United States: Last 2014 Lap For The California Legislature

Last Updated: August 19 2014
Article by Christopher E. Cobey

The California Legislature returned from its summer recess on August 4 for the sprint through the last days of the final year of the 2013-2014 session.  

Remaining Legislative Deadlines

Friday, August 15, was the last day for fiscal committees to approve bills and pass them out of committee.  August 22 will be the last day for state lawmakers to amend bills on the floor.  August 31 is the last day to pass bills this year, and the Legislature will be in final recess as of that day.  

Governor Brown normally has 12 days to sign bills he receives from the Legislature.  However, he has until September 30 to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature and in his possession on or after September 1. 

The Legislature will reconvene on December 1, 2014 for its organizational session for the 2015-2016 Regular Session, which officially begins on January 5, 2015. 

Signed Legislation

Signed by the Governor since our last update

  • AB 1746, which requires that workers' compensation cases in which the employee is or was employed by an illegally uninsured employer and the disputed issues are employment or injury, as specified, be placed on the priority conference calendar established under existing law.  Amends Labor Code section 5502.
  • AB 1939, which authorizes a government contractor to bring a court action to recover from the hiring party with which the contractor directly contracts, any increased costs, including labor costs, penalties, and legal fees, incurred as a result of any decision by the Department of Industrial Relations, the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, or a court that classifies the work covered by the project, or any portion thereof, as a public work, except under the circumstances specified.  Adds Labor Code section 1784

Bills Passed and Headed/On the Governor's Desk

  • AB 1442 provides that discrimination against any person in the selection, termination, training, or other terms or treatment of that person in an unpaid internship, or another limited duration program to provide unpaid work experience for that person, or the harassment of an unpaid intern or volunteer, is an unlawful employment practice. Amends Government Code section 12940.  (To engrossing and enrolling August 14) 
  • AB 2053 would add "abusive treatment" to required sexual harassment ("AB 1825") training of supervisorsAmends Government Code 12950.1. (To engrossing and enrolling August 13) 
  • AB 2074 provides that a suit for liquidated damages may be filed at any time before the expiration of the statute of limitations for bringing the underlying action alleging payment of less than the state minimum wage.  Amends Labor Code section 1194.2. (To Governor August 8; action required by August 20) 
  • AB 2743 allows unionized, regular short-term theatrical employees or concert venue employees to pursue liquidated damages due to non-payment of wages after discharge. Amends Labor Code section 203. (To Governor August 8; action required by August 20)1

The key bills that are still "live"2

  • AB 1522 would enact the "Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014," allowing an employee who on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days in a calendar year to be entitled to paid sick days, to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked.  This may be the most significant labor and employment bill to most California private sector employers in this year's legislative session.  The bill was amended for the sixth time at the August 14 hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Amends Labor Code section 226, and adds sections 245-249.5
  • AB 1660 would make discrimination against the holder of an undocumented resident's driver's license a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  Amends Vehicle Code sections 12801 and 12801.9.
  • AB 1723 expands the penalty, restitution, and liquidated damages provision for a Labor Commissioner citation to include payment of any applicable penalties for the willful failure to timely pay wages of a resigned or discharged employee under Labor Code section 203 ("waiting time penalties")Amends Labor Code section 1197.1
  • AB 2416 would allow a current or former employee to impose priority liens against employer property for filed, but not yet proven, wage claims.  The bill was amended for the fifth time at the August 14 hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Adds Civil Code sections 3000-3017
  • AB 2617 would restrict arbitration of claims, including those under the Ralph Civil Rights Act, Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, and Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  Amends Civil Code sections 51.7, 52, and 52.1.
  • AB 2271 would prohibit discrimination in hiring on basis of unemployed status.  The bill was amended a second time at the August 14 hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Adds Labor Code sections 1045-1049.5
  • SB 477 would require foreign labor contractors (FLC) to register with the Labor Commissioner on or after July 1, 2016 and pay a registration fee to be set by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to support the ongoing costs of the program, and would specify remedies and civil liability for violations of registration and disclosure requirements.  Amends Business and Professions Code sections 9998.1, 9998.6, and 9998.8, adds sections 9998.1.5, 9998.2.5, 9998.10, and 9998.11, and repeals and adds section 9998.2
  • SB 610 (franchises) would significantly change the permissible and required content agreements between franchisors and franchisees, including requiring proof of a substantial and material breach by a franchisee, with a 30-day cure period, before a franchisor could terminate a franchise.  Amends Business and Professions Code sections 20010, 20020, and 20035, and adds sections 20016
  • SB 1087 would amend existing law and enact new provisions related to the regulation of farm labor contractors. Amends Labor Code sections 1684, 1685, 1690, 1690.1, 1694, 1695, 1695.55, 1696.2, 1696.5, and 1697
  • SB 1299 would require the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to adopt standards, and require hospitals to take specific actions related to assessing, reporting, training, and planning and policy development, to address violence and threats of violence against employees and othersAdds Labor Code section 6401.8
  • SB 1300 would require every petroleum refinery employer to submit a full schedule of planned turnarounds for all affected units to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) every September 15 for the following calendar year. Adds Labor Code section 7872
  • SB 1407 would require that a release of a claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) shall be valid only if it is knowing and voluntaryAdds Government Code section 12964.5.3

Regulations: New and Pending

Local Ordinances4

Enacted:

  • City of San Diego: minimum wage and sick leave law vetoed August 8 by mayor; City Council vote to override the mayor's veto scheduled for August 18. 

In the works:

  • November 2014 ballot propositions:
    • San Francisco: If passed, the city's current hourly base pay would rise from $10.74 to $12.25 on May 1, then to $13 an hour in July 2016. It would increase by $1 each subsequent year until reaching $15 in 2018. 
  • San Francisco: "Retail Works Bill of Rights" (File No. 140880; to regulate the operation of formula retail establishments, including requiring employers to offer additional hours of work, when available, to current part-time employees, and requiring successor employers to retain employees for 90 days upon a change in control of the business; provides private right of action). 

Other Events Affecting the California Legislative Process or New Laws

  • The November general election ballot:
    • The California Supreme Court on August 11 yanked from the November general election ballot the statewide advisory vote on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.
    • Governor Brown and the Legislature reached a compromise on August 13 to replace the Legislature's $11.1 million water bond with a $7.5 million water bond on the November ballot. 
  • By a margin of 431 votes out of more than four million votes cast for candidates for controller, Democrat Betty Yee, a member of the State Board of Equalization, defeated former Assembly Speaker John Perez for the second spot on the November ballot.  Republican Ashley Swearengin was the top vote-getter in the primary for this office, with over one million votes.
  • Footnotes

    1 More information on all pending and enacted legislation can be found at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

    2 Not considered "live" bills for this listing are those on the appropriations committees' "suspense files," from which a bill may be taken. 

    3  This subjective listing of "hot bills" does not include "spot bills." A spot bill is one "that amends a code section in a nonsubstantive way. A spot bill may be introduced to ensure that a germane vehicle will be available at a later date...." 

    4  This is not an exhaustive listing.

    The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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