(October 9, 2012) The California Chamber of Commerce has published its final status report on the top priority bills for California’s business community, showing the ultimate fate of legislation sent to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. this year.
The report reflects the impact of persistent lobbying by CalChamber to secure amendments to several "job killer" bills this year, resulting in removal of the label and CalChamber opposition. Ultimately, 28 of 32 "job killer" bills CalChamber identified this year were defeated or amended.
Some successful examples include:
- AB 1450 (Allen; D-Santa Rosa) Exposure to Costly Discrimination Litigation. Before amendments, the bill subjected employers to unjustified charges of discrimination for legitimately inquiring into an applicant's most recent employment history.
The bill was amended on August 22 to remove the threat of frivolous litigation for inquiring into an applicant's most recent employment background, so the CalChamber removed its opposition and the "job killer" label.
AB 1450 passed the Legislature but was vetoed by the Governor, who commented, "Unfortunately, as this measure went through the legislative process it was changed in a way that could lead to unnecessary confusion."
- AB 1963 (Huber; D-El Dorado Hills) Targeted Tax on Services. The bill originally imposed a new sales-and-use-tax base on numerous services, disadvantaging California businesses that will not benefit by the proposed reduction in other tax rates.
Following amendments on April 25 to require a study of proposed changes, the CalChamber removed its opposition and the "job killer" label.
The Governor vetoed the bill, noting that it would have required another report on tax revenue volatility, this one from the Legislative Analyst. "The Legislature can have its own analyst prepare the report by simply asking. A law isn't needed," the Governor wrote in his veto message.
- AB 2149 (Butler; D-Los Angeles) Discourages Settlement Agreements. Before amendments, the bill would have inappropriately interfered in the contractual relationship between two parties by allowing the sharing of certain information contained in settlement agreements. Amendments in April removed the provisions that had led to the "job killer" designation.
Subsequent amendments removed the CalChamber's remaining concerns, and the bill was signed by the Governor.
Also worth noting are amendments that led to CalChamber removing its opposition to legislation that sought to mandate pensions for private employers, SB 1234 (De León; D-Los Angeles).
Before amendments, the bill would have subjected employers to significant cost, fiduciary responsibilities and liability with no commensurate benefit to employees by mandating that all private non-unionized employers who do not offer a retirement benefit enroll their employees in a government-created defined benefits retirement plan.
On the final day of the session, amendments to SB 923 (De León; D-Los Angeles) required that any program developed by the board SB 1234 established to put the pension plan together not go into effect unless new legislation authorizing the program is enacted. SB 923 was tied to enactment of SB 1234.
The effect of the amendments was to require a study of the ramifications of the private pension mandate, as the CalChamber had consistently advocated. Accordingly, the CalChamber removed its opposition.
Final Status of Major Bills
Within each subject area, the CalChamber list presents bills in order of priority, with the highest priorities at the top.
In addition to summarizing the final status of CalChamber priority bills sent to the Governor this year, the list includes federal action on the Ex-Im Bank.
The CalChamber published a preliminary status report in July and a second status report in September, as August 31 was the end of the Legislature’s regular session.
September 30 was the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before it began its final recess. The Legislature will adjourn sine die at midnight on November 30. The organizational gathering for the 2013–14 regular session convenes on December 3, 2012.
On October 26, the CalChamber will publish a record of legislators’ votes on key bills affecting the California business climate. Generally, the bills selected for the vote record have appeared in one of the status reports.
Bills signed by the Governor will become law on January 1, 2013. Urgency measures went into effect immediately upon being signed.
Download PDF Version of Report