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  • Archive for the ‘Legislation Updates’ Category

    Mar 8

    FINANCING AND LOAN PROGRAM BILLS GARNERS SUPPORT

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Two measures pertaining to “Energy Efficiency” that have already been identified who have received positive analysis from some of our industry experts, come from the Senator who also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Energy Efficiency, Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles):

    SB 998 (de Leon; D-Los Angeles) would require the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to authorize an electrical corporation to develop and implement an on-bill repayment program for eligible energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.

    SB 1130 (de Leon; D-Los Angeles) creates the statewide Building the Economy Through Energy Retrofits (BETER) program, to make energy efficiency upgrades cost-effective for commercial property owners by pooling risk to offer low cost loans.  This bill is sponsored by State Controller John Chiang.

    The goal of these bills is to create innovative financing tools that don’t rely on taxpayer dollars and that help leverage private capital investment to stimulate more energy efficiency retrofit projects.  We look forward to working with Senator de Leon and Controller Chiang on these measures.

    Mar 8

    BILLS BILLS AND MORE BILLS!

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     

    We are still wading through the hundreds of bills that were introduced in by the Bill Introduction Deadline last week.  Here are some interesting bills from the Assembly.  More to follow next week.  Please send any thoughts, comments, analyses you have on these bills by replying to this email.  Our Legislative Committees will be meeting over the next three weeks to set positions and prioritize bills.  Your input is importan

       
      AB 1570 (Perea; D-Fresno)  California Environmental Quality Act   (CEQA): record of proceedings.  This   bill would require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant, to   prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation and   certification of an EIR.

     

       
      AB 1598 (Buchanan; D-San Ramon)  Public contracts: public works:   installation.
      Requires prevailing wage be paid for any contract using public   monies in the installation and disassembly of freestanding and affixed   modular office systems. Because this bill would expand the definition of a   crime, it would impose a state-mandated local program. This bill contains   other related provisions and other current laws.

     

      AB 1627 (Dickinson; D-Sacramento)  Environmental quality: building   standards: vehicle miles traveled.  Requires the Energy Commission to prescribe   building design and construction standards that reduce “vehicle miles   traveled.”  The bill would prohibit a   local building department from issuing a building permit for a residential or   nonresidential building unless the department confirms that the building plan   complies with those standards.

     

       
      AB 1666 (Olsen; R-Modesto)  Automated external defibrillators   (AED).
      This bill would extend current training requirements and   liability protections for building owners who install AED’s to January 1,   2018.

     

       
      AB 1711 (Galgiani; D-Tracy)  Energy resources: energy savings   program.
      This bill tries to reduce burdensome   laws and regulations impacting real estate by specifying that an   unreasonable or unnecessary affect on the home purchasing process or the   ability of individuals to rent housing includes an act or requirement in the   assessment, rating, or improvement of a residential building that results in   certain costs or delays the close of escrow.

     

                   
       
      AB 1959 (Williams; D-Santa Barbara)  Building standards: green   building standards: toxic air contaminants. Require the California   Building Standards Commission to consider adopting building standards for   toxic air contaminants as a part of the mandatory minimum green building   standards (CALGreen).
       

     

       
      AB 2014 (Ammiano D)    Property taxation: change in ownership: legal entities: task force.  This bill   sets up a task force to review commercial real estat “change of ownership”   rules under 1978’s Proposition 13.    Task force includes a wide range of individuals, but does not include   anyone from the commercial real estate industry.

     

       
      AB 2131 (Olsen; R-Modesto)  Local government: investments.  
      Would authorize local governments to aggregate investment funds   in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds.  

     

       
      AB 2485 (Hueso; D-Chula Vista)  Retail facilites at roadside rest   areas.
      Summary: Would authorize the   Department of Transportation to enter into agreements for the operation of   roadside rest areas by private entities in conjunction with the development   of a retail establishment.

     

       
      AB 2577 (Galgiani; D-Tracy)  Environmental quality: public   comments.
      This bill would specify that a lead CEQA agency does not have a   duty to consider, evaluate, or respond to comments received after the   expiration of the public review period.

     

    Feb 10

    INTEGRATED ENERGY POLICY REPORT

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The California Energy Commission adopts an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR, pronounced eye’-per) every two years and an update every other year.  The 2012 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update is now underway.  The CEC will conduct workshops to obtain comments and receive input into the report.  The first workshops are as follow:

    February 16, 2012 – Workshop on Combined Heat and Power in California.

    February 23, 2012 – Workshop on 2012-2022 Electricity and Natural Gas Demand Forecast.

    The Integrated Energy Policy Report provides a summary of priority energy issues currently facing California. The report provides strategies and recommendations to further the state’s goal of ensuring reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy sources.

    Bottom line, this report will affect what you pay for energy.  To follow the proceedings and sign up for updates, click here.

     

    Feb 10

    STATE MAY UPDATE DISABLED ACCESS REGULATIONS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Division of the State Architect has indicated an intent to update California’s disabled accessibility standards for commercial building construction in order to conform with similar federal regulations issued by the US Department of Justice.  

    The potential to conform to federal standards has been hailed by industry and local building officials.  For over twenty years, our state has maintained a “California-only” access code which varies slightly from the federal requirements, and these minor variations are often the source of costly “drive-by” litigation.

    The DSA is expected to determine their final action plan and a related timeline for adoption later this month.  We will keep you informed when a decision is made.

    Feb 3

    RENT CONTROL BILL THWARTED – AGAIN

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Advocates of returning rent control to California were unsuccessful as SB 184 (Leno; D-San Francisco) was stopped again on the Floor of the State Senate by a close working coalition that included the California Association of REALTORS®, Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, San Diego County Apartment Association and the Santa Barbara Rental Property Association.

     

    SB 184, attempted to legitimize rent control by overturning an important court case for private property owners, failed to pass last June and action on it was suspended until this month.

    Feb 3

    TINKERING WITH THE WATER BOND?

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

     As we reported earlier in the year, legislative leaders have been making noise about reopening the water bond negotiations to either delay the vote or change the funding amount.  The $11.1 billion water bond is scheduled for a vote in November. 

     Although the primary reason being given to rewrite, downsize, and/or delay the much needed funding to the state’s water infrastructure, some Capitol-insiders believe that a primary driver is part of an ongoing attempt to clear the November ballot of measures that would compete with the Governor’s proposed tax initiative.  The Governor is focused on an initiative that would increase taxes by $7 billion to purportedly support schools and public safety. 

    Delaying the water bond is causing concern to many in the business community because storage and conveyance infrastructure is desperately needed to assure an adequate supply.

    For more information about the ongoing Water Bond Wars click here.

    Feb 3

    GOVERNOR SENDS PENSION REFORM TO LEGISLATURE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Governor Brown delivered the proposed language for his 12-point pension reform plan to leaders of the state legislature’s Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions.

    In a letter to the Legislature, the governor states that “current benefits, contributions and retirement ages don’t reflect the changing demographic realities we face and are not sustainable.  Continuing these plans in their current form will put taxpayers on the hook for substantial costs now and in the future.  Urgent and decisive action is imperative.”

    Click here to read the Governor’s 12-point plan.  And hold on tight just in case the Legislature actually makes any urgent and decisive actions.

    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

    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.

    Sep 23

    JOB KILLER’ BILLS AWAITING ACTION BY GOVERNOR BROWN

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    From our friends at the CalChamber, here is an update on all the pending “Job Killer” bills. In the closing days of the legislative year, four California Chamber of Commerce-opposed “job killer” bills passed the Legislature.  One “job killer” passed the Legislature in June and was vetoed by the Governor on June 28.

    The following bills await action by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.:

    Costly Workplace Mandates

    AB 22 (Mendoza; D-Artesia) Hampers Employment Decisions: Unfairly limits private employers’ ability to use consumer credit reports for legitimate employment purposes, such as those positions that have direct and unsupervised access to any amount of cash and/or valuable non-financial assets.

    AB 1155 (Alejo; D-Watsonville) Erodes Workers’ Comp Reforms: Increases costs and lawsuits in the workers’ compensation system by eroding the apportionment provision that protects an employer from paying for disability that did not arise from work.

    Employee Benefit Mandates

    AB 325 (B. Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Unpaid Bereavement Leave: Requires an employer to provide employees with up to three days of unpaid bereavement leave and elevates the significance of the right to bereavement leave to the same level as the right to be free from racial or gender discrimination and harassment, thereby adding to California businesses’ legal costs and responsibilities.

    Inflated Liability Costs

    AB 559 (Swanson; D-Oakland) Undermines Judicial Discretion: Unreasonably increases business litigation costs by limiting judicial discretion to reduce or deny exorbitant attorneys fees in fair employment and housing claims that should have been raised in a limited civil proceeding. 

    CalChamber believes the current provisions of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) adequately protect the rights and interests of employees and employers, as well as unions.

    Status of All Job Killers

    The end-of-legislative year status of other “job killers” is available at www.calchamber.com/jobkillers.

    Action Needed

    We thank the CalChamber for all that they do to represent and protect all aspects of California’s business community. We are proud members of the CalChamber.

    Sep 23

    SB 617 REGULATORY REFORM

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SB 617 (R. Calderon; D-Montebello) reforms the regulatory process by requiring an economic analysis of all major regulations at the beginning of the regulatory process, thus providing more transparency and better data on which to base selection of the most cost-effective regulatory alternative.

    This analysis will then drive the development and selection of regulations that fully meet the goals of the underlying statute, while having the least negative impact on the state’s economy.  If the agency adopts anything other than the most cost-effective option, it must state on the record why and justify its choice. Currently a proposed regulation’s fiscal analysis, if any, comes at the end of the process and is not based on uniform standards of analysis.

    We strongly urge the Governor to sign this measure which takes a much needed step in the right direction of regulatory reform.