Two months into the new year, the bill proposals are pouring in, which means the session is beginning to get interesting. As of this writing, we are three days away from the new bill introduction deadline. So far this year, 1,020 Assembly and Senate bills have been introduced, with 476 bills coming in just in the last two weeks. Looking back over the last few years, there were between 2,300‐2,500 bills introduced each year, with roughly 1,200‐1,500 of these bills being introduced the last week prior to the bill introduction deadline.
CPSA monitors and reviews every one of these bills for anything that could adverse affect the swimming pool and spa industry in California or nationwide. Since whatever happens in California on the legislative or regulatory front is often exported to other states, it is extremely important for the industry to engage to fix or defeat proposals which are averse to the swimming pool and spa industry before they spread.
What makes this task more difficult is probably 60% of the bills introduced are legislative intent bills, or placeholders. What this means is that the bills make non‐substantive changes to existing law or declare the intent of the Legislature to effectuate some change in existing law. These bills will not be amended to reflect the true intent of the bill until sometime later in March or early April, generally a week to 10 days out from the bill’s first policy committee hearing.
For instance, there at least three bills aimed at the Dynamex decision. The leading bill AB 5, sponsored by the California Labor Federation, expresses the intent of the Legislature to apply Dynamex across‐the‐board to all employment determinations. There are no other details. However, behind the scenes negotiations are going on between organized labor, truckers, Uber and Lyft, real estate agents, emergency room doctors, insurance agents and brokers, and other professional organizations arguing for exemptions. Other groups, including CPSA, are looking at possible modifications of the ABC test to provide more flexibility to allow individuals who want to be independent contractors to continue to operate independently. Contrast this approach to bills supported by organized labor in the State of Washington dealing with Dynamex that have been introduced in full detail with various exemptions and modifications that allow for flexibility.
Over the next 30 days or so, we will have a much better idea of what is on the agenda and what issues could affect the swimming pool and spa industry in California. However, the legislative process described above is why it is so important for CPSA to be in Sacramento every day watching out for the industry. The time frame on developing issues moves so fast that organizations must be on top of amendments to bills or be left behind. There is simply no time to get organized and respond after the fact. Big agenda items for 2019 thus far are Dynamex, consumer privacy, healthcare expansion, wildfire issues, housing, and homelessness. Stay tuned for more.