California Chamber of Commerce has released its 2023 job killer list, which includes bills dealing with labor and employment issues, taxation, housing costs, environmental, and climate and energy policies.
“California’s robust private sector economy creates and maintains more than 17 million jobs, paying $1.6 trillion in annual wages and salaries,” said CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera. “Yet, cost pressures, workforce challenges, litigation threats, and California’s pernicious housing shortage are an ever-present threat to our continued success. Costly policies — like the ones on CalChamber’s job killer list — stifle job creation, reduce investment in our economy, and drive outward migration.
“Job killing policies make California unattractive both to current employers and entrepreneurs who, incidentally, generate the preponderance of the state’s tax revenue, and to those who might want to come here to invest in our future economy.”
The CalChamber will periodically release updates to the job killer list as legislation changes. Readers are encouraged to track the current status of the job killer bills on www.calchamber.com/jobkillers or by following @CalChamber on Twitter.
The 2023 CalChamber job killer list includes the following bills:
Labor and Employment
• AB 524 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Expansion of Litigation Under FEHA. Exposes employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family caregiver status, which is broadly defined to include any employee who contributes to the care of any person of their choosing, and creates a de facto accommodation requirement that will burden small businesses.
• AB 1156 (Bonta; D-Alameda) Expands Costly Presumption of Injury. Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector.
• SB 525 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Costly Minimum Wage Increase. Imposes significant cost on health care facilities and any employer who works with health care facilities by mandating increase in minimum wage to $25.
• SB 365 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) Undermines Arbitration. Discriminates against use of arbitration agreements by requiring trial courts to continue trial proceedings during any appeal regarding the denial of a motion to compel, undermining arbitration and divesting courts of their inherent right to stay proceedings.
• SB 399 (Wahab; D-Hayward) Bans Employer Speech. Chills employer speech regarding religious and political matters, including unionization. Is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment and preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
• SB 616 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Costly Sick Leave Expansion on All Employers.Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by more than doubling existing sick leave mandate, which is in addition to all other enacted leave mandates that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply.
• SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate.Imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants, movie theaters, and franchisees, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment.
• SB 723 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate. Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, and removes guardrails on existing law by making mandate permanent and significantly broadening the applicability of the law.
• SB 809 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Prohibits Consideration of Conviction History in Employment. Prohibits nearly every employer from considering conviction history of an applicant or existing employee in employment decisions and imposes cumbersome process on employers that are legally not allowed to hire individuals with certain convictions.
• AB 259 (Lee; D-San Jose) / ACA 3 (Lee; D-San Jose) Wealth Tax. Seeks to impose a massive tax increase upon all forms of personal property or wealth, whether tangible or intangible, despite California already having the highest income tax in the country. This tax increase will drive high-income earners out of the State as well as the revenue they contribute to the General Fund.
• AB 68 (Ward; D-San Diego) Quashes Housing. Worsens California’s existing housing crisis by preventing local governments from permitting new housing units in most of their jurisdictions.
• AB 1000 (Reyes; D-San Bernardino) De Facto Ban of Warehouses. Mandates a statewide setback of 1,000 feet from sensitive receptors for all new or expanded logistics use facilities, regardless of environmental impacts, establishing a de facto ban. Also creates a new private right of action in California.
• SB 12 (Stern; D-Canoga Park) Arbitrary Greenhouse Gas Target. Arbitrarily changes the State’s greenhouse gas reduction goal from 40% of 1990 levels by 2030 to 55%. By the State’s own estimate this proposal will force 17 million gas-powered cars off the road in the next 10 years.
• SBX1 2 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Windfall Profits Tax. Sets an arbitrary cap on the amount of profit that a refiner operating in the state of California can earn over a quarterly basis. This measure would further diminish supply, discourages operational efficiencies, and would limit the amount of capital a refiner could reinvest into their infrastructure to support California’s long-term climate goals. Signed. Chapter 1, Statutes of 2023–24 First Extraordinary Session.