The California Chamber of Commerce today announced the second job killer of 2019 — SB 1 (Atkins; D-San Diego). The bill would give broad and sweeping discretion to state agencies to adopt rules and regulations that they determine are more stringent than federal rules and regulations adopted after January 19, 2017.
According to CalChamber, SB 1 (Atkins) is a job killer because the uncertainty created by the bill’s vague, ambiguous, and broad language and lack of due process in the rulemaking process would negatively impact the growth, employment, and investment decisions of almost every major California business. Due to costs and anticipated litigation associated with SB 1 (Atkins), companies doing business in the state would be hard pressed to hire more workers or expand California operations.
The proposal seeks to create an expedited administrative procedure not subject to the California Administrative Procedure Act when promulgating emergency rules pursuant to SB 1. Should the measure become law, it will likely instigate a wave of new litigation from interested parties wishing to compel a state agency to perform an act required by, or to review a state agency’s action for compliance with, any of the laws subject to SB 1. Businesses would inevitably be forced to intervene in these lawsuits in order to ensure that their interests are adequately represented.
In voicing opposition to the measure, a coalition of 35 business associations have joined CalChamber’s effort to educate policy makers about the negative impacts of the bill. The coalition’s opposition letter states that “SB 1 is an unprecedented power transfer from the Legislature to the Executive Branch. It is too broadly written, contains ambiguous and undefined standards that will create significant costs, uncertainty and unintended consequences for the regulated community, and raises substantial constitutional concerns regarding a lack of due process and violations to the single-subject rule.” Moreover, the bill circumvents the Administrative Procedures Act by improperly empowering state agencies with limited Legislative oversight, and threatens to undermine wetland regulation efforts currently being pursued by the State Water Resources Control Board, as well as operation of the Central Valley Water Project. The bill will inevitably result in unnecessary litigation against state agencies and regulated entities.
SB 1 (Atkins) is a reintroduced version of last year’s SB 49 (De Leon) — a job killer bill that was defeated in the Assembly. SB 1 (Atkins) is the second bill to be tagged a Job Killer by CalChamber so far this year. On March 4, 2019, CalChamber announced that AB 51 (Gonzalez), a reintroduced version of a previous measure that was vetoed by Governor Brown in 2018, had made the list.
SB 1 will be heard in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday, March 20.