State rent caps, data privacy, major labor bills in limbo as State Legislature reconvenes
SACRAMENTO - State lawmakers will return to the State Capitol on Monday to begin the final session of the year with major legislation pending on a host of topics including data privacy regulations, a statewide cap on rent increases, and significant changes to state labor law.
"This has been a very significant year in Sacramento as lawmakers try to gauge what Governor Newsom will sign and support," said Partnership President and CEO Bill Manis. "After eight years of Governor Brown - who was willing to veto bills he felt were too costly, poorly thought out, or just plain silly - lawmakers have rolled out many bills that push the envelope to see what Governor Newsom will do when presented with similar bills."
Data privacy has been a major issue all year long as last year's deeply flawed bill, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is scheduled to go into effect January 1st, 2020. Several common-sense fixes to the CCPA have moved forward in the State Legislature but have yet to cross the finish line. AB 25 (Chau), which clarifies the definition of a consumer in the CCPA is still moving forward as is AB 846 (Burke), which will allow companies to continue customer loyalty programs like frequent flier miles. AB 874 (Irwin) clarifies language in the CCPA on what is personal information under the law, AB 1146 (Berman) clears up language on vehicle recalls and warranty repairs, and AB 1564 (Berman) establishes alternate ways customers can contact companies for customer complaints. Each of these bills will be heard in Senate Appropriations, a committee chair by Senator Anthony Portantino, who represents Glendale, Pasadena, and the foothill cities in the State Senate.
Tenant protections has been championed by Governor Newsom this year and a recently amended bill, AB 1482 (Chiu), will follow newly enacted rent cap legislation in Oregon to cap rent increases across California at 7% per year plus an allowance for inflation (usually 2.5%). This measure, if passed and signed into law, would be in force for the next three years. This bill is also in Senate Appropriations.
Finally, two labor bills will upend established state law regarding employer-employee relations. AB 51 (Gonzalez) prohibits arbitration of labor and employment claims as a condition of employment. This aggressive bill is likely preempted by federal labor law, which clearly allows employers to require agreement to arbitration to settle employee-employer disputes as a condition of employment. AB 51, if passed, will also expose employers to criminal liability and adds another private right of action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, inviting more litigation at marginal benefit to employees in the state. AB 1066 (Gonzalez) would allow employees who are out on strike during a labor dispute to apply for unemployment insurance after four weeks. Unemployment insurance is intended to assist employees, who, through no fault of their own, are forced to leave their employment. Employers pay for unemployment insurance to assist these employees. Striking workers are still employed and have voluntarily chosen not to work as a negotiating tactic. It is fundamentally unjust for these workers to draw unemployment insurance while they still have employment, thereby depleting these insurance funds for those who truly need assistance. Both of these bills are in Senate Appropriations.
The Partnership will visit Sacramento next week to meet with our lawmakers and will advocate for legislation that will improve the business environment of the state while encouraging the defeat of legislation that harms the economy.
For more information, contact Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy, at the Partnership or by email email@example.com.