Major Legislative Wins: Incentives Repeal, Gender Discrimination Bills Stopped, Key Housing Bill Passes Out of Committee
IRWINDALE - This week, the Partnership scored major legislative victories as two bad bills were stopped and a key housing bill passed committee. The deadline for bills to clear policy committees and move to Appropriations in their respective chambers is fast approaching. Stopping bad legislation and making sure good legislation passes is a top Partnership priority in May.
SB 320 would have increased the chances for businesses to be subjected to costly litigation. The bill would have allowed customers to assert that any price difference on “substantially similar” goods, even by a nominal amount, could be based on gender discrimination and therefore the customer is entitled to a private right of action as well as attorney's fees. In an effort to comply, businesses would have been forced to assign a gender to different products and thereby engage in gender stereotyping. SB 320 was stopped in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-3-3 vote.
Another bad bill, SB 468 was substantially amended in Senate Governance and Finance Committee. As it was originally written, SB 468 would have repealed any "tax expenditure" that had reduced state revenues by more than $1 billion annually for each of the prior ten years. Under these provisions, six key state business incentives would have been repealed by 2023 including the retails sales and use tax law, food products, prescription drugs, and electricity, gas, and water utility services would become subject to state and local sales tax. Under the bank and corporation tax law, water's edge election treatment, exclusion of like-kind exchanges and the research and development tax credit would all be eliminated. The fiscal affect of these actions, as of 2020-21, according to the Department of Finance, would be a tax increase of more than $20 billion. Businesses throughout the state rely on the research and development incentives to offset the high cost of creating and researching new products. SB 468 was amended to create a state commission to review the fiscal effects of these state incentives.
Finally, a key housing bill, SB 659 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 5-4 vote. SB 659 encourages more housing development in California by minimizing frivolous litigation that blocks infill housing projects by awarding reasonable attorney's fees to the winning party.
For more information on each of these bills, please contact the Partnership's Director of Public Policy, Brad Jensen at email@example.com or (626) 856-3400.