Late on the night of Aug. 31, the California State Legislature wrapped up the 2015-2016 session. The end of the session contained a number of bright spots for the Los Angeles business community.
Two bills were defeated that would have allowed Sacramento to usurp power from local boards. SB 522, then SB 1379 (both Mendoza) attempted to change the composition of the Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors and SB 1387 (de Leon), sought to add seats appointed by Sacramento leadership to the Southern California Air Quality Management District. The Chamber strongly believes regional and local agencies are best-equipped to deliver projects and programs that provide regional benefits and we are pleased to see these two bills defeated.
Other year-end highlights included the passage of:
—SB 1465 (de Leon): Demonstrating State support for the LA 2024 Olympic Bid
—SB 1755 (Dodd): Allows California to collect water market data
—SB 1069 (Wieckowski) and AB 2208 (Santiago): Both represent minor progress on housing crisis
—SB 734 (Galgiani): Already signed by the Governor, this bill continues for two more years a 2011 bill that expedites the CEQA process for mega-projects that meet certain criteria.
—SB 66 (Levya): Reauthorizes the Career Technical Education Pathways program
Additionally, the Chamber successfully worked with our legislative leaders throughout the session to amend and improve bills that could have had negative impacts on businesses. Examples include inserting language shielding employers from liability in SB 1234 (de Leon) the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, and first amendment and liability protections for media companies in AB 1671 (Gomez).
The Cal Chamber’s final count showed the statewide business community working together to stop 19 of 24 bills labeled “job killers.” Two “job creators” that were part of our ACCESS Sacramento agenda passed out of both houses as well. AB 2664 (Irwin) will provide resources for the University of California to expand capacity of their innovation and entrepreneurship centers, and SB 936 (Hertzberg) which encourages the creation of small businesses by expanding their access to loans.
The Chamber would also like to recognize our local legislators who were termed out this session – Assemblymembers Mike Gatto and Roger Hernandez, and Senators Bob Huff, Carol Liu and Fran Pavley. Thank you for your service.
Our advocacy efforts now turn to Gov. Brown, who has until September 30th to sign or veto bills. We will also be pushing for progress in the special session on transportation by supporting the bills by Assemblymember Frazier and Senator Beall: ABX1 26 and SBX1 1- to address the transportation funding gap. We urge you to do the same.
And that’s The Business Perspective.
The Business Perspective is a weekly column by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Public Policy staff.