Menu Close

Last Wednesday was the deadline for Gov. Newsom to act on bills lawmakers passed this year. It capped a tumultuous legislative session that was delayed three times because of the pandemic.

In a normal year, more than 1,000 bills would have made it to Newsom’s desk for his consideration. This year, it was just a few hundred.

Labor unions were disappointed to see him veto two of their biggest issues: A bill that would that sought to guarantee laid-off hospitality workers would be first in line to get their jobs back once those industries start rehiring and another that would have extended health and safety protections to domestic workers.

In a victory for business groups, Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 3216, a proposed law that would have required that employers in certain industries – hotels, private clubs, airports or who provide building services to commercial buildings – would have rehire laid-off workers when they decided it was time to increase their workforces once again.

Newsom said in his veto message “I recognize the real problem this bill is trying to fix-to ensure that workers who have been laid off due to the COVID 19 pandemic have certainty about their rehiring and job security.”

“But, as drafted, its prescriptive provisions would take effect during any state of emergency for all layoffs, including those that may be unrelated to such emergency. Tying the bill’s provisions to a state of emergency will create a confusing patchwork of requirements in different counties at different times.The bill also risks the sharing of too much personal information of hired employees.”

Nonetheless, many of California’s largest cities – including Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco and Oakland – have enacted their own rehiring ordinances in response to the pandemic. And California law already had worker retention laws for the janitorial industry and the grocery industry.

Newsom also vetoed SB 1257, a bill that would have included about 11 million California homes and apartments under Cal/OSHA’s jurisdiction.

His veto message proclaimed that “New laws in this area must recognize that the places where people live cannot be treated in the exact same manner as a traditional workplace or worksite from a regulatory perspective.

He went on to say that “SB 1257 would extend many employer obligations to private homeowners and renters, including the duty to create an injury prevention plan and requirement to conduct outdoor heat trainings. Many individuals to whom this law would apply to lack the expertise to comply with these regulations. The bill would also put into statute a potentially onerous and protracted “investigation by letter” procedure between Cal-OSHA and private tenants and homeowners. In short, a blanket extension of all employer obligations to private homeowners and renters is unworkable and raises significant policy concerns.