Four California Chamber of Commerce-opposed job killer bills are likely dead for the session, having failed to advance to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a vote. In addition, a fifth bill was amended recently to remove the job killer tag.
April 27 was the deadline for all policy committees to hear and report any relevant legislation to the Assembly and Senate Appropriations committees.
• AB 1745 (Ting; D-San Francisco) Vehicle Ban: Would have banned the sale of combustion engine vehicles in the state by prohibiting the registration of a new vehicle in the state after 2040 unless it was a zero-emission vehicle. Failed deadline. Assembly Transportation Committee, 04/27/18.
• AB 2527 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Costly Litigation Against Small Employers: Would have exposed small businesses who were 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 interfered 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, 04/27/18.
• AB 2571 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Public Employee Retirement Systems Investment Policy: Sought 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 disclosed 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, 04/27/18.
• AB 2765 (Low; D-Campbell) Portable Benefits for The Gig Economy: Would have imposed 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 created further confusion and uncertainty regarding the use and classification of independent contractors. These new mandates would have dramatically increased 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, 04/27/18.
Job Killer Tag Removed
As a result of April 26 amendments, CalChamber has removed AB 2447 (Reyes; D-Grand Terrace) from the job killer list, but remains opposed.
Before the amendments, the bill would have invited more litigation and increased the complexity and cost of complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by forcing lead agencies to make a no discrimination finding before certifying an environmental impact report or adopting a negative declaration for a project.
CalChamber remains opposed to AB 2447 because the bill fundamentally changes how CEQA has operated for more than four decades with substantial fiscal and practical impacts.
The next significant deadline for job killing legislation is May 11, which is the last day for policy committees to hear and report nonfiscal legislation to the floor for consideration by the entire Assembly or Senate.
The Chamber Board of Directors regretfully accepted the resignation of Michael Wynn Song as Chair at their meeting on April 26. Michael was elected to the position in December of 2017, but his plans to spend the next few years in Oxnard changed and he moved his home and family to Texas.
Stacy Miller of Stacy Miller Public Affairs was elected to fill the Chair of the Board vacancy. Ms. Miller previously served as Chair-Elect of the Oxnard Chamber. Although Stacy has only been a full-time Oxnard resident for a few years, she has been visiting Oxnard since she was a little girl. Her family liked to vacation on our coast. Ms. Miller was elected to the Chamber Board of Directors in 2016 for a term beginning in January 2017.
With a vacancy in the Chair-Elect position, Celina Zacarias of California State University Channel Islands volunteered to fill it. Celina is no stranger to chambers of commerce. She has served on numerous chamber boards and was recently the Chair of the Simi Valley Chamber.
We thank both women for stepping forward to guide the Oxnard Chamber through the rest of 2018, and we wish Michael Wynn Song the best in his new home.
Legislative Preview: Votes to be Cast Today on CalChamber-Sponsored Bill, CalChamber-Opposed Measures
Legislative committee hearings today will give lawmakers a chance to cast votes to protect sexual harassment victims and employers from being sued for defamation, as well as block trial lawyer-sponsored attempts to create more avenues for litigation.
AB 2770: Sexual Harassment Employer/Employee Protection
Scheduled for consideration in the Assembly Judiciary Committee is California Chamber of Commerce-sponsored AB 2770 (Irwin; D-Thousand Oaks), a job creator that seeks to codify case law to ensure victims of sexual harassment and employers are not sued for defamation.
Alleged harassers are not only suing victims, but also filing suit against employers for defamation. Such lawsuits put employers in an impossible position as they have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct harassment.
Even worse, if the alleged harasser’s employment is then terminated, or the alleged harasser resigns, employers are put in an even more difficult position. The company has knowledge of the harassing activity and yet its hands are tied. If the company tells a potential employer that the employee was accused of harassing conduct, the company is on the hook for a defamation claim. If the company stays silent, the harassers are then free to victimize more individuals at their next job without anyone at the new company ever knowing about the unacceptable behavior.
AB 2770 would protect employers and allow them to warn potential employers about an individual’s harassing conduct during a reference check without the threat of a defamation lawsuit.
CalChamber is asking members to urge their Assembly representatives to vote yes on AB 2770.
AB 2074/AB 2995: Painting Businesses into a Corner
Also being considered in Assembly Judiciary this morning are two CalChamber-opposed bills that in focusing on lead-based paint create an extraordinary new scheme of product liability that would collectively result in thousands of new lawsuits, benefiting trial lawyers, wherein businesses could be held retroactively liable for alleged harms that they did not cause.
AB 2074 (Bonta; D-Oakland) and AB 2995 (Carrillo; D-Los Angeles) set a troubling precedent for all types of consumer products sold in California by discarding the plaintiffs’ burden to prove which entity caused their alleged harm. The bills place into law a system of absolute liability on various type of businesses, including product manufacturers, sellers and distributors, that did nothing more than stock or sell a legal product at the time. Unless an entity could prove it never manufactured, sold, distributed or promoted the product in the “geographical area” or during the “relevant time period”—both of which are undefined—it would have to pay all of the plaintiff’s claimed damages despite having no connection to the alleged harm.
AB 2995 defines the mere presence of lead-based paint on a property as an “injury,” automatically defining every home in California with a drop of lead-based paint as an injured property, regardless of whether actual lead-based paint risks exist. By doing so, AB 2995 would establish the “injury to property” that is required to occur in order for the absolute liability outlined in AB 2074 to apply.
CalChamber is asking members to urge their Assembly representatives to vote no on AB 2074 and AB 2995.
SB 820: Discourages Settlement AgreementsAlso, this afternoon the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider CalChamber-opposed SB 820 (Leyva; D-Chino), which provides that any settlement agreement in a case where sexual harassment, assault, or discrimination have been alleged cannot include a confidentiality provision regarding the allegations of the case, unless the employee/claimant requests confidentiality.
As CalChamber articulates in its letter, this is basically already current law.
SB 820 will not provide a victim with any greater protection then he/she has now and will only benefit trial attorneys.
Instead, SB 820 simply leverages a confidentiality provision as a higher value item for negotiation so that the trial attorneys can increase the amount of the settlement and, therefore, the amount of their contingency fee.
The bill will limit the ability to informally resolve civil cases that include an allegation of harassment or failure to prevent harassment
CalChamber is asking members to urge their senators to vote no on SB 820.
Attention all developers! This is the last call to submit proposals to develop
a mix of retail and residential properties in historic downtown Oxnard. The Oxnard Community
Development Commission Successor Agency and the City of Oxnard are inviting developers to
submit proposals for the development of property groupings known as Plaza Park North (Group
C) and Plaza Park South (Group F).
In 2016, the City of Oxnard-- in conjunction with the Congress for the new Urbanism (CNU)
California Chapter - solicited community input regarding transforming the downtown into a
vibrant, pedestrian-friendly area that includes housing, shopping, dining and parking.
The CNU used the public’s feedback to develop the Downtown Oxnard Vision Plan , which
includes surrounding Plaza Park with multi-story, mixed-use buildings, including restaurants,
with active ground floor uses that front the Park; creating a downtown arts hub that connects
restaurants with the arts; creating a plaza at the north end of Plaza Park; and implementing a
parking management plan.
Each proposal should include the following information:
1. A letter of introduction that includes a summary of the developer’s basic qualifications,
experience, and past projects of similar nature and size.
2. Description of the proposed project.
3. Relevant project experience.
4. A brief summary of the developer’s approach and anticipated timing related to planning,
design, approvals, financing, phasing, development, construction and operation.
5. Proposed purchase price for the properties. If a developer is submitting an offer for a group
of properties, the offer should specify the purchase price assigned to each of the parcels that
are part of that group.
Group C (Plaza Park North) contains 17 parcels bordered by West Fourth Street and South “C”
Street, between Plaza Park and South “B” Street, and includes the former Social Security
Building. Two parcels are owned by the Successor Agency; nine are owned by the Oxnard
Parking Authority; four are owned by the City of Oxnard; and two are privately owned.
Note: The city would consider the inclusion of 0.36 acres along North Fifth Street for any
proposed project. North Fifth Street is available for outdoor seating, but it must remain
open for weekly Farmer’s Markets, ongoing public events and other special events at
Group F (Plaza Park South) contains 14 parcels bordered by West Fifth Street and West Sixth
Street, between South “C Street and South “B” Street. Two parcels are owned by the Successor
Agency; four are owned by the Oxnard Parking Authority; three are owned by the City of
Oxnard; and five are privately owned.
All proposals from developers must be submitted no later than 4 p.m., Friday, May 11, to the
Oxnard City Clerk’s office, 300 West Third Street, Oxnard.
For more information about submitting proposals, contact Economic Development Director
Kym Horner at (805) 385-7407, or visit the past Request for Qualifications for Group C and
Group F .