Governor Gavin Newsom signed a California Chamber of Commerce-supported job creator bill earlier this month that will help California businesses rebuild after disasters.
SB 601 (Morrell; R-Rancho Cucamonga) permits state agencies to establish a procedure to reduce licensing fees for individuals or businesses in California that have been affected by a federal or state-declared emergency, such as a natural disaster.
The bill unanimously passed both the Senate and Assembly before being signed by the Governor.
In the Wake of Disaster
SB 601 comes after some of the most destructive and costly natural disasters in California history, including the Tubbs Fire in 2017 and the Camp Fire and Southern California debris flows in 2018.
These three disasters alone have devastated communities and affected an estimated 381,784 businesses. Individuals are struggling to recover and replace important possessions, including licensing documents, which can delay resuming business after a disaster.
According to the nonpartisan Institute for Justice, licensing fees in California cost $486 on average, which may not be affordable for a business owner experiencing economic hardship following an emergency. Moreover, many occupations require a business license to be physically displayed in the workplace in order to operate—yet these documents often can be lost or destroyed in disasters like wildfires.
Under SB 601, a person or business can submit an application to an agency to lower or waive the fees required to obtain, renew or replace a license necessary to conduct business in the state.
CalChamber identified SB 601 as a job creator because it will help local economies recover after major disasters strike.
By granting a fee break to business owners, the bill will assist businesses in returning to work more quickly—and without the extra financial burdens that often come as a result of declared emergencies. Moreover, businesses will be able to promptly bring employees back to work and strengthen employment in the communities devastated by disaster.
To view the full job creator list, visit www.calchamber.com/jobcreators.