The 2019-2020 Legislative Session (which ends on August 31) has been an exciting year-to-date for NAWBO-CA’s Chapters’ advocacy efforts! Below are some highlights of our
June 2019 - Governor Newsom’s California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC)
Initiative/AB 217 (Burke)
The Governor’s Office asked NAWBO-CA to send letters of support for the expansion of
CalEITC program to individuals making up to $30,000 annually. This limit would ensure many
low-income solo entrepreneurs are eligible to grow their businesses. With only a 4-day
turnaround period the NAWBO-CA as well as the Sacramento Valley and Ventura boards
developed letters in support of this initiative which had become AB 217. The author of the bill
requested that NAWBO-CA’s legislative advocate be one of three lead witnesses at the policy
committee hearing. AB 217 passed and was signed by the Governor.
November 2019 – Advocacy in Action: Issues, Policy, Get Involved
Bakersfield, our newest chapter, hosted a half-day Advocacy in Action event in partnership with So-Cal Gas. Attendees had the opportunity to learn best practices in advocacy, how to connect and build effective relationships with your elected officials, and how too advocate. State legislators, local elected officials and advocates participated in panel discussions with a Q&A session. Kudos goes to Bakersfield for making it happen as they were preparing their
February 2020 - SB 873 (Jackson) - Gender: Discrimination: Pricing
NAWBO-CA was honored to be asked to be a co-sponsor for SB 873. Studies have confirmed the existence of a “gender tax” or “pink tax”: a practice in which businesses charge more for products marketed to female consumers than they charge for products marketed to male consumers, even when the two products are essentially exactly the same. AB 873 would preclude businesses from continuing that practice.
At the State Capitol, then President Hilary Lentini and President-Elect Vikita Poindexter had the opportunity to speak at a press conference and provide testimony in support of the legislation. Unfortunately, legislators were asked to focus on legislation related to the challenges of COVID-19 and fire protection so SB 873 did not go forward. We are currently in talks with members of the Women’s Legislative Caucus about a new author for a bill to be introduced in January.
March 2020 - Implementation of SB 826 (Jackson)
The California Secretary of State released a report with implementation data for SB 826 which requires gender diversity on California’s corporate boards. According to the report, 109
corporations added women to their boards since the data was last collected in July 2019. In the most recent report, 282 corporations include women on their boards, compared with 173 just last July. Detailed data can be found in the online report . We can expect that a clean-up bill will be introduced in January 2021 that will provide technical amendments to enable the Secretary of State to more effectively and efficiently enforce compliance.
April 2020 – Letter to the Governor: Support for Small Business and Nonprofit Eviction
In response to the challenges created by COVID-19, NAWBO-CA supported Assemblymember Kansen Chu’s request to the Governor to enact a statewide moratorium on evictions for commercial properties that are occupied by small businesses and nonprofits in addition to providing support to local Small Business Development Centers. Assemblymember Chu requested an increase in outreach and support at the state level for those needing assistance.
The Governor issued an Executive Order enacting the moratorium and additional statewide
assistance for small businesses. Most importantly, the Governor added a provision to protect
commercial building owners against any foreclosure based on their inability to collect rent from their business tenants.
Assembly Constitutional Amendment ACA 5 (Weber)
It was all hands on deck in support of ACA 5 which would repeal barriers to state contracting,
employment and access to higher education for women and minorities by repealing Proposition 209! Letters of support were sent to Assemblymember Weber, while members from various chapters connected with targeted members before hearings in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the Assembly floor session, Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement, Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate floor session. We spent hours waiting in phone queues waiting to do “I Support” and send emails to legislative staff when we couldn’t get through!
It was an amazing show of commitment and perseverance and as a result, ACA 5 passed the
Senate and is now headed to the November ballot! In the future, as an organization and as
individual business owners, we will have the opportunity to support its passage.
SB 1159 (Hill/Daly) Rebuttable Presumption for COVID-19 Work-Related Illnesses
AB 196 (Gonzalez) and AB 664 (Cooper) Conclusive Presumptions for COVID-19 Work-
codifies in statute the Governor’s EO that provides for workers’ compensation
coverage for an employee who show symptoms of COVID-19 while at work or became ill while at work under the direction of the employer. In order for an employee to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the worker must be tested by a CA-licensed physician and if the employee tests positive, the employer must first use their accrued sick leave and vacation time before they receive any benefits under the workers’ compensation system. SB 1159 includes a rebuttable presumption enabling the employer to contest the claim.
includes the same provisions as in SB 1159, except the presumption is conclusive
thereby eliminating the employer’s ability to contest that the illness is work-related.
is narrow in scope and only applies the conclusive presumption to healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 in public and private hospitals.
NAWBO-CA will be at the negotiating table during the legislature’s summer recess when
discussions begin with the authors and stakeholders to work out the specifics in these bills. The Governor would likely sign a rebuttable presumption bill, rather than a measure that would eliminate an employer’s right to contest a workers’ compensation claim.
AB 685 (Reyes) Occupational safety: COVID-19 exposure: notification
AB 685, formerly a bill dealing with Tribal Indian child welfare issues, was gutted and amended yesterday to require a public or private employer to provide notifications to its employees, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and the State Department of Public Health, relating to the exposure of its employees to COVID-19 that the employer knew of or should have reasonably have known of exposures to the employee. The bill would define “exposure to COVID-19.”
AB 685 would make it a misdemeanor if an employer violates the notification requirements of these provisions. Because a violation of these provisions would be a crime, this
bill would impose a state-mandated local program. This bill would require the Division of
Occupational Safety and Health and the State Department of Public Health to make the
information publicly available on their internet websites.
AB 685 defines “Exposed to COVID-19”as follows:
(1) A positive COVID-19 test.
(2) A positive COVID-19 diagnosis from a licensed health provider.
(3) A COVID-19-related order to quarantine from a licensed health provider.
(4) A fatality that was or could have been caused by COVID-19.
AB 685 is currently in the Senate Rules Committee and will likely be referred to the Senate
Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee in the next few days and will be heard in its policy committee when the legislature reconvenes on July 13th. NAWBO-CA will be a strong participant in any stakeholder discussions pertaining to this bill.
AB 1035 (Mayes) COVID-19 Immunity for Small Businesses
AB 1035 (Mayes) was gutted and amended on June 25 and now provides COVID-19 legal
immunity for small businesses, with under 25 employees and includes Assemblymember
Ramos as a joint principal author. AB 1035 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee
where it will be heard after July 13.
SB 1383 (Jackson) California Family Rights Act
SB 1383 (Jackson) California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is now on the Senate Floor and will
likely be taken up tomorrow before the Senate adjourns for its summer recess. This bill
significantly expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which currently only applies to
larger employers. As amended, SB 1383 will apply to any employer with 6 or more employees and requires small employers to provide each eligible employee with 12 weeks of protected leave from work. This controversial bill will likely pass off the Senate Floor tomorrow and will be taken up in the Assembly after July 13.
ONGOING LEGISLATION/POLICY ISSUES
AB 5 Clean-up Bill: AB 1850 (Gonzalez) Independent Contractors
The Governor signed AB 5 in 2019 exempts from the 3-part ABC test for employment status
and instead applies the test set forth in the California Supreme Court's
.G. Borello &Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations
(1989) 48 Cal.3d 341) to include occupations such as musicians, insurance inspectors, competition judges, appraisers, master class teachers to the professional services exemption, freelancers, and a long list of additional industry exemptions.
The major provisions included in AB 1850 amends the requirements for the referral agency exemption to the ABC test by clarifying a number of provisions, including but not limited to, how a referral agency confirms the licensing of a service provider, the freedom of a service provider to maintain its own clientele, and the ability of a service provider to set or
negotiate its terms in consultation with clients as well as establishing its rates without deduction by a referral agency.
AB 1850 also exempts the professional services of a still photographer, photojournalist, videographer, or photo editor who work under a contract with specified terms, as long as the individual providing the services is not replacing an employee performing the same work at the same volume, the individual does not primarily perform the work at the hiring entity's business location, and the individual is not restricted from working for more than one hiring entity. Musicians and performers are also exempt with conditions on arrangements such as single performances. This bill is a work in progress and additional exemptions will be negotiated before the legislature reconvenes from its summer recess on July 13.
California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (Chau)
AB 1281 (Chau) has been amended to extend the sunset and deadline on protections for
employers in exempting the state’s workers’ compensation system from the California
Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. The Governor signed AB 25 that pertained to the business to
business to consumer relationships in the collection of the consumer’s personal information.
Unfortunately, AB 25 captured our state’s workers’ compensation system in the definition of an employer’s ability to administer any benefit program for injured workers with a requirement to provide hundreds of disclosure notices throughout the life of each workers’ compensation claim.
The CCPA Coalition has sponsored an initiative that has qualified for the November ballot that includes the workers’ compensation system exemption without any repeal or sunset. CCPA’s initiative is likely to pass, but in the event that the initiative fails, Assemblymember Chau has agreed to amend his AB 1281 to include a repeal of the sunset for one year so there is no interruption in protections for employers, insurers and claims administrators who would otherwise have to start generating disclosure notices. If the initiative fails, another bill will be introduced in January to repeal the extended sunset contained in AB 1281.