- Total 2017 bill introductions: 2,495
- Total 2016 bill introductions: 1,993
- Total 2015 bill introductions: 2,297
- Total 2014 bill introductions: 1,930
- Total 2013 bill introductions: 2,256
Last year, Governor Brown secretly closed the deal on a minimum wage increase that took many, even legislative leaders, by surprise. In January, the minimum wage rate increased to $10.50. It will continue to increase each year until reaching $15.00 in 2022, then indexed annually to inflation: January 1, 2018 Minimum Wage Rate: $11.00 January 1, 2019 Minimum Wage Rate: $12.00 January 1, 2020 Minimum Wage Rate: $13.00 January 1, 2021 Minimum Wage Rate: $14.00 January 1, 2022 Minimum Wage Rate: $15.00
Today’s political climate has polarized both the left and the right, and demographics continue to shift, creating a new political landscape that could impact the state’s leadership. While Republicans believe President Trump has created more opportunities for the conservative party, California remains a strong and deep blue state.
Incumbent and aspiring lawmakers and political leaders are now turning their attention to the 2018 General Election. Politicians are raising funds, hiring campaign managers, and executing winning district and statewide strategies. Next November, California voters will shape the next generation of leaders. This section will provide an overview of what to anticipate leading into next year’s historic election:
At the federal level, Democrats are targeting seven congressional seats held by Republicans for the midterm elections. While many of the priority districts voted for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, it has yet to be determined if Democrats will be successful in upsetting those races and overturning GOP control of Congress.
While there are few Assembly and Senate races, voters will not only make historic decisions for statewide offices, but also statewide ballot initiatives. As of this writing, two initiatives have qualified, however dozens of proposals are circulating through the process. Below is a summary of the two qualified measures:
Motor Vehicle Fees & Taxes – Restriction on Expenditures
Amends the California Constitution to require revenues derived from vehicle fees to be used solely for transportation purposes
People’s Initiative to Protect Proposition 13 Savings, Versions 1, 2 & 3 A trio of initiatives run by the California Association of Realtors to remove the current requirements for homeowners to transfer their property tax base to a replacement residence:
- That the homeowner be over 55 or severely disabled
- Replacement property be of equal or lesser value
- Replacement residence be in a specific county, and
- The transfer occurs only once
- Removes similar replacement-value and location requirements on transfers for contaminated or disaster-destroyed property
- Requires adjustments to the replacement property’s tax base, based on the new property’s value The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 Gives consumers the right to know what personal information is being collected by businesses, how that information is being used, the right to say no to the sale of personal information, as well as prohibit businesses from discriminating against a consumer who requests their information not be shared or sold The number of signatures needed to qualify an initiative is based upon voter turnout from the previous gubernatorial election. In this case, the 5% needed to qualify an initiative is 365,880 signatures and the 8% needed to qualify a Constitutional amendment is 585,407. The low voter turnout in 2014 has essentially made it that much easier.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund
Creates the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund and directs all monies collected by the California Air Resources Board as part of the state’s market-based compliance mechanism to be deposited beginning in January 2024
Many other proposals are awaiting approval from the Office of the Attorney General, and others currently under circulation for signature gathering, including:
Gas Tax Repeal
This measure would repeal the recently enacted statewide gas tax, and is endorsed primarily by Assembly Member Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach).
The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Natural Resources Protection and Park Improvement Act of 2018 Allocates funds for projects for safe drinking water, water quality, climate resilience, and state and local park improvements
Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018
Allocates funds to a variety of projects, including water-supply infrastructure; water storage and conveyance; ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration; and drinking water protection
Lot’s happening in California and 2018 will be very busy for those of us in the wine industry
Status: 2-year Effort. Failed First House Fiscal Deadline
Political Solutions worked in conjunction with a number of other organizations, ranging from the California Chamber of Commerce to the agricultural community to stall this year’s attempts at changing the ways in which employers are allowed to hire. The coalition successfully stalled the bill in the Assembly. This was a major victory ahead of the June House of Origin deadline, but staff indicated they would prepare amendments in the Fall Interim and move the bill in January 2018.
As drafted, AB 5:
- Requires employers with 10 or more employees to offer additional hours available to existing employees before contracting or hiring new employees
- Requires employers to document the offering of hours
- Requires employers to document employees’ acceptance or declination of additional hours
- If more than one employee accepts, the bill requires employers to give additional available hours, in a nondiscriminatory manner, to existing employees who they
The author is also Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace. Last fall, she held an informational hearing in San Jose to discuss underemployment issues which led to AB 5 (Gonzalez Fletcher), as well as local proposals. San Jose voters subsequently approved Measure E in 2016. It requires employers to offer hours to existing part-time workers before hiring additional staff.
Status: Failed Deadline
Establishes notice requirements for a plaintiff to follow before bringing an action against a small business for an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
Status: Failed Deadline
Disallows the Division of Occupational Safety and Health from initiating any enforcement action for any non-serious violation against any small business or microbusiness, without first providing the employer written notice and 30 days to fix the violation.
Status: Signed by Governor (Chapter 492, Statutes of 2017)
Position: Changed from Oppose to “No position”
- Prohibits an employer from providing a federal immigration enforcement agent access to a place of labor without a properly executed warrant, and prohibits an employer from giving a federal immigration enforcement agent access to an employee’s records without a subpoena.
- Prescribes penalties for failure to comply.
- End of session amendments to the bill included the following: PAGA does not apply (provisions moved into Government Code) and there is no reporting to the Labor Commissioner. Given these amendments, the Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations, including FWC, moved to “no position” on the bill.
Status: 2 year bill
As introduced, the bill required businesses to offer gratuity options for credit or debit purchases. It was later amended to define employer to apply to hotels, car washes, barbers, salons, restaurants, and transportation network companies. Subsequently, it was further narrowed to capture organizations that use online-enabled apps to connect workers and customers, including transportation network companies. Uber agreed to offer tips for employees and the author dropped the bill.
FWC was originally opposed to the bill because of the complexity associated with ensuring that the employee providing the service would in fact be the employee to get the tip. In operations where more than one employee may interact with a customer, this bill would have been a logistical headache.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 186, Statutes of 2017)
AB 297 expands California’s inimitable wine industry and culture by including Sonoma County and The California Wine Center at Museum on the Square (The Center) in a special “Type 78” liquor license that is authorized for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 442, Statutes of 2017)
As introduced, AB 471 would authorize ABC to issue 5 new original neighborhood-restricted special on-sale general licenses in the City and County of San Francisco each year until a total of 30 of these licenses are issued. The bill was amended to restore last year’s Napa language, and consequently, Napa will get an additional 20 licenses over the next 4 years (5 were added this year per last year’s bill).
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 444, Statutes of 2017)
AB 522 provides that a nonprofit that has acquired a raffle registration from the Department of Justice, and has been issued a special temporary on-sale or off-sale beer or wine license, may hold a raffle including a prize of alcoholic beverages without violating the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 295, Statutes of 2017)
AB 609 would extend the sunset for 5 years on the hosted entertainment law. The bill is sponsored by DISCUS.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 788, Statues of 2017)
Authorizes an exception to a current prohibition, by allowing a licensed winegrower and a licensed beer manufacturer that holds a small beer manufacturer’s license, whose licensed premises of production are immediately adjacent to each other and which are not branch offices, to share a common licensed area in which the consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 847, Statues of 2017)
This is the second year in a row in which Lorena Gonzalez has pursued mandating server training. Last year’s bill required the creation of an entirely new program, and was vetoed by the Governor. This year’s bill would establish the Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Program Act of 2017, and would require the department, on or before January 1 2020, to develop and implement a curriculum for an RBS training program, which presumably, will be similar in nature to the voluntary program already administered by the Department. The bill would, beginning July 1, 2021, require an alcohol server to successfully complete an RBS training course offered or authorized by the department.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 419, Statutes of 2017)
AB 1722 modifies a provision of the (ABC) Act that prohibits a nonretail licensee from offering, funding, producing, sponsoring, promoting, furnishing, or redeeming certain consumer coupons, by revising the definition of a “coupon” to remove the requirement that the discount be instantly provided and that an alcoholic beverage be purchased. The bill also includes a mail-in rebate or mail-in discount as a “coupon.”
Status: Failed Deadline
This bill would prohibit a delivery network company from delivering, providing, arranging, or facilitating the delivery of alcoholic beverages unless it has a system, reviewed and approved by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and can verify that the products are delivered to a person who is 21 years of age or older. This bill stems from the rise of food delivery companies, who were accused of delivering alcohol to underage college students. While the bill was a good idea in concept, the author had significant trouble defining these delivery companies, which led to concern that his broad definition would include traditional delivery companies such as FedEx, and ultimately make legal alcohol delivery more difficult.
SB 378 would authorize the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, by temporary restraining order, to temporarily suspend or condition any license when, in the opinion of the department, the action is urgent and necessary to protect against an immediate threat to health or safety that is related to the operation of the licensed business. This bill, sponsored by law enforcement, was conceptually acceptable, but was later amended to include tasting rooms in the provision, and lacked clarity as to how a licensee would get their license reinstated.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 517, Statutes of 2017)
This bill provided a tied house exception for boutique hotels which would reduce the minimum number of guestroom accommodations from 100 to 50 for an existing provision in the ABC Act that enables specified licensees to hold an ownership interest in a hotel or motel. Additionally, the bill adds “out-of-state distilled spirits shipper” to the list of specified licensees authorized to hold an ownership interest in a hotel/motel.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 486, Statutes of 2017)
This bill expands exceptions to allow beer manufacturers, winegrowers, distilled spirits rectifiers, distilled spirits manufacturers, or distilled spirits manufacturer’s agents to purchase advertising space and time, in connection with described events, from, or on behalf of, on-sale retail licensees at specified facilities located in the City and County of San Francisco.
Status: 2-year Effort. Failed House of Origin Deadline
For the second year in a row, the legislature has made attempts to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. Despite efforts at the Department of Pesticide Regulation to investigate and determine the proper use of the chemical, the legislature has made clear statements that it doesn’t believe the process is moving quickly enough. Similar to past efforts, the bill stalled in its house of origin.
- Requires on and after July 1, 2018 the labeling of commercially available seeds and plants sold at retail establishments
- Excludes noxious weed seeds and plants that have been treated with a neonicotinoid pesticide
- The label must state: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETYWARNING: MAY HARM BEES” and a logo
- Specifies that “treatment” includes foliar and granular treatments, in addition to seed coatings
- Clarifies that noncompliance with the labeling requirements of this bill is a violation of Business and Professions Code unfair business practice provisions
Status: Signed by Governor (Chapter 538, Statutes of 2017)
SB 252 requires cities and counties in groundwater basins that are in critical overdraft, to develop or otherwise amend their groundwater well permitting requirements to mandate that applicants provide the county with a variety of information. As FWC members are aware, in 2014, the legislature passed a series of bills that substantially modified water law. As a requirement of those bills, counties and local governments are required to develop and implement groundwater management plans. This bill placed a redundant and burdensome requirement on land owners and counties who are already required to regulate groundwater extraction. Through much negotiation with the author, his staff, and stakeholders, this bill was substantially amended such that FWC removed our opposition.
Status: Failed Deadline
SB 623 would have imposed a combination of taxes in order to provide clean drinking water to communities impacted by drinking water contaminated by nitrates. The clean drinking water program would be paid for with a combination of taxes on residential and commercial water users, as well as a fertilizer tax. In exchange for participation in the program, agricultural activities would receive protection from water board enforcement actions.
Status: Failed Deadline
Authorizes a landowner or group of landowners to petition the board of supervisors to rescind a contract or contracts in order to simultaneously place the land subject to that contract or those contracts under a new contract designating the property as a farmland security and conservation zone for a period of at least 30, 40, or 50 years, as specified. This bill would require land subject to a farmland security and conservation zone contract to be valued between 61% and 65% of the value of the land based on the length of the contract.
Status: Held in Senate Appropriations
This bill would reinstate a modified subvention program that provides payments to cities and counties that have agricultural land under Williamson Act and Farmland Security Zone contracts. Specifically, SB 435 would reduce the amount per acre paid to a city or county under the provisions of the Williamson Act to $2.50 for prime agricultural land, $0.50 for all other land devoted to open-spaces of statewide significance, and for counties that have adopted farmland security zones, and $4 for land that is within three miles of the sphere of influence of an incorporated city.
To be eligible for subvention payments, a local government must adopt procedures to accept new contract applications and consider any proposed solar-use easement rescissions. The bill provides additional subvention payments of equal amounts, out of funds continuously appropriated to the State Controller, if a city or county submits an application to the Secretary of Natural Resources that includes:
- A map and inventory, submitted electronically, of agricultural land, open space, and watershed land resources within its jurisdiction.
- A description and analysis of the city or county’s measures to protect and conserve resource lands and farmland and to further the implementation of the applicable regional sustainable communities strategy, as specified.
- A summary of the relevant local agency formation commission’s policies and procedures regarding agricultural, open space, and watershed land issues.
- A summary and explanation of how the city or county’s general plan addresses agricultural land use, land conservation, open space use, and related issues.
- A summary and explanation of the city or county’s policies and procedures for addressing environmental impacts on the productivity and inventory of agricultural land and open space resources under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Status: Signed by the Governor
This bill allows a city or county to develop an agricultural land component of their open-space element, or a separate agricultural land element, in return for priority consideration for funding provided by the Department of Conservation. Assembly amendments allow a city or county to develop a separate agricultural land element, clarify that existing elements that meet the requirements of the bill may be substituted, allow usage of cancellation fees to support the activities under the bill, and add procedures for issuing planning grants.
A city or county that chooses to develop an agricultural land component or separate agricultural land element must identify and map, utilizing the designation in the Farmland Monitoring and Mapping Program or the soil surveys conducted by the United States Natural Resources Conservation Service:
- The extent and type of agricultural lands within the city's or county's jurisdiction, as specified;
- All public agencies with responsibility for preservation of agricultural land within the jurisdiction, including resource conservation districts;
- The total acreage and Farmland Monitoring and Mapping Program classification of former agricultural land that has been developed since 1984, as specified;
- The total acreage of land that qualifies as a category of agricultural land that is likely to be developed in the next eight years; and,
- An identification and designation of priority land for conservation.
- Establish a comprehensive set of goals, policies, and objectives based on the information identified above to support long-term protection of agricultural land;
- Identify and establish a set of feasible implementation measures designed to carry out and promote the goals, policies, and objectives established above.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 469, Statutes of 2017)
Requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to appropriate $250,000 annually in matching dollars to the Napa County Housing Authority to support the operations of the three Napa farmworker housing centers.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 72, Statutes of 2017)
Increases the limit on the annual self-imposed assessment on growers to help fund the farm worker centers as proposed in AB 317 (Aguiar-Curry), from $10 to $15 per planted vineyard acre.
Status: Failed Deadline
Would require that certain agricultural worker housing be deemed an agricultural land use for purposes of the general plan of a local agency and would prohibit the local agency from requiring a conditional use permit or other discretionary permit, zoning variance, or other zoning clearance for that housing that is not required for any other agricultural use within the same zone.
Status: Signed by the Governor (Chapter 510, Statutes of 2017)
Requires the Attorney General, after reviewing the certificate of merit and supporting factual basis filed under a Prop 65 action, to serve a letter to the noticing party and the alleged violator if he/she believes there is not merit to the action.
After several public meetings, DPR has finally released their proposed regulation aimed at curtailing pesticide application near schools.
The proposed regulation would do the following:
Prohibit many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and child day-care facilities from Monday through Friday between 6am and 6pm. These include all applications by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast and all fumigant applications. In addition most dust and/or powder pesticide applications such as sulfur would also be prohibited during this time.
Require California growers and pest control contractors to notify public K-12 schools and child day-care facilities and county agricultural commissioners (CACs) when certain pesticide applications are made within a quarter mile of these schools and facilities.
FWC, along with the agricultural community at large is requesting that DPR provide more substantial scientific backing for this proposal. We do not believe that this proposal is derived from any data that demonstrates any evidence of health impacts.
There were a number of changes to the Proposition 65 law this year. FWC was actively engaged in the process and made great effort to ensure that a variety of proposals were modified so as to have the least negative impact on our members. While the new regulations are arguably now more complicated for both consumers and manufacturers, they are a significant improvement from initial iterations. We encourage you to contact our office for more specific information about the changes that have gone into effect and how you can comply.
This year, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) suffered a bit of a shakeup when their Director, Tim Gorsuch, stepped down. The wine industry also lost a good relationship when Lori Ajax, head of enforcement, took a position within the newly created department charged with regulating marijuana. The ABC is currently being led by Ramona Preito and a team of California Highway Patrol staff. The timeline for replacing the Director is unknown, and we are anxiously awaiting a new head of enforcement as well. We hope that 2017 will bring in new leadership that will continue the positive working relationship with FWC that we have had for the past several years. We will be sure to work with the new team to continue to focus on compliance and consistency issues.