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California Chamber of Commerce updates 2022 job killer list

On April 6, 2022, the California Chamber of Commerce added four bills to its job killer list. The list of 15 bills includes two carry-over proposals from 2021. CalChamber expects several additions to the list in the coming weeks.

“California companies are the economic engine that drives innovation and job creation in our state and are responsible for the record revenues the state is currently experiencing,” said CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera. “Yet, the bills on this year’s job killer list reflect a lack of appreciation of the economic realities and regulatory challenges employers—and especially small business employers—face as they continue to emerge from the impacts of this pandemic. A shrinking workforce coupled with California’s oppressive legal climate, penchant for overregulation, and continued push for even higher taxes, will hamper the ability of California companies to remain competitive in the future. This year’s job killer list highlights policies that will hurt job creation and will shut down or reduce investment in our economy.”

The 2022 CalChamber Job Killer List includes the following bills:

Labor and Employment

AB 2095 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Unfair Denial of State Opportunities. Places new onerous administrative burdens on employers by requiring annual reporting of wage and hour data and employee benefits on an employer’s entire United States workforce that will unfairly criticize employers for lawful conduct by publishing that data on the Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s website and using such data to rank employers and deny them state opportunities, and will subject employers to frivolous litigation and settlement demands.

AB 2182 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Expansion of Duty to Accommodate Employees and Litigation Under FEHA. Imposes new burdens on employers to accommodate any employee with family responsibilities, which will essentially include a new, uncapped protected leave for employees to request time off and exposes employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family responsibilities, rather than a violation of employment policies.

AB 2183 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley) Forced Unionization Process for Agricultural Employees. Limits an employee’s ability to independently and privately vote for unionization in the workplace, by essentially eliminating a secret ballot election and replacing it with the submission of representation cards signed by over 50% of the employees, which leaves employees susceptible to coercion and manipulation by labor organizations. Also, unfairly limits an employer’s ability to challenge the cards submitted by forcing employers to post an unreasonable bond, and then limits an employee’s ability to decertify a union, by forcing them to go through the ballot election process instead of submission of representation cards. Also includes an unnecessary presumption of retaliation that is effectively unlimited in scope because it would apply for the duration of an election campaign, which could last for a year or more.

AB 2188 (Quirk; D-Hayward) Limits Employers’ Ability to Keep Workplace Drug-Free. Risks workplace safety by promoting marijuana use to a protected class under California’s discrimination law, on par with national origin or religion. Also effectively prohibits pre-employment drug testing, harming employers’ ability to keep their workplace safe and drug free. In addition, would prohibit use of traditional marijuana tests, such as urine and hair testing, and compel employers to utilize saliva-based testing..

AB 2932 (Low; D-Campbell) Increased Overtime Requirement. Significantly increases labor costs by imposing an overtime pay requirement after 32 hours and other requirements that are impossible to comply with, exposing employers to litigation under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

SB 1044 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) State of Emergency. Allows employees to leave work or refuse to show up to work if employee subjectively feels unsafe regardless of existing health and safety standards or whether employer has provided health and safety protections and subjects employers to costly Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuits if they dispute the employee’s decision or need to have another employee take over any job duties.

SB 1162 (Limón; D-Goleta) Publication of Pay Data. Encourages litigation against employers based on the publication of broad, unreliable data collected by the state. Undermines employers’ ability to hire, imposes administrative and record keeping requirements that are impossible to implement, and subjects employers to a private right of action and penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

Taxation

AB 2289/ ACA 8 (Lee; D-San Jose) Wealth Tax. Seeks to impose a massive tax increase upon all forms of personal property or wealth despite California already having the highest income tax in the country. This tax increase will drive high-income earners and job creators out of the State as well as the revenue they contribute to the General Fund.

AB 1771 (Ward; D-San Diego) Targeted Tax on Certain Home Sellers. Seeks to impose a tax—in addition to the capital gains tax—of 25% on the profits from a home resold within three years after it is purchased. The tax rate is reduced on a sliding scale for seven years thereafter. This will worsen housing unaffordability and constrain the already-limited housing supply.

SB 1301 (Becker; D-Menlo Park) Fossil Fuel Investment Surcharge. Arbitrarily raises taxes on companies that invest in fossil fuel businesses based upon the financing amount. This adds another layer of expenses onto the fossil fuel industry that will significantly increase the costs of doing business, thereby increasing prices paid by consumers for goods and services in California.

CEQA

AB 1001 (Garcia, Cristina; D-Los Angeles) Expands CEQA and Hurts Housing. Creates new highly subjective, non-quantifiable and litigation-bait standards in CEQA that will threaten California’s economic recovery and ability to construct much-needed housing. It also removes local government discretion regarding how to analyze and mitigate proposed project impacts, thereby making projects more expensive, harder to build and more likely to be thrown into courts by NIMBY opposition. 2021 carry-over bill.

AB 2840 (Reyes; D-San Bernardino) Warehouse and Logistics Project Ban. Circumvents the California Environmental Quality Act, creates an unprecedented ban on warehouses and logistics use projects irrespective of whether there are any project impacts, usurps local authority over land use decisions, exacerbates supply chain problems, and forces union labor for proposed private projects that are not banned.

Privacy and Cybersecurity

SB 1189 (Wieckowski; D-Fremont) New Private Right of Action for Biometric Information. Creates legal liability for businesses large and small, potentially in the millions to tens of millions of dollars, while not providing any exceptions, such as for the use of biometric data for safety, security, or other reasonable purposes. Also imposes new, untenable restrictions on the use and disclosure of biometric information in a thinly veiled attempt to undermine the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) limited private right of action for data breaches.

Workers’ Compensation

SB 213 (Cortese; D-San Jose) Workers’ Compensation Presumption: Hospital Employees. Expands Costly Presumption of Injury. Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector. 2021 carry-over bill.

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

AB 2764 (Nazarian; D-Van Nuys) Livestock Ban. Bans new or expanded commercial animal feeding and processing operations for meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Will increase food prices for Californians and force food to be imported from out of state to meet consumer demand.

Carry-Over Proposals Stopped Earlier This Year

AB 1400 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Government-Run Health Care: Penalizes employers, eliminates individual choice, and results in hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes on all Californians and California businesses by creating a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system.

ACA 11 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Government-Run Health Care: Penalizes employers, eliminates individual choice, and results in hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes on all Californians and California businesses by creating a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system.

For more information, visit https://advocacy.calchamber.com/policy/bill-tracking/2022-job-killers/.

This article was released by the California Chamber of Commerce.