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A Look at April's Legislative Council Bills

A Look at April's Legislative Council Bills

The Southwest California Legislative Council session on April 15th brought several significant bills to the discussion table, outlining a future landscape affected by laws touching upon employment discrimination, workplace policies, pupil instruction, and infrastructure development.

The SWCLC reviewed diverse legislative proposals, reflecting a broad spectrum of social, economic, and technological concerns. Here's a concise overview of the key bills spotlighted during the April session, alongside the council's positions on each.

Bills Opposed by the Council

SB 1345 (Smallwood-Cuevas) - Employment Discrimination: Criminal History Information 

This proposed bill seeks to intensify restrictions on employers regarding the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history in hiring decisions. It poses that an employer can only take adverse action based on criminal history if it demonstrates a direct and unfavorable relationship with the specific duties of the job in question. The bill aims to limit employment discrimination but is viewed by the council and the CalChamber as an overreach of government into business operations, potentially opening avenues for increased legal liabilities and being labeled a job killer.

AB 2751 (Haney) - Employer Communications During Non-Working Hours

Another highlighted proposal is AB 2751, which mandates employers to create policies granting employees the right to disconnect from work communications during off-hours, barring emergencies and specific circumstances. This bill emphasizes work-life balance but raises concerns about practical enforcement, potential impacts on operational flexibility, and the introduction of a new avenue for employer penalties.

Bills Supported by the Council

AB 2867 (Berman) - Pupil Instruction: AI Literacy

In contrast to the opposed bills, AB 2867 received positive affirmation from the council for its forward-thinking approach to education. The bill mandates the inclusion of AI literacy within K-8 instructional materials, aiming to equip younger generations with a profound understanding of artificial intelligence – its operation, ethical considerations, and implications. This proposition aligns with the council's vision of preparing students for a technologically advanced society and workforce.

SB 955 (Seyarto) - Office of Planning & Research: Infrastructure Gap Fund Program

Lastly, SB 955 proposes the creation of an Infrastructure Gap-Fund Program to support local agencies in developing and constructing essential projects. Recognizing the paramount importance of sustainable infrastructure, this bill proposes a mechanism for alleviating financial pressures on local governments, especially under the increasing mandates related to housing. The council views this as a pragmatic approach to bolstering economic and community development.

Looking Ahead

The April session of the Southwest California Legislative Council underscored a dynamic interplay between protecting employer rights, fostering educational advancement, and supporting community development through infrastructure investment. While some bills faced opposition due to concerns over governmental overreach and feasibility, others were lauded for their innovative approach to addressing future societal and economic needs. 

The next meeting for the Southwest California Legislative Council is scheduled for May 13, 2024, at 11:30 AM at the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors (SRCAR). This upcoming session aims to continue the discourse on impactful legislation, focusing on new proposals that align with our community's evolving needs and priorities. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate and contribute to the shaping of our legislative landscape, fostering a collective effort toward sustainable development and business-friendly policy-making.

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