The California Chamber of Commerce has released a report of California legislators’ floor votes for the first year of the 2017-18 legislative session, focusing on priority bills to the state’s business community.
View the 2017 Vote Record
This is the 43rd vote record the CalChamber has compiled in response to numerous requests by member firms and local chambers of commerce that would like a gauge by which to measure the performance of their legislators.
To help readers assess legislators’ vote records, the charts group bills into nine areas: contracting out, environmental regulation, health care costs, housing and land use, industrial safety and health, labor and employment, legal reform and protection, privacy and telecommunications, and workers’ compensation.
No vote record can tell the entire story of a legislator’s attitude and actions on issues of importance to business. To fully evaluate your legislative representative, consult the legislative journals and examine your legislator’s votes in committee and on floor issues.
You can view these via links at www.calchambervotes.com.
Many anti-business bills were rejected by legislators in policy or fiscal committees, thus stopping proposals before they reached the floor for a vote. The vote record does not capture these votes.
Most bills in this report cover major business issues that are of concern to both small and large companies.
The CalChamber recognizes that there are many bills supported or opposed by business that are not included in this vote record and analysis.
The CalChamber considers the following factors in selecting vote record bills:
Best Business Votes
A “Best Business Votes” section lists legislators according to the percentage of times they voted with the CalChamber position on the bills selected for the vote record. Votes when a legislator was absent are not included in calculating percentages.
For more details on how the vote record is compiled and descriptions of the bills included, Click here.
80% or more with CalChamber
Anderson, Joel (R) 16-0
Bates, Patricia (R) 16-0
Berryhill, Tom (R) 16-0
Fuller, Jean (R) 16-0
Gaines, Ted (R) 16-0
Morrell, Mike (R) 16-0
Nguyen, Janet (R) 16-0
Nielsen, Jim (R) 16-0
Stone, Jeff (R) 16-0
Vidak, Andy (R) 16-0
Moorlach, John (R) 15-0
Cannella, Anthony (R) 15-1
Wilk, Scott (R) 15-1
40%-59% with CalChamber
Glazer, Steve (D) 9-7
Roth, Richard (D) 8-7
Less than 40% with CalChamber
Dodd, Bill (D) 4-12
Newman, Josh (D) 3-12
Hueso, Ben (D) 3-13
Pan, Richard (D) 3-13
Portantino, Anthony (D) 3-13
Allen, Ben (D) 2-14
Hernandez, Ed (D) 2-14
Hertzberg, Bob (D) 2-14
Bradford, Steven (D) 1-14
Galgiani, Cathleen (D) 1-14
Atkins, Toni (D) 1-15
de León, Kevin (D) 1-15
Hill, Jerry (D) 1-15
Lara, Ricardo (D) 1-15
McGuire, Mike (D) 1-15
Skinner, Nancy (D) 1-15
Wiener, Scott (D) 1-15
Mendoza, Tony (D) 0-15
Mitchell, Holly (D) 0-15
Stern, Henry (D) 0-15
Beall, Jim (D) 0-16
Jackson, Hannah-Beth (D) 0-16
Leyva, Connie (D) 0-16
Monning, Bill (D) 0-16
Wieckowski, Bob (D) 0-16
80% or more with CalChamber
Allen, Travis (R) 15-0
Bigelow, Frank (R) 15-0
Brough, Bill (R) 15-0
Chen, Phillip (R) 15-0
Flora, Heath (R) 15-0
Harper, Matthew (R) 15-0
Kiley, Kevin (R) 15-0
Mayes, Chad (R) 15-0
Obernolte, Jay (R) 15-0
Patterson, Jim (R) 15-0
Voepel, Randy (R) 15-0
Gallagher, James (R) 14-0
Acosta, Dante (R) 14-1
Fong, Vince (R) 14-1
Mathis, Devon (R) 14-1
Melendez, Melissa (R) 13-0
Chávez, Rocky (R) 13-2
Lackey, Tom (R) 13-2
Steinorth, Marc (R) 13-2
Waldron, Marie (R) 13-2
Cunningham, Jordan (R) 12-2
Dahle, Brian (R) 12-2
Grayson, Tim (D) 12-3
Choi, Steven (R) 10-1
60%-79% with CalChamber
Gray, Adam (D) 11-4
Frazier, Jim (D) 10-5
Maienschein, Brian (R) 10-5
40%-59% with CalChamber
Baker, Catharine (R) 8-7
Cooper, Jim (D) 8-7
Salas, Rudy (D) 8-7
Daly, Tom (D) 7-8
Less than 40% with CalChamber
Arambula, Joaquin (D) 5-10
Irwin, Jacqui (D) 5-10
O’Donnell, Patrick (D) 5-10
Rubio, Blanca (D) 5-10
Cervantes, Sabrina (D) 4-11
Cooley, Ken (D) 4-11
Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian (D) 3-11
Aguiar-Curry, Cecilia (D) 3-12
Caballero, Anna (D) 3-12
Dababneh, Matt (D) 3-12
Gipson, Mike (D) 3-12
Levine, Marc (D) 3-12
Quirk-Silva, Sharon (D) 3-12
Bocanegra, Raul (D) 2-13
Burke, Autumn (D) 2-13
Medina, Jose (D) 2-13
Muratsuchi, Al (D) 2-13
Quirk, Bill (D) 2-13
Rodriguez, Freddie (D) 2-13
Eggman, Susan Talamantes (D) 1-11
Chu, Kansen (D) 1-13
Gloria, Todd (D) 1-14
Gonzalez Fletcher, Lorena (D) 1-14
Jones-Sawyer, Reginald (D) 1-14
Low, Evan (D) 1-14
McCarty, Kevin (D) 1-14
Nazarian, Adrin (D) 1-14
Santiago, Miguel (D) 1-14
Weber, Shirley (D) 1-14
Chau, Ed (D) 0-13
Garcia, Eduardo (D) 0-13
Berman, Marc (D) 0-14
Bloom, Richard (D) 0-14
Bonta, Rob (D) 0-14
Calderon, Ian (D) 0-14
Friedman, Laura (D) 0-14
Holden, Chris (D) 0-14
Limón, Monique (D) 0-14
Mullin, Kevin (D) 0-14
Rendon, Anthony (D) 0-14
Reyes, Eloise (D) 0-14
Wood, Jim (D) 0-14
Chiu, David (D) 0-15
Garcia, Cristina (D) 0-15
Kalra, Ash (D) 0-15
Stone, Mark (D) 0-15
Thurmond, Tony (D) 0-15
Ting, Phil (D) 0-15
Gomez, Jimmy (D)* 0-5
*Jimmy Gomez elected to U.S. House of Representatives; took office July 11, 2017.
Californians are anxious.
The economy is growing, the state budget is balanced and the rains have resumed. Yet California voters are apprehensive about the future. They worry that state leaders are not addressing the issues that truly concern them, according to the third annual CalChamber Poll.
For the first time in three years of polling, slightly more voters say that California is headed down the wrong track (52%) than in the right direction (48%). Their assessment for the nation is even worse: twice as many voters have a negative outlook on the country’s direction than have a positive impression.
Parents are uneasy about their kids’ futures. Of the 28% of voters with children living at home, 61% agree that their children will have a better future if they leave California. Reasons include the high cost of living here, high taxes and worry about landing a good job.
This is the Cal Exit to worry about.
On jobs, where you live determines your perception of reality.
San Francisco Bay Area voters see a strong job creation climate in their region, with nearly a quarter of voters seeing “a lot of new jobs” in the area, and nearly eight in ten seeing “a lot” or “some” new jobs. Elsewhere, the perception is dimmer. Coastal southern Californians see a moderate number of new jobs in their regions, while voters in the Inland Empire and Central Valley are more pessimistic, with only 5% seeing “a lot” of new jobs and less than two in five even seeing “some” new jobs.
When asked about the quality of these new jobs, among voters who respond that “a lot” or “some” new jobs are being created, a majority statewide believe that most of these new jobs “tend to be dead ends that don’t lead to the middle class,” while a minority say the new jobs are “the type that lead to higher pay and middle class living.”
Regional differences also are stark here. Most SF Bay Area voters believe the new jobs will lead to higher pay and the middle class, while – by a two-to-one margin – Inland Empire and Central Valley voters believe most new jobs will be dead end jobs.
Crime is also increasingly on the minds of the public.
Voters overwhelmingly agree that elected officials in Sacramento are not spending enough time on reducing crime (86%) or expanding police powers to limit panhandling, homelessness and public drug use in city parks (66%).
They would be more likely to support legislative candidates who take a tough-on-crime approach, such as expanding the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option, such as felony domestic violence and child sex trafficking (92%), reinstating DNA collection for certain misdemeanors to help law enforcement solve cases (77%), and revise upward the threshold for serial theft to be a felony (76% support).
While most voters have heard a great deal about making California a “sanctuary state,” by a nearly two-to-one margin they believe elected officials are spending too much time on the issue.
Democratic gubernatorial candidates may face calls to support a “single-payer” health care system, but voters are simply not impressed. Voters strongly support subsidies for people who cannot afford their own health care (75%) and for those who have pre-existing health conditions (81%), but are not ready to embrace government-run health care. Voters overwhelmingly prefer to keep their current health insurance (71%) over switching to a single-payer approach (29%).
Voters feel disconnected from their elected leaders, agreeing that the Legislature (82%) and Governor (63%) are “out of touch with the issues that are important to people like me.”
Issues that voters care about but believe the Legislature is not spending enough time on include crime, job creation, keeping energy prices low and building more highways.
Speaking of transportation, considering alternatives to the gasoline tax, voters prefer a mileage-based user fee (29%) to other choices, such as a tax on carbon emissions (20%), issuing state bonds (19%), raising the state sales tax (9%) or reducing spending on schools, colleges and health care (9%).
Voters were very supportive (61%) of paying for road repairs by replacing the gasoline tax with a mileage fee, in the context of increasing automobile fuel efficiency and the increasing number of vehicles that don’t use gasoline at all.
Voters are far less supportive of other fees and taxes on driving.
Only 37 percent support extension of the cap-and-trade program if it caused a fifty-cent-a-gallon hike in the price of gasoline. A $1.50 price increase drives support down to just 30% of voters.
The news is even worse for advocates of mileage fees to reduce driving. By a three-to-one margin, voters oppose legislative limits on driving, such as new fees, purposely designing roads to be more congested, or not expanding highway capacity at all.
Voters do not support (40%) banning gasoline-powered cars by 2030, although younger voters (67%) and voters in the San Francisco Bay Area (50%) seem intrigued by the idea.
On the quintessential California tax issue, voters still vigorously embrace the Proposition 13 property tax reforms.
Across the board, California voters (81%) have a very or somewhat favorable view of Proposition 13. This view is consistent, whether voters own their homes (85%) or rent (72%), and whether they are Democrat (75%), Republican (90%) or no party (83%).
The CalChamber poll demonstrates that voter anxiety and disconnection is as present in California as elsewhere in the country, notwithstanding the steadfast dominance of Democrats in political leadership.
The CalChamber poll was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) from October 4 to October 6, 2017 among n=1,000 definite California voters. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level.
California has received $500,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase export activities among small businesses. The funding, part of the State Trade Export Promotion program, will boost trade in foreign markets, – including China, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Mexico, – and encourage exports of information technologies, food and agricultural products, consumer goods and medical equipment.
California is the one of the largest exporting states in the nation. The state exports more than $163 billion in products, about 11% of all U.S. exports. This international trade supports more than 706,000 California jobs. Top markets for California’s exports include Mexico, Canada and China.
“On average, more than 25 percent of California’s agricultural production is exported,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross. “This federal funding is a victory for farmers and ranchers, food manufacturers, and the rural communities where they operate.”
California’s State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) program is a partnership between the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), CDFA, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Centers for International Trade Development. The program brings together state, federal, private and nonprofit trade promotion organizations to promote export activities among targeted industries. California STEP is funded in part by a U.S. Small Business Administration grant.
In light of various emergencies and disasters throughout the state, the California Chamber of Commerce is educating employers about a few things they should know about paying employees, leaves of absences and planning ahead in emergencies.
Even in an emergency, employers must be mindful of obligations under state employment laws and consider pay issues for exempt and nonexempt employees related to office closures.
Employers must pay exempt employees a full weekly salary for any week in which any work is performed. If the business is closed for the whole week, however, employers don’t need to pay exempt employees.
In emergencies, special pay rules apply for nonexempt employees.
If your business shuts down for any of the following reasons, you must only pay nonexempt employees for the hours they worked prior to being sent home:
However, if you shut down your business at your discretion (and not for one of the above reasons), reporting time pay may be owed. When a nonexempt employee shows up for work as scheduled and is not put to work or is given less than half of his/her scheduled hours, the employee would be eligible for reporting time pay: pay for one half of the scheduled shift, no less than two hours and no more than four hours.
Of course, employers are always free to pay employees or let them use vacation or other personal time. Many employers may choose to provide some paid time during emergency situations. Just remember to be consistent!
Leaves of Absence for Emergency Personnel
Some of your employees may serve as volunteers for local fire departments or other emergency response entities. All employers must provide leaves of absence for employees who are required to perform emergency duty. Employers are not required to compensate the employee during this time off.
Leave for Health Issues
Employees may be entitled to time off to deal with health issues that occur as a result of the disaster.
For instance, employees may use their California mandatory paid sick leave for the care or treatment of a health condition for themselves or a family member, as defined by the law.
They also may be eligible for time off for family or medical leave for themselves or to care for family members with any serious health conditions under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The FMLA and the CFRA cover employers with 50 or more employees and provide a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.
Employers may have obligations to reasonably accommodate an employee under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the state Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Should an employee suffer a physical or mental injury because of a natural disaster, they may be entitled to protections under these laws.
School or Childcare Leave
Employers with 25 or more employees working at the same location may need to provide unpaid time off to employees whose children’s school or child care is closed due to a natural disaster, such as a fire, earthquake or flood. For emergency situations, the time must not exceed 40 hours per year.
Employers must remember their obligations to provide a safe workplace. Cal/OSHA is advising employers to take special precautions to protect workers from hazards from wildfire smoke.
Cal/OSHA has posted materials that provide guidance for employers and workers on working safely in conditions with heavy smoke caused by the wildfires.
The single, most important thing employers can do is create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and communicate that plan to employees. Employers should inform employees that the plan exists and what steps the plan outlines. As an employer, you have an obligation to create and maintain a safe workplace for your employees.
All California employers are required to have an EAP designating the actions that must be taken to protect employees from fire and other emergencies. California employers must also have a Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) that details the fire hazards your employees may face and how to handle a fire should the situation arise.
When employees are initially assigned to a job or transferred to a new position, the employer should review parts of the EAP and FPP employees must know so they can protect themselves in the event of an emergency. Employers should retrain employees if they change the EAP or FPP and should periodically conduct emergency training and drills.
When considering emergency situations, employers should plan how they will handle and communicate office closings and determine who will make the final decision on whether to close. Determine also if alternative workplaces are available, whether certain employees can work from home or whether to shut down all work during the emergency.
CalChamber members can find more information on Emergency Action Plans and Fire Prevention Plans during emergencies on HRCalifornia. Cal/OSHA offers resources as well. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation on October 12 mandating that small businesses provide a new protected leave of absence.
SB 63 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) was identified by the California Chamber of Commerce as a job killer.
Also signed today was AB 168 (Eggman; D-Stockton), which bans employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history.
Both bills take effect on January 1, 2018.
SB 63 will require employers to provide 12 weeks of baby bonding leave to employees in addition to the myriad of other leaves of absence programs California already imposes. This bill affects small employers with as few as 20 employees and applies to those employees who:
Combined with other protected leaves, the bill could result in small employers having to provide up to seven months of protected leave for the same employee. This bill will have the greatest impact on employers with 20 to 49 employees who are not already required to provide family leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the state California Family Rights Act.
The bill also prohibits an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes this leave.
In addition, the bill carries the threat of litigation for employers. SB 63 labels an employer’s failure to provide a requested leave as an “unlawful employment practice.” The employer is subject to a lawsuit should the employee allege that his or her employer:
• Did not provide the 12 weeks of protected leave;
• Failed to return the employee to the same or comparable position;
• Failed to maintain benefits while the employee was out on leave; or
• Took any adverse employment action against the employee for taking the leave.
In addition, SB 63 will require the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, upon receiving funding from the Legislature, to create a parental leave mediation pilot program. Under the pilot program, within 60 days of receipt of a right-to-sue notice, an employer may request all parties to participate in the department’s Mediation Division Program. If the employer makes such a request, the bill would prohibit an employee from pursuing any civil action under these provisions until the mediation is complete, which would include an employee’s election not to participate in mediation. The bill would provide that the employee’s statute of limitations would be tolled during the course of the mediation, as specified. The pilot program will end on January 1, 2020.
Under AB 168 employers are banned from asking about a job applicant’s salary history and from relying on salary history information as a factor in determining what salary to offer an applicant. An employer could be penalized for failing to provide a pay scale for the position upon demand.
Any violation of the provisions in AB 168 carries a huge threat of costly litigation under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
CalChamber will provide information, including a November webinar, to members about how to ensure compliance with these new laws and develop appropriate policies for their businesses.