One of the more interesting bills this year is AB 1415 by former Assembly Speaker John Pérez and Senate President Pro-Tem elect Kevin de Leon. Until August 22 the bill extended, from 30 days to 45 days, the time any interested person has to obtain judicial review of a given determination by filing a written petition requesting that the determination of the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) be modified or set aside. After August 22 the bill adds an entirely new body of law relating to corrosion prevention and mitigation standards on public works contracts.
The bill observes “Corrosion prevention work is necessary for long-term environmental protection” and that “80% of coating failures are due to human error” which obviously necessitates a new scheme (effective in January 2017) to ensure that “experienced professionals who are trained to the standards of third party organizations – such as NACE or SSPC,” will result in “projects that completed on time, on budget and in accordance with the highest industry standards.”
To accomplish this goal AB 1415 requires that contractors and subcontractors performing contracts for construction, alteration, demolition, installation, repair or maintenance work awarded after January 1, 2017, that are paid for in whole or in part with state funds shall, when performing corrosion prevention and mitigation work, comply with the standards adopted pursuant to this bill
But not ALL work is subject to these requirements. There are some notable exceptions – introduced no doubt by powerful trade union lobbyists who want to ensure THEIR clients don’t get wrapped up in some new “turf building exercise.” While the session ends this Sunday, so there is ample time to add new trades, these new requirements do not apply to plumbing, sheet metal or pre-cast concrete – because the authors know that corrosion doesn’t affect these trades.
PHCC opposes the effort simply on procedural grounds – arguing that a bill that goes into effect in 2017 doesn’t need to be rushed through the Legislature WITHOUT A POLICY hearing in the last days of the session.
The Legislature is poised to send AB 155 to the Governor. AB 155 permits the Monterey County Water Resources Agency to use design build for a connection of two of its reservoirs. The bill, for the first time, requires the Agency to enter a PLA if it uses the authority – even though the Agency has asked the author to drop the bill. The Senate passed the bill on a 25-10 vote with Republican Anthony Canella voting AYE. ABC recently launched an advertorial about Canella’s proclivities.
AB 1260 is on its way to Brown. This bill would create a formal definition for a “California family owned business.” The author believes that a legal definition will serve as the basis for better data collection on the contribution that family owned businesses make to the California economy, and perhaps facilitate more direct efforts to support and promote family owned businesses in the state. The Family Business Association sponsored this PHCC supported measure.
Awaiting final action is AB 1522 the “sick pay for all” bill authored by Lorena Gonzales. The bill would expand employers’ burdens, costs and liability. Many employers already offer paid sick leave and PHCC believes that California should incentivize this practice rather than mandate it. Employers who allow employees to accrue sick leave per pay period or per month, not according to the number of hours worked will have to change their policies in order to mirror the accrual rate proposed under this bill. Additionally, this bill mandates that accrued sick leave carry over from year to year, a practice currently not required therefore imposing a new burden on employers.
The bill allows layering of additional penalties, such as treble damages, and creates of a rebuttable presumption of retaliation. For example, an employee who took paid sick leave returns to work the following day and is caught stealing, he/she is then terminated, however, this individual would be protected under the automatic rebuttable presumption and the burden would then fall on the employer to prove its actions were valid.
The bill has new posting and notice requirements, with additional penalties for noncompliance. Current law already requires employers to post over 15 different notices and at some point the posting of such information becomes just another added expense without any corresponding benefit to employees overwhelmed with postings. Also of concern is the requirement in the bill that gives local counties and cities authority to adopt more stringent paid sick leave requirements than is included in the bill. This provision will create inconsistency and confusion for California employers who operate in different jurisdictions. The bill – predictably, does not apply to unionized workers.