Public Policy & Advocacy Committee Update
Update on Specific 2020 California Propositions and Next Steps
for NAWBO-CA During the Legislative Interim
This has been a historic election year. We are all awaiting the final election results as
many races including President of the United States are still not available. As noted in
our October newsletter, just less than half of the 40-member Senate are awaiting the
final ballots to be counted while the full 80-member Assembly wait for the final votes to
As of today, many of the races are too close to call and we may not know the outcome
until just before the legislators return to the Capitol on December 7 th to swear-in the
newly-elected Senate and Assembly members.
However, we do have a better idea on the status of 4 key ballot propositions impacting
women business owners, and are reporting on the status of the measures. One of the
biggest blows that we experienced during this election cycle was the failure of
Proposition 16 (Affirmative Action – Repeal of Prop. 209). NAWBO-CA was a co-
sponsor of ACA 5 (Weber), the bill that put this issue on the ballot, and worked with the
ACA 5/Prop. 16 coalition to gain support for this measure.
Finally, we are providing a list of our plans for our advocacy and public policy efforts
going forward as we prepare for the 2021 legislative session that convenes on January
Status of California’s Ballot Propositions Impacting
Women Business Owners
Proposition 15 – Business Property Taxes (Failed)
This measure would have raised property taxes on big businesses, raising billions for
schools and local governments. Quick history: Back in 1978 California passed
Proposition 13 – a huge permanent tax cut for landowners. It amended the state
constitution to reset property values based on the purchase price of a home or
business, and capped the tax increase each year after that.
If this measure were to pass, property taxes for many large businesses would have
been elevated to the property’s current, probably higher, market value. That would net
$6.5 to $11.5 billion — 60% for cities, counties and special districts, and 40% for
schools and community colleges.
Prop 15 would have increased property taxes on women business owners who own
their property and for those who lease their offices, many would have seen increases in
their monthly rent.
Proposition 16 – Restoring Affirmative Action (Failed)
NAWBO-CA and its chapters became an early supporter of ACA 5 because of the
significant impact Prop 209 had on their businesses. A 2015 study showed that
businesses owned by women lose $1.1 billion annually in government contracts. Many
of our members told the same stories about being qualified but not chosen for
This measure would have restored affirmative action in California. The importance this
measure had to women business owners is that it would have increased access to
women in government and federal contracting opportunities. Government offices would
have been able to factor in gender (and race) in making hiring, spending and college
That practice has been illegal in California since 1996, when voters approved
Proposition 209 that banned affirmative action. Prop. 16 would reverse that vote.
The path of Proposition 16 started as an Assembly Constitution Amendment 5 authored
by Assemblymember Weber.
We sent letters of support to Assemblymember Weber as well as Assembly and Senate
committee members. Chapter members also contacted 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 will have to discuss revisiting this issue with Dr.
Proposition 22 – Gig Worker Benefits (Passed)
Exempts gig companies like Uber and Lyft from AB 5’s requirements that workers at gig
companies are now considered employees and not independent contractors. This
provision is not permanently repealed from California’s law. Since January, state law
(AB 5) has required former contract workers in many industries to be classified as
employees and offered benefits such as overtime pay, health care, paid sick leave,
unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. The proposition requires that
companies that employ drivers through apps will instead keep workers classified as
contractors and offer narrower benefits, including pay at least 120% of minimum wage,
health care subsidies and accident insurance.
With the passage of Prop 22, women business owners will see affordable rates in gig
fares and for women who want the flexibility of driving for the gig companies, they will
be able to work less than part-time and still receive benefits as noted above.
Proposition 24 – More Data Privacy (Passed)
Changes California’s Data Privacy Law, effective January 1, 2021:
- Limits business use of sensitive data, such as your exact location, health information, race and religion
- Prohibits businesses from holding onto your data for longer than necessary
- Allows the government to fine companies up to $7,500 for violating children’s privacy rights
- Creates a new state agency to enforce the privacy law, investigate violations and assess penalties
- Reduces the number of businesses that have to comply, making it apply only to companies that buy or sell data of at least 100,000 households a year
- Provides for an exemption for “employers administering benefits” which is the workers’ compensation exemption added to the initiative, followed by a companion bill (AB 1281) that includes the identical language and was signed by the Governor in September. However, Prop. 24 repeals the exemption on January 1, 2023 whereas AB 1281 sunsets on January 1, 2022. Efforts will be made to repeal the sunset provision in 2021. The exemption in the workers’ compensation system means that women business owners will see their premium payments stay flat instead of an increase in their insurance costs.
Next Steps for NAWBO-CA During the Legislative Interim
We will continue to meet with elected officials and align ourselves with other women
organizations to discuss issues that are important to women business owners, including
issues that affect all working women and their families. We will report back to NAWBO-
CA’s Advocacy and Public Policy Directors on the issues identified as top priority
policies for 2021. Some organizations have looked to NAWBO-CA as an important
resource to them as they prioritize their bill packages and policy recommendations.
The Art of Advocacy
Stay tuned early in the New Year 2021 for The Art of Advocacy, a multi-part series for our
membership presented by NAWBO-CA led by our lobbyist, Lori Kammerer and
NAWBO-CA Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, Robin Allen.
Join us to expand opportunities to become actively involved in the public policy process,
increase knowledge and awareness about advocacy issues in this educational training
series. This series will include advocacy conversation, roundtables and discussion to
empower members with knowledge in the following subject areas:
- California legislative structure and policy cycle
- Legislative bill process
- The role and impact of state government
- Best practices in advocacy (local, state, national)
- Legislative outreach
Additional event details will be forthcoming as the planning process develops. Please
submit your ideas and suggestions to the NAWBO-CA Advocacy and Public Policy
Director, Robin Allen.
JOIN THE PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE
We encourage any NAWBO member interested in advocacy to join the Public Policy
Committee. It’s open to all members and we meet on the 4th Friday of the month from
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. If you’re interested, email NAWBO-CA’s Advocacy and Public
over the position in place of Moreen Lane, so please address all advocacy and public
policy questions to Robin Allen and Lori Kammerer, NAWBO-CA’s lobbyist, at