(October 17, 2011) The California Chamber of Commerce has released the third installment of CalChamber News. This edition highlights the success of the longstanding “job killer” program.
The clip features interviews with CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg; Chairman Emeritus and Co Founder of Ruiz Foods Fred Ruiz; and Meridian Pacific Partner Matt Rexroad.
This year a total of five “job killer” bills ultimately made it to the Governor’s desk from the 30 that were identified for 2011. The Governor vetoed four “job killer” bills and signed one.
“I want to commend the Governor and the Legislature to a great extent for recognizing that the economy is the number one issue facing voters today,” says Zaremberg in the video. “The Governor has said, ‘I don’t want to do any more harm to the economy.’ We've said that is a number one element in reducing uncertainty here in California.”
Among the job killers vetoed this year was AB 559 (Swanson; D-Alameda), which would have taken away a court’s decision to limit attorneys fees in fair employment and housing cases, further eroding an already troubled litigation environment for employers in the state. The state's litigation climate is repeatedly cited as one of the top reasons California is perceived as being hostile to business. In the video, Ruiz underscores this concern saying the state's legal climate is "just terrible...and I see it getting worse."
Also vetoed were AB 325 (B. Lowenthal; D-Long Beach), which would have mandated that employers provide workers with unpaid bereavement leave; AB 1155 (Alejo; D-Watsonville), which would have increased an employer’s liability for non work-related injuries; and SB 104 (Steinberg; D-Sacramento), which would have allowed farmworkers to unionize without a secret ballot.
Many believe the lower number of “job killer” bills passed by the Legislature this year is direclty linked to California's troubled economy and job climate. Consultant Matt Rexroad points out in the video, legislators don't want to be accused of “not being on the side of jobs and the economy.”
Rexroad believes this is true now more than ever due to new open primary rules that make legislators more vulnerable during the 2012 elections. Zaremberg agrees. "That is truly going to make a difference in how the legislators view the bills that they vote on,” Zaremberg says in the video.
The 2012 elections will be the first where candidates must run in the new citizens commission-drawn districts. The new districts, coupled with the top two open primary system, will produce more competitive general elections.