The Family Business Association continues to review and analyze the 2,124 bills that have been proposed this year by state lawmakers, along with dozens of bills from 2023 that are still under consideration. A number of these bills would have significant impacts on family businesses, and FBA – the only organization that lobbies lawmakers and regulators exclusively on issues affecting the state’s thousands of family-owned businesses – has taken positions on several of them so far this year.

California Assembly in session

Given that many of the bills pending in the Legislature punish businesses rather than help them succeed, FBA will eventually oppose many of them. That’s especially true since lawmakers frequently engage in a practice called gut and amend, in which a bill is stripped of its original language and replaced by text that radically changes the intent of the bill.

“Unfortunately, too many bills continue to be introduced that would make it harder for family businesses to prosper and be passed down to the next generation,” said FBA consultant Robert Rivinius. “California’s 1.4 million family businesses employ some 7 million people and because they are firmly rooted in their communities they strongly support their employees and the communities they serve. State government needs to make it easier, not harder, for these companies to remain in business.”

FBA is now supporting two more 2024 measures:

  • SB 1243, by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, which would make compliance with campaign contribution laws more manageable, and
  • SCA 4 by FBA’s 2023 Legislator of the Year, Sen. Kelly Seyarto, R-Murrieta, which would restore the tax treatment of passing single-family residences to immediate family members without requiring the tax base.

These are in addition to two measures FBA had already weighed-in on: AB 2011 by Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, which would make the state’s small employer family leave mediation program permanent, and AB 2371 by Asm. Juan Carillo, D-Palmdale, which FBA is cosponsoring along with FBA member AMAROK. The bill would create uniformity in local permitting requirements for specified security alarm technology.

FBA is now opposing eight additional 2024 bills:

  • AB 2248 by Asm. Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, which would invite more litigation under the onerous Private Attorneys General Act.
  • AB 2499 by Asm. Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, which would lower the threshold for jury duty and crime victim leave from 25 employees to just one.
  • ACA 3 by Asm. Alex Lee, D-Milpitas, which would impose a wealth tax and eliminate the voter-approved Gann Limit.
  • ACA 11 by Asm. Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, which would abolish the State Board of Equalization, removing the only tax agency made up of elected officials directly accountable to taxpayers.
  • And four measures by Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, D-Los Angeles – SB 1089, which would require grocery stores and pharmacies to provide at least 90-day notice to employees before a closure; SB 1446, which would require grocery stores and pharmacies to employ one employee per two self-checkout stations, whose sole job would be to monitor the self-checkout stations; SB 1434, which is a vast reworking of California’s unemployment insurance system and would massively increase unemployment insurance taxes on all employers in California by providing, among other changes, a 55% increase in maximum UI benefits for all workers; and SB 1345, which aims to restrict the use of criminal background checks by employers.

FBA previously had expressed opposition to SB 1116 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada-Flintridge, which would effectively require employers to subsidize striking workers even if those workers or the strikes had nothing to do with the employer.

The Association also continues to support two bills introduced in 2023 – SB 393 by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, which would require CEQA plaintiffs to disclose contributors of $1,000 or more to fund the legal action, and SB 585 by Sen. Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, which would give small businesses time to correct construction-related accessibility issues before claims could be filed under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

FBA continues to oppose SB 399 by Sen. Aisha Wahab, D-Hayward, which would effectively prohibit any discussion of political matters in the workplace.

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