Continuing the trend of stopping anti-business laws from going to the governor’s desk, business groups stopped or weakened dozens of bills they had labeled as “job killers” in the final days of the legislative session.
Of the 32 bills that the California Chamber of Commerce identified as job killers that are harmful to business interests, only six cleared the Legislature before the session ended Aug. 31. Two bills had passed in July and Gov. Jerry Brown signed them into law; the other four are on Brown’s desk awaiting his signature or veto by the end of this month.
Last year, Brown vetoed four out of five job killer bills that he received.
Before that, as many as a dozen such bills were sent to the desk of previous governors.
"The number of job killers passing the Legislature has been slowly going down," said Marc Burgat, vice president of government relations for the state’s chamber.
Burgat said California’s persistent economic problems have focused legislators on the need to rein in bills that might lead companies to stop hiring people or to cut jobs. He added that lawmakers, due to redistricting, are more inclined to work harder to promote economic growth.
One high-profile bill weakened in the closing hours of the session bars employers from posting help-wanted ads that say they will only accept currently employed applicants. Originally, the bill also would have banned employers from asking about a job candidate’s employment status. That provision was removed after opposition from business groups. As a result, the chamber dropped the bill from its job-killer list.
Three of the job-killer bills that the Legislature has sent to Brown target money from auctions required by the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law, known as AB 32. Each bill would direct money from an upcoming auction of greenhouse gas reduction credits to specific programs. This auction, set for later this year, is expected to generate up to $1 billion from operators of 630 greenhouse gas-emitting facilities; even more money is expected from auctions in subsequent years.
The chamber, the California Manufacturers Association and other trade groups have vigorously opposed the auction, calling it an illegal tax that will sharply raise energy costs. As such, they have opposed any bills using funds from these auctions, including the three bills sent to Brown’s desk.
The other job-killer bill awaiting Brown’s action would impose a new set of regulations on agricultural companies to protect farm workers from heat illness and would give farm workers the right to sue farm owners for violations.
In July, Brown signed two bills that give residents the right to sue mortgage holders for alleged violations of due process in the foreclosure process. The chamber and other business groups claimed these bills were job killers because they would impede the ability of lenders to recover their losses, making those lenders more reluctant to make future loans.
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