At the close of a legislative session dominated by the deepening budget crisis, fewer bills deemed by business groups as “job killers” made it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk than in previous years.
Schwarzenegger has 30 days to sign or veto the bills. In past years, he has vetoed more than 90 percent of job killer bills.
Of the 32 bills tagged by the California Chamber of Commerce as job killers, only seven passed the Legislature and were sent to Schwarzenegger. That compares with a typical average of 10 to 12 job killer bills getting through the Legislature.
“This year, a lot more job killer bills were held in the appropriations committees of both chambers, in part because of budget concerns but also because of concerns about their impacts on the economy,” said Marc Burgat, vice president of government relations for the California chamber.
Among this year’s job killer bills:
• AB 943, which would limit the ability of employers to check job applicants’ credit histories.
• AB 1404, which would restrict the ability of companies that emit carbon gases to trade credits with other companies.
• SB 242, which would impose penalties on employers who fail to post signs or otherwise communicate with customers in languages that are commonly spoken in the community.
• SB 793, which would expand an employee’s right to sue an employer for discrimination.
Schwarzenegger earlier this month vetoed one of the seven job killer bills, SB 789, which would have allowed for card-check union representation elections for farm workers.
Several other bills that didn’t quite make the job killer ranking but are still of concern to employers also cleared the Legislature this month, including AB 98, which requires all individual health policies to cover maternity services.
“This would greatly increase health insurance costs for the many small business owners who buy their insurance as individuals,” said Michael Shaw, legislative director for the California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Business groups also oppose a bill, AB 838, that would create more indoor heat regulations and another bill, SB 104, that would add two gases to the list of greenhouse gases that must be reduced under the state’s 2006 anti-global warming law.
On the flip side, only two of the 18 bills the California chamber identified as “job creators” cleared the Legislature. The rest of the bills that the chamber and other business groups believed would spur economic growth fell by the wayside after fierce opposition from labor and environmental groups.
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