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Weekly Update- August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020

COVID RE-OPENING “EMPLOYER HANDBOOK”

The Governor has released a 32-page handbook to help employers “plan and prepare for reopening their business and to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.”  CBPA and other employer groups have been working closely with the Governor’s staff to advise on practical issues related to opening retail, office, and industrial space.

The guidebook includes recommendations for all industries, including enforce mask requirements, and handle and employee outbreak.

Click here to read the Governor’s “Employer Playbook” and make sure you are protecting yourself and your business as you bring employees and customers back into your facilities.

 

UNLAWFUL DETAINER BILLS

There are three bills alive right now impacting property owners and tenants relating to rent and unlawful detainer issues.  Although they are all currently intended to apply to residential only, we are following very closely and engaging along with partners at the CA Apartment Association.

Two of the three bills are, AB 828 (Ting; D-San Francisco) and AB 1436 (Chiu; D-San Francisco), are opposed by many business and property groups as they would shift the burden of COVID-19 related economic issues solely onto property owners, which put them at jeopardy of going into default and losing their properties.  That approach helps no one and would exacerbate the problem.

While the third, SB 1410 (Caballero; D-Salinas), while not perfect, does take a much more balanced approach as we have been advocating since march.  We have pointed to this bill as a workable framework that recognizes both the property owner and the tenant need assistance, and contracts must be honored.  The language currently is intended to apply to residential only, so we are following closely but remain neutral.

All bills will be heard next week.

 

JOB KILLER UPDATE

Although the legislature has had a truncated session, they are plowing forward with many bills that will impact you as an employer.  We are proud members of the CalChamber and we appreciate their leadership on the following bills, all of which are the worst of the worst and have been dubbed “Job Killers:”

SB 55 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), a job killer that expands existing requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

It adds substantial time and costs to the CEQA process and provides project opponents with new legal arguments to delay or block housing and other projects. SB 55 is almost identical to job killer SB 950 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), which failed to pass the Senate Environmental Quality Committee earlier this year.

AB 1253 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles), a massive retroactive tax increase. The bill seeks to increase California’s personal income tax rate, already the highest in the country, for struggling small businesses and high-income earners, which will result in a recently reported $6.8 billion in increased taxes.

Millions of California small businesses pay the personal income tax and will soon face higher pandemic-related unemployment insurance taxes, workers’ compensation rates, and other state-mandated costs of doing business. Imposing a punitive new tax on these businesses is exactly the opposite approach to saving jobs and restoring the state’s battered economy.

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee heard testimony on AB 1253 on August 3 but did not vote.

SB 1383 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), dealing with time off for employees. The bill significantly burdens small employers by requiring employers with only five employees to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of mandatory family leave, which can be taken in increments of 1-2 hours, and threatens these small employers with costly litigation if they make any mistake in implementing this leave.

SB 1399 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles), increasing cost and liability on employers. The bill significantly increases the burden on non-unionized employers in the garment manufacturing industry in California by eliminating piece rate as a method of payment even though it can benefit the employee, creating joint and several liability for contractors for any wage violations or the employer, and shifting the evidentiary standards in a Labor Commissioner hearing to limit the ability for an employer to defend against an alleged wage violation. These additional requirements will encourage companies to contract with manufacturers outside of California, thereby limiting the demand and workforce of garment manufacturers in California.

AB 345 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance), an unnecessary bill, failed to pass the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on August 5 on a vote of 4-5.

The bill is a carryover from 2019 that threatens to eliminate thousands of high-paying jobs, decrease revenues for the state and force California to import even more foreign oil.

By politicizing the ongoing regulatory process that the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) was directed to undertake by Governor Newsom, AB 345 arbitrarily predisposes setback requirements and undermines CalGEM’s independent process of considering the best available science.

Reconsideration was granted on a vote of 5-3. The committee chair said the committee will meet again on August 12.

 

PROP 15 SPLIT ROLL WILL EVENTUALLY CANCEL PROP 13

Wayne Lusvardi formerly worked for California’s largest urban water agency and lives in Rancho Mirage, has penned the following op/ed explaining why Prop 15 the split roll property tax measure on November’s ballot is so bad:

It was elderly widows who were being thrown out of their homes for unpaid property taxes in 1975 before Proposition 13.  Now with Proposition 15 it will be mom and pop businesses in leased buildings, and Uber drivers who own their homes who are going to be displaced.

Proposition 15 – the so-called split commercial/residential tax roll – on the November ballot is being advertised as solely a commercial property tax.  But there is a trojan horse contained in Proposition 15 that will unravel Proposition 13 property tax protections even for residential properties.

Single-family residential homes used for home offices or UBER drivers who park their cars at their owned residences will have their homes reclassified as commercial properties under proposed Proposition 15. Eventually, property taxes will be equalized by the legislature, and the mandates of Proposition 15 will apply to all owners who hold multiple homes and apartments, not just commercial properties.  Moreover, small business owners will have the higher property taxes passed through to them in the form of higher rents and will not be able to stay in business after a couple of years. But it will be the consumers who will ultimately pay the so-called higher commercial property taxes.

Click here to read the full article:

 

 LEGISLATURE RETURNS AFTER COVID-19 RECESS

Both Houses of the California State Legislature delayed the reconvening of session from its short Summer Recess will return next week to resume activity.  That will give the body just four weeks to complete policy and fiscal hearings, and floor sessions for thousands of legislative measures still eligible for votes.  That process normally takes place over a three-month period.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislative body had tried to manage with a truncated legislative schedule and now because several legislators and staff members have recently tested positive for coronavirus they will take more time before returning to the Capitol.

The Legislature has until the end of August to deal with thousands of bills that have been introduced this legislative cycle.  August 31 is a Constitutional deadline to end the Regular Session.

The Governor and Legislature could do a Special Session after that, however, that bring tight rule, high vote counts, and will take away from campaigning, so not many believe it will happen.  Though, anything seems possible about now.

CBPA is tracking hundreds of measures on behalf of the industrial, retain, and office sectors of the commercial real estate industry.  As your representatives in Sacramento we are continuing to engage legislators and their staffs on these bills even though the legislature is not currently meeting in person.  We remain active and vigilant and will engage in whatever manner is appropriate to protect your interests.

 

NOVEMBER 2020 – OFFICIAL VOTER INFORMATION GUIDE

After Attorney General Xavier Becerra finalized Title and Summary for propositions appearing on the November 2020 statewide ballot, the Secretary of State has released the following official voter guide.

Click here to read all about the 12 propositions, including Prop 15, which will kill Prop 13.

 

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