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2013 State Small Business Legislation

While national news took up all of the airspace, California’s legislative session was wrapping up. What follows is a round-up of bills that are of interest to micro-business, microlending and the business climate.

AB 285

Assembly Member Cheryl Brown of San Diego introduced, and CAMEO sponsored, AB 285 to require the California Workforce Investment Board to develop guidelines for local workforce investment boards to help them implement entrepreneurial and self-employment training programs.

From Richard Harmon at Townsend Public Affairs:

Unfortunately, after working with Assembly Member Brown on her legislation, the bill was vetoed by Governor Brown. As part of his veto message, the Governor cited his signing of SB 118 (Lieu) and the “overly prescriptive” nature of AB 285, as the key reasons for not signing the bill. We agree with the Governor in the value of SB 118, which provides additional policy direction for the alignment of education and workforce investment systems, and highlights the importance of entrepreneurial programs.

However, we believe AB 285 would have provided a critical tool for local WIBs to engage the services of our members and will continue to work on this goal. As so often is the case, administrative bureaucracy is resistant to legislative direction on its policies and actions, and becomes an obstacle to implementing true change. We will take the victories gained in bills such as SB 118 along with the minor setbacks encountered along the way to build and work toward future success for CAMEO and its membership.

SB 12 and AB 227

Lori Kammerer, Government Affairs for Small Business California, sent this report on legislation:

Sponsored by Small Business California, Senate Bill 12 (Corbett) was signed Oct 4 by Governor Brown to establish the “Made in California” program that will allow California manufacturers to capitalize on the state’s global and national reputation and better market their products in an increasingly competitive economic environment. The statewide marketing strategy created in Senate Bill 12 will operate within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) so that consumers are better able to recognize the high quality products developed in California. Products that meet program criteria will be eligible to use the state-sanctioned “Made in California” label. SB 12 will enable California’s small businesses to maintain a competitive edge against businesses that decide to manufacture out of state or out of the country. The ‘Made in California’ marketing effort will help California’s small businesses remain on the cutting edge of work and product excellence by supporting local business owners, workers and their families in California. SB Cal will work closely with the Governor’s Office of GO-Biz in implementing SB 12.

Assembly Bill 227 (Gatto), was recently signed in to law by the Governor. AB 227 will help to curb an area of abusive Proposition 65 lawsuits. When Proposition 65 was passed, its intention was to keep California’s drinking water clean and to inform consumers about certain toxic chemicals in consumer products. Unfortunately, a number of unscrupulous trial lawyers have abused the law to shake down small businesses who don’t post the required warning signs. Many of these lawyers file multiple lawsuits against small businesses, all for the same claim. Even though no one is hurt or gets sick, lawsuits are filed due to the lack of a warning sign. Because of the way Proposition 65 is written, failure to post the required signs can lead to thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines. AB 227 will allow small businesses to have 14 days to put up a notice (for certain types of exposures) before they could be sued. This law revision should stop some of the worst examples of abusive Proposition 65 lawsuits.

AB 32

The Governor signed AB 32 (Pérez), sponsored by the California Department of Insurance (CA-DOI). According to the CA-DOI, the bill expands from $2 million to $10 million the annual tax credits available through COIN. “In order to obtain the tax credit, investors place five times the tax credit amount on deposit with a COIN-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) for five years. These funds are used in low-income and rural communities to fund affordable housing, business loans, and other important projects in communities that are underserved by traditional financial markets. The projected $50 million in expected investments into COIN CDFIs allowed under the new law will create more than 3,100 new job opportunities and bring services to underserved and underprivileged communities.”

The California Economic Summit posted an article about “New bills hope to make luring California business away harder.” Highlights of improving California’s business climate include:

  • AB 250-Expands and codifies California’s Innovation Hub (iHub) Program at GO-Biz.
  • AB 1067-Establishes the California Foreign Investment Program, within GO-Biz, as the lead entity for overseeing the state’s participation in the United States Citizenship Immigration Services’ EB-5 Investment Program.
  • AB 1247-Places administration of the small business financial development corporation (FDC) managed programs in the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank within GO-Biz.