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State lawmakers proposed 500 new bills on Friday, the 2023 session’s introduction deadline, bringing the total to about 2,600.

According to a report by CalMatters, that’s the most in more than a decade, according to veteran Capitol lobbyist Chris Micheli. More than 1,000 are “placeholder” bills without specific language.

Last year, when about 2,000 bills were introduced, the Legislature passed almost 1,200 of them – and nearly 1,000 became law with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.

Workers’ rights are the focus of several bills including:

– – SB 497, by Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, from Los Angeles: Strengthens protections for workers from retaliation by employers;
– – SB 525, by Sen. María Elena Durazo, also from Los Angeles: Revives the effort to increase the minimum wage for some healthcare workers to $25 an hour;
– – AB 1672 by San Francisco Assemblymember Matt Haney: Creates a framework to address labor disputes between employee organizations who represent independent in-home caregivers and the state.

Fast food fight: With a landmark law to regulate wages and working conditions in the fast food industry on hold until voters decide its fate in November 2024, California lawmakers will try again to hold franchise chains, including McDonald’s and Burger King, responsible for alleged labor violations in their restaurants.

Assemblymember Chris Holden, a Pasadena Democrat, introduced Assembly Bill 1228 to establish joint labor law liability for fast food franchise owners. Last year, he agreed to strip it out of his fast food bill to sway detractors in the Legislature. CalMatters found that joint liability in other industries – such as extending legal responsibility from janitorial and gardening contractors to the companies that hire them – has been a key part of California’s efforts to combat wage theft and other labor violations.

But fast food franchise corporations have long avoided liability in federal and state labor law. Labor advocates say the current business model allows these companies to squeeze profits from franchise locations while distancing themselves from how employees are treated. Franchise and business groups say extending liability would upend the franchise owners’ independence as employers. The International Franchise Association released a statement saying the bill would cause business opportunities to dry up in California.

Each year the California Chamber of Commerce releases a list of job killer bills to identify legislation that will decimate economic and job growth in California. The CalChamber tracks the bills throughout the rest of the legislative session and works to educate legislators about the serious consequences these bills will have on the state.

The California Chamber of Commerce announced the first job killer Bill for 2023 on February 14.

SBX1 2 (Skinner; D-Oakland). Windfall Profits Tax. Sets an arbitrary cap on the amount of profits that a refiner operating in the state of California can earn over a quarterly basis. According to the Chamber of Commerce “This measure would further diminish supply, discourages operational efficiencies, and would limit the amount of capital a refiner could reinvest into their infrastructure to support California’s long-term climate goals.”

In 2022, the California Chamber of Commerce identified 19 job killer bills, voicing concern that the bills reflected a lack of appreciation of the economic realities and regulatory challenges employers – and especially small business employers – face as they continue to emerge from the impacts of the pandemic.

Just two bills identified as job killers passed the Legislature in 2022. Both were signed by the Governor.