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  • Archive for February 12th, 2016

    Feb 12


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    A broad range of Californian’s including business groups and labor groups have banded together to educate the public about an initiative that if passed would jeopardize many infrastructure projects across the state. Initiatives have not been assigned proposition numbers yet, so as of new it’s simply referred to as the “Cortopassi” initiative, after its primary proponent.  The ballot measure will appear on the June 2016 ballot, would erode local control and add new hurdles to building infrastructure projects in California by allowing voters in faraway regions to reject local infrastructure projects outside of their communities.

    The initiative is not receiving good reviews:  Governor Jerry Brown expressed opposition to the measure and through a spokesperson said it was “a really bad idea.” (LA Times 11/2/15).  Fitch Ratings said “it would constrain infrastructure financing and likely result in reduced investment over time, particularly for major water projects.” (11/19/15). The California Chamber of Commerce warned “this ballot measure is both deceptive and dangerous”.  The State Building and Construction Trades Council said the measure “threatens our economy and job-creation.” And the Bay Area News Group called the initiative “a disaster”. (BANG 11/6/15)

    We are part of a broad and growing coalition opposed to this measure and will keep you posted as it progresses and let you know what you can do to help.  Stay tuned!

    Feb 12


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    We would like to congratulate and welcome the new Executive Director for the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC or shortened to BSC) Mia Marvelli.  The BSC is one of the most important state agencies that our industry works with and we look forward to working with Ms. Marvelli on all the issues – from plumbing codes to green building standards – that impact our buildings.

    As part of the Department of General Services, BSC administers the many processes related to the development, adoption, approval, publication, and implementation of California’s building codes.

     Here is more on the BSC’s new executive director from an agency release:

    “Marvelli joined the CBSC in 2012 with 20 years of prior state service including the Department of Water Resources and the Department of General Services, Real Estate Services Division. Prior to being named executive director, Marvelli served CBSC as a staff architect who administered the processes related to the adoption, approval, publication, and implementation of California’s building codes. In addition, she developed building standards and green building standards regulations on behalf of CBSC.

    “During her tenure at the Departments of Water Resources and General Services, Marvelli developed construction drawings for new state facilities and for the renovation of existing state-owned facilities in compliance with the California Building Standards Codes, Title 24, California Code of Regulations.”

    Welcome and congratulations!

    Feb 12


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    The California State Legislature is just one week away from a major deadline “New Bill Introduction Deadline.”  A slow trickle of bills has steadily increase into what will be a tsunami next week.

    All bills for the 2016 session must be introduced by next Friday, February 19.  Each session nearly 2,500 bills are introduced and we identify upwards of 500 that have an impact on the commercial real estate industry.  Stay tuned as we identify those bills and get them out to our legislative committee for analysis, prioritization, and discussions about positions.

    Feb 12


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    A proposition to change Proposition 13 in a manner that would allow an almost doubling of state property tax is currently out for signature and seems to be gaining momentum.  This is a threat that we are taking very seriously and putting out a call to our industry to get educated, active, and engaged to prepare to defend against this huge tax increase.

    The property tax initiative known dubbed by proponents at “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act” is referred to in shorthand as the “Collis” initiative after one of its primary advocates, former State Board of Equalization Member Conway Collis.

    The measure would undo Prop. 13 by creating a property tax surcharge on all properties in the state (commercial and residential) assessed at more than $3 million.  The increased taxes generated are then directed to fund “poverty reduction programs.”

    As of last week, the initiative had over 25% of the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.  Advocates have until March 21, 2016, to collect the required 585,407 signatures.

     According to a CalTax review, the 47-page initiative does not differentiate between commercial and residential properties. It refers to the property tax hike as “a surcharge not to exceed 1 percent of the full cash value of real property in excess of $3 million,” and says the “surcharge shall not be considered … a higher tax or new ad valorem tax on real property ….”

    The “surcharge,” commencing with the 2017-18 fiscal year, would be an additional 0.3 percent tax on the portion of assessed value between $3 million and $5 million; 0.6 percent on the value between $5 million and $10 million; and 0.8 percent on the value in excess of $10 million.

    This is a very real threat to increase property taxes on all of your properties in this state and we are working to mobilize all of our members to help fund efforts to defeat this threat. If you own property you should get engaged.  If you manage property you should make sure the owners of your property are aware and encourage them to get engaged.  If you rent property you should get engaged before your lease costs increase.  Stay tuned!!!

    Feb 12


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    The Energy Commission adopted the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Nonresidential Lighting Alteration Language on November 12, 2015. Comments received at the adoption hearing included concerns over how to document existing conditions for purposes of verification and enforcement. The lighting alteration subchapters of the Nonresidential Compliance Manual are under development and staff would like stakeholder input on documentation requirements for existing conditions.

    On February 16, California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop to gather stakeholder input on the enforcement of the 2016 Nonresidential Lighting Alteration Standards.  Please provide issues you may have found by replying to this email and/or click here for more information on how to participate directly.

    Feb 12


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    Our friends at Hunton & Williams LLP , have provided the following update:

    As reported in the Employment and Labor blog, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced on January 29, 2016, its proposed revision to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) that would obligate businesses with 100 or more employees to annually turn over pay data by gender, race and ethnicity. Although employers will not have to divulge specific pay-rate information for individual employees, they would have to report pay information across 10 different job categories and by 12 pay bands.

    According to EEOC Chair Jenny Yang, the EEOC will work in partnership with the Department of Labor to collect and analyze this data, and the data will be used to focus wage discrimination investigations, identify existing pay disparities, and help employers evaluate their own practices.

    Proposed changes have been available for inspection on the Federal Register website and were officially published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2016. Members of the public have 60 days from that date, April 1, 2016, to submit comments. The EEOC expects the revisions to be finalized by September, with the first reports due in the fall of 2017.

    The EEOC’s announcement again highlights the growing political and public interest in gender pay equality, and comes seven years after President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — his first piece of legislation as president — which makes it easier for women to challenge discriminatory pay in court. President Obama is also once again calling for congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would protect women from retaliation when they seek equal pay. Democrats have repeatedly introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act during the current administration, but it has always been defeated.

    Although the Paycheck Fairness Act has yet to pass, employers have been monitoring and working to comply with new legislation throughout various states that borrow aspects from the proposed federal law, including new fair pay laws in California and New York. In light of these laws and now the EEOC’s intent to collect pay data, employers should continue, among other things, to diligently review their employee compensation data, assess the potential causes for any pay disparity, and make adjustments where necessary or be prepared to explain them.

    Feb 12


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    California’s building efficiency standards have been updated, with changes that will become mandatory in January 2017. This seminar will cover what’s new in Title 24 for both residential and non-residential buildings, from high performance walls and attics to lighting and lighting controls.

    The session will also review challenges that have resulted in implementing the 2103 standards, strategies for addressing them, and solutions to these challenges that may be included in the recent revisions.

    With each cycle, California’s Energy Code is moving closer toward the goal of ZNE for all new construction. It’s vital for you to stay up to date with its evolution.

    Click here for more information and to register.