Update on 2019 Legal Reform Legislation: What Remains?

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Now that the house of origin deadline has passed, and we are basically at the mid-point in the California Legislative Session, we can take a look at pending legislation with particular attention to the bills that will continue along the legislative process in the second house. The focus of this article is on legal reform legislation. The following are the major legal reform bills of particular interest to the California business community:

AB 51 (Gonzalez) – Employment arbitration agreements

This bill would prohibit a person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other specific statutes governing employment as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit.

Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 418 (Kalra) – Union representative privilege

This bill would establish a privilege between a union agent, as defined, and a represented employee or represented former employee to refuse to disclose any confidential communication between the employee or former employee and the union agent made while the union agent was acting in the union agent’s representative capacity.

Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 749 (Stone) – No-rehire provisions

This bill would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts a settling party that is an aggrieved person, as defined, from working for the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer.

Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1286 (Muratsuchi) – Shared mobility devices

This bill would require a shared mobility service provider, as defined, to enter into an agreement with, or obtain a permit from, the city or county with jurisdiction over the area of use. The bill would require that the provider maintain a specified amount of commercial general liability insurance and would prohibit the provider from including specified provisions in a user agreement before distributing a shared mobility device within that jurisdiction. The bill would define shared mobility device to mean an electrically motorized board, motorized scooter, electric bicycle, bicycle, or other similar personal transportation device, except as provided.

Status: Pending in Senate policy committee

AB 1607 (Boerner Horvath) – Gender discrimination notification

This bill would require a city, county, or city and county that issues local business licenses to provide written notification in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean of the above provisions to the licensee at the time the business license is issued. The bill would require the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop, on or before January 1, 2020, a written notification of the above provisions in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean and would require the notification to be available for download from the department’s internet website. The bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to provide the department’s written notification to a business and to increase the fee for a business license to cover the reasonable cost of providing the notice. The bill would also require the department to provide the pamphlet and other informational materials in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Status: Pending in Senate policy committee

SB 16 (Roth) – Judgeships

This bill would appropriate $36,500,000 from the General Fund for the purpose of funding 25 superior court judgeships currently authorized by the Legislature, and expenses associated with those positions. The bill would require the Judicial Council to determine the allocation of those positions, pursuant to that uniform criteria.

Status: Held in Senate fiscal committee

SB 41 (Hertzberg) – Calculating damages

This bill would prohibit the estimation, measure, or calculation of past, present, or future damages for lost earnings or impaired earning capacity resulting from personal injury or wrongful death from being reduced based on race, ethnicity, or gender.

Status: Pending on Assembly Floor

SB 218 (Bradford) – Local FEHA enforcement

This bill, would authorize the legislative body of a local government to enact their own antidiscrimination laws relating to employment, including establishing remedies and penalties for violations. The bill would authorize local governments to create a local agency to enforce these local antidiscrimination laws.

Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 320 (Jackson) – Gender pricing

This bill would also prohibit a business establishment from discriminating against a person because of a person’s gender with respect to the price charged for goods of a substantially similar or like kind.

Status: Failed passage in Senate policy committee

SB 707 (Wieckowski) – Arbitration

The bill would require the court to impose a monetary sanction on the drafting party who materially breaches an arbitration agreement, and would authorize the court to impose other sanctions, as specified. If the employee or consumer compels arbitration, the bill would require the arbitrator to impose appropriate sanctions on the drafting party, including monetary sanctions, issue sanctions, evidence sanctions, or terminating sanctions.

Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 749 (Durazo) – Public records and trade secrets

This bill would provide that records relating to wages, benefits, working hours, and other employment terms and conditions of employees working for a private industry employer pursuant to a contract with a state or local agency are public records and shall not be deemed to be trade secrets under the act if the records are prepared, owned, used, or retained by a state or local agency. The bill would also provide that records of compliance with local, state, or federal domestic content requirements and records of a private industry employer’s compliance with job creation, job quality, or job retention obligations contained in a contract or agreement with a state or local agency are public records and shall not be deemed trade secrets under the act if the records are prepared, owned, used, or retained by a state or local agency.

Status: Pending in Assembly policy committee

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on September 13, and Governor Gavin Newsom will have 30 days to act on measures sent to him by that date. We’ll check back after final actions take place on these and other measures.

 

 

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