SMVCC LogoThe Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce is an active participant in statewide business networks which track, monitor, and comment on legislative and regulatory proposals which would impact business conditions in our area – for good or ill. The Chamber regularly joins coalition letters or provides statements in support or opposition to specific bills or proposals.

To date this year, we have commented on a number of bills in the legislature which we believe would negatively impact business operations or the general economic environment in which our members operate. A brief summary of these items is provided below. Additionally, the Chamber stepped forward to support our local energy production industry in a request to regulators which resulted in avoiding an unnecessary legal complication.

If your business or industry has particular concern about a particular legislative proposal, or needs support in dealing with a regulatory agency, please bring the details to our attention and we’ll do our best to assist. Information should be sent to our president/CEO, Glenn Morris, at glenn@santamaria.com or 805.925.2403 x825.

AB 199 (Chu) Prevailing Wage on Residential Construction

Would eliminate the long standing residential exemption from prevailing wage rates and thereby make private market-rate residential development a public work project for which a prevailing wage would be paid. This measure would have dramatic negative cost implications for newly constructed and privately financed housing in California. This proposal would add as much as 45 – 50 percent to the cost of a newly built homes and exacerbate the housing crisis.

AB 5 (Gonzalez) Employers: Opportunity to Work Act.

Unfair Scheduling Mandate which would burden small and large employers with a scheduling mandate that requires employers to offer additional hours of work to employees before hiring a new employee or contractor and exposes employers to multiple threats of costly litigation for technical violations that do not cause an employee any harm.

SB 33 (Dodd) contracts for goods or services: waiver fraud, identity theft, and wrongful use of personal identifying information.

Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements contained in contracts for goods and services and is likely preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, which will lead to confusion and litigation, by prohibiting any mandatory arbitration agreement that requires an individual to waive any claims for fraud, identity theft, or wrongful use of personal identifying information.

SB 62 (Jackson) Unlawful employment: family care and medical leave.

Significant Expansion of California Family Rights Act. Increases costs, risk of litigation and creates less conformity with federal law by expanding the family members for whom leave may be taken, which will provide a potential 24- week protected leave of absence for employers to administer.

SB 63 (Jackson) Unlawful employment practice: parental leave.

Imposes New Maternity and Paternity Leave Mandate. Unduly burdens and increases costs of small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding and exposes them to the threat of costly litigation.

Californians for Energy Independence. Request for support on regulatory action.

Californians for Energy Independence requested a letter of support related to a potential deadline on February 15 that would have shut down 25% of California’s oil production, absent a completed review of aquifer exemption permits by USA EPA, DOGGR and the SWRCB. Many of the aquifer exemption permits that have been submitted have not even begun the agency review process, let alone had an official public hearing. If these aquifer exemptions were not granted by February 15, legally-permitted producers will be forced to halt production, resulting in a shutdown of production. The request was to delay the deadline to allow time for the normal review process to proceed.