PHCC of California Legislative Updates by Richard Markuson, CAPHCC Lobbyist

Kelly Ceballos Legislative, News for PHCC Members - All Leave a Comment

What Do Likely voters Think of the Candidates?

Recent polling suggests Democrats will sweep the constitutional races – with one possible exception – Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI). In this non-partisan race, Marshall Tuck leads incumbent SPI Tom Torlakson with a large undecided. One can assume the teachers’ unions will try to reverse those numbers. While the recent debate for Governor wasn’t deemed important enough to make any of the major networks – the NY Times apparently watched and offered its analysis – taking a somewhat bemused tone.

Legislation

Last time we talked about AB 1415 by former Assembly Speaker John Pérez and Senate President Pro-Tem elect Kevin de Léon. Until August 22 the bill extended the time to obtain judicial review of a determination of the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). After August 22 the bill added an entirely new requirement on corrosion prevention and mitigation standards on public works contracts – language drafted by and giving a monopoly to the painters’ unions.

PHCC joined with other subcontractors and AGC and ABC to oppose the effort on both procedural and policy grounds – arguing successfully that a bill that goes into effect in 2017 doesn’t need to be rushed through the Legislature WITHOUT A POLICY hearing in the final days of the session. The bill was dead in the Senate – unable to obtain either a rules waiver or secure a 2/3 super majority vote.

Alas – that didn’t stop the union painter sponsors; they found another bill in the Assembly. The Assembly Democrats, at the behest Assemblyman Pérez, Senator Padilla and a cadre of union lobbyists sent the bill to the Senate with the same language at 2:00 am Saturday morning. Senate Democrats and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella snapped to attention and passed the measure to the Governor where it awaits his action. A recent Sacramento Bee editorial about legislative bills that should die, mentioned the bill.  The BEE pondered if this was a sign for things to come from Senator Padilla, who is running for Secretary of State.

The Legislature sent 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 party line 25-10 vote (party line in this case means all Democrats and Republican Anthony Canella).

Governor Brown has signed AB 1522 the “sick pay for all” bill authored by Lorena Gonzales. The bill expands 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. Brown, on his way to re-election – notified the press (and union allies) that he would sign the bill minutes after the Senate approved the measure. “Tonight, the Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians,” Brown said. “This bill guarantees that millions of workers – from Eureka to San Diego – won’t lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.” With the Governor’s signature, California will become only the second state in the nation to require paid sick leave.

IRS turns a blind eye to unions’ political expenditures

The IRS scandal regarding the targeting of conservative political groups took another turn this week. As email traffic from the embattled Lois Lerner continues to surface, they demonstrate that the IRS (and Ms. Lerner) knew of drastic discrepancies between the sums labor unions were reporting on their Department of Labor form LM-2 and the same unions Form 990 required by the IRS.

It appears Ms. Lerner turned a blind eye to such discrepancies (including that the Teamsters Union reported no political expenditures to the IRS, but reported $7,081,965 on its LM-2 and the National Education Association similarly reported no political expenditures to the IRS but reported $24,985,250 on its LM-2).

One may recall that part of the justifications for targeting certain conservative groups was the fact that they were involved significantly in political expenditures, activity the IRS deemed might impair or jeopardize tax-exempt status. Now adding fuel to the fire, it appears there was not necessarily a level playing field, as the traditionally Democratic supporting unions were not subject to the same scrutiny.

Fox News provides additional coverage of this issue here

NLRB “likes” employees’ Facebook argument

The NLRB recently ruled that “liking” a Facebook comment is protected, concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Thus, firing an employee for “liking” what the company deemed to be a disparaging remark regarding tax withholdings was unlawful. The decision can be found here.

 

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