The Legislature worked through fewer bills this year, as each legislator was capped at a dozen bills as the pandemic decelerated internal operations. Usually, lawmakers are given 40 bills in the Senate and 50 in the Assembly over their two-year session. As such, the pandemic continued to be top of mind for legislators. Near the end of session, the issues of vaccine mandates and potential extension of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave were hot topics of discussion, as there were attempts to address those issues in last-minute legislation. However, as those efforts ran out of time, they will likely be back for discussion when the legislature returns in January.

After Governor Newsom successfully beat the recall effort aiming to take him out of office on September 14th, he also bested his constitutionally mandated bill-signing deadline of October 10th, finishing the task of signing or vetoing all the bills sent to his desk by the Legislature on October 9th. In his final legislative update announcement, Governor Newsom touted his California Comeback Plan which, in partnership with the Legislature, addressed statewide issues such as: providing immediate relief for those hardest hit by COVID-19, confronting the homelessness & housing affordability crisis, transforming public schools as gateways for opportunity, building infrastructure for the next century, and combating wildfires & tackling climate change.


The labor and employment policy space is usually a very active policy front within the legislature, and this year was no different. As the legislature navigated through another year of pandemic response, we saw several bills introduced to make their mark on COVID-19 response as well as several bills re-introduced from last year. 

We saw action from the Governor through executive orders, legislation, and budget bills providing extended sick leave and action from both the state and federal OSHA. CalOSHA has, for the last year, been working on their Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), first implemented through an emergency regulation process. There have been several iterations as changes in science and an increase in vaccine accessibility shifted standards and best practices. In the Spring of this year, Governor Newsom announced that California would be re-opening the economy on June 15th, with restrictions loosened for vaccinated Californians. However, the Governor’s re-opening plan meant that CalOSHA’s ETS was now at odds with the plan. Along with rapid changes from the CDC, the CalOSHA Health and Safety Standards board has struggled to keep up, burdened with layers of bureaucracy to make even simple changes to the regulations. All of this has led to the Board seeking to extend the emergency standards while working towards a permanent regulation that would be in place should we face another public health crisis. 

Members of the legislature wanted to make sure their voices were heard when it came to COVID-19 response, prompting several COVID-19 related bills being introduced. These bills ranged from telecommuting guidelines, bereavement leave extensions and contact tracing proposals, among others. 

At the end of session, with the delta variant surge at an all-time high, a few legislators floated the idea ofa vaccine mandate on employers. Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and Senator Wiener caused a stir with just two weeks left of session, when draft language was released that would require employers to mandate their employees provide proof of vaccination or proof of negative tests weekly. This came on the heels of several announcements from the Newsom administration requiring healthcare workers and state employees to get vaccinated or face termination. Assemblymember Low offered an olive branch to business when rumors swirled that he was negotiating language that would have provided liability protection to businesses who mandated proof of vaccination. However, because of the 72-hour in print constitutional deadline, these efforts were ultimately abandoned. Both authors have committed to working through the interim to push forward proposals in January. The Governor’s office was quiet on all fronts on both proposals, leaving several to speculate that the authors shelved the proposals while the Governor was still facing the recall. Meanwhile, local governments were issuing proof of vaccine mandates to enter indoor public spaces such as restaurants, stores, and gyms. 



FWC positioned on numerous onerous labor and employment bills this session, successfully opposing burdensome employer requirements, as noted below. 

Paid Sick Leave 

Early this year, SB 95 was introduced and signed into law by Governor Newsom. This bill provided for 80 hours of paid sick leave, specifically related to COVID-19. The bill provided this sick leave through September 30th of this year and ultimately expired. Several attempts by labor to extend this sick leave through the end of the year failed, including last minute efforts with a press conference asking for the Governor to issue an executive order or the Legislature to be called back for a special session to address this. FWC opposed the extension along with a broad coalition from the business community, including the Chamber. In addition to both federal and state level paid sick leave, CalOSHA Emergency Temporary Standards included exclusionary pay, meaning that employees who were scheduled to work but had to be excluded from the workplace due to a COVID-19 exposure, must be paid for those hours.  

AB 995 (Gonzalez) Paid Sick Days: Accrual and Use 

Would extend the number of paid sick days employers are required to provide from 3 to 5 days. 

  • Status: Two Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 

AB 95 (Low) Employees: bereavement leave 

Requires an employer, including any public sector employer, to provide up to 10 business days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner. This leave does not need to be consecutive but must be completed within three months of the death of the family member. This bill also authorizes an employee, whose employer discharges, disciplines or discriminates against them because they took bereavement leave, to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner (LC) or to bring a civil action without exhausting any administrative remedies. 

  • Status: Two Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 

AB 1041 (Wicks) Leave 

Allows an employee to add a “designated” family member to take leave for under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Defines “designated” person as a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests the leave and limits the employee to designate one person per 12-month period. 

  • Status: Two Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 

AB 1119 (Wicks D) Employment discrimination

Expands the list of protected characteristics under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include “family responsibilities,” defined as an obligation to provide ongoing care to a minor child or “care recipient. 

  • Status: Two Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 

AB 857 (Kalra) Labor Commissioner: Required Disclosures 

This bill would require an employer to include in their written notice to all employees, specified information required in the event of a federal or state declared disaster or applicable to the county or counties in which the employee will be employed. 

  • StatusTwo Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 

SB 606 (Gonzalez) Workplace safety: violations of statutes: enterprise-wide violations: employer retaliation 

Authorizes CalOSHA to issue a citation to an employer, determined to be “egregious” for willful violation of occupational health and safety standards and count each employee affected by the violation as a separate violation for purposes of issues fines. Establishes a rebuttable presumption. 

  • Status: Signed by the Governor • FWC OPPOSE 

FWC also positioned on numerous alcohol/tied house/agriculture related bills. 

AB 61(Gabriel D) Business pandemic relief 

Authorizes the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, for a period of 365 days following the end ofthe state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor on March 4, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to permit licensees to exercise license privileges in an expanded license area authorized pursuant to a COVID-19 Temporary Catering Permit approved in accordance with the Fourth Notice ofRegulatory Relief issued by the department, as specified. The bill would also authorize the department to extend the period of time during which the COVID-19 permit is valid beyond 365 days if the licensee has filed a pending application with the department for the permanent expansion of their premises before the 365-day time period expires. The bill would make these provisions effective only until July 1, 2024 and repeal them as of that date. 

  • Status: Signed by the Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

SB 389 (Alcoholic beverages: retail on-sale license: off-sale privileges 

After numerous rounds of amendments, the bill in its final form, authorizes, until December 31, 2026, specified on-sale licensees that operate a bona fide public eating place to sell distilled spirits for off-sale consumption for which their license permits on-sale consumption if the beverages are in manufacturer-prepackaged containers, and ordered and picked up by the consumer. This bill authorizes a licensee to sell the alcoholic beverages, except beer, for off-sale consumption for which their license permits on-sale consumption when the beverages are not in manufacturer-prepackaged containers if specified conditions are met. Assembly Amendments narrowed the scope of this bill, added additional requirements, and added a five-year sunset. 

FWC secured favorable amendments, and adopted a support position, that would have given licensed wine manufacturers privileges. However, these provisions were amended out at the end of session, among other things. FWC will work for a legislative fix to the language next session. 

  • Status: Signed by Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

AB 73 (Rivas, Robert D) Employment safety: agricultural workers: wildfire smoke 

AB 73 would consider agricultural workers “essential workers” for the purposes of including them in employees who would have access to the Department of Public Health (DPH) personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile, and (2) require Cal/OSHA to designate a “wildfire strike team” that may be deployed during dangerous air quality to investigate agricultural workplaces for compliance with wildfire smoke protection requirements. 

  • Status: Signed by Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

AB 239 (Villapudua D) Winegrowers and brandy manufacturers: exercise of privileges: locations 

Allows a licensed winegrower to sell or deliver wine in containers supplied, furnished, or sold by the customer at the winegrower’s offsite tasting room. 

  • Status: Signed by the Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

AB 364 (Rodriguez D) Foreign labor contractor registration: agricultural workers 

Extends the existing foreign labor contractor law to cover temporary foreign farm workers and farm labor contractors by deleting a section that expressly limits the law's application to "nonagricultural" workers and that expressly exempts farm labor contractors 

  • StatusTwo Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 

AB 377 (Rivas) Water quality: impaired waters 

Requires, by January 1, 2025, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Boards) to evaluate impaired state surface waters and report to the Legislature a plan to bring all water segments into attainment by January 1, 2050. Requires, by January 1, 2023, the State Water Board and Regional Water Boards to prioritize enforcement of water quality standard violations that are causing or contributing to an exceedance of a water quality standard in a surface water of the state 

  • StatusTwo Year Bill • FWC OPPOSE 


AB 535 (Aguiar-Curry D) Olive oil: labeling 

Would require a container of olive oil produced, processed, sold, offered for sale, given away, or possessed in California that includes “California” in any form on its principal display panel and contains olive oil derived from olives grown outside California to disclose the minimum percentage of olive oil in the container derived from olives grown in California. The bill would prescribe specific language to make the disclosure and require that it be in the same font, size, and color as the word “California.” 

  • StatusSigned by the Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

AB 1070 (Irwin D) Alcoholic beverage gift restrictions: exceptions: advertising umbrellas 

This bill allows specified alcohol licensees, until January 1, 2025, to give up to 12 retail advertising umbrellas to an on-sale retail licensee each calendar year. Beer and wine have amended out of the bill. However, the bill is problematic as this is still a race to the bottom. 

  • Status: Vetoed by Governor; veto message here • FWC OPPOSE 

AB 1267 (Cunningham) Alcoholic beverages: advertising or promoting donation of proceeds to a nonprofit charitable organization 

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act regulates the application for, and issuance and suspension of, alcoholic beverage licenses by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The act prohibits a licensee from giving a premium, gift, or free goods in connection with the sale and distribution of any alcoholic beverage, except as provided. This bill, as an exception to that prohibition, until January 1, 2025, would authorize a winegrower, a beer manufacturer, a distilled spirits manufacturer, a craft distiller, a brandy manufacturer, a rectifier, or a wine rectifier to donate a portion of the purchase price of an alcoholic beverage to a nonprofit charitable organization in connection with the sale or distribution of an alcohol beverage, subject to certain limitations, including a prohibition on a promotion or advertisement of the donation that directly encourages or references the consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

  • Status: Signed by the Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

AB 1330 (Frazier D) Beer manufacturers: sale of draught beer 

This bill prohibits an alcohol licensee from delivering alcoholic beverages to a consumer pursuant to any order received for an alcoholic beverage by telephone or other electronic means unless specified conditions are met. In addition, the bill exempts a licensed premise operated under a beer manufacturer license from a current requirement in the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Act that requires an on-sale retail licensee that give, sell, or otherwise dispense draught beer to include specified information regarding the beer upon the faucet, spigot, or outlet from which the beer is drawn or in the place ofservice or consumption, as provided. 

  • Status: Two Year Bill • FWC SUPPORT 

SB 11 (Rubio D) The California FAIR Plan Association: basic property insurance: exclusions 

Existing law establishes the California FAIR Plan Association, a joint reinsurance association in which all insurers licensed to write basic property insurance participate in administering a program providing for the equitable apportionment of basic property insurance for persons who are unable to obtain that coverage through normal channels. For purposes of coverages the FAIR Plan may offer, the law defines “basic property insurance” to exclude farm risks. This bill creates an exception to the exclusion on insuring farm risk that will allow for the FAIR Plan to sell commercial coverage to farms covering structures. 

  • Status: Signed by the Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

SB 19 (Glazer D) Wine growers: tasting rooms 

This bill authorizes a licensed winegrower or brandy manufacturer to operate two off-site tasting rooms under its winegrower license. 

  • Status: Signed by the Governor • FWC SUPPORT 

FWC’s legislative scorecard for the 2021 session is as follows: 

  • • Oppose: 9; Passed: 1 
  • • Support: 9; Passed: 8 





California Government
United States Government
Wine Organizations

Wine Education

University of California, Davis
California State University, Fresno
Cal Poly San Luis Opisbo