2019 CalChamber in the News


2019 articles and videos from news sources that mention the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber.)

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New Labor Laws Are Coming to California. What’s Changing in Your Workplace?
The California Chamber of Commerce, a leading voice for business, picked its fights. It did not list Assembly Bill 5, the independent contractor bill, on its annual “job killer” list, preferring to help negotiate for a slew of professionals, such as doctors and real estate agents, to gain exemptions. Los Angeles Times, 12/29/19

Chamber Files Legal Challenge to AB 51
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the help of a coalition of businesses and led by the California Chamber of Commerce, has filed legal challenge to Assembly Bill 51. The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, 12/14/19

CalChamber Files Sensible Challenge to Acrylamide Signs
The California Chamber of Commerce has filed a federal lawsuit to challenge California’s Proposition 65 requirement for warnings that food containing the chemical acrylamide may cause cancer. The Orange County Register, 10/13/19

CalChamber Sues Over Labeling Requirement for Common Food Chemical
On Monday, CalChamber filed suit against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra over the state’s mandatory Proposition 65 warnings about acrylamide in many cooked foods, including french fries, chips and cookies. Sacramento Business Journal, 10/07/19

Morrell Disaster Victim Relief Bill Sent to Governor
The California Chamber of Commerce named SB 601 a “Job Creator” and one of its top priorities for 2019. Highland Community News, 09/26/19

2020 May See Tax Battle Royal
…the California Chamber of Commerce has created the “California Tax and Budget Project” to block extension of sales taxes to services. Dan Walters in CALmatters, 09/26/19

Proposition 13 Works and Remains Popular. So Why Are Special Interests Attacking It?
Backers of an initiative to eliminate Proposition 13’s protections for some groups finally acknowledged something we have known all along: the measure is fatally flawed, would be bad for California and would shortchange school districts contrary to the stated purpose of the initiative. Allan Zaremberg and Rob Lapsley in CALmatters, 09/25/19

Workers Are Changing. California Legislature Must Face That Reality
Labor protections are meant to address certain situations where there is an imbalance in control between the employer and employee. But when the workers themselves control their working conditions, are these labor protections still necessary? Allan Zaremberg in CALmatters, 06/25/19

Business Leaders Welcome Coffee Toxic Warning Decision, Legal Action Still Pending Over Labeling
“In the bizarro world of Proposition 65, some sanity has been restored,” Adam Regele, policy advocate with the California Chamber, said. “The finalization of the new regulation brings much relief to the business community involved with the roasting, packaging, distribution and selling of coffee in California.” Northern California Record, 06/17/19

In California, a Blue Wave and Progressive Governor: So Why are So Many Leftist Plans Going Under?
Chamber president Allan Zaremberg attributes his organization’s high success rate in a Democratic-dominated Legislature to a combination of “good lobbying and their bad ideas.” CALmatters, 06/13/19

Most ‘Job Killer’ Bills Already Dead
Going into this year’s legislative session, it appeared that the California Chamber of Commerce’s long string of wins on bills it labels “job killers” might end. CALmatters, 06/12/19

Job Killers: Business Tax Increases Pending Passage by CA Legislature
Chris Micheli posted a list of pending tax legislation of particular interest to the California business community. These bills are continuing through the legislative process, awaiting passage. Some of these bills are on the Cal Chamber Job Killer list. California Globe, 06/11/19

Lawmakers Wisely Scuttled Most Job Killer Bills This Year
Only five of 31 bills deemed by the California Chamber of Commerce as “job killers” moved forward. Last year, all 29 “job killers” were defeated, giving the statewide business group a 92-percent success rate at derailing measures it believes to pose a clear and present danger to job development. The Orange County Register, 06/10/119

How Should California Regulate a Growing Gig Economy? Depends on Who You Ask
“It doesn’t have to be one or the other, it can be both.”
Jennifer Barrera – Executive Vice President of the California Chamber of Commerce
It is unreasonable to shoehorn a worker in the gig economy into a traditional employment classification based upon a court decision that resolved facts from over 15 years ago, did not involve gig workers, and applied a law that hasn’t been updated since well before the smart phone was introduced in our society. The Sacramento Bee, 06/09/19

Cal Chamber Annual Job Killers List Down to 5 Bills
The annual Job Killer list by the California Chamber of Commerce grew this year to 31 bills in 2019. The Job Killers are identified as harming California’s economic growth and job creation should they become law. That list is now down to just five, according to Chris Micheli, lobbyist, lawyer, and weekly contributor at California Globe. California Globe, 06/03/19

Gavin Newsom’s Message to Business Owners
Last Thursday—following in the tradition of Earl Warren, Ronald Reagan, Pat Brown and other California governors over the last 94 years—Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke to several thousand businesspeople gathered at the annual host breakfast sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Host Committee. Sacramento News & Review, 05/30/19

Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Converge On California This Weekend — And Not (Just) To Raise Money
“People throughout the country don’t always say California’s the trendsetter,” said California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg. “They say those people in California are a little crazy with some of their ideas.” Capital Public Radio, 05/30/19

Newsom Says Housing Crisis Must Be Solved
Without offering a solution, Gov. Gavin Newsom called California’s housing crisis the state’s greatest challenge, during his address Thursday at the annual Sacramento Host Breakfast. Sacramento Business Journal, 05/23/19

CalChamber-Backed Study Says Service Tax Would Disadvantage California Businesses
Aiming to short-circuit an idea that has long captured the imagination, if not yet the votes, of legislators, a study backed by California Chamber of Commerce has found that adopting a business service tax—i.e., a tax on lawyers, accountants and consultants—would hurt the economy and put the state at a competitive disadvantage. CALmatters, 05/22/19

#RespectWorks Offers Free Resources to Employers
The #RespectWorks campaign provides California companies with proven best practices to prevent harassment. As pointed out by the California Chamber of Commerce, which initiated the campaign, promoting respect in the workplace is a bottom-line issue for firms. The Business Journal, 05/14/19

Where’s California’s Middle Class? Influencers Say Income Disparity Must Be Addressed
California Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jennifer Barrera offered a markedly different prescription. In addition to emphasizing the need for improved education and job training, Barrera stressed the importance of reducing financial burdens on business. The Sacramento Bee, 05/05/19

The California Chamber of Commerce announced its list of nine “job-creator” bills on Tuesday, a follow-up to the organization’s less smile-inducing “job killer” list finalized earlier this month. The Sacramento Bee CapitolAlert, 5/01/19

He Added Up the Tax Increases California Democrats are Proposing. The Total? $15 Billion
April 15 has come and gone, but the California Legislature is weighing a number of bills that in the near future could make Tax Day more costly for some. The Golden State could collect more than $15 billion in new revenue, a combination of new taxes and old exemptions being eliminated, according to an analysis by Loren Kaye, president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education. (The Sacramento Bee, 4/22/19)

California Gives Out Too Many Tax Breaks. And It’s Losing Billions on Them Each Year
Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, says he’s all for studying everything, including the tangled web of state regulations. “But frankly, for some of these measures — like the [research and development] credit — you don’t have to sunset it to look at it,” he says. “You don’t have to threaten people to have a good evaluation.” (George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times, 4/18/19)

CalChamber Launches Campaign To Promote Inclusiveness and Prevent Harassment
On Friday, the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) kicked off its newest campaign, #RespectWorks, with the goal of combating harassment in the workplace. The program features posters, samples of discrimination and retaliation policies, a checklist for implementing anti-harassment policies and monthly tips on curbing workplace harassment. #RespectWorks already boasts a list of over two dozen supporters, according to CalChamber. Ernst & Young, Albertsons Companies and AT&T are among the companies that have vowed to “use proven, best practices to prevent harassment” as part of the campaign. “Harassment has no place in our workplaces,” Allan Zaremberg, president of CalChamber, stated. “Joining #RespectWorks demonstrates an employer’s solid commitment to their workers and the success of their company. Harassment-free workplaces have higher retention rates, recruit and hire the most qualified workers and are more productive and successful.” (Long Beach Business Journal, 4/12/19)


CalChamber Vice President Denise Davis on KFBK Radio to explain how a bill lands on the CalChamber’s Job Killer list:

“What we are looking is not just bad bills, these are not just bad ideas in general, these are bad ideas that hurt employers and hurt companies in the state,” said Denise Davis. “They hurt companies’ abilities to keep their costs under control, their ability to hire more workers their ability to provide robust to their employees… These are measures that truly cost companies in terms of increased litigation, more regulation, more burdens, more hassles, more taxes. These are expensive measures and why we call them Job Killers.”

Uber, Lyft in Crosshairs of Gig-Work Bill That Would Make Drivers Employees
California businesses are jostling to get exemptions from an upcoming law that could drastically reshape employment for hundreds of thousands of workers, turning them into employees rather than independent contractors — and adding to the costs of hiring them. The California Chamber of Commerce, a vocal critic of the bill, said it’s encouraged by the exemptions so far. Its hope is that “all individuals performing licensed services, and, that similar to direct sellers, all individuals who enjoy, prefer, and benefit from the flexibility and security of performing work as independent contractors are able to maintain that opportunity,” said Jennifer Barrera, executive vice president, in a statement. (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/28/19)

Big Business’ Political Muscle in Sacramento is Tested by New Democratic Mega-Majority
If the state Capitol had a hall of fame for legislative influence, a no-brainer inductee for playing defense would be the California Chamber of Commerce — a feared linebacker with a two-decade record of tackling and stopping new laws. (Los Angeles Times, 3/24/19)

CalChamber Launches Podcast Focused On Workplace Issues
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) has launched its first podcast, “The Workplace.” The show focuses on “issues critical to California employers and employees.” Long Beach Business Journal, 3/6/19

Tracking Job Killer Bills
The California Chamber of Commerce identified its first “job killer” bill of 2019 in Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s AB 51…CalChamber argues the legislation would expand litigation and increase costs for both employers and employees. (The Sacramento Bee, 3/5/19)

California Data Privacy Proposal May Give Law Tough New Teeth
“A private right of action on a law that is not yet cooked would be a disaster,” said Sarah Boot, a lobbyist for the California Chamber of Commerce. “It would be a class-action bonanza,” she testified at a hearing on Feb. 20 about the CCPA. (Bloomberg, 2/23/19)

California Republicans Just Elected Their First Female Party Chairperson, But The GOP Still Faces A Daunting Comeback
And yet, the party’s challenges remain just as steep as before. Strategist Marty Wilson, who runs the California Chamber of Commerce’s political operation, suggested there will likely be no quick fix. “I think what the GOP has to do is probably play small ball. Win where they can, hold what they’ve got, and start building towards the future,” Wilson said. (Capital Public Radio, 2/24/19)

Are You an Employee or a Contractor? Carpenters, Strippers and Dog Walkers Now Face That Question
The California Chamber of Commerce, business groups and Silicon Valley giants, seeking flexibility in how they hire, want Dynamex to be suspended, they wrote the Legislature, “before work opportunities are destroyed, and before the trial lawyers start crushing businesses with an onslaught of litigation.” (Los Angeles Times, 2/23/19)

California Lawmakers Toy With Idea Of Replacing Sales Tax With A Carbon Tax
What if products sold or used in California were taxed based on how much carbon is emitted during their production, not how much they cost? Some California lawmakers want to find out. Sarah Boot, with the California Chamber of Commerce, wrote a blog post about the bill saying “The goal is to use higher prices to influence Californians to purchase products in a way that is supposed to help reduce climate change.” (Capital Public Radio, 2/20/19)

California to Thrash Out Gig Worker Status in Upcoming Bills
“Dynamex jeopardizes work opportunities for millions of individuals who want to maintain independent contractor status for a host of reasons,” said Jennifer Barrera, executive vice president of the California Chamber of Commerce, which is spearheading the group. “I don’t think there’s an industry that isn’t affected by that decision,” she said, citing transportation, construction, health services, hairstylists and barbers, insurance agents, music teachers, freelance writers and editors, architects, engineers and lawyers as among those who might be affected. (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4/19)

Tech, Labor and Newsom Search for Common Ground on the Future of Gig Workers
When can companies in California classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees? Allan Zaremberg, head of the California Chamber of Commerce, said the ruling puts the Legislature in a unique position. A state law could override the court decision and return California to the pre-Dynamex test for employee status. “The Legislature has never developed a law on who’s an employee and who’s an independent contractor,” he said. (KQED, 1/19/19)

Air Board’s Plan to Raise Fees Threatens Our Economy and Climate Goals
California produces just 1 percent of atmospheric carbon emissions, yet global leaders and activists care about California regulations. Why is this? (Allan Zaremberg in CALmatters.org, 1/18/19)

SB 1300 Expands FEHA Litigation-Part II
In addition to the statutory changes described above, SB 1300 sets forth several statements of “legislative intent” about the application of FEHA in regard to harassment claims. The measure does so in Section One of the bill by adding Section 12923 to the Government Code that sets forth five statements “with regard to application of the laws about harassment contained in this part.” (Laura Curtis and Chris Micheli in Fox & Hounds Daily, 1/17/19)

SB 1300 Expands FEHA Litigation, But Employers and Lawyers Beware
Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1300 (Jackson) on September 30, 2018 as Chapter 955. Among other provisions, this comprehensive bill makes a number of statutory changes for litigating sexual harassment claims and prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign a release of claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act in exchange for a raise or as a condition of employment. (Laura Curtis and Chris Micheli in Fox & Hounds Daily, 1/16/19)

In 2019, California Workers Gain on Pay and Working Conditions. Employers Say it Will be Costly
The California Chamber of Commerce nonetheless boasted of fending off all 29 bills on its annual “Job Killers” list — legislation it claimed would “decimate economic and job growth.” Its biggest win: Gov. Jerry Brown’s September veto of Assembly Bill 3080, a measure to curb businesses’ ability to force workers into private arbitration, preventing them from filing lawsuits over sexual harassment, wage theft, discrimination and other complaints. Brown cited recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions affirming mandatory arbitration policies, saying the California bill “plainly violates federal law” — a stance disputed by proponents. “We know many of these job-killing proposals will return next session,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “But legislators need to understand that California employers have reached their limit with respect to new laws and regulations that increase costs through threat of litigation.” (Los Angeles Times, 1/1/19)

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