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California Policy

CAMEO California Legislative Priorities for Microbusiness

CAMEO’s COVID-19 Recovery Response

The country’s small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges and devastation. Analysis of the Current Population Survey found that over the two-month window from February to April 2020, “the number of active business owners in the United States plummeted by 3.3 million or 22 percent …The drop in business owners was the largest on record, and losses were felt across nearly all industries and even for incorporated businesses.” The recent rise in COVID-19 cases warns of continued harm. A deeper dive into the data shows that the pain has not been equal across the board.African-Americans end up suffering the most, with other minority communities coming in a close second.

CAMEO’s long-term goal is to advocate for new rules that promulgate equity, and not systematically perpetuate an unequal society.

In the short run, we must address the immediate reality and inequities highlighted in our current environment. What CAMEO proposes is to invest significant resources into communities of color for small business development. They should be first in line for any programs. Download our COVID Policy Response for suggestions that would move us toward our goal as well as more about our long-term strategy.

Responsible Business Lending

In 2020, CAMEO worked with a coalition of small business advocates, economic justice advocates and consumer groups to support the expansion of the Department of Business Oversight to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).  Ultimately, the DFPI will have enforcement powers over bad actors in the small business lending space.

Historic Truth-in-Lending Law for Small Businesses Passed!

We did it! With your help! Thank you for your strong support of SB-1235, which became law in California when Governor Brown signed the bill in 2018. Because of you — and the hard work of a broad coalition of industry and nonprofit organizations — we’ve set the national standard for transparency in small business financing.

California’s “truth in lending” law is the first in the country, and our state is leading the way to ensure that small business borrowers have more transparency and clearer information when considering online and alternative financing options.

Under the new law, Department of Business Oversight (DBO) will set clear and consistent disclosure standards that provide small business owners with better transparency during the loan process. CAMEO, along with our partners, led a coalition of more than 60 private sector and nonprofit organizations to support this legislation and ensure its integrity. We will be working with DBO during the regulatory process to represent the interests of our small business borrowers.

A big thanks to those we worked with: Louis Caditz-Peck of LendingClub, Kurt Chilcott of CDC Small Business Finance, Mark Herbert of Small Business Majority, Connor French and Laura Bond of Funding Circle, Gabriel Villarreal and Gwendy Brown of Opportunity Fund, Sharon Velazquez of Greenlining, and Kevin Stein of CRC. The effort came together because we worked together to build a coalition and bounce strategy off each other. It was a huge team effort and CAMEO played a large role in that.

Our work isn’t done. One down, 49 states to go. If you’re not an endorser or signatory. We’d like to invite you to continue your support of small business by becoming an official endorser of the Small Businesses Borrowers’ Bill of Rights.

State Advocacy 2022

  • Successful Budget: $105.5 million for the ecosystem
  • Sponsored 1 bill
  • Supported 17 bills
    • 11 signed into law
  • 9 of 17 bills we supported were priority bills
    • 6 signed into law
  • Continued increased exposure
  • Testified at 2 bill hearings as a witness 
  • Carolina was on the plenary stage at California Forward

State Advocacy Issues for 2023

  • Permanent Funding for state CDFI Fund
    • Inclusion of underserved communities in the program
    • Incentives to increase participation by lenders
  • Responsible Small Business Lending
    • Eliminating sunset provision on SB 1235
    • Guardrails on broker fees
  • CERF Participation

California Legislative Resources

Read an overview of the California legislative process.

Find out which state agencies fund micro-business development.

Read the 2010 SOR Analysis of Self-Employment in California.

CFED released a report – With a Stroke of a Pen: Two Dozen Low-cost, Politically Viable State Policy Ideas to Increase Financial Security and Opportunity in Tough Fiscal Times, which presents 24 low-cost, politically-viable policy ideas to increase financial security and opportunity in fiscal times. Supporting Micro-business development is one of those ideas.