2018 CalChamber in the News


2018 articles and videos from news sources that mention the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber.)

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New California Harassment Laws Take Effect Jan. 1
“#MeToo was a dominating topic at the Capitol this year,” said Jennifer Barrera, an executive vice president with the California Chamber of Commerce. Gov. Jerry Brown signed eight bills this year aimed at preventing sexual and other forms of harassment on the job and promoting gender diversity on boards. (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/31/18)

From the 1970s to Today, Jerry Brown Defined Modern California. What His Legacy Means Depends on Whom You Ask
Yet Brown’s generations-spanning tenure as arguably the most important figure in the California’s modern political scene means he has also accumulated his fair share of critics on both sides of the aisle – even when it comes to what is widely seen as his signature issue, the environment. “He’s tried to walk that fine line and he’s gotten a lot of grief from the environmental community from some people that just want to keep all the oil in the ground,” said Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. (CNBC, 12/27/18)

Labor Pushes to Protect California Ruling that Redefines Who is an Employee
Seeking to protect a legal victory they believe is the most important for California workers in a generation, organized labor and its allies on Monday will launch efforts to bolster a recent state court decision on independent contractors. The California Chamber of Commerce, which led the lobbying effort this summer to pause the ruling while those disputes are settled, is still looking for changes. (The Sacramento Bee, 12/03/18)


Tax Credits to Labor Laws. What Everyone Wants from California’s New Governor
When Gov. Jerry Brown took office eight years ago, he faced crippling budget deficits that required brutal cuts to public services. Democrat Gavin Newsom, who won election Tuesday night, has a different kind of financial challenge as he prepares to assume the governorship in January: state coffers that are overflowing on the strength of a growing economy. “When you’re in that situation, the pressures come to spend money,” said Allan Zaremberg, president and chief executive officer of the California Chamber of Commerce. The Sacramento Bee, 11/7/18)

What to Expect from Gavin Newsom: A POLITICO California Pro Policy Primer
In the final, frenetic months of the last legislative session, a coalition of business heavyweights like the California Chamber of Commerce joined with influential tech companies and industry groups to try and blunt the ruling’s effects. Labor pushed back hard. The fight is far from over. (Politico, 11/7/18)

Next California Gov. Gavin Newsom Inherits a Surplus, a Booming Economy — and Plenty of Risks
Over the years, Gavin Newsom has figured prominently in championing gun control and pioneering same-sex marriage when it wasn’t popular. He’s now about to chart a new course for California with an ambitious agenda at a time when the nation’s most populous state is experiencing a booming economy and budget surplus. “Gavin Newsom has been in business … and has an understanding of how that works,” said Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “So that I think is a positive — having somebody … do a payroll and understand how you comply with complex employment law in California.” (CNBC, 11/7/18)

With a Strong Economy, California’s Next Governor Can Address These Issues
The top priorities for California’s next governor ought to reflect what is on the minds of Californians. (Allan Zaremberg in The Sacramento Bee, 11/01/18)


Millions of Californians’ Jobs Could be Affected by Automation — A Scenario the Next Governor has to Address
The California Supreme Court sent businesses into a frenzy earlier this year when it handed down a decision in a class action against Dynamex, a courier service, which made it harder for companies to classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. “There’s uncertainty as to who this applies to,” said Jennifer Barrera, a lobbyist with the chamber. “There’s overall concern and confusion out there as a result of this decision.” (Los Angeles Times, 10/14/18)

California Cities Could Vote for Rent Control Policies Under Proposition 10
Like others against Proposition 10, Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, said the measure failed to address the state’s supply and demand issues and would only harm the housing market. Although Zaremberg was not aware of any specific policy propositions that could help bolster California’s housing stock, he said that it would be important for California residents to support future legislation that advocated for housing development instead of restricting it. “Bonds that deal with affordable housing issues are good,” Zaremberg said. “People use environmental laws because they don’t want to expand housing in their community. We need to expand housing not only where local communities accept it, we need to do it everywhere, especially where jobs are.” (Ventura County Star, 10/5/18)

Brown Paddles His Canoe on Left, Then Right
Brown also rejected one of the year’s highest profile measures, which would have prohibited employers from requiring arbitration agreements and thus made it easier for workers to sue their bosses. The measure, Assembly Bill 3080, was the only bill on the California Chamber of Commerce’s “job killer” list to reach Brown. He told lawmakers that “since this bill plainly violates federal law (authorizing arbitration agreements), I cannot sign this measure.” (Dan Walters in CALmatters.org, 10/3/18)

California Lawmakers Wrote 1,016 New Laws This Year. Here’s Some of What Did and Didn’t Make It
The California Chamber of Commerce compiles a list of bills each year that it calls “job killers.” On Sunday, the group boasted that all 29 bills that received its economic scarlet letter in 2018 had fizzled, with most failing in the Legislature and the rest vetoed by Brown, as has been his tendency regarding chamber-opposed bills over the years. (Los Angeles Times, 10/2/18)


Voters Want a Gas Tax Repeal. Many California Leaders Call it a Horrible Idea.
“The initiative will stop critical transportation projects and jeopardize the safety of our bridges and roads,” agreed California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “Nothing would set back our efforts to improve public safety and mobility more than passage Proposition 6.” (The Sacramento Bee, 9/24/18)

Just Who is an Independent Contractor?
A sweeping new California Supreme Court ruling restricting who is an independent contractor is shaking up an exceptionally diverse range of industries. “The interesting rub on this whole issue it’s not a traditional business versus labor fight,” said Jennifer Barerra, senior vice president of policy for the California Chamber of Commerce. “This is really about two different forms of the workforce – a worker vs. worker situation. It’s about whether employees get to choose what status they want to be and what works best for their lifestyle.” Capitol Weekly, 9/17/18)


California Legislature’s #MeToo Bills Draw Opposition From Business Groups
“As employers, you want to protect your workforce and the employees that you have working for you,” said Jennifer Barrera with the California Chamber of Commerce. But she said the confusion and litigation that would follow the new mandates “is what is concerning to employers, who are trying to do the right thing but nonetheless could wind up facing a lawsuit in court.” (Capital Public Radio, 8/15/18)

Legislature Needs to Stop Chaos on Independent Contractors
California is home to nearly two million residents who choose to work for themselves. As pillars of the workforce, these independent contractors are part of virtually every industry in the state including child care, healthcare, insurance, financial services, construction, technology and transportation. (Allan Zaremberg in The Sacramento Bee, 8/13/18)

Employee or Contractor? How CA’s New Standards Could Spark Changes in the Gig Economy
The California Supreme Court ruled on what defines an independent contractor versus an employee. The ruling narrowed the terms under which a worker can be considered an independent contractor. The court laid out three provisions necessary to be considered independent. But interpreting those rules has been the hard part. (KPCC, 8/07/18)


How Control of Congress Could Swing on a Fight to Repeal California’s Gas Tax
“I drive on our roads every day,” said Allan Zaremberg, the head of the California Chamber of Commerce. “They are in pretty terrible condition and deteriorating. Without this, the roads are going to deteriorate even more.” (The New York Times, 7/06/18)


Welcome To The Jungle: Experts Divided Over California’s Top-Two Primary System
But the system does have fans across the political spectrum. The California Chamber of Commerce, for example, has used the system to elect more moderate Democrats to the Legislature. “I think we made the right decision at the time,” said chamber president Allan Zaremberg. “And in hindsight, a number of years later, I still think it’s the right decision.” (Capital Public Radio, 6/02/18)


California’s Top-Two Primary Could be Rendered Useless Thanks to a Hyper-Polarized Electorate
Marty Wilson, political strategist for the California Chamber of Commerce, says there’s talk of scuttling open primaries for statewide races but retaining them for legislative and congressional contests. “It’s a little premature to say the system is not working,” he says. “Let’s see how it comes out this year.” (George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times, 5/17/18)

State Senator Renewing Push for Business-to-Business Service Tax
After testing the waters for the last three years, state Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) is making his strongest push yet to pass legislation that would impose a tax on services provided to businesses. “A lot of small businesses depend on services to stay in businesses,” said Sarah Boot, a policy advocate for CalChamber. “Larger businesses can bring those services in-house, but not small businesses.” (Sacramento Business Journal, 5/16/18)

Bill Would Make Employers Keep Sex Misconduct Complaints
The bill would be overly burdensome on businesses because it does not align with other record-keeping regulations and isn’t clear, said Laura Curtis, a policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is asking that the requirement be changed from 10 years to the length of a person’s employment plus three years, which Curtis said is in line with other for records retention. (The Associated Press, 5/14/18)

From LED Factory to Nut Trees: California Businesswomen Concern About U.S.-China Trade Disputes
“Margaret Wong has been a good and gracious friend to California. Her deep roots in both China and California have enabled her to build strong bridges between us,” Susanne Sterling, Vice President of International Affairs for the California’s Chamber of Commerce, has told Xinhua. (Xinhua, 5/13/18)

Passing of Governor George Deukmejian
George Deukmejian, a two-term governor of California died on Tuesday at his home in Long Beach according to friends and family. “The word ‘compassionate conservative’ has no better definition than George Deukmejian,” said Allan Zaremberg who worked for 10 years with “the Duke” as an advisor and legislative secretary. (CBS 13, 5/08/18)

George Deukmejian Dead at 89, Public Safety and Law-and-Order Dominated Two-Term Governor’s Agenda
“Gov. Deukmejian’s humility and passion for doing what was best for California is a model for all who seek public service,” said Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce and Deukmejian’s former legislative affairs secretary. (Los Angeles Times, 5/08/18)


Protect Harassment Victims, Employers from Defamation Suits
In 2016, 554 Californians filed sexual harassment complaints with the state civil rights agency, and many other employees have complained directly to employers without involving a state agency. (Nancy Lindholm and Jennifer Barrera in The Ventura County Star, 04/21/18)

‘Job Killer’ List Frames Annual Battle
However, the cream of the crop – the measures that are the highest priorities of their sponsors – also tend to have the greatest economic effect on California’s business and employer community, a motivation for the latter to exert maximum effort to defeat or at least water them down to an acceptable level. The age-old conflict over such bills was formalized nearly two decades ago when the California Chamber of Commerce created its annual “job killer” list of bills it wanted to block. Each year, the chamber picks a couple of dozen bills for its hit list and over the years has been remarkably successful in blunting their potential effects, killing or neutralizing about 90 percent. (Dan Walters in CALmatters.org, 04/18/18)

California Bill Could Force Businesses To Submit Salary Data To State
A controversial new bill could soon force California businesses to submit their salary data to the state in an effort to achieve equal pay for women. “Our concern is that the information in 1284 won’t actually get the data they are looking for. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison,” said Laura Curtis with the California Chamber of Commerce who spoke before the committee. (CBS 13, 04/17/18)

No More Job Killers; We Need Some Job Creators
Sadly, while most of us are busy working, raising families and trying to improve our lives, politicians in Sacramento can’t seem to help but introduce bills that put everyday Californians further behind. You don’t have time to track every bill that could jeopardize your job, but you will be affected by them. (Justin Salters in The Bakersfield Californian, 4/16/18)

California’s Most Powerful Business Group Plans to Kill These 21 Bills
The California Chamber of Commerce’s “job killer” list is back, highlighting 21 bills the state’s most powerful business coalition plans to slay in the Legislature this year. (The Sacramento Bee, 4/05/18)

State Chamber Lists 21 Bills as ‘Job Killers’
The California Chamber of Commerce released its annual initial list of 21 “job killer” bills on April 4. (Los Angeles Business Journal, 4/04/18)


California Would Be on Front Lines of US-China Trade War
With trade tensions between the two countries rising, China’s consul general in San Francisco, Luo Linquan, hosted a dinner for local business leaders Wednesday. He told them that China planned to further open its economy to foreign products and investment, said Susanne Stirling, vice president of international affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce, who attended the dinner. She, in turn, pressed him on the need for more openness and transparency from his government, she said. (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/23/18)

Ontario, California Businesses Push for NAFTA Renewal
In a show of cross-border business bonding, the Chambers of Commerce in both California and Ontario have come together to publicly support ongoing trade talks, stressing the “billions of dollars at stake” for the two jurisdictions. Ontario Star, 3/07/18)


California Chamber Doesn’t Condone Wage Theft
Mark Schacht’s recent op-ed on wage theft (“Let California’s workers recover stolen pay,” Viewpoints, Feb. 9) falsely portrays the California Chamber of Commerce. To be clear, CalChamber deplores wage theft and supports vigorous enforcement against dishonest companies. In fact, we supported the state labor commissioner’s efforts and statewide campaign to vigorously pursue wage theft and other labor code violations. (Jennifer Barrera in The Sacramento Bee, 2/16/18)


‘Extreme’ Rent Control Could be Coming to California Soon
The state Chamber of Commerce labeled a bill that also sought to repeal Costa-Hawkins a “job killer.” It died earlier this year in the Assembly, setting up the ballot box fight. “I expect it to qualify,” said Allan Zaremberg, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “We’re concerned about increases in the cost of housing and being able to keep people in California. The consequences of a strong economy and an inability to keep up with the demand for housing is a problem we need to solve, but we believe that rent control diminishes investment in housing opportunities. (The Sacramento Bee CapitolAlert, 1/31/18)

Why California Employers are Still Paying for Recession-Era Jobless Benefits
In 2012, California’s debt was three times the next-biggest state debt, said Marti Fisher, policy advocate for the California Chamber of Commerce. She traces the problem to late 2001 when the Legislature passed a bill to increase unemployment benefits (for the first time since 1992) without increasing taxes, changing eligibility requirements or making any changes to make the system more efficient. “The chamber was opposed at the time,” she said. “We said the fund is going to become insolvent.” (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/22/18)

California Assembly Bill Seeks to Reform Private Attorneys General Act
Attorneys who defend businesses against lawsuits filed under the Private Attorney Generals Act, or PAGA, are quick to argue that the law does not give employers a fair opportunity to correct alleged violations before having to fight off legal action.  “AB 281 creates a balance between protecting employees and their rights under the Labor Code while also protecting employers from financially devastating litigation over alleged minor violations,” the California Chamber of Commerce stated in a recent letter of support. (Sacramento Business Journal, 1/10/18)