Bills to Watch This Week in the State Legislature

This week, the California Chamber of Commerce will be closely monitoring four job killer bills and a number of supported and opposed bills that are scheduled to be considered in the California Legislature.

Below is a sampling of some of the priority bills the CalChamber will be following.

Monday, May 8

Four CalChamber-job killer bills are scheduled to be heard today:

  • SB 616 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach): Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by more than doubling existing sick leave mandate, which is in addition to all other enacted leave mandates that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles): Imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants, and movie theaters, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 723 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles): Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, and removes guardrails on existing law by making mandate permanent and significantly broadening the applicability of the law. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 809 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles): Prohibits nearly every employer from considering conviction history of an applicant or existing employee in employment decisions and imposes cumbersome process on employers that are legally not allowed to hire individuals with certain convictions. In Senate Appropriations.

The following CalChamber-opposed bills will be heard today:

  • SB 261 (Stern; D-Canoga Park): Requires any business with revenues over $500 million annually to prepare a climate financial risk assessment on its holdings including any supply chain assets. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 389 (Allen; D-Santa Monica): Empowers State Water Board to investigate claimed water rights with little process and stacks the deck against water rights holders. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 497 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles): Implements 90-day retaliation presumption for certain claims, which is unnecessary in light of existing case law and will waste judicial resources by allowing claims to continue regardless of their merit. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 553 (Cortese; D-San Jose): Takes a regulation written for hospitals related to workplace violence and applies it to all workplaces, regardless of size of resources. Also defines “violence” as speech that annoys employees, creating significant obligations even when no violence or actual threat of violence has occurred. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 687 (Eggman; D-Stockton): Stops progress on the Delta Conveyance Project until Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan is updated and fully implemented. Holds infrastructure project to modernize California’s water system hostage until a lengthy planning process is both complete and “fully implemented.” In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 729 (Menjivar; D-Los Angeles): Increases health care costs by mandating plans and insurers provide coverage for fertility services to diagnose and treat infertility, including in vitro fertilization. In Senate Appropriations.

The following CalChamber-supported bills also will be heard today:

  • SB 375 (Alvarado-Gil; D-Jackson): Allows an employer to claim a COVID-19 regulatory compliance credit for expenses incurred as a result of following the state’s stringent and expensive COVD-19 regulations. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 651 (Grove; R-Bakersfield): Makes groundwater recharge and other SGMA-related water supply projects eligible for quicker judicial resolution under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), saving time and money on important projects. In Senate Appropriations.
  • SB 659 (Ashby; D-Sacramento): Requires state to plan for creating 10-million-acre feet of new groundwater recharge storage by 2035. In Senate Appropriations.

The following CalChamber-supported bill may be heard on the Senate floor starting today:

Wednesday, May 10

The following CalChamber-opposed bills will be heard on Wednesday:

  • AB 9 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance): Imposes added evaluation criteria on California’s cap and trade program that will lead to market instability. In Assembly Appropriations.
  • AB 421 (Bryan; D-Los Angeles): Dramatically changes state’s direct democracy process to essentially eliminate the ability for anyone to qualify a referendum. In Assembly Appropriations.
  • AB 594 (Maienschein; D-San Diego): Allows all public prosecutors to enforce significant portion of the Labor Code, risking inconsistent enforcement and with no protection against additional recovery under a subsequent Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuit. In Assembly Appropriations.
  • AB 1356 (Haney; D-San Francisco): Significantly expands WARN Act by increasing notice period, changing definition of covered establishment, and expanding applicability to workers under overly broad definition of “employee of a labor contractor.” In Assembly Appropriations.

The following CalChamber-supported bills also will be heard on Wednesday:

  • AB 412 (Soria; D-Fresno): Creates a state loan program for non-profit and public hospitals that are either experiencing dire financial distress and in danger of closing or attempting to reopen. In Assembly Appropriations.
  • AB 1004 (Ta; R-Westminster): Streamlines the ability for Californians to ensure that their voice is heard in the initiative and referendum process. In Assembly Appropriations.