Following the legislative house of origin deadline last week, National Federation of Independent Business/California reflected on our victories and challenges ahead per our “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” bill list. Each year we proactively identify which bills will have the greatest impact, either negative or positive, to our 22,000 small businesses across California. Throughout the year we advocate in the Capitol for these priorities in order to lower the burden and cost of doing business in this state.

It is now halftime in the Legislature, and with that comes some welcome victories for small business, but more importantly there remain significant challenges ahead in these final months of this legislative session. Among our victories, we were proud to help stop a handful of ugly bills thus far, some of which included the following:

Senate Bill 878 (Leyva): Predictive Scheduling Mandate would have required all grocery and retail stores, and all restaurants, to post a 21-day schedule seven days in advance of employee shifts. Would have imposed “modification pay” penalties for any shift changes within the seven day notice period, and those penalties would increase greatly when a change is within 24 hours. It would have resulted in employees not getting extra hours or being able to swap shifts as the employer may be penalized, resulting in little flexibility and hurting the employees. Died in Senate Appropriations Committee

Assembly Bill 2757 (Gonzalez): Agricultural Employees Overtime would have eliminated the long-standing exemption for agricultural employees from work hours, rest breaks, and other working conditions. Would have subjected farmers to new legal liabilities and labor lawsuits. It would have forced farmers to cut employee hours to avoid overtime. Died on the Assembly floor.

SB 1161 (Allen): ‘California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act’ would have changed the statute of limitations, retroactively, for lawsuits for unfair competition practices committed by “entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks.” This bill would allow a four-year exemption for the statute of limitations enabling a district attorney or attorney general to go back in time indefinitely and sue a business for denying anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming. Died on the Senate floor.

Although these victories are important wins for small business, several bad bills remain alive and we are prepared to put forth every effort to protect small business in the coming months. Below are a few bills we continue to focus on stopping this session:

SB 1445 (Hertzberg): Sales Tax on Services: This bill is another attempt to impose a sales tax on services. This would hurt small businesses by requiring them to collect new taxes, and when they purchase services like hiring an accountant, attorney, or janitor.

SB 32 (Pavley): Global Warming Solutions Act: Extends AB 32 by requiring further greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030; the current law is a reduction to 1990 levels by 2020. The Act gives unfettered powers to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to take any steps deemed necessary to reduce GHG’s, and this bill extends this authority without any consideration for impacts on businesses.

ACA 4 (Frazier): Local Tax Increases – Oppose: Lowers the vote threshold required to raise local taxes from 2/3 to 55%, making it much easier for local governments to pass a whole lot of taxes. This is a constitutional amendment and does not have to meet the deadlines.

In the first half of the legislative session, we witnessed how swiftly the Legislature can ram through devastating public policy with the enactment of Senate Bill 3 (Leno): $15 minimum wage. As we enter the final negotiations of the state budget, we are especially concerned that there exist 78 trailer bills with no language. Although these bills are meant to enact the fiscal components of the budget, too often we see substantive public policy inappropriately dropped into these legislative vehicles.

Therefore, our 22,000 members will be highly engaged and informed on these policy issues with a regularly updated ‘The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly’ bill list. You can always find the current version here.