Our weekly California Legislature “hot list” provides you with a preview of the bills that are up (as well as other important legislative action) the following week.

Recap of Legislative Bill Activity Last Week – The following bills were acted upon this past week:

AB 199 (Chu) – Public Works: Residential Projects – Passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee (5-1); now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 260 (Santiago) – Human Trafficking: Hotels and Motels – Passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee (11-0); now moves to the Assembly Floor.

AB 263 (Rodriguez) – Emergency Medical Services Workers “Bill of Rights” – Hearing in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee was postponed until 3/29/2017.

AB 402 (Thurmond) – OSHA: Plume – Passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee (6-1); now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 403 (Melendez) – Legislative Employee Whistleblower Protection Act – Passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on consent (11-0); now moves to the Assembly Rules Committee.

Assembly Human Services Committee – March 21, 2017 (Tuesday) – 1:30 p.m. - Room 437

The following bill will be heard (among others):

AB 676 (Limón) – Child Care and Development: OSHA Training - This bill, starting in July 1, 2018, requires an early educator, as defined, to attend a one-time, two-hour, peer-led training on occupational health and safety risks specific to the child care profession, and on how to identify and avoid those risks. The bill requires the DIR to select an entity to provide this training.

Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee – March 21, 2017 (Tuesday) – 4:00 p.m. – Room 126

The following bill will be heard (among others):

AB 353 (Voepel) – Veterans’ Preference – Hiring Policy – Authorizes a private employer to establish and maintain a written veterans’ preference employment policy to give a voluntary preference for hiring or retaining a veteran. The granting of such a preference, in and of itself, shall not be deemed to violate local or state employment discrimination laws. This bill is identical to another bill introduced this year, AB 1477 (Brough). Both bills are similar to AB 1383 (Jones) from last year, which failed passage in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Labor/Industrial Relations Committee – March 22, 2017 (Wednesday) – 9:30 a.m. – Room 2040

The following bills will be heard (among others):

SB 63 (Jackson) – New Parent Leave – This bill would provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected family leave to bond with a new child for employees that work for employers with 20 or more employees (as opposed to CFRA, which applies to employers with 50 or more employees). This bill is similar to the author’s SB 654, which was vetoed last year by Governor Brown. Notably, that bill only provided for six weeks of job-protected leave, whereas SB 63 would authorize up to 12 weeks. This bill has been designated a “job killer” by the California Chamber of Commerce.

SB 295 (Monning) – Farm Labor Contractors – This bill provides that violations of specified sexual harassment training requirements applicable to farm labor contractors are violations of the Labor Code and subject to citation by the Labor Commissioner. The bill also requires that sexual harassment training for each agricultural employee be in a language understood by that employee.

SB 391 (Vidak) – Piece-Rate Compensation – AB 1513 from 2013 established a methodology whereby certain employers could make payments for previous liability for unpaid rest periods and nonproductive time for employees paid on a piece-rate basis, while avoiding liability for civil penalties. This bill would require the Labor Commissioner to post information monthly regarding payments made pursuant to AB 1513, including the total number of employees located for whom the Labor Commissioner has collected payments, the total amount paid to those employees, and the balance remaining.

SB 418 (Hernandez) – Public Works: “De Minimis” – Existing law provides that if public subsidies on a private development are “de minimis,” the project shall not thereby be subject to state prevailing wage requirements. However, the law does not specifically define “de minimis.” This bill would define “de minimis” to mean if it is both less than $275,000 and less than 2 percent of the total project cost. Three previous legislative efforts in this regard have been attempted, but all were vetoed by Governor Brown.

SB 482 (Stone) – Sleep Time: Domestic Work Employees – This bill is brought in response to concerns over the Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions decision and would authorize a live-in domestic work employee to enter into a written agreement with the employer to exclude from compensable “hours worked” a regularly scheduled period of not more than 8 hours. If the sleep period were interrupted by an emergency, only time spent working during the emergency would constitute hours worked. Since the Mendiola decision was issued, the home health care industry has expressed significant concerns about how the issue of compensable sleep time would impact their industry and customers.

SB 524 (Vidak) – Good Faith Defense – This bill would permit an employer to raise as an affirmative defense that, at the time of an alleged violation, the employer was acting in good faith, had sought, relied upon, and conformed with a published opinion letter or enforcement policy of the DLSE, and had provided true and correct information to the DLSE in seeking the opinion letter or enforcement policy. The bill would require any person who asserts the affirmative defense to post a bond, as specified. Similar proposals have previously been tried but have not advanced past the first policy committee. This bill has been designated a “job creator” by the California Chamber of Commerce.

Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 – March 21, 2017 (Tuesday) - 1:30 p.m. – Room 447

The Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration has begun to hear Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposals related to labor and employment. This week, proposals related to the Labor ad Workforce Development Agency, the Employment Development Department, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and the Department of Industrial Relations will be heard. Check out our recent blog post for important information for California employers about these budget proposals.