2019 Job Killer List
In 2019, the California Chamber of Commerce annual Job Killer list grew to include 31 bills that would harm California’s economic growth and job creation should they become law. Just one was signed into law and is being challenged in court.
“These bills represent some of the worst policy proposals affecting California employers and our economy currently being considered by Legislature,” said CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg. “Some of these bills have been rejected time and again by the Legislature or vetoed by the previous Governor. Legislators should, instead, focus on removing impediments to economic growth and creating upward mobility for all Californians.”
On May 21, CalChamber added AB 1080 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), SB 54 (Allen; D-Santa Monica) and SCA 5 (Hill; D-San Mateo, Allen; D-Santa Monica) to the list. AB 1080 and SB 54 were removed from the job killer list due to September 6 amendments, but CalChamber still opposes.
CalChamber will periodically release job killer watch updates as legislation changes. Reporters are encouraged to track the current status of the job killer bills on www.CalChamber.com/jobkillers or by following @CalChamber and @CAJobKillers on Twitter
The 2019 list of job killer bills and their status at the end of the 2019 session follows:
AB 36 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) Statewide Rolling Rent Control — Defies the will of the voters and worsens California’s housing shortage by modifying the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act to allow cities to enact or expand rent control to residential properties constructed within 10 years of the date upon which the owner seeks to establish the initial or subsequent rental rate, which will discourage housing production, quality of housing, and impact low-income individuals and families. In Assembly Rules Committee.
AB 40 (Ting; D-San Francisco) Vehicle Ban — As initially introduced, discouraged investment and eliminated jobs in California by essentially imposing a ban on all non-zero emission vehicles by requiring the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop a strategy to ensure that all passenger and light-duty vehicle sales are zero emission by 2040. Amended on last day for 2019 amendments to a different topic. Assembly Transportation Committee.
AB 51 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Ban on Arbitration Agreements — Significantly expands employment litigation and increases costs for employers and employees by banning 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. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed a similar measure last year and stated it “plainly violates federal law.” Signed. Chapter 711, Statutes of 2019.
AB 138 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) Targeted Tax on Sweetened Beverages — Unfairly imposes a targeted excise tax on distributors of sweetened caloric beverages to fund health-related programs for all which will force distributors to reduce costs through higher prices to consumers or limit their workforce. In Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. Author delays action to 2020.
AB 288 (Cunningham; R-San Luis Obispo) Significant Expansion of Liability and Litigation for Consumer Data — Creates an onerous private right of action with a right to excessive punitive damages for purely economic losses at a low evidentiary standard, along with attorney’s fees, for a new consumer right to delete data that conflicts with the consumer right to delete recently provided by the California Consumer Privacy Act. In Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. Failed 5/3/19 deadline for non-fiscal bills to pass policy committees.
AB 345 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Oil and Gas Development Ban — Eliminates thousands of high-paying California jobs and requires California to import even more foreign oil by banning new oil and gas development, re-drilling operations, and rework operations by imposing a state minimum 2,500-foot setback requirement from certain structures, and further authorizing local governments to enact even greater setback requirements, without limitation. Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee 5/16/19.
AB 495 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Cosmetic Product Ban — Bypasses a legislatively mandated analytical process to judge the safety of consumer products and seeks to prohibit safe cosmetic products based upon the mere presence of a chemical in the product, no matter the level, that will lead to potential regrettable substitutions and job losses in the cosmetic industry. In Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee. Failed deadline.
AB 628 (Bonta; D-Oakland) Uncapped New Leave of Absence for Employees and Their Family Members — Significantly expands the definition of sexual harassment under the Labor Code, which is different than the definition in the Government Code, leading to inconsistent implementation of anti-harassment policies, confusion, and litigation. Also, provides an unprecedented, uncapped leave of absence for victims of sexual harassment and their “family members” which is broadly defined, that will add another layer of burdens on employers and their ability to manage their workforce. Failed passage in Assembly 5/29/19.
AB 673 (Carrillo; D-Los Angeles) Unfair Expansion of Penalties Against an Employer for Alleged Wage Violation — Before amendments, unfairly penalized an employer twice for the same Labor Code violation and created a new private right of action, allowing three different avenues of recovery for the same alleged violation while reducing revenue to the State. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to May 24, 2019 amendments. CalChamber has no position.
AB 725 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Inclusionary Housing Requirement — Exacerbates California’s housing crisis by imposing a statewide, indirect inclusionary housing requirement that prohibits local jurisdictions from allocating more than 20% of their share of regional housing need for above moderate-income housing in areas zoned for single-family development. In Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. Failed Deadline.
AB 755 (Holden; D-Pasadena) Targeted Tax on Purchase of Tires — Imposes a $1.50 targeted tax on the purchase of new tires, that will unfairly raise prices on California residents, including employers, in order to fund the mitigation of zinc in storm water for all. Placed on Assembly Inactive File on May 29, 2019 at author’s request.
AB 790 (Levine; D-San Rafael) Increased Cost on Employers for Use of Personal Services Contracts — Discourages and reduces the use of “personal services contracts” as defined, by requiring the hiring entity to pay a minimum contractual compensation rate at 85% of the area median income, which will presumably include wages from different industries and occupations that are not comparable to personal services, and reduce jobs for individuals who perform the work under personal services contracts. Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee 5/16/19.
AB 857 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) Significant Risk to Taxpayer Dollars and Community Investment — Before amendments, jeopardized taxpayer dollars, community banks, and funding for small businesses that create jobs in local communities, by allowing the creation of local public banks which will impose significant costs and risks to taxpayer revenue for operations and capital, as well as unfairly compete with local community banks. Job killer tag removed due to recent amendments, but CalChamber still opposes as public banks would compete with existing commercial banks.
AB 882 (McCarty; D-Sacramento) Limitation on Ability to Maintain a Safe Workplace. Significantly undermines an employer’s ability to maintain a safe, drug-free workplace, by prohibiting an employer from discharging an employee who has tested positive for a drug that is being used for medical purposes, which will expose employers to costly litigation. In Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. Failed Deadline.
AB 1035 (Mayes; R-Yucca Valley) Expansion of Civil Litigation for Data Breaches — Before amendments, unfairly required businesses to notify consumers of a data breach within 72 hours, which will place an unrealistic compliance burden on businesses before they can reasonably assess the extent of the breach, thereby unnecessarily causing harm to consumers and increasing businesses’ class action exposure. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to April 22, 2019 amendments. CalChamber has no position.
AB 1066 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Unemployment During Trade Disputes —Significantly increases costs on employers engaged in a trade dispute by allowing employees on strike to receive unemployment benefits if the strike lasts more than four weeks, incentivizing strikes, raising costs for employers, and potentially affected the solvency of California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund. Failed passage in Senate 9/14/19.
AB 1080 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Unprecedented Product Regulation In California — Before amendments, substantially increased the cost to manufacture and ship consumer products sold in California by providing CalRecycle with broad authority to develop and impose costly and unrealistic new mandates on manufacturers of all single-use packaging and certain single-use plastic consumer products under an unrealistic compliance time frame that failed to address California’s lack of recycling and composting infrastructure. Job killer tag removed due to September 6, 2019 amendments, but CalChamber still opposes. Senate Inactive File 9/14/19.
AB 1286 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Unfair Contractual Mandates on Use of Motorized Scooters. Before amendments, significantly increased costs and litigation on shared mobility providers by prohibiting arbitration agreements as a part of the consumer contract, which is preempted under the Federal Arbitration Act and will create uncertainty and delay for the resolution of disputes. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to May 1, 2019 amendments. CalChamber has no position.
AB 1332 (Bonta; D-Oakland) Contract Prohibition for Businesses that Provide Services to Federal Government — Prohibits California public entities from contracting with, or investing in, any business that provides data-related services to an undefined group of federal agencies. Will create litigation and uncertainty for businesses that continue to work with California public entities, as the bill provides no clear guidance on how to comply with terms, and also in limited circumstances, compels public entities to breach signed contracts. Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee 5/16/19.
AB 1468 (McCarty; D-Sacramento/Gallagher; R-Nicolaus) Targeted Tax on Opioids — Unfairly imposes an excise tax on opioid distributors in California, which will increase their costs and force them to adopt measures that include reducing workforce and increasing drug prices for ill patients who need these medications the most, in order to fund drug prevention and rehabilitation programs that will benefit all of California. Assembly Floor 9/6/19.
SB 1 (Atkins; D-San Diego) Negatively Impacts Water Management and Increases Litigation — Undermines current state efforts to move forward with Voluntary Agreements through a rigid approach to water management that fails to appreciate science-based decision-making to manage and provide reliable water supplies for California and protect, restore, and enhance the ecosystems of the Bay-Delta and its tributaries. It further increases the potential for costly litigation by forcing a federal agency to operate the Central Valley Project subject to the California Endangered Species Act when that state law is preempted by the federal Endangered Species Act. It further creates significant regulatory uncertainty and litigation risks by giving certain state agencies authority to adopt rules and regulations without any of the Administrative Procedure Act safeguards when the agency, in its discretion, determines that the federal rules and regulations in effect on January 19, 2017 are “less protective” than existing federal law. Vetoed.
SB 37 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Staggering Corporate Tax Hike — Imposes a targeted tax on California business, which, for certain companies, would raise California’s corporate tax rate — already one of the highest in the nation — up to a staggering 22.26%, which amounts to an increase of about 150% and would undoubtedly discourage companies from locating or further investing in the state. In Senate Rules Committee 4/3/19.
SB 44 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Targeted Mandate that Will Increase Transportation Costs — Before amendments, severely impacted transportation costs by directing CARB to develop a strategy to reduce all motor vehicle emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 by disproportionally targeting diesel medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Threatened jobs by requiring an immediate strategy for reduction of diesel vehicles without sufficient alternate technology. Opposition and job killer tag removed due to May 1, 2019 amendments that require CARB to first consult with the Department of Transportation, the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, and GO-Biz to develop recommended goals and be consistent with the state’s Sustainable Freight Plan. It also requires CARB to identify advantages to fleets for early adoption. These amendments better align meeting California’s ambitious climate goals with ensuring the state’s continued economic vitality. CalChamber now supports the bill. Signed. Chapter 297, Statutes of 2019.
SB 54 (Allen; D-Santa Monica) Unprecedented Product Regulation In California. (Same language as AB 1080) — Before amendments, substantially increased the cost to manufacture and ship consumer products sold in California by providing CalRecycle with broad authority to develop and impose costly and unrealistic new mandates on manufacturers of all single-use packaging and certain single-use plastic consumer products under an unrealistic compliance time frame that failed to address California’s lack of recycling and composting infrastructure. Job killer tag removed due to September 6, 2019 amendments, but CalChamber still opposes. Assembly Floor 9/12/19.
SB 135 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Significant Expansion of California Family Rights Act — Significantly harms small employers in California with as few as 5 employees by requiring these employers to provide 12 weeks of a protected leave of absence each year, in addition to existing leaves of absences already required, as well as potentially requiring larger employers to provide 10 months of protected leave, with the exposure to costly litigation for any alleged violation. Placed on Senate Inactive File on May 30, 2019 at author’s request.
SB 246 (Wieckowski; D-Fremont) Targeted Tax on Oil and Gas Operators — Unfairly targets one industry by imposing a 10% oil and gas severance tax onto an oil and gas operator, adding another layer of taxes onto this industry that will significantly increase the costs of doing business, thereby increasing prices paid by consumers for goods and services in this expensive state as well. Stalled in Senate Rules Committee.
SB 320 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Increased Litigation — Exposes businesses to costly litigation for a consumer’s assertion that any price difference on “substantially similar” goods, even a nominal amount, is based on gender and therefore the consumer is entitled to a minimum of $4,000. Failed passage in Senate Judiciary Committee, 4/30/19. Reconsideration granted.
SB 468 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Unnecessary Commission to Study Tax Expenditures — Before amendments, repealed several of California’s most popular and most important tax exemptions and expenditures, which would raise taxes by $20 billion. Job killer status removed due to May 7, 2019 amendments that eliminate the automatic repeal of these tax exemptions. CalChamber remains oppose unless amended because bill will create an unnecessary commission to study tax expenditures that will cause uncertainty for businesses. Vetoed.
SB 561 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Significant Expansion of Liability and Litigation Under California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 — Creates an onerous and costly private right of action that will primarily benefit trial lawyers, allowing them to sue for any violations of the CCPA, and removes businesses’ 30-day right to cure an alleged violation of the CCPA as well as businesses’ ability to seek guidance from the Attorney General on how to comply with this confusing and complex law. Held in Senate Appropriations Committee 5/16/19.
SB 567 (Caballero; D-Salinas) Expands Costly Presumption of Injury — Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector. Failed passage in Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee 4/24/19. Reconsideration granted.
SCA 5 (Hill; D-San Mateo/Allen; D-Santa Monica) Lowers Voter Threshold for New Tax Increase — Unnecessarily reduces the voter threshold from two-thirds to 55% for school districts and community college districts to enact a discriminatory parcel tax against disfavored industries and commercial property owners. Placed on Senate Inactive File on May 21, 2019 at author’s request.