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  • Archive for January 19th, 2012

    Jan 19

    CEC POSTPONES RELEASE OF PROPOSED ENERGY STANDARDS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     Needing additional time to complete the full regulatory packet, the California Energy Commission has pushed back the release of their proposed changes to California’s Energy Efficiency Building Standards (Title 24, Part 6).  The CEC had intended to release the formal “45-Day Language” package during the first week of January, however, they recently pushed that release date back to the last week of February.  In the meantime, industry representatives have been meeting with members of the Administration to voice our objection over the bad timing of this historically large increase in proposed stringency and the related costs associated with those changes.

     Any concerns or comments you have on these regulations would be welcome.  For more information on this complicated process and to read proposed changes that will impact your business, visit the CEC website.

    Jan 19

    BUILDING CODE ADVISORY COMMITTEE NOMINEES

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Building Standards Commission (BSC) will consider the formal appointment of nominees to the various Code Advisory Committees at their Business Meeting next Wednesday.  Specifically, the BSC will be making the final selection of the Code Advisory Committee members for the 2012-2014 Code Adoption Cycles as suggested by the BSC’s Code Change Subcommittee.  The names of several commercial industry representatives are among the nominees being considered for Green Building, Building & Fire and several other advisory committees. 

     By law, every amendment to the state building codes must first be reviewed and critiqued by at least one of these advisory committees prior to being acted upon by the full commission. As your representatives in Sacramento we work hard to make sure that people with practical experience from our industry are appointed to these committees.

    Jan 19

    PREVENTING WORKER ILLNESS FROM INDOOR PESTICIDE EXPOSURE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     In data collected by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), nearly one out of five people who reported work-related pesticide illnesses were exposed to pesticides in indoor air.  A bank was temporarily closed when workers became ill on the Monday following a weekend building fumigation. Six workers sought medical attention for symptoms from eye tearing to vomiting. This is just one instance in which workers – from office to retail employees – became ill when pesticides were used indoors.

    Because workers and customers can become ill from pesticide use indoors, steps should be taken to eliminate or reduce human exposures.  There are effective and safe ways to control pests without the use of sprayed pesticides.  Click here  for a fact sheet on how building managers can manage pests in the office safely.

     CDPH provides information and resources for building management, employers, employees and pest control companies to prevent illnesses from the use of indoor pesticides. For more information, click here.

    Jan 19

    HAZARDOUS MATERIAL LAWSUIT BILL DEFEATED

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     AB 1207 (Furutani; D-Long Beach) failed passage in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote.  This bill would remove the statute of limitation and thereby expand the statute of limitations on personal or real property lawsuits when there was an allegation of exposure to a hazardous material, even if it was in relation to remediation activities. In so doing, AB 1207 would have unnecessarily exposed a large number of companies to unjustified liability and uncertainty.

     A broad coalition of business groups successfully argued that the bill was unnecessary because injured plaintiffs in California currently have a wealth of legal options to use to seek redress and federal and state law provide an extensive and interwoven framework to hold companies responsible and mitigate actions that result in pollution or hazardous waste. 

     Every year scores of bills are introduced in the state legislature that will increase business exposure to such lawsuits.  When the laws are overly broad, burdensome, or simply do not make sense we vigorously oppose those measures.

    Jan 19

    ***ACTION*** REDEVELOPMENT NEEDS YOUR VOICE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     The Redevelopment Bill we mentioned last week has been introduced, and needs your support to move forward.  SB 659 (Padilla; D-Los Angeles) will postpone the February 1, 2012 deadline to begin dissolution of redevelopment agencies. The delay until April 15, 2012 will give time to address implementation issues that have come up as the result of the recent court ruling.

     Without passage of this bill, agencies will be dissolved on February 1, leading to lawsuits, layoffs, delays and confusion.

     Over one hundred statewide and local labor, public safety, business groups, and affordable housing advocates have joined the “Coalition for Jobs and Neighborhood Renewal” in support of SB 659. Today we delivered a letter to the legislature urging them to pass SB 659 to allow time to develop a new job creation and neighborhood renewal program. 

     Read the press release by clicking here And read the letter by clicking here. 

     Call your legislators TODAY and urge them to support SB 659 (Padilla) to postpone the February 1 dissolution date to provide time to fix many of the serious problems that have come up.

    Find your legislators and their contact info here.

    Jan 19

    FIX THE WATER BOND

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    In comments that went almost unnoticed, Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) spoke to the $11B Water Bond proposal that is slated to go before voters in November. 

     The measure, officially titled “The Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012,” was originally on the November 2010 ballot, but was postponed by then Governor Schwarzenegger and the Legislature for the stated reason of not wanting it to be rejected, but other issues were believed by many to also be at play.

     If voters approve the water bond, it will allow the state government to borrow $11.1 billion to overhaul the state’s water system.

     In an interview with KQED the speaker stated “$11 billion is, I think, higher than voters would be willing to support right now,” said Speaker Pérez. “And there are superfluous projects that are included in that water bond that would be nice to have, but aren’t crucial.  Pérez cited water storage as the key need, and blamed the need for a supermajority vote on a bond measure as the reason that the package became too large.

     Water storage and an overhaul of the water delivery system is a key need.  We support the water bond as is and urge the Governor and Legislature to get behind this critical measure and work to see it passed by voters this year.

    Jan 19

    GOVERNOR RELEASES 2012-13 BUDGET

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The state Constitution requires the Governor to submit a budget proposal for the next fiscal each year by January 10, but this year the budget was released five days early due to someone inadvertently posting the document to the Department of Finance website.  So, the annual budget battle began with little fanfare in a hastily assembled press conference attended by Capitol reporters.

     Over the next few months this budget will be dissected, disconnected, taken-apart, reconfigured, lambasted, and in general go through the standard process.  So, we thought it only fair to start the discussion with the Governor’s own words.  In a message to the Legislature, here is how Governor Brown launched the discussion:

     When I came into office, California was facing an immediate $26.6 billion budget gap and future budget deficits of $20 billion a year.

    In January of 2011, I proposed a budget that combined deep cuts with a temporary extension of some existing taxes. It was a balanced approach that would have finally closed our budget gap. In the end, the taxes were not extended and massive cuts — totalling $16 billion — were enacted.

    The 2011 budget did, however, lay the foundation for fiscal stability. It cut the annual budget shortfall by three‑quarters — from $20 billion to $5 billion or less. It shrunk state government, reduced our borrowing costs and gave local governments more authority to make decisions.

    The budget that I am submitting today keeps the cuts made last year and adds new ones. The stark truth is that without some new taxes, damaging cuts to schools, universities, public safety and our courts will only increase.

    That is why I will ask the voters to approve a temporary tax increase on the wealthy, a modest and temporary increase in the sales tax and to guarantee that the new revenues be spent only on education. I am also asking that the voters guarantee ongoing funding for local public safety programs. This ballot measure will not solve all of our fiscal problems, but it will stop further cuts to education and public safety and halt the trend of double‑digit tuition increases.

    My budget plan also includes important reforms. It improves government efficiency and pays down debt. It reorganizes state government to make it more efficient and saves tax dollars by consolidating or eliminating functions. It restructures social service programs to better support working families. It gives substantially more flexibility and decision‑making to local school districts. The plan also calls for bold investments in our future: to assure a reliable water supply, build high speed rail and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    As California’s economy continues to slowly recover — and recover it will — our plan will provide fiscal stability and make California government more transparent and responsive to the people.

     I look forward to working with you in the coming year.

     Sincerely,

     Edmund G. Brown Jr.

     ###

     We hope California can get back on track and we hope to help the Governor and Legislature move in the direction of a responsible budget that will align spending with revenues, relieve burdens on the private sector that suppresses economic activity and job creation, and reform debt obligations that are unsustainable.  We look forward to the challenge and hope all of our members will be active and engaged in this fight.

    Jan 19

    SPLIT ROLL LEGISLATIVE MEASURE SET IN ASSEMBLY TAX COMMITTEE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    At the same time, proponents of a split roll continue to use every avenue at their disposal to try to change Proposition 13 protections afforded by voters to all property owners in the state.  AB 448 (Ammiano; D-San Francisco) introduced last year and noted by the author as an incremental step on a path to “nuke Proposition 13,” is set for a hearing on Monday in a last ditch attempt to move the bill before a Constitutional deadline rendered the bill inactive for the year.  

    AB 448 seeks to impose a split roll by triggering more frequent reassessments of property owned by legal entities. The bill would redefine the term “change in ownership,” so that reassessment of property occurs at fair market value when, cumulatively, 100% of ownership interests transfer in a rolling three-year period.

    The bill defines a “single transaction,” as not just a single transaction, but would include cumulative transactions in a three-year period. For example, just one share of corporate stock that is transferred as many times as the number of shares outstanding will trigger a reassessment under this bill. And the provisions don’t just apply to stock churning, but also apply to interests in partnerships, LLCs, and other legal entities.

    Because so many business and taxpayer advocate groups moved to strongly oppose the measure at the hearing, and a Board of Equalization analysis notes that the measure would amount to a $77 million per year tax increase on California businesses, we understand the measure may not be heard. 

    Although the bill seems to be stalled again, we will watch the proceedings closely and represent your interests should that change.

    Jan 19

    SPLIT ROLL PROPERTY TAX MEASURE SUBMITTED TO AG

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    In December, the process to put a measure on the ballot that would eliminate Proposition 13 protections for commercial real estate and create a split roll property tax in California was submitted to the Attorney General. 

    In an attempt to be clever and misdirect what the measure actually does, it has been entitled the “Protect Homeowners and Close Corporate Loopholes Act.” 

    Intended to be a proposition on the November ballot, this is just the first step of the process and it still has a ways to go before it goes before voters, including gathering the needed signatures, but we need to be aware that proponents are actively pushing the idea. 

    Among other provisions, the measure requires commercial property be reassessed every three years.

    It is unknown who submitted the initiative but the language is similar to past measures sponsored by one of the largest public employee unions in the state.

    As active members of Californians Against Higher Property Taxes, we are providing information and context about the harm that raising taxes on commercial properties would do to the economy, to the media, and policymakers.  Click here to learn more about CAHPT. 

    Click here to read the proposed proposition. 

    Click here to read a news account of the measure.

     

    Jan 19

    POSTPONE REDEVELOPEMENT DISSOLUTION

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    On December 29, 2011, the California Supreme Court ruled in the California redevelopment litigation – CRA v. Matosantos – upholding ABX1 26, which abolished redevelopment agencies, but struck down companion legislation that would have allowed agencies to survive if they contribute money to the State.  As part of the Supreme Court’s ruling, agencies are to be dissolved on February 1, 2012. 

    We are very active members in a coalition of labor, business, local government, public safety and affordable housing advocates that are working with members of the Legislature to pass SB 659 (Padilla) and temporarily postpone the February 1, 2012 dissolution deadline in order to preserve the ability to develop a new job creation and neighborhood renewal program.

    Passing SB 659 is the first step toward creating a new program that helps the State budget, local communities, and education. But, if the dissolution is allowed to proceed on February 1, it will lead to mass litigation and chaos, shut down projects and lead to job loss.

    All of this is unfolding in real time and we will keep you posted as the issue moves forward.

    Jan 19

    THEY’RE BACK!

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The California Legislature has returned to a flurry of activity after taking its interim recess and going deep into hibernation over the holidays.  Almost immediately upon returning for their opening session on Wednesday, scores of new bills were introduced, and they picked up where they left off on issues such as the budget, elimination of redevelopment, water, and taxes.