currently have a delayed increase under the current minimum wage scheduled increases. Assembly Floor.

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Procurement

OPPOSE AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer; D-South Los Angeles) Limiting Contracting for Local Governments — Seeks to severely limit options for city and county agencies to determine the most appropriate solution to providing efficient and effective public service, by establishing significant and costly obstacles for city and county contracting for personal services. Assembly Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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OPPOSE SB 30 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) Border Wall Vendor State Boycott — Unfairly and broadly targets businesses to prohibit from contracting for goods and services with the state based on principles unrelated to the contractor’s ability to perform the service or provide the goods, the quality of the goods or service, and the cost of the contract. Senate Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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Immigration

OPPOSE AB 450 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) Employer Liability — 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. Assembly Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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Product Regulation

OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED SB 258 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) State-Only Labeling —  Drives up the cost to consumers of cleaning products by requiring state-only ingredient disclosure on the labels of such products, which fails to protect confidential business information, exacerbates the “overwarning” problem, imposes vague requirements, and undermines existing consumer and worker protection laws and product innovation.  The bill further imposes an unworkable secondary container labeling requirement on businesses. Senate Appropriations Committee; Suspense File.

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