2018 Job Killer List
The California Chamber of Commerce has released its annual list of job killer bills, calling attention to the negative impact that 29 proposed measures would have on California’s job climate and economic recovery should they become law.
“Each bill on this year’s job killer list poses a threat to certainty for employers and investors in our state,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “Besides undermining the state’s economic health, job killer bills have a cumulative negative impact on the businesses and entrepreneurs who provide the resources necessary to fund critical state programs like health care and education. Legislators must measure the impact that each of these proposed new laws will have, not just when the economy is expanding but also when California experiences the inevitable downturn.”
Sample letters to legislators are available at www.calchambervotes.com.
2018 Job Killer Bills
The list of 2018 job killer bills follows:
AB 893 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella) Substantially Increased Costs — Will substantially increase rates to California ratepayers by requiring procurement of a large amount —4,250 megawatts— of additional and unneeded geothermal, solar, and wind power. Threatens jobs by creating a procurement process outside of the current “least-cost, best-fit” competitive bidding process. Creates incentives for utilities to purchase out-of-state power to satisfy the mandate, threatening even more California jobs. Senate Rules, 8/28/18.
AB 1745 (Ting; D-San Francisco) Vehicle Ban — Bans the sale of combustion engine vehicles in the state by prohibiting the registration of a new vehicle in the state after 2040 unless it is a zero emission vehicle. Failed deadline. Assembly Appropriations Committee, 4/27/18.
AB 1761 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance)Hotel Worker Panic Buttons — Creates unworkable requirements for paid leave, allows for a patchwork of state and local rules and unnecessary signage in regards to providing protection for hotel employees working alone and the provision of panic buttons. Job Killer status removed due to May 9, 2018 amendments, but CalChamber remains opposed unless amended.
AB 1902 (Levine; D-San Rafael) Interference with Contracts — Discourages and reduces “personal service contracts” as defined, by unfairly increasing the contract price for these services based upon an undefined and unspecified “area income” rate that presumably will include wages from different industries and different occupations that are not comparable to personal services. It also provides the Department of Industrial Relations with extraordinary authority to value companies, determine “similar services” to be included under the provisions of this bill, and what constitutes “area income.” Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File, 5/25/18.
AB 2069 (Bonta; D-Oakland) Medical Marijuana in Employment — Undermines employer’s ability to provide a safe and drug-free workplace by requiring employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees who use marijuana for a disability or medical purposes, exposing employers to costly and unnecessary litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) whenever the employer terminates an employee who has created a safety hazard in the workplace. Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File, 5/25/18.
AB 2351 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Targeted Tax on High Earners — Unfairly increases the personal income tax rate from 13.3% – which is already, by far, the highest income tax rate in the country – to 14.3% for one category of taxpayers (including some proprietors), who already pay half of California’s income taxes, forcing them to mitigate these costs through means that include reducing workforce, in order to provide more funding for higher education. Assembly Revenue & Taxation 4/16/18.
AB 2384 (Arambula; D-Kingsburg) Increases Health Care Premiums — Before amendments, increased health care premiums by mandating medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders and by eliminating all quality control and cost containment mechanisms. Job Killer tag removed due to June 14, 2018 amendments, but CalChamber remains opposed.
AB 2447 (Reyes; D-Grand Terrace) Increases Costs and CEQA Litigation — Before amendments, invited more litigation and increased the complexity and cost of CEQA compliance by 1) requiring local agencies to make a finding as to the discriminatory intent or effect of a proposed project, 2) forcing the local agency to incorporate all oral and written comments from the scoping process into the environmental review document regardless of its accuracy or relevancy, and 3) allocating responsibility for identifying what constitutes a “subject land use” for which new notice provisions will apply to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Job Killer tag removed due to April 26, 2018 amendments. Opposition removed due to May 25, 2018 amendments.
AB 2527 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Costly Litigation Against Small Employers — Exposes small businesses who are seeking financial investors in their company to devastating class action litigation by banning the use of arbitration agreements, which is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, prohibiting class action waivers, allowing for the award of treble damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees, and interferes with contractual negotiations between sophisticated parties by dictating the choice of forum and choice of law for such litigation. Failed deadline. Assembly Business and Finance Committee, 4/27/18.
AB 2560 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) Targeted Tax on Contractors — Unfairly targets one category of taxpayers to fund a benefit for all of the state by imposing a tax on contractors for the privilege of doing business with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and requires the contractor to absorb the cost while maintaining a price of lowest responsible bidder. Failed passage in Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, 4/16/18.
AB 2571 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Public Employee Retirement Systems Investment Policy — Seeks to publicly shame investment managers and the hospitality companies in which they invest, by forcing them to submit an annual report subject to a public review, that discloses employee wage information according to gender, ethnicity, and race, exposing such companies to costly litigation. Failed deadline. Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee, 4/27/18.
AB 2613 (Reyes; D-Grand Terrace) Wage Statement Penalties — Imposes another layer of Labor Code penalties for wage and hour violations in addition to the penalties already available under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and imposes personal liability onto employees who have no control over the actual payment of wages. No vote taken; held on Assembly Floor, 5/29/18.
AB 2765 (Low; D-Campbell) Portable Benefits for The Gig Economy — Imposes onerous and costly mandates on companies in the gig economy labeled as the “digital marketplace” by adding them under the provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), expanding the protected classifications under FEHA for contractors of the digital marketplace to include “familial status,” and creates further confusion and uncertainty regarding the use and classification of independent contractors. These new mandates will dramatically increase the amount of frivolous litigation under FEHA and the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) for the digital marketplace. Failed deadline. Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, 4/27/18.
AB 3080 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Ban on Settlement Agreements and Arbitration Agreements — Significantly expands employment litigation and increases costs for employers and employees by banning settlement agreements for labor and employment claims as well as arbitration agreements made as a condition of employment, which is likely preempted under the Federal Arbitration Act and will only delay the resolution of claims. Banning such agreements benefits the trial attorneys, not the employer or employee. To Governor.
AB 3087 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Health Care Price Controls — Jeopardizes employers’ negotiating power and access to care, ignores the drivers of health care costs, and adds another layer of bureaucracy by creating an appointed commission to impose price controls on health care providers and insurers. Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File, 5/25/18.
ACA 22 (McCarty; D-Sacramento) Middle Class Fiscal Relief Act — Unnecessarily increases California’s 8.84% corporate tax rate, already one of the highest in the nation, to 18.84%, which will encourage companies to leave the state and discourage companies from expanding or relocating here. Assembly Print 1/18/18.
SB 993 (Hertzberg; D- Van Nuys) Tax on Services — Imposes a 3% tax on services purchased by businesses in California, with some exceptions, adding another layer of taxes onto California companies, raising costs, and putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Senate Governance & Finance 5/16/18.
SB 1121 (Dodd; D-Napa) Increased Consumer Litigation — Originally removed the requirement of economic injury for standing to bring a claim in California against a company for a data breach, undermining the intent of voters, and drastically increasing liability for companies without providing any corresponding benefit to California consumers. Following enactment of AB 375 consumer privacy law in June, developed as an AB 375 technical clean-up vehicle. CalChamber worked with members and other affected parties to create a list of technical fixes. Job killer status removed due to 08/27/18 amendments containing negotiated clean-up language to AB 375, including delayed enforcement of AB 375 and provisions clarifying that AB 375 private right of action applies only to additional liability for businesses after a data breach. As a result, CalChamber supports SB 1121.
SB 1284 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Disclosure of Company Pay Data — Requires California employers to submit pay data to state agencies that could give the false impression of pay disparity where none may exist. Agencies are prohibited from releasing company-specific information. Job killer tag removed due to August 8 amendments helping rectify public shaming aspect of the bill but CalChamber remains opposed due to administrative burden placed on employers.
SB 1300 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Significant Expansion of Harassment Discrimination and Retaliation Liability — Limits the use of nondisparagement agreements and general releases, restricts the ability to summarily adjudicate harassment claims and lowers the legal standard for actionable harassment claims. These provisions will significantly increase litigation against California employers and limit their ability to invest in their workforce. Job Killer status removed due to amendments on 08/20/18, but CalChamber remains opposed.
SB 1398 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Increased Tax Rate — Threatens to significantly increase the corporate tax rate on publicly held corporations and financial institutions up to 15% according to the wages paid to employees in the United States, and threatens to increase that rate by 50% thereafter, if the corporation or institution reduces its workforce in the United States and simultaneously increases its contractors. Senate Governance & Finance 3/8/18.
2017 JOB KILLER CARRY-OVER BILLS
AB 127 (Committee on Budget) Threatens Energy Reliability — Threatens energy reliability and will lead to the elimination of jobs by mandating the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. Senate Budget and Fiscal Review 2/15/18.
ACA 4 (Aguiar-Curry; D-Winters) Lowers Vote Requirement for New Tax Increases — Unnecessarily reduces the voter threshold from two-thirds to 55% for local governments to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, for the purpose of improving public infrastructure and affordable housing, which creates an opportunity for discriminatory and higher taxes to be imposed against disfavored industries and commercial property owners. Assembly Local Government 4/24/17.
ACA 11 (Caballero; D-Salinas) Targeted Retail Industry Tax Increase — Exposes the retail industry to increased taxes by imposing a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund affordable housing and homeless shelters, without creating greatly needed market rate housing. Assembly Housing and Community Development 8/22/17.
SB 49 (de León; D-Los Angeles) Creates Uncertainty and Increases Potential Litigation Regarding Environmental Standards — Creates uncertainty by giving broad and sweeping discretion to State agencies to adopt rules and regulations more stringent than the federal rules and regulations in effect on January 19, 2017 through an expedited administrative procedure without public participation or input, when the State agencies determine that federal action leads to less stringent laws and regulations than those in effect on January 19, 2017; and increases the potential for costly litigation by creating private rights of action under California law, which may be triggered when a State agency takes the foregoing discretionary action. Assembly Rules Committee, 9/12/17.
SB 538 (Monning; D-Carmel) Arbitration Discrimination — Before amendments, unfairly and unlawfully discriminated against arbitration agreements by restricting the formation of antitrust arbitration agreements in hospital contracts, leading to costly litigation over preemption by the Federal Arbitration Act. Opposition and Job Killer status removed due to June 11, 2018 amendments.
SB 562 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) Government-Run Health Care — Penalizes responsible employers and individuals and results in significant new taxes on all Californians and California businesses by creating a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system financed by an unspecified and undeveloped “revenue plan.” Failed Deadline; Assembly Desk 7/14/17.
SB 774 (Leyva; D-Chino) Increased Permitting Fees and Delayed Permitting — Before amendments, exposed permittees to unknown, increased fees by providing the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) a blank check to impose additional fees on permittees to implement and perform its statutory requirements when its primary sources of funding have structural deficits and creates substantial uncertainty and delay of facility permitting by interjecting a new board into the organizational structure. Gutted and amended to a different subject area. Opposition and CalChamber Job Killer status removed due to August 16, 2018 amendments.
SCA 6 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases — Unnecessarily reduces the voter threshold from two-thirds to 55% for local governments to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, for the purpose of providing transportation services, which creates an opportunity for discriminatory and higher taxes to be imposed against disfavored industries and commercial property owners. Held in Senate Appropriations Suspense File 5/25/17.