Legislative Update by Richard Markuson, CAPHCC Lobbyist

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Prevailing Wage – AB 251

Governor Brown vetoed AB 251 (Oppose) by Assembly Member Levine that would have triggered prevailing wages if a public subsidy was both less than $250,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. He vetoed the same bill last year and cited the same concerns. Another prevailing wage expansion, AB 219 (Oppose) by Assembly Member Tom Daly – considered by some to be a “moderate” is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee: CalTrans estimates that this bill will cost taxpayer $21 to $42 million … DIR would incur first-year costs of $127,000 and $119,000 in the out-years to monitor and enforce the bill’s prevailing wage requirements for non-CalTrans projects… and will result in increased administrative, materials and compliance costs to other departments that use ready-mix concrete, including the High Speed Rail Authority, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Department of General Services, and the three segments of higher education  (the University of California, California State University, and the California Community Colleges). The magnitudes are unknown.

Skilled & Trained Workforce – AB 566

Brown signed AB 566 (Oppose) by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell that requires schools built under lease-lease-back have a “skilled and trained workforce.” His signature suggests he will approve any of the STWF bills sent to him this year.

Water Submeters

SB 7 (Wolk) (Oppose) requires that as of January 1, 2017, individual water meters, also called submeters, must be installed on all new multifamily residential units or mixed commercial and multifamily units and requires that landlords bill residents for their incremental water use.

On July 16 the bill was amended to require Installation and maintenance of submeters shall be provided by licensed plumbing contractors using workers who have graduated from a state approved apprenticeship program.

The July 16 amendments elicited new opposition to the bill from members of the bill’s working group who were previously in support or neutral.  In particular, the apartment and rental property associations, realtors, and utility management groups who argue, “The installation of submeters is a highly specialized activity, requiring service agents to be trained to follow very specific regulations issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards. This system has been in place for years and there are no known concerns or workmanship performance issues that need to addressed by this legislation.” They are also concerned by the precedent being set regarding the State directing who can and can’t perform certain work, despite their qualifications, especially private construction on private property.

PHCC will be working with the other groups to remove this language from the bill.

Pre-apprenticeship – AB 509

AB 509 (Oppose) by Assembly Member Perea would exempt some pre-apprenticeship programs from the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act if they partner with one or more labor-management (union sponsored) apprenticeship programs that are approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. The bill is on third reading in the Senate.

Arbitration

The Senate passed AB 465 (Oppose) by Assembly Member Roger Hernandez that would ban pre-employment arbitration agreements. The prohibition sought with this bill directly conflicts with rulings from both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court and, if signed into law, it will be challenged and ultimately found to be preempted as well. The bill will drive up litigation costs increasing individual claims, representative actions and class action lawsuits against employers of all sizes until such legislation can work through the judicial process to be challenged. That didn’t bother the Democrat Senators who voted to return the bill to the Assembly.

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