Van Nuys, Calif. – As California legislators rushed to complete this unprecedented legislative session, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) successfully advocated on a number of bills that will benefit our business community. VICA is pleased to announce that 71.4% of VICA’s advocacy efforts were successful, including VICA-supported bills which were sent to the Governor as well as VICA-opposed bills which failed to pass out of the Legislature.
Further, VICA is pleased that VICA-opposed AB 1436 (Chiu) failed in the legislature. AB 1436 would have transferred the financial burdens of the pandemic from tenants to landlords, providing no real solutions to, and further exacerbating, the economic situation and housing crisis that COVID-19 has caused.
VICA President Stuart Waldman said, “California is reaching a critical juncture when it comes to housing in the wake of COVID-19. We have two options – house Californians, or don’t. Our housing crisis will still be a problem post-COVID, so we need to find a way to build more homes all while facilitating business revitalization and economic growth.”
Because of this, VICA is disappointed that the legislature failed to pass a number of bills that would have made housing more accessible in California. SB 995 (Atkins), SB 1085 (Skinner), SB 1299 (Portantino), and SB 1385 (Caballero) would have empowered and incentivized low and moderate-income housing through various means and regulations. These bills would have made workforce housing more readily accessible, but were left behind by a legislature too rushed to consider even the most beneficial of bills.
On the environment, the legislature passed VICA-supported AB 3163 (Salas), which will expand the definition of biomethane to include renewable natural gas that is produced through non-combustion thermal conversion.
VICA is proud to have successfully advocated against SB 54 (Allen) and AB 1080 (Gonzalez), which target single-use and non-postconsumer recycled plastic. While it is commendable to push efforts to reduce plastic waste, VICA feels that now, as restaurants and businesses are struggling to stay afloat, disallowing inexpensive plastic that can facilitate safe, no-contact sales is not perceptive legislation.
On healthcare, VICA is pleased that SB 977 (Monning) failed to pass through the legislature. SB 977 would have created a burdensome and exclusionary approval process on healthcare mergers and affiliations, potentially lessening access to healthcare during a pandemic.
VICA-supported AB 2164 (Rivas) passed the legislature, allowing community health centers to establish a patient through real time or store-and-forward telehealth services, which will improve access to health care. This simple clarification will increase access to virtual and cost-effective health services for thousands of patients in disadvantaged communities during one of the greatest public health crises in California’s history.
On water quality, VICA-sponsored AB 2560 (Quirk) passed in the legislature. AB 2560 will make technical information and scientific findings from the State Water Resources Board more accessible and transparent, which will allow effective planning of reliable back-up water supplies.
On labor and employment, VICA is disappointed that a proposal to create a statewide “right to recall” under AB 3216 (Kalra) was passed. AB 3216 will worsen staffing shortages, impact unemployed skilled workers, and leave young workers – new to the workforce – behind.
Further, VICA saw a huge win with the failure of AB 398 (Chu), which would have created a head tax per employee for businesses, exacerbating the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy. Unfortunately, VICA-opposed SB 1159 (Hill) passed in the legislature, codifying Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on workers’ compensation. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that businesses are solely responsible for employees who have contracted COVID-19 and that the employee contracted COVID-19 at the workplace, leaving businesses liable for increased costs.
Finally, VICA-sponsored AB 323 (Rubio), which will help the newspaper industry stabilize operations in the post-COVID environment, passed. California’s newspapers are critical partners in rebuilding the local and state economy, and the provisions outlined in AB 323 will preserve local journalism in California.
The mission of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) is to enhance the economic vitality of the greater San Fernando Valley region by advocating for a better business climate and quality of life. Visit www.vica.com for more information.