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With the start of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session BOMA California is monitoring the new bills that are being introduced. Legislators can introduce new measure up until the “Bill Introduction Deadline,” on February 27. We expect up to 2,500 introductions, with a large majority of them coming the two weeks before the deadline. Below are a few bills of interest that have been introduced to far.
Minimum Wage Increase
SB 3 (Leno D) Minimum wage: adjustment.
Existing law requires that, on and after July 1, 2014, the minimum wage for all industries be not less than $9 per hour. Existing law further increases the minimum wage, on and after January 1, 2016, to not less than $10 per hour. This bill would increase the minimum wage, on and after January 1, 2016, to not less than $11 per hour, on and after July 1, 2017, to not less than $13 per hour. The bill would require the annual automatic adjustment of the minimum wage, commencing January 1, 2019, to maintain employee purchasing power diminished by the rate of inflation during the previous year. The adjustment would be calculated using the California Consumer Price Index, as specified. The bill would prohibit the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) from adjusting the minimum wage downward and from adjusting the minimum wage if the average percentage of inflation for the previous year was negative. The bill would require the IWC to publicize the automatically adjusted minimum wage.
SB 29 (Beall D) Employment: sick leave.
Existing law requires an employer to allow an employee to use his or her sick leave to care for an ill spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child, as defined. This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to that provision and is currently a “spot bill” and one to watch.
SB 122 (Jackson D) California Environmental Quality Act: record of proceedings.
This bill is the starting point to where discussions left off last year with the Senate EQ Committee killed the primarty CEQA reform bill in 2014.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR) on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA establishes a procedure for the preparation and certification of the record of proceedings upon the filing of an action or proceeding challenging a lead agency's action on the grounds of noncompliance with CEQA. This bill would require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant and consent of the lead agency, to prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation of a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, EIR, or other environmental document for projects.
Apartment Water Submeters
SB 7 (Wolk D) Housing: water meters: multiunit structures.
(1) Existing law generally regulates the hiring of dwelling units and, among other things, imposes certain requirements on landlords and tenants. Among these requirements, existing law requires landlords to provide tenants with certain notices or disclosures pertaining to, among other things, pest control and gas meters. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to encourage the conservation of water in multifamily residential rental buildings through means either within the landlord’s or the tenant’s control, and to ensure that the practices involving the submetering of dwelling units for water service are just and reasonable, and include appropriate safeguards for both tenants and landlords. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.
AB 2 (Alejo D) Community revitalization authority.
The Community Redevelopment Law authorizes the establishment of redevelopment agencies in communities to address the effects of blight, as defined by means of redevelopment projects financed by the issuance of bonds serviced by tax increment revenues derived from the project area. Existing law dissolved redevelopment agencies and community development agencies, as of February 1, 2012, and provides for the designation of successor agencies to wind down the affairs of the dissolved agencies and to fulfill the enforceable obligations of those agencies. Existing law also provides for various economic development programs that foster community sustainability and community and economic development initiatives throughout the state. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would authorize certain local agencies to form a community revitalization authority within a community revitalization and investment area, as defined, to carry out provisions of the Community Redevelopment Law in that area for purposes related to, among other things, infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic revitalization, and to provide for the financing of these activities by, among other things, the issuance of bonds serviced by tax increment revenues.
SB 45 (Mendoza D) Economic development.Existing law provides for various economic development programs throughout the state that foster community sustainability and community and economic development. Existing law also authorizes local agencies to finance the purchase, construction, expansion, improvement, or rehabilitation of certain types of facilities. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would authorize local governmental entities to use tax increment financing for the development of economic planning, infrastructure, and educational facilities.
ADA Lawsuit Reform
Below are three bills regarding reformation of ADA “drive-by” lawsuits. We expect several more bills on this topic.
SB 67 (Galgiani D) Disability access: statutory damages.
Summary: Would except a small business from statutory damage liability in connection with a construction-related accessibility claim, and would instead limit recovery to injunctive relief and reasonable attorney's fees as deemed appropriate by the court. The bill would also extend the period for correcting construction-related violations that are the basis of a claim from 60 days to 120 days of being served with the complaint, for purposes of reducing a defendant's minimum statutory damage liability to $1000.
AB 52 (Gray D) Public accommodations: construction-related accessibility claims.
Would provide that a defendant's maximum liability for statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation is $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all construction-related violations that are the basis of the claim within 180 days of being served with the complaint and the defendant demonstrates that the structure or area of the alleged violation was determined to meet standards or was subjected to an inspection, as specified.
AB 54 (Olsen R) Public accommodations: construction-related accessibility claims.
Would, when a plaintiff brings a claim alleging a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard within 3 years of a change in that standard, allow a plaintiff to collect statutory damages only if the plaintiff also provides the owner, agent, or other party responsible for the place in violation with a written notice or demand letter at least 60 days prior to filing any action and the violation is not cured. The bill would require the written notice or demand letter to contain specified information.
Call Before You Dig Reform
This bill seeks to reform the state’s “call before you dig – 811” system. The current version of the bill removes all exemptions from calling. Question is, would this impact your operations? Are there instances where you break the surface of the ground that should not trigger a call. We’d like to hear from you.
SB 119 (Hill D) Protection of subsurface installations.
Would require the Contractors' State License Board to adopt a program to enforce violations of provisions relating to excavation. The bill would authorize the board to require a contractor to undergo training, levy a fine, and suspend a contractor's license for a violation.