Cal Chamber Scorecard—The Story is NOT Who Supports Business All the Time

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The California Chamber of Commerce released its tally of legislators’ floor votes on 15 bills that the chamber determined were crucial to the business community. Checking the scorecard, a telltale story from the chamber’s perspective is not who was for or against the chamber all the time, but which Democrats took the business side of the argument much of the time.

Since Democrats have a grip on power in Sacramento, business interests are looking for ways to convince some members of the majority to side with them on major legislation.

The chamber was looking for legislators’ positions on private enterprise, fiscal responsibility and the business climate. The priority bills involved education, environmental regulation, health care costs, labor costs, legal costs, and workers’ compensation.

Every member of the senate and assembly who voted with the chamber’s position 80-percent of the time or more were Republicans. Every member of the senate and assembly who voted against the chamber less than 40-percent of the time were Democrats. Even those in the assembly who voted with the chamber position 40 to 59-percent of the time were Democrats.

But the telling category listed those who sided with the chamber position 60 to 79-percent of the time. In the Senate there were three—all Democrats: Steve Glazer, Richard Roth, and Cathleen Galgiani.

The chamber listed nine members of the assembly who fell into that category, seven Democrats and two Republicans. The Democrats were Ken Cooley, Tom Daly, Jim Frazier, Henry Perea, Bill Dodd, Adam Gray, and Jacqui Irwin. Republicans Eric Linder and Marc Steinorth also were in this category.

The chamber’s effort to find sympathetic Democrats has borne fruit. Helped by the top-two primary, the chamber’s JobsPAC supported Democratic candidates who give business concerns a hearing.

This was dramatically on display with the result of the race for the special election in Senate District 7 last May. The chamber lined up behind Steve Glazer who won the seat over assembly member Susan Bonilla. Glazer ended up supporting the chamber position 77-percent of the time. Bonilla, in the assembly, was tied for the lowest support of chamber positions at 16%.

Of course, those legislative votes were taken after the special election. Could there be a connection between the election support and the votes on the bills?

For the chamber, the effort to gain support for business positions from Democratic candidates will continue right through next year’s election campaigns.

A full report on the bills and the legislators’ votes can be found here.

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