This report for the first year of the 2023–2024 legislative session focuses on California legislators’ votes on California Chamber of Commerce priority bills.
This is the 49th vote record the CalChamber has compiled in response to numerous requests by member firms and local chambers of commerce that would like a gauge by which to measure the performance of their legislators.
No vote record can tell the entire story of a legislator’s attitude and actions on issues of importance to business. To fully evaluate your legislative representative, consult the legislative journals and examine your legislator’s votes in committee and on floor issues.
You can view these via links at www.calchambervotes.com.
Many anti-business bills were rejected by legislators in policy or fiscal committees, thus stopping proposals before they reached the floor for a vote.
Most bills in this report cover major business issues that are of concern to both small and large companies.
The CalChamber recognizes that there are many bills supported or opposed by business that are not included in this vote record and analysis.
The CalChamber considers the following factors in selecting vote record bills:
• The bills and votes reflect legislators’ attitudes toward private enterprise, fiscal responsibility and the business climate.
• Each bill was a CalChamber priority in a particular field. Priority bills generally have appeared in the “Status Report” sections of Alert.
• For the first time, this year’s vote record charts show selected key committee votes where a committee’s actions stopped an onerous proposal or prevented legislators outside the committee from having the opportunity to vote on proposals that help California employers.
• The vote record also covers 13 bills voted on by the full Senate and 12 bills voted on by the full Assembly.
• Unless otherwise noted, final floor votes are shown. Concurrence votes are considered final votes.
When ‘Not Voting’ Helps
Sometimes a legislator is unwilling to vote against a colleague but is willing to support the CalChamber’s opposition to a bill. In such cases, a legislator may abstain from voting, which will hinder passage of a bill, just as a “no” vote does.
To recognize that not voting can aid the CalChamber’s opposition to a bill, the vote record includes the number of times legislators did not vote “aye” on a CalChamber-opposed bill in the total for the column listing actions “in accord with” the CalChamber’s position, if the legislator was not absent for the day.
• SB 253 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) Corporate Climate Accountability Act. Imposes a mandatory climate tracking, and auditing on climate emissions that will fall heavily on all California businesses, impacting competitiveness and increasing costs. Passed Senate, May 30, 24-9 (vote shown). Passed Assembly, September 11, 49-20. Senate concurred in Assembly amendments, September 12, 27-8. Signed—Chapter 382. CalChamber Opposed.
• SBX1 2 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Windfall Profits Tax. Sets an arbitrary cap on the amount of profits that a refiner operating in the state of California can earn over a quarterly basis. This measure would further diminish supply, discourages operational efficiencies, and would limit the amount of capital a refiner could reinvest into their infrastructure to support California’s long-term climate goals. Passed Senate, March 23, 30-8. Passed Assembly, March 27, 58-19. Signed—Chapter 1, Statutes of 2023–24 First Extraordinary Session. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• AB 421 (Bryan; D-Los Angeles) Dismantles Referendum Process. Dramatically changes state’s direct democracy process to essentially eliminate the ability for anyone to qualify a referendum. Passed Assembly, May 31, 60-18 (vote shown). Passed Senate, September 5, 30-9. Assembly concurred in Senate amendments, September 5, 55-17. Signed—Chapter 162. CalChamber Opposed.
California Environmental Quality Act
• AB 1000 (Reyes; D-San Bernardino) De Facto Ban of Warehouses. Mandates a statewide setback of 1,000 feet from sensitive receptors for all new or expanded logistics use facilities, regardless of environmental impacts, establishing a de facto ban. Also creates a new private right of action in California. Passed Assembly Natural Resources Committee, April 17, 8-3 (vote shown). Failed passage in Assembly Local Government Committee, April 26, 2-1-5 (vote shown). CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
Labor and Employment
• AB 524 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Expansion of Litigation Under FEHA. Exposes employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family caregiver status, which is broadly defined to include any employee who provides direct care of any person of their choosing and creates a de facto accommodation requirement that will burden small businesses. Passed Assembly, June 1, 47-15 (vote shown). Passed Senate, September 12, 26-8. Assembly concurred in Senate amendments, September 14, 49-17. Vetoed. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• AB 647 (Holden; D-Pasadena) Grocery Workers. Significantly expands statute related to successor grocery employers, including disrupting the ability for independent small stores to join together and creating a significant new private right of action. Passed Assembly, May 30, 58-16 (vote shown). Passed Senate, September 14, 27-11. Assembly concurred in Senate amendments, September 14, 60-15. Signed—Chapter 452. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• SB 399 (Wahab; D-Hayward) Bans Employer Speech. Chills employer speech regarding religious and political matters, including unionization. Is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment and preempted by the National Labor Relations Act. Passed Senate, May 25, 26-7. In Assembly Appropriations Committee, July 11. Failed deadline. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• SB 525 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Costly Minimum Wage Increase. Imposes significant cost on health care facilities and any employer who works with health care facilities by mandating increase in minimum wage to $25. Job killer tag and opposition removed due to September 11, 2023, amendments, which phased in certain minimum wage increases based on hospital size and operations. Passed Senate, May 31, 21-11 (vote shown). Passed Assembly, September 14, 63-13. Senate concurred in Assembly amendments, September 14, 31-9. Signed—Chapter 890. CalChamber Neutral/Former Job Killer 2023.
• SB 592 (Newman; D-Fullerton) Improved Labor Law Compliance. Requires labor law guidance to be translated into commonly spoken languages in California and protects business owners from being penalized if they relied in good faith on guidance issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Failed passage in Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, April 19, 1-3-1 (vote shown). CalChamber Sponsor/Co-Sponsor/Job Creator.
• SB 616 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Costly Sick Leave Expansion on All Employers. Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by nearly doubling existing sick leave mandate, which is in addition to all other enacted leave mandates that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply. Passed Senate, May 31, 27-9 (vote shown). Passed Assembly, September 12, 52-18. Senate concurred in Assembly amendments, September 13, 27-9. Signed—Chapter 309. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate. Imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants, and movie theaters, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment. Passed Senate, May 30, 28-10 (vote shown). Passed Assembly, September 13, 47-16. Senate concurred in Assembly amendments, September 14, 29-10. Vetoed. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• SB 881 (Alvarado-Gil; D-Jackson) Sick Leave Reform. Significantly improves employers’ ability to implement California mandatory paid sick leave and curb attempts to take leave for impermissible purposes. Failed passage in Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement, April 19, 1-3-1 (vote shown). CalChamber Supported.
• SB 365 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) Undermines Arbitration. Discriminates against use of arbitration agreements by allowing trial courts to continue trial proceedings during any appeal regarding the denial of a motion to compel. Passed Senate, May 24, 30-9. Passed Assembly, September 7, 47-22. Signed—Chapter 710. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry; D-Winters) Lowers Voter Threshold to Increase Property Taxes. Overbroad constitutional amendment lowers voter approval threshold from two-thirds to 55% to increase taxes for affordable housing and public infrastructure, thereby providing increased tax authority for every government agency in California—not just cities and counties, but thousands of potentially overlapping special districts. Passed Assembly, September 6, 55-12. Passed Senate, September 14, 29-10. Resolution Chapter 173. CalChamber Opposed.
• SB 799 (Portantino; D-Burbank) Increased Unemployment Insurance Taxes to Subsidize Striking Workers. SB 799 will allow striking workers to claim UI benefits when they choose to strike. Because the UI Fund is paid for entirely by employers, SB 799 will effectively add more debt onto California employers. Moreover, SB 799 will effectively force employers to subsidize strikes at completely unrelated businesses because the UI Fund’s debt adds taxes for all employers, regardless of whether they’ve had a strike. Passed Assembly, September 11, 59-18. Senate concurred in Assembly amendments, September 14, 27-12. Vetoed. CalChamber Opposed/Job Killer 2023.
• AB 460 (Bauer-Kahan; D-Orinda) Water Rights. Gives State Water Board broad authority to issue interim relief orders for a wide variety of alleged water use violations, with little or no opportunity to be heard. Prevents judicial review of an interim relief order. Passed Assembly, May 30, 43-20. In Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, June 7. Failed deadline. CalChamber Opposed.
• AB 1337 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Water Rights. Gives broad authority to State Water Board to curtail water rights of any seniority or claim of right. Allows curtailments to issue without a hearing, depriving water rights holders of due process. Passed Assembly, May 30, 45-20. In Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, June 7. Failed deadline. CalChamber Opposed.
• SB 553 (Cortese; D-San Jose) Workplace Violence Standard. Creates workplace violence regulation including training and logging of workplace violence incidents. Opposition removed after considerable amendments to bring bill into accordance with Cal/OSHA’s proposal, including removal of various infeasible requirements. Passed Senate, May 31, 29-8 (vote shown). Passed Assembly, September 11, 55-17. Senate concurred in Assembly amendments, September 12, 29-8. Signed—Chapter 289. CalChamber Neutral.