Year In Review 2015: Legislative Affairs Update by Richard Markuson, CAPHCC Lobbyist

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Governor Brown signed 808 bills and vetoed 133 bills, for a total of 941 bills that reached his Desk this year. That is a 14% veto rate. There were just over 2,300 bills introduced this year. So, about 41% of introduced bills got to the Governor’s Desk.

Americans With Disabilities Act

AB 1230 (Gomez) establishes the California Americans with Disabilities Act Small Business Capital Access Loan Program to create a self-sustaining program to provide loans to assist small businesses in financing the costs of projects to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Signed

Apprenticeship

AB 1308 (Perea) Oppose. Revises the conditions under which a building and construction trades justify a new apprentice program. It also removes the authority of the California Apprenticeship Council to approve a new apprenticeship programs by regulation. Signed.

Business Issues

AB 410 (Obernolte) Would have required a state agency to post on its Internet Web site any report it is required by law to submit to a committee of the Legislature. Vetoed. Brown said “existing law already requires departments to post legislatively mandated reports online. Moreover, in January, the Department of Finance will have up and running a dedicated website for all approved Budget Change Proposals.”

AB 525 (Holden) Support Revises the rights and responsibilities of franchisors and franchisees under the California Franchise Relations Act (CFRA) with respect to the termination of franchise agreements.

SB 331 (Mendoza) Punishes cities, counties and other jurisdictions that elect to share information with taxpayers about labor negotiations with public employees. Orange County and several other California cities enacted Civic Openness in Negotiations, or COIN, laws mandating public disclosure of all offers and counteroffers, appointment of an outside negotiator and an independent financial analysis prior to a final vote on labor contracts. SB331 would impose a 30-day review, mandate an independent audit report and establish added disclosure rules for any government contract worth more than $250,000. Such contracts already are subject to laws requiring advance publication of specifications and awards to the lowest bidder. SB 331’s new requirements would be rescinded if the COIN ordinance was repealed. Signed

Construction Practices

SB 119 (Hill) This bill, the Dig Safe Act of 2015, would have clarified and revised provisions in current law related to subsurface installations. Current law requires an operator of a subsurface installation, who receives notification of proposed excavation work, within 2 working days of that notification, excluding weekends and holidays, to mark the approximate location and number of subsurface installations that may be affected by the excavation or to advise that no subsurface installations operated by him or her would be affected. Hill spent two years working on these changes and ended up with nothing to show for it. Brown said “is the Public Utilities Commission, and not the Contractors’ State Licensing Board, that has the technical expertise and funds and should be given full authority to enforce and regulate excavation activities near subsurface installations. Vetoed

Design/build

SB 374 (Hueso) Oppose Expands the design-build method of project delivery to the San Diego Association of Governments. It perpetuates the union carve out for safe contractors. Signed

Labor Law

AB 304 (Gonzales) amends the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 to provide clarification regarding which workers are covered, how the paid time off is accrued, and protections for employers that already provide paid sick leave. Signed

AB 465 (Hernandez) Oppose Would have prohibited arbitration agreements in employment contracts. Vetoed Brown said “I am not prepared to take the far-reaching step proposed by this bill for a number of reasons. California courts have addressed the issue of unfairness by insisting that employment arbitration agreements must include numerous protections to be enforceable.”

AB 970 (Nazarian) Oppose This bill authorizes the Labor Commissioner to investigate and enforce local laws regarding overtime hours or minimum wage provisions and to issue citations and penalties for violations. Signed

AB 1017 (Campos) This bill would have prohibited an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment. Brown Vetoed stating the bill “broadly prohibits employers from obtaining relevant information with little evidence that this would assure more equitable wages.”

AB 1354 (Dodd) The bill would have required employers prior to becoming a contractor or subcontractor with the state, to submit a nondiscrimination program to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and to submit periodic reports of its compliance with that program. Vetoed

AB 1506 (Hernandez) Support provides an employer with the right to cure a violation of the requirement that an employer provides its employees with the inclusive dates of the pay period and the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer before an employee may bring a civil action under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. Signed

SB 406 (Jackson) Oppose Would make various expansions of the persons and purposes for which leave is required to be provided under the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act. Brown Vetoed noting the bill created a “disparity between California’s law and the Federal Medical Leave Act and, in certain circumstances, could require employers to provide employees up to 24 weeks of family leave in a 12-month period. I am open to legislation to allow workers to take leave for additional family members that does not create this anomaly.”

PHCC Note: Thank you to the participating member contractor base that participated in the PHCC of California Action Alert.  We are THE VOICE of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Industry in California, and your support is instrumental in these victories.

Licensure

SB 560 (Monning) Support authorizes the Contractors State License Board’s enforcement representatives to issue a written notice to appear before a court to unlicensed individuals who fail to secure workers’ compensation insurance. Signed

SB 561 (Monning) Modifies existing law related to home improvement salespersons. Signed

OSHA

AB 578 (Low) would have required an applicant for a temporary or permanent variance to an occupational safety and health standard to give notice to affected workers (or their representatives) at the place of employment. Vetoed Brown said “While this bill is intended to provide an opportunity for affected workers to be notified of variances and raise concerns during a relevant hearing, it is unclear what workers would be affected, and why the current process at the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is not sufficient.”

State Mandated PLAs

AB 1431 (Gomez) Oppose permits school districts to use Job Order Contracting (JOC) only if they adopt a 5-year PLA for all construction projects that exceed $25,000. Signed

Preapprenticeship

AB 509 (Perea) Oppose exempts from the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act a bona fide organization, association, or council that offers preapprenticeship training programs on behalf of one or more union apprenticeship programs. Signed

Prevailing Wage

AB 219 (Daly) Oppose expands prevailing wage to the delivery of ready-mixed concrete at an annual state cost of more than $50 million. Signed

AB 251 (Levine) Oppose would have lowered the threshold for de minimis for prevailing wage purposes. Vetoed Brown said “There has been no showing that the current practice is unreasonable.”

AB 852 (Burke) Expands prevailing wage requirements to private hospital construction that uses conduit revenue bonds. Signed

SB 350 (De Leon) Expands prevailing wage requirements to utility work. Signed

Prompt Pay

AB 1347 (Chiu) would have created a new claims resolution process applicable to all claims by contractors in connection with public works. Vetoed Brown said “Contractors who perform work for public agencies should be paid promptly. Swift resolution of payment disputes is in the best interest of contractors, workers, and the public agencies that are charged with efficiently managing taxpayer funds. I’m not convinced, however, that the procedures contemplated by this bill are an improvement over current law.”

Public Contracts

AB 552 (O’Donnell) Provides that a public works contract entered into on or after January 1, 2016, that contains a clause expressly requiring a contractor to be responsible for delay damages, as defined, is not enforceable unless the delay damages have been liquidated to a set amount and identified in the public works contract. Signed

SB 376 (Lara) Would have required a bidder, to qualify as a lowest responsible bidder or best value awardee on UC contracts, to certify in writing to the University that the bid includes a total employee compensation package that is valued on a per-employee basis at a level sufficient that it does not materially undercut the average per-employee value of total compensation for UC employees who perform comparable work. Vetoed Brown said “I’m not prepared to embrace the provisions of this bill. I would caution the University, however, to provide a transparent accounting of its contracts and clearly demonstrate how the interests of all its lower paid workers are being protected.”

SB 682 (Leno) Would have established new standards if a trial court intended to enter into a contract for any services that are currently or customarily performed by that trial court’s employees. Vetoed Brown said “The courts, like many of our governmental agencies, are under tremendous funding pressure and face the challenge of doing their work at a lower cost. I am unwilling to restrict the flexibility of our courts, as specified in this bill, as they face these challenges.” One wonders why this reasoning didn’t apply to the prevailing wage expansions Brown signed.

Skilled & Trained Workforce

AB 566 (O’Donnell) Oppose imposed STWF on schools who use lease, lease-back for new school construction. Signed

AB 1185 (Ridley-Thomas) Oppose imposes STWF on LAUSD for their pilot authority to use “best value”. Signed

AB 1358 (Dababneh) Oppose imposes STWF on schools that use design/build for new school construction. Signed

SB 7 (Wolk) Oppose would require, as of January 1, 2017, that individual water meters, also called submeters, be installed on all new multifamily residential units or mixed commercial and multifamily units and requires that landlords bill residents for the increment of water they use. At the insistence of the UA the bill required the installation of submeters to be provided by licensed contractors using workers who have graduated from a state-approved apprenticeship program – the first workforce mandate for private construction. Failed in Assembly

SB 762 (Wolk) Oppose imposes STWF on counties that use best value for county construction. Signed

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