By Dennis Albiani and Faith Lane
On July 21st, the Legislature adjourned for a month- long summer recess. When lawmakers return in late August, they will have four weeks of session remaining this year to act on the hundreds of bills still pending — plenty of time to play ball.
There have been a number of key victories for the Family Business Association and the business community so far this year. Perhaps the top two wins were putting on hold SB 762 (Wiener), the proposed death tax bill, and halting SB 562 (Lara and Atkins), the single-payer legislation that would have cost employers an estimated additional 15 percent in payroll taxes to pay for the $400 billion per year legislation.
A united employer coalition also stifled attempts to impose millions of dollars in significant tax increases on California employers. One example was SB 567 (Lara), which would have taken away several advantages for family businesses to transfer property to heirs and other family members. Like SB 762, the bill is on hold but still alive.
Even in light of these successful hits, there are plenty of wild pitches. Legislation attacking California employers continues to advance towards Governor Brown’s desk. Businesses have been the middleman this year in political fights between the Legislature and the Trump administration. AB 450 (Chiu) and SB 49 (De León) are two key examples that demonstrate California’s efforts to place employers in a no-win situation between complying with federal and/or state laws.
AB 450 would prohibit employers from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement unless there is a valid warrant. Additionally, it has numerous posting and notification requirements. If AB 450 is enacted, employers that are otherwise fully compliant with state and federal laws could be charged up to $10,000 for complying with federal authorities if any immigration enforcement occurs at the workplace. Likewise, under SB 49 businesses would be subject to private rights of action and writs of mandate arising out of new, more- stringent California standards and requirements that are in reaction to any loosening of environmental regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.
Another bill to follow closely in the final weeks is SB 63 (Jackson), which would create the New Parent Leave Act. This would mandate up to 12 weeks of job-protected maternity and paternity leave for workers who work for companies with as few as 20 employees. This benefit would be on top of leave that California already requires, for a total of seven months of protected leave. Although the additional mandated leave is unpaid, it is not without significant costs to employers who are burdened with costs such as overtime pay for other employees covering the workload, or costs associated with temporary workers, in addition to maintaining medical benefits for the employee on leave.
FBA will remain at the forefront of efforts to defend against hostile, unfavorable legislation and regulations, and will continue to lead in advocacy for the creation of jobs and success of family-owned business in California. Play Ball!