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Legislative & Legal - General News


  • Thursday, January 07, 2021 10:57 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)
    Some new laws as of January 1, 2021
    • COVID-19 Exposure AB 685 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) now requires employers to provide written notice and instructions to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at their worksite.  Under the law, employers will also have to notify local public health officials within 48 hours if the number of cases they have qualifies as an “outbreak”.  Further, the law will enhance the Division of Occupational Health and Safety's (Cal/OSHA) ability to enforce health and safety standards to prevent workplace exposure to and spread of the virus. 

    Notably, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released two employer guidance documents related to law.  The first document released by CDPH provides the definitions relative to AB 685, including for terms such as “COVID-19 outbreak”; “infectious period”; and “laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19.”  The CDPH also released a more lengthy Employer Q&A regarding AB 685 that addresses issues such as the information employers are required to give workers; how and when workers should be notified; and more. 

    • Minimum Wage Increase In accordance with SB 3 (Leno, 2016), on January 1, 2021 the minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees increased to $14 per hour.  The minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees increased to $13 per hour.  The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has a Frequently Asked Questions guidance document available. 
    • Sexual Harassment Training – In 2018, SB 1343 by Senator Holly Mitchell amended Section 12950.1 of the Government Code to require that sexual harassment prevention training be provided by employers with five or more employees.  The bill further extended the law to require employers to provide one hour of training to non-supervisory employees.  These changes were set to go into effect on January 1, 2020.  SB 778 by the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement delayed the changes made by SB 1343, but only until January 1, 2021. 
    • California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Expansion SB 1383 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) expanded job-protected family leave for employees of companies with five or more employees.  Additionally, the bill expands the covered family members and potential reasons for which an eligible employee may take leave. 
    • Corporate Boards AB 979 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) requires publicly held corporations headquartered in California to diversify their boards of directors with directors from “underrepresented communities” by December 31, 2021.  Further, by December 31, 2022, covered corporations with boards of nine or more directors must have a minimum of three directors from underrepresented communities on their boards, and covered corporations with boards of more than four but less than nine directors must have a minimum of two directors from underrepresented communities. 

    AB 976 is similar to SB 826, which was signed into law in 2018, and required all publicly held domestic or foreign corporations whose principal executive offices are located in California to have at least one female director on their boards by December 31, 2019.  Further, one or two more female directors would be required, depending upon the size of the publicly held corporation by December 31, 2021.  Notably, in March of 2020, Secretary of State Alex Padilla issued the second report on corporations’ compliance with Women on Boards.

    • California Pay Data Reporting SB 973 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) requires large employers to report certain pay and other data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) by March 31, 2021 and annually thereafter.  Notably, DFEH recently released updated guidance on pay data reporting requirements.
    • Traffic Safety – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) highlighted a couple new roadway safety laws in a recent press release.  The laws included AB 47 (Daly; 2019).  Beginning July 1, 2021, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driver’s record.  This applies to the violations of talking or texting while driving (except for hands-free use) and to any use of these devices while driving by a person under 18 years of age.  Also, AB 2717 (Chau; 2020) exempts a person from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle when rescuing a child who is 6 years old or younger and who is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances.  This law took effect on January 1, 2021.  Similarly on January 1st, 2021, AB 2285 (Transportation Committee, 2020) took effect and extends the provisions of the “Move Over, Slow Down” law to also apply to local streets and roads so drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights, including tow trucks and Caltrans vehicles, must now move to another lane when possible, or slow to a reasonable speed on all highways, not just freeways. 
    • Inmate Firefighters AB 2147 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) allows certain inmates who successfully participated in the California Conservation Camp Program or a county incarcerated individual hand crew as an incarcerated individual hand crew member, am to become firefighters after completing their prison time.
    • Wildfire Protection AB 3074 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) adds the need for an ember-resistant zone within five feet of a structure as part of the defensible space requirements for structures located in high fire hazard areas.
    • Homeowners Insurance – As of July 1, 2021, SB 872 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) will broaden the definition of additional living expenses (ALE) that homeowners insurance must provide to homeowners for a loss during a state of emergency and give them more time to collect the replacement value of their property.  
    • Police Use-of-Force AB 1196 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D- Carson) prohibits a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of a carotid restraint or a choke hold.
    • California Motor Vehicle Brake Friction Material Law SB 346 signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2010 bans brake pads containing more than 5 percent copper in 2021.  The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has posted additional information regarding this law on its website.

    Information provided by MKA - McHugh Koepke & Associates Government Relations

  • Tuesday, January 05, 2021 4:49 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Tuesday January 5, 2021

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom to Propose $4.5 Billion for Equitable Recovery for California’s Businesses and Jobs in 2021 Budget 

    Calls for immediate action to support small businesses, including $575 million on top of the $500 million previously allocated to California’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant, bringing total support to more than $1 billion

    SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today previewed his Equitable Recovery for California’s Businesses and Jobs plan, the business and workforce recovery elements of his 2021-22 State Budget that will help California through the COVID-19 pandemic and advance an equitable, broad-based recovery.

    Watch the Governor provide a brief overview of his Equitable Recovery for California’s Businesses and Jobs plan here.

    Building on actions the state has taken to support California’s businesses throughout the pandemic, including emergency aid and regulatory relief, these proposals double down on the Newsom Administration’s commitment to rebuilding the economy, with investments across sectors and benefits for businesses of all sizes.

    Notably, the Budget proposes an immediate action to approve $575 million more for California’s small businesses, the backbone of the state’s economy, as they work to adapt their operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This immediate action proposal is on top of the initial $500 million allocated in partnership with the Legislature to the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant, bringing the total for California’s small businesses to more than $1 billion.

    “California’s economy is known the world over for our innovation, inclusion and resilience. That spirit will carry us through this pandemic and beyond,” said Governor Newsom. “These budget proposals reflect our commitment to an equitable, broad-based recovery that ensures California remains the best place to start and grow a business – and where all Californians have an opportunity to reach their dreams. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Legislature to advance these priorities so our economy can emerge stronger, fairer and more prosperous than before.”

    The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to California. However, prudent fiscal management in the past and present has allowed California to provide ongoing support to impacted Californians where they need it most.

    Building on supports for California businesses before, during and through the pandemic, the Governor today previewed the following budget proposals:

    Small Business Grants

    Prior to the pandemic, small businesses created two-thirds of new jobs and employed nearly half of all private-sector employees. California is home to 4.1 million small businesses that employ nearly half of the state’s total workforce. To help keep these businesses afloat, the Governor is proposing a total of $1.075 billion for the State’s Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

    To put money into the hands of the most impacted small businesses as quickly as possible, the Governor has proposed immediate legislative action on $575 million in additional grants. The investment will add to the initial $500 million allocation announced in November. The Program offers grants up to $25,000 to micro and small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. These grants will be distributed across the state, with priority given to regions and industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, disadvantaged communities and underserved small business groups.

    The $575 million Early Action Budget proposal includes $25 million for small cultural institutions, such as museums and art galleries, that have been constrained by the pandemic in their ability to educate the community and remain financially viable.

    California Jobs Initiative

    The Budget also proposes sustained investments to preserve California’s competitiveness. The California Jobs Initiative, a $777.5 million proposal, focuses on job creation and retention, regional development, small businesses and climate innovation, including increased funding for: 

    ·         California Competes Tax Credit (CalCompetes), which incentivizes businesses to locate in California to stay, grow and create quality full-time jobs in the state and creates a new CalCompetes grant program to support job creation and investments in infrastructure ($430 million)

    ·         Extended Main Street Small Business Tax Credit to encourage hiring new employees and rehiring former employees ($100 million).

    o    As of January 4, almost 9,000 taxpayers had reserved over $54 million of the existing credit.

    ·         Mitigating the SALT deduction limitation for S-corporation shareholders

    ·         The California Dream Fund to seed entrepreneurship and small business creation in underserved communities ($35 million)

    ·         Additional funds for the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s (IBank) Small Business Finance Center to provide small business loan and disaster loan guarantees ($50 million which will be leveraged to provide $250 million in loans) and for the California Rebuilding Fund ($50 million.)

    ·         Expanded sales tax exclusions through the Treasurer’s Office to reduce the cost of manufacturing equipment in order to promote innovation and meet the state’s climate goals ($100 million)

    This funding also includes $12.5 million allocated, in partnership with the Legislature, in late 2020 to fully capitalize the California Rebuilding Fund to support $125 million low-interest loans to underserved businesses.

    Workforce Development

    The Budget proposes one-time and ongoing investments totaling $353 million to support California’s workers as they adapt to changes in the economy brought about by COVID-19. These investments lift up proven workforce development strategies like apprenticeship and High-Road Training Partnerships and encourage greater collaboration and coordination among California’s institutions of higher learning and local workforce partners. Demand-driven workforce programs can help California train the workforce of the future in key sectors including health care and technology. 

    Fee Waivers

    The Budget proposes $70.6 million for fee waivers to individuals and businesses most impacted by the pandemic – including barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists, bars and restaurants. These waivers will assist those who have not been able to operate or are operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.

    Deferred Maintenance

    In recognition of the job-creating potential of infrastructure projects on state-owned properties, the Budget includes a $300 million one-time General Fund for the most critical statewide deferred maintenance, including greening of state infrastructure. This proposal will help create jobs in California while achieving our state’s climate goals. Projects include the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at state-owned facilities.

    Housing

    Through the Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) Program, this Budget proposes $500 million to create jobs and long-term housing development to unlock more than 7,500 new permanently affordable homes for Californians. IIG grants to local governments and developers bring the cost down for new housing by defraying costs for things like sewers, roads and site preparation, all while putting thousands of people to work in good jobs building this housing-related infrastructure. $250 million of these funds are proposed for early action.

    Zero-Emission Vehicles and Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure

    Building on California’s historic commitment to requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035, this Budget proposes an additional $1.5 billion investment to accelerate our state’s progress toward these goals while creating jobs. The proposal will support jobs and economic growth and provide air quality benefits and support for low-income Californians to purchase cleaner vehicles. Funds will support purchases of clean trucks, buses and off-road freight equipment and Clean Cars 4 All programs. It will also support job-creating construction of electric charging and hydrogen fueling stations necessary to accelerate zero-emission vehicle adoption. The Budget proposal will leverage additional private sector capital to build the necessary infrastructure and create jobs to support California’s recovery.

    These 2021-22 Budget proposals build on the Newsom Administration’s work to support California’s businesses and workers. Among many actions, the Administration waived the $800 minimum franchise tax – often a costly barrier for start-up businesses – for the first year of operation. The Administration in November also extended up to billions in immediate, temporary tax relief to businesses impacted by COVID-19 by extending deadlines for paying sales taxes for smaller businesses and expanding interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations due to COVID-19.

    Additionally, the Administration built and funded the Great Plates Delivered program, a first-in-the-nation program that partners with local businesses to deliver nutritious meals to older Californians and other adults at high risk from COVID-19, which has supported more than 9,000 jobs per week on average.

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 10:04 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Minimum Wage to Increase in 2021

    Starting January 1st, California’s minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour for employers with 26 employees or more and $13 for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

    In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 3 (Leno) to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide by 2022 for large businesses, and by 2023 for small businesses. 

    SB 3 (Leno, 2016) also included a provision allowing the Governor to postpone a wage increase in the event of an economic downturn.  However, this past July, Newsom announced that he will not delay the upcoming 2021 minimum wage increase.  “Not allowing this increase to go forward will only make life harder for those Californians who have already borne a disproportionate share of the economic hardship caused by this pandemic.  Many of them are on the front lines of the pandemic, providing child care, working in our hospitals and nursing facilities and making sure there’s food on grocery store shelves,” he said.

    For additional information, please seehttps://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_minimumwage.htm.


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