There are obviously more than two bills that the Legislature is considering which would affect small business in either a positive or negative way, but for this writing, two to focus on is a measure to help small business gain the resources necessary to thrive while also looking at one of those gut-and-amend measures that suddenly pop up to threaten business’ function.
SB 936 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) would help small businesses grow by expanding loan availability through the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s (IBank) California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program (SBLGP). Small businesses with trouble gaining loans are able to establish solid credit ratings when they achieve success through SBLGP loans. The bill creates a loan loss reserve encouraging private lending for small business at less risk, which allows the businesses to grow and create jobs.
But small business would be hurt by SB 654 by Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). The proposal requires 6 weeks of protected employee leave for maternity or paternity leave. It adds to an endless list of mandates for protected leaves of absence. As enumerated by the California Chamber of Commerce, that list has grown to contain: the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), paid family leave, pregnancy disability, military spouse leave, organ donation, bone marrow, school activities, volunteer firefighting, reserve peace officer and emergency rescue personnel leave, civil air patrol and paid sick leave.
Small business has difficulty scheduling staffing assignments with so many requirements to deal with.
What is particularly frustrating about SB 654 is that the original bill that carried this new mandate had stalled in the legislature. But Sen. Jackson pulled a gut-and-amend maneuver taking over SB 654, a bill originally authored by Sen. Kevin de Leon dealing with hazardous waste, which through this past weekend was still listed under his name on at least one government site.
Attempting to bring back this bill harmful to small business is just another example of the need to amend the gut and amend process, something that Proposition 54 on the November ballot is aimed to reform.