MOORLACH UPDATE — Economic Cooling Act — October 8, 2015

The biggest guessing game is wondering which new piece of legislation promulgated out of Sacramento will truly be the one to break the proverbial camel’s back for California. Senate Bill 350 certainly brings this concern to mind.

Remember that our state’s unfunded pension liabilities, unfunded retiree medical liabilities, and our unaddressed infrastructure deficits total a combined $400 billion or more in red ink. Instead of addressing this boat anchor and trying to super-charge our economy to help us grow out of this mountain of debt, it looks like Sacramento and its Governor would rather solve global problems that they can’t fix.

Although addressing global warming may be an admirable, it is a sure way to cool the economy by implementing regulations so onerous that no business would even consider moving or expanding in our state. And, regretfully, thereby likely pushing California farther away from fiscal stability.

Yesterday’s signature of SB 350 marks the fourth of the twenty worst bills worthy of a veto from the Governor (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 350 Compromise — September 10, 2015 september 10, 2015 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Worst and Vaguest — September 22, 2015 september 22, 2015 john moorlach). The Governor has yet to veto one of the bills we listed.

The SB 350 signing is covered in a City News Service dispatchthat was published by the Times of San Diego, Agoura Hills Patch, and MyNews.LA and is the first piece below. CalCoastNews provides our press release in the second piece below. Fox and Hounds speculates on the Republican criticisms in the third piece below.

In the fourth piece below, Capital & Main takes a look at SB 331 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 331 — May 4, 2015 may 4, 2015 john moorlach).

Two additional points I would make about SB 331 is there have been no arrests or indictments of any County Supervisors, any contractors, or lobbyists in Orange County for contracting conflicts of interest. How can you state there is a problem, when it is purely speculative and not validated by actual legal processes?

The second is that a ruling in the first court does not mean it will not be overturned in an appellate court. I believe COIN to be a legal and fair way for the public to understand and participate in labor negotiations for which their tax dollars are spent and budget priorities are determined. Also see MOORLACH UPDATE — Book Inclusions — October 1, 2015 october 2, 2015 john moorlach,MOORLACH UPDATE — Katy Grimes — September 23, 2015 september 23, 2015 john moorlach, and MOORLACH UPDATE — Transparency Turkey — September 18, 2015 september 18, 2015 john moorlach.

The fifth and final piece is from the OC Register and it promotes our morning hike this Saturday.

Bill Summary Status
AB X2-15 Assisted Suicide Signed by Gov
AB 2 Return of Cronyism and Property Rights Abuse Signed by Gov
AB 465 Let Every Employee Sue Their Employer On Gov’s Desk
AB 504 The Stop Effective Local Solutions Measure On Gov’s Desk
AB 561 Ag Labor Appeal Ransom On Gov’s Desk
AB 622 No E-Verify Use for Employers On Gov’s Desk
AB 692 Buying Low Carbon Fuel (Since No One Else Will) On Gov’s Desk
AB 768 Stop Pro Baseball Players from Chewing Tobacco On Gov’s Desk
AB 775 The "You Must Counsel for Abortions" Law On Gov’s Desk
AB 888 Microbead sale and distribution ban On Gov’s Desk
AB 1288 Expanding Unelected Air Resources Board On Gov’s Desk
AB 1293 Saving Gov’t Employees from Economic Downturns On Gov’s Desk
AB 1354 Gov’t Intrusion to Your Business Payroll Records On Gov’s Desk
AB 1461 Voter Fraud Expansion/Motor Voter Registration On Gov’s Desk
SB 99 Caltrans Engineers’ Union Pay Spike Signed by Gov
SB 292 Homeowners Pay for Public Employee Pensions On Gov’s Desk
SB 331 Protect Union Closed Door Deal Negotiations On Gov’s Desk
SB 350 California "Economic Cooling" Bill Signed by Gov
SB 376 Stop U.C. from Contracting Out Services to save $$ On Gov’s Desk
SB 682 Prohibition on Courts Contracting Out On Gov’s Desk

Landmark Calif. Law Requires 50% Renewable Energy by 2030

POSTED BY CHRIS JENNEWEIN

On the terrace of Griffith Observatory with the Los Angeles skyline behind him, Gov. Jerry Brown signed much-debated legislation Wednesday mandating that half of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 .

“California has taken groundbreaking steps to increase the efficiency of our cars, buildings and appliances and provide ever more renewable energy,” Brown said. “With SB 350, we deepen our commitment.”

San Diego Gas & Electric issued a statement calling the new law “a significant achievement” to address climate change and said it was proud to be the first utility to support the bill.

The ambitious mandates of SB 350, championed by Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, were outlined by Brown in his inaugural address in January. But de Leon’s legislation was significantly watered down last month in the state Assembly, which stripped away a requirement that the state slash its gasoline use by 50 percent in the next 15 years.

That provision sparked heated debate in Sacramento, thanks to opposition from the oil industry and concerns from some Democrats who feared possible economic fallout from the move.

Despite the loss of the gasoline provision, de Leon said the legislation still includes steps that “build on California’s historic commitment to lead the world in the fight against climate change and build a healthy and livable planet for our children and grandchildren.”

At Wednesday’s ceremony, de Leon gestured at the sweeping view of Los Angeles behind him, saying there was a time when all you could see was smog.

“It made your eyes burn, your throat sting and most of all, the sight made your heart ache,” he said. “Because we believed that air pollution was the cost of doing business — that environmental health and economic growth were mutually exclusive. Today we are proving otherwise. Thanks to our commitment to clean air, we can see the Los Angeles skyline clearly. And we can see the stars in our sky.”

Even with the elimination of the gasoline provision, the legislation was still met with opposition by Republicans, who said the measure will damage the state’s economy.

“This law should be called the California Economic Cooling Act, because SB 350 puts California’s economic recovery on ice,”Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa, said. “By almost every measure, California is already the most expensive state in which to build a business and raise a family. SB 350 is projected to double California’s electricity costs, which are already among the nation’s highest.

“What business wants to come to California, where we’re making it economically impossible to survive?” he asked. “While California’s lawmakers are trying to save the world, they’re simultaneously bringing extinction to California’s economic competitiveness.”

City News Service contributed to this article.

California’s Economic Cooling Act

Senator John MoorlachOPINION by SENATOR JOHN MOORLACH

Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) issued the following statementWednesday in response to the governor signing Senate Bill 350 (De León), the California “Economic Cooling” Act, at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles:

“This law should be called the California Economic Cooling Act, because SB 350 puts California’s economic recovery on ice. By almost every measure, California is already the most expensive state in which to build a business and raise a family. SB 350 is projected to double California’s electricity costs, which are already among the nation’s highest.

“What business wants to come to California, where we’re making it economically impossible to survive? While California lawmakers are busy trying to save the world, they’re simultaneously bringing extinction to California’s economic competitiveness.

“The only good news is that California’s airports will see increased traffic, as the governors from Arizona, Texas, and just about every other state increase their efforts to recruit more businesses away from California. Instead of trying to save the planet, I would be happy if Sacramento focused its time and priorities on saving the state of California by addressing its deficits and reducing its debts,” concluded Senator Moorlach.

The Tab for SB 350 Becomes Due

Joel Fox

By Joel Fox

Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

Now that SB 350 has been signed into law we will found out what SB 350 really costs? The law requires that 50 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources in the next 15 years and that buildings double their energy efficiency over that time.

Concerns about increased costs to implement this bill were a major part of the debate. Those objecting to SB 350 did not let up on their criticism once Gov. Brown put his signature on the bill.

Senator Jim Nielsen commented: “Senate Bill 350 will drive up the costs for our energy, food and all things that require abundant affordable energy to produce and transport, particularly hurting those California families least able to afford it.”

Senator John Moorlach issued a release that said, “This law should be called the California Economic Cooling Act, because SB 350 puts California’s economic recovery on ice.”

We’ll see if these cost predictions come to pass, and probably soon. But there is evidence that past decisions by state legislators and regulators have increased energy costs.

According to data displayed at the Center for Jobs and the Economy, a project of the California Business Roundtable, California energy continues to cost more than the national averages. With SB 350 now the law, the fear is that what California consumers and businesses pay for energy will continue to grow faster than the rest of the nation. If the burden becomes too great is there any way to undo the damage?

The Ghost of Scott Walker Visits Jerry Brown

By Danny Feingold and Dan Braun

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker may have dropped out of the presidential race, but his influence is still haunting public workers, as evidenced by a bill that now sits on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown. That legislation, SB 331 or the Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act (CRONEY), is the latest flashpoint in an ongoing war that Walker helped trigger when he moved to roll back the rights of public employee unions in early 2011.

While Walker was met with a huge backlash that drew protesters from across the country, in Orange County, local officials saw a green light to advance their own agenda against organized labor. Just a week after Walker signed Act 10, eviscerating collective bargaining rights for government workers in Wisconsin, the city of Costa Mesa issued layoff notices to nearly half its employees, paving the way for the outsourcing of hundreds of union jobs. A judge blocked the layoffs, but a year later, the conservative-dominated City Council struck back with a law known as Civic Openness in Negotiations. The ordinance specifically targeted labor negotiations, creating transparency requirements that do not apply to private contractors.

COIN laws, as they are known, have now been adopted in several other jurisdictions, including Fullerton, Beverly Hills and the County of Orange. While proponents argue that COIN statutes are nothing more than an effort to bring needed openness to negotiations between public sector unions and government, it’s hard to ignore the fact that COIN laws have gained traction in some of the state’s most right-leaning, anti-union enclaves.

Now Governor Brown must enter the fray, with either a veto or signature of SB 331.The bill would impose transparency requirements similar to those mandated by COIN ordinances, but for negotiations with private contracts. It would apply to any local jurisdiction where COIN laws have been enacted. The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), is backed by the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and other unions as well as outsourcing watchdog groups such as In the Public Interest.

SB 331 has triggered a wave of editorials urging the governor to veto it. The common motif of these pieces is that the bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – as the Los Angeles Times writes, “it purports to be about transparency but is clearly designed to achieve the opposite, seeking to punish cities that have adopted civic-openness ordinances for their public employee contracts by piling absurd layers of bureaucracy onto their private ones.” The Times, in a separate editorial, even called for other cities including Los Angeles to adopt COIN laws.

Missing from these broadsides, however, is any acknowledgement of the anti-union lineage of COIN, or the one-sided environment created in cities that have embraced it. “COIN was designed to make all our negotiations for the work we are contracted to perform public and open to public scrutiny and criticism, while allowing corporations and others who often compete for the same work to negotiate privately and in total secrecy until merely days before a public vote,” says Jennifer Muir, general manager of the OCEA.

Defenders of COIN have also been largely silent about the legal challenges that these laws have encountered. Orange County suspended its COIN ordinance last month, following a ruling in July that county officials had violated labor law with the passage of COIN in 2012. The judge concluded that Orange County’s passage of the COIN law “constitutes an unlawful unilateral change and a refusal to bargain in good faith.”

Republican State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), who proposed Orange County’s COIN law when he served as a supervisor, insists that SB 331 is a disingenuous attack by public sector unions. In an email to Capital & Main, Moorlach maintained that COIN laws are necessary because “the goal of the public employee unions is to suppress transparency. Once a governing body of a municipality agrees to a contract and it is approved by the bargaining unit, it is next to impossible for that governing body to oppose the contract once it goes to a public vote.” He scoffs at the idea of a need for balance between labor negotiations and those for private contracts. “Since contract RFPs [Requests for Proposals] are fine and bargaining unit negotiations are not, only one is screaming for transparency.”

That characterization is at odds with a body of evidence which has established a host of issues with private contracts. “Contracting problems inevitably happen when there isn’t adequate transparency and objective evaluation of costs, agency capacity to oversee contracts and strong community and legal standards,” says Donald Cohen, director of In the Public Interest. In 2013 his group released a study showing the shortcomings of existing sunshine laws. In fact, as the Voice of OC reports, transparency issues have recently plagued a number of major contractors in Orange County, the birthplace of COIN.

Muir points out that in Orange County, “the Grand Jury called out a ‘culture of corruption’ and several reports have called out the money changing hands between lobbyists, campaign contributors and public contractors. Statewide, issues related to public contracting are regularly exposed throughout the media.” She urges Governor Brown to sign SB 331 and put public workers back on equal footing with those who would like to privatize their work.

All sides agree that SB 331 is about more than transparency. Like its predecessor COIN, SB 331 is part of a much larger struggle for political leverage between public sector employees and their adversaries that shows no signs of abating.

OUR TOWNS — ORANGE

Hike: Community members are invited to hike with state Sen. John ‍Moorlach at the Freemont Canyon Nature Preserveon Saturday. The hike is free, and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Those interested can register at LetsGoOutside.org   or by sending an email to jacob.ashendorf. The hike will start at Lot 15 of Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange.

Brooke E. Seipel, bseipel  

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This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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