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  • Archive for October, 2015

    Oct 23

    SPLIT ROLL ADVOCATES PULL PLUG ON 2016 BALLOT EFFORTS

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    Following the stinging rebuke of the idea of dismantling Proposition 13 and implementing a split roll property tax by Governor Jerry Brown and failure of its sponsored bill in the Legislature (SCA 5), leaders of the “Make It Fair” campaign have abandoned efforts to push a ballot measure in 2016.

    Funded by a public unions, community organizing groups, and other far-left organizations, in order to push a $9 Billion tax increase on California properties, California Calls announced that it has decided not to pursue and initiative in the coming year.

    As part of the announcement, California Calls stated they will continue to push a split roll in hopes of dismantling Prop. 13 at a later date.  (We will) continue to expand the coalition, conduct grassroots public education, and build voter support in low-income communities of color throughout the state to score the electoral victory we know is possible.  We will continue to advance Senator Hancock and Mitchell’s SCA-5 reform proposal through the State Legislature, and work to raise the money to withstand fierce industry opposition who will spend $50 to $100 million against us.

    They are correct in on aspect, the idea of gutting Prop. 13 does engender fierce opposition – and not just with industry groups, but homeowners who understand that a split roll is just a step in going after residential protections.

    Californians to Stop Higher Property  Taxes has been a major factor in pushing back against some of the misconceptions and distortions about property taxes that has found its way into the public conversation.  We are primary members of CSHPT  and will continue to be vigilant on this issue.  But for now, we are happy to report that the immediate threat of split roll has been delayed – for now.

    Oct 23

    STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE

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    Only a few spaces remain for the 2015 Strategic Issues Conference, November 5-6, 2015, at the beautiful Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, CA.  Our Board and Legislative Committee Meetings are held in conjunction with this event.

    The conference features discussions with former Governor Pete Wilson, members of the Legislative Democrat “Moderate Caucus,” and California transportation policy leaders.

    Eight major groups have come together to host this special event: California Business Properties Association (CBPA), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Building Owners and Managers of California (BOMA CAL), the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA), and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The goal of the Strategic Issues Conference is to increase public policy and political awareness of state and national issues, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of the California economy.

    Your attendance will contribute greatly to achieving this goal, and will signal your strong support for the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry.

    Click here for more information and to register.

    Our special room rate is now gone, but rooms are still available.  Contact Thunder Valley Casino Resort directly at 1-877-468-8777.

    Oct 23

    LIGHTING CONTROL REGS CONTINUE TO HAMPER PROJECTS

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    A number of members have let us know that the lighting control issues contained in the state’s Energy Regs (Title 24) are having a major impact on costs and complexity of Tenant Improvements.  This issue has been discussed at length at several board meetings, and we have worked with the California Energy Commission over the past year to come up with alternatives to compliance.

    Here is a media story from last year that sheds some light on the topic:

    Businesses Are in the Dark About New Lighting Regulations

    The last update (those you started feeling in January 2015) was the greatest increase in stringency (27%) since the beginning of the California energy code.  The proposed 2016 Standards are following with increase in stringency from significant changes for control requirements.

    Many members have expressed the concern that such large increases in energy code stringency require changes that are not proven construction practices.  We have expressed strong reservations to changes in construction and/or management practice that are not market proven, accepted in the building code, and vetted for their intended use by the building and inspection trades.

    In June CEC staff presented the proposed 2016 Title 24 Code to Commissioners, who approved all chapters except Sections 141.0(b)2.I., J., K., and L., and Tables 141.0-E and –F, which is all the language dealing with lighting system Alterations and Modifications.  However, the language has been “pulled” several times and not adopted.

    We are currently working with CEC staff and other impacted constituency groups to advance these reforms.

    Oct 23

    ADA BILL INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS

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    Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-2) has introduced HR 3765, “The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015” along with Representatives Doug Collins (R-GA) and David Jolly (R-FL).  If signed into law, the measure would create disincentives to filing frivolous ADA lawsuits, requiring specificity in the complaint and a 120 day notice and cure period prior to the commencement of a lawsuit.

    This common-sense approach would improve access for the disabled community by actually requiring that a problem be fixed, while protecting the right of a plaintiff to seek legal recourse against a business that refuses to fix a violation.  Over the past five years similar reforms have been passed in California, most recently with a package of bill signed earlier this month by Governor Brown.

    This year marks the 25th anniversary of enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  While this landmark legislation has played a major role in making our society more inclusive for all people, an unintended consequence of the law has enabled the practice of “drive-by” vexatious litigation and we are currently working with a broad range of impacted entities both in California and in the Nation’s Capital to course correct where it makes sense.

    Oct 23

    AB 2 BRINGS BACK SOME “REDEVELOPMENT” TOOLS

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    Our friends Seth Merewitz and Sigrid K. Asmundson, from Best Best & Krieger, have taken a look at AB 2 (Alejo D) and provide the following regarding this important change in law:

    “The next chapter in California’s long history with community redevelopment has just been written. Whether this chapter will be a comedy or tragedy remains to be seen. What is clear is that the significant authority of redevelopment agencies (property tax increment and eminent domain) are now again available to local government agencies in California. However, where this authority can be utilized is more focused on disadvantaged communities that have low income, high unemployment and high crime. The utility of this new legislation will be seen over the next several months and years. “

    Click here to read the full article, “AB 2 Appears to be the Long-Awaited Redevelopment Replacement Law”

    Oct 16

    STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE – REGISTER NOW!

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    Register now for the 2015 Strategic Issues Conference, scheduled for November 5-6, 2015, at the beautiful Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, CA. The CBPA Board and Legislative Committee Meeting is being held in conjunction with this event.

    The event will feature discussions with former Governor Pete Wilson, members of the Legislative Democrat “Mod Caucus,” and California transportation policy leaders.

    Eight major groups have come together to host this special event: California Business Properties Association (CBPA), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Building Owners and Managers of California (BOMA CAL), the California Alliance for Jobs (CAJ), the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the California Business Roundtable (CBRT), the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA), and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The goal of the Strategic Issues Conference is to increase public policy and political awareness of state and national issues, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of the California economy.

    Your attendance will contribute greatly to achieving this goal, and will signal your strong support for the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry.

    Our special room rate has been extended if you book by Oct 21, only $119. Rooms at this special group rate are limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis, so reserve your room now. Contact Thunder Valley Casino Resort directly at 1-877-468-8777 — Reference Group Code 141105CBPA.

    Oct 16

    FIVE “MOD DEMS” ATTENDING STRATEGIC ISSUES CONFERENCE

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    A panel you don’t want to miss at the Strategic Issues Conference is hearing from five members of the Assembly’s Moderate Democrat Caucus – “the Mod Squad.”  The two stories below outlines how the group of moderates is seeking to find pragmatic answers to many of the issues being “debated” in the Legislature.

    A New Political Power: Mod Squad & Business – Fox & Hounds

    Moderate Assembly Democrats emerge as powerful pro-business force – San Jose Mercury News

    Oct 16

    TRANSPORTATION HEARINGS HIT THE ROAD

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    Additionally, the Strategic Issues Conference will focus on issues related to transportation infrastructure.  As you can see below, this is an extremely relevant and timely discussion.  Attending the SIC will put you at the forefront of knowledge on what is happening:

    The California Legislature’s Transportation Conference Committee is holding its first hearing today in Sacramento. At the hearing, they plan to examine various proposals to fund transportation infrastructure, with an emphasis on repairing California’s deteriorated highways, streets, and roads. The administration will present its funding proposal and the LAO will describe and compare this and other proposals.  The “Fix Our Road Coalition,” which we are a member, has worked with committee staff to line-up witnesses to provide testimony from the local government, labor and business perspectives.

    A second hearing is scheduled in Ontario on Wednesday October 21.  If you are near the hearing we highly encourage you to attend to represent commercial real estate and to provide public testimony about how important it is for the state to address our aging infrastructure.  Here are the details:

    Wednesday, October 21

    9am to 12:30pm

    Ontario City Hall

    City Council Chambers

    303 East “B” Street

    Ontario, CA 91764

     

    For more information, visit our coalition website by clicking here “Fix Our Roads Coalition.”

    Oct 16

    BUSINESS COMMUNITY ENJOYS SUCCESSFUL 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

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    Chris Micheli is an attorney and lobbyist at the Sacramento government relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc, and frequent collaborator with our association, provides the following wrap-up from the general business perspective on the recently completed legislative session:

    The just-concluded 2015 Legislative Session ended on a relatively good note for the California business community. While a number of bills sponsored or supported by the business community were not successful getting through the Legislature, several hard-fought bills opposed by California’s employers were vetoed by the Governor. In fact, all but one “Job Killers” opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce were defeated this year. Sixteen such bills did not even get to the Governor’s Desk, while three of them did, but the Governor vetoed two of those three measures.

    According to the Governor’s Office, Governor Brown signed 808 bills and vetoed 133 bills, for a total of 941 bills that reached his Desk this year. That is a 14% veto rate. There were just over 2,300 bills introduced this first year of the 2015-16 Session. Roughly 41% of the introduced bills got to the Governor’s Desk.

    The following is an overview of key measures of interest to the business community and their outcome this year:

    The proposed increase to the state’s minimum wage was rejected (SB 3), but there will likely be a statewide ballot measure in November 2016 sponsored by labor groups.

    • In a major victory against organized labor, the Governor vetoed a bill that would have banned employment arbitration agreements (AB 465).
    • Business-backed gender pay equity legislation was signed into law (SB 358).
    • Efforts to reform excessive litigation under California’s version of the Americans with Disabilities Act were met with limited success (AB 1251 was enacted). The main bill was vetoed because it contained a tax credit for small businesses (SB 251). The other major reform bills (SB 67, AB 52 and AB 54) all were held in policy committees.
    • Minor legal reform bills to promote judicial efficiency on summary judgment motions (SB 470) and expedited jury trials (AB 555) were enacted, but a measure that will create more hurdles in using demurrers passed over business’ objections (SB 383).
    • The Governor vetoed a proposed, significant expansion of the California Family Rights Act (SB 406).
    • The business community resolved concerns about a measure to provide the California Labor Commissioner with substantial, additional powers to address wage theft (SB 588).
    • In early successes, bills to increase employer costs for employees working on “family holidays” (AB 67) and one that would penalize scheduling changes (AB 357) were defeated.
    • The only “Job Killer” that got enacted this year could impose a costly employee retention mandate on grocery businesses (AB 359).
    • The Governor did sign a business-opposed bill that expands the Labor Commissioner’s powers to enforce local minimum wage laws (AB 970).
    • The business community resolved their concerns about a measure on franchise agreements (AB 525).
    • Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed all of the bills that would have created or increased tax credits in this state, including those for research and development (AB 437), phantom income on home short sales (AB 99), and insurance tax credits (SB 377).
    • The Governor did sign the first omnibus federal tax conformity bill enacted in the last five years (AB 154).
    • Efforts to address over-warning and excessive Prop. 65 lawsuits did not pass out of the policy committee (AB 543) nor did one to limit lawsuits against small businesses under Prop. 65 (AB 1252).
    • An effort to prohibit employers from seeking a job applicant’s prior salary history was vetoed by the Governor (AB 1017).
    • An important measure that will limit certain types of lawsuits involving employee wage statements was enacted (AB 1506).
    • The targeted tax increase measures were all defeated in the Legislature, including those on tobacco (SB 591) and sodas (AB 1357).
    • Legislation to increase taxes on corporations with high CEO salaries did not get heard (SB 684), nor did a measure to create a split roll property tax system (SCA 5), nor a measure to make public certain change of ownership information (AB 567).

    You can read the text of bills and legislative analysis by clicking here.

    If you have any questions or want to talk with Chris, he can be reached at this email address, cmicheli@apreamicheli.com.

    Oct 16

    SPLIT ROLL ADVOCATES PUSH FOR $9B TAX INCREASE

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    Forbes Magazine takes a closer look at the “split roll” debate in California.  The story, states in part, “there is a group thinking about changing Prop 13: a labor-union-backed organization called Make It Fair. Using scare tactics and us-against-them rhetoric to garner support, Make It Fair contends that loopholes in Proposition 13 allow a small number of ‘giant corporations’ and ‘wealthy commercial property owners’ to get around paying the property taxes that they could easily afford. In reality, though, the ‘loopholes’ that Make It Fair seeks to close are in place to protect residential and commercial real-estate owners at all places on the economic ladder.

    Click here to read the article “Anti-Growth ‘Make It Fair’ Lobby Pushes For $9 Billion Tax Increase In California.”

    Oct 16

    SIGN/VETO WATCH

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    The 2015 California Legislative Session is over. Throughout the past year, your Sacramento staff tracked over 400 bills on a broad array of topics including Greenhouse Gas Issues, CEQA, ADA, Mandatory Benchmarking, Taxes, AED, and a host of issues that would impact your business from sick leave policy to water conservation. Yes, issues that impact the commercial real estate industry extremely varied!

    Below is a list of the top-priority bills that made it through the Legislative Process and a to the Governor’s Desk for action, along with a summary, our position, and a link to read the bill.  The Governor has until Sunday at Midnight to take action on these bills:

    Oct 16

    ADA BILLS

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    AB 1230 (Gomez D) California Americans With Disabilities Small Business Capital Access Loan Program. Provides up to $50K in low interest loans for eligible ADA projects.

    • Establishes the California Americans with Disabilities Act Small Business Capital Access Loan Program within the Capital Access Loan Program,
    • Self-sustaining program to provide loans to assist small businesses in financing the costs of projects that alter or retrofit existing small business facilities,
    • “small business” defined as i) Fifteen or fewer full-time equivalent employees; ii) Less than $1 million in total gross annual income

    ·        “Eligible project” means the physical alterations or retrofits to an existing small business facility of less than 10,000 square feet necessary to ensure that facility is in compliance with the ADA.

    Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

    Position: SUPPORT

    AB 1521 (Committee on Judiciary) Construction-related accessibility claims.

    • Provides information and legal resources to small business owners to minimize their liability for ADA violations and/or respond to a lawsuit filed against them.

    ·        limits high-volume lawsuits motivated by quick settlement with business owners, rather than correction of ADA violations.  o    New demand letter requirements.o    Defines a “high-frequency litigant” (HFL); filed 10 or more complaints alleging violations of construction-related accessibility standards in the past 12 months; or an attorney who has represented 10 or more such plaintiffs in the past year. o    HFLs who file new claims have a) A higher filing fee; b) Special pleading requirements; and c) Certification by the attorney that, among other things, the complaint is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose. o    Requires attorney notification to CCDA about how their claims are resolved.

    Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

    Position: SUPPORT

    SB 251 (Roth D) Disability access: civil rights: income tax credit.

    This bill, seeks promote ADA compliance among small businesses by allowing a business owner 90 days from the date of a CASp inspection to fix violations before being subject to liability

    • protects small businesses from liability for certain violations if the business corrected the violation within 15 days of receiving notice of the potential violation.

    ·        creates tax incentives for businesses to correct violations·        requires the State Architect and the California Commission on Disability Compliance to post specified information to their respective Web sites for the purpose of

    Status: VETOED based on Governor rejecting all “tax credit” measures.  Read the veto message here.

    Position: SUPPORT

    AB 1342 (Steinorth R) Enacts measures intended to promote disability access compliance.

    Facilitate more property owners to seek a CASp certification in order to assure their properties are in compliance with the law. This certification will also lessen the number of unnecessary lawsuits while increasing access.

    • Makes it easier for business owners to find a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) by requiring the State Architect and CCDA to post information on how to find one locally.
    • Revises requirement for commercial property owners to state on lease agreements information about the condition of the leased property.
    • Extends the $1 business license to fund the Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund.

    Status: VETOED based on impact on the General Fund.  Read the veto message here.

    Position: SUPPORT

    AB 662 (Bonilla D) ADA Mandate; Adult Changing Tables.

    Would require a person, private firm, organization, or corporation that owns or manages a commercial place of public amusement, as defined, constructed on or after January 1, 2020, or renovated on or after January 1, 2025, to install and maintain at least one adult changing station, as defined, for a person with a physical disability, as specified. The bill would require a facility to ensure that the entrance to each adult changing station has conspicuous signage indicating its location, and, if the facility has a central directory, ensure that the central directory indicates the location of the adult changing station.

    • We OPPOSE this bill because it specifically circumvents the building code process and puts building code in statute.
    • We have requested a veto and asked the Governor to ask for a bill that directs the appropriate state agencies to work on this through the normal building code process.
    • As written, we are concerned this bill will expose impacted properties to unnecessary ADA lawsuits.

    Status: SIGNED INTO LAW

    Position: OPPOSE