July 27, 2020

Reflection-One Year Later

While Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Garlic Festival shooting, Sunday would have been the day (closing day of the Festival) that the incident occurred. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it has only been 12 months. One could never have imagined what volunteers and Festival goers were in for that day. As one who participated in the rescue and recovery of those who were wounded and killed, the images of all that happened are never far from my mind.

What tends to be the overwhelming thoughts that run through my mind, are not those of the tragedy that befell our community that day, but instead, what awakened our community in the days, weeks and months that followed.

The things that once divided us seemed less important than those things which suddenly united us. That which became our focus were things such as, grieving together, healing together, helping one another, providing for one another, encouraging each other, listening to others, recognizing others’ sorrows, pulling together and pulling in the same direction. All done for a common goal of showing the world we would not be victims of this tragedy, but that we would be victorious over this tragedy. Gilroyans chose not to become bitter because of the incident, but better in spite of it.

We will continue to move forward as a community while dealing with other challenges plaguing us and the nation such as a global pandemic, civil unrest and political strife. If there is anything I learned from the incident a year ago it’s this, together, we can overcome the challenges and difficulties life throws at us.

Together we can. Together we should. Together… we will.

You are invited to tune in to the streamed Memorial Event on July 28, 2020 – One year after the Garlic Festival shooting At 5:15 p.m. on YouTube live using this link: https://youtu.be/ZRH3Y8pbNaY

On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, one year after the tragic shootings at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, there will be a streamed event to remember the victims, to honor our first responders, and to mark together the pain we feel and the healing that has begun. The event is being organized by the DA’s Office’s Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center that provides services, individual and group counseling for all those affected by the shooting. Please go to the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center Facebook page for more information about services available.

Join The Fight, Defend Small Businesses in Gilroy

Chamber: Potential Expansion of Leave Law Would Hurt Businesses Facing Slashed Profits, Income Amid COVID-19
By CalChamber  and Sarah Downey in Northern California Record

A new bill that would make small businesses subject to the same family leave law as large companies would adversely impact the California business community at a time it is already struggling under the COVID-19 economic decline and new shut down orders, a trade group coalition says.

SB 1383, which passed the Senate earlier this month, would require businesses with five or more workers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave; the current law applies to businesses with 50 or more employees.

“It’s happening when businesses can least afford it and presents a particular burden to small businesses by lowering the threshold from 50 to five,” Jennifer Barrera, CalChamber executive vice president, told the Northern California Record. “There’s no question we’re in an economic crisis due to the coronavirus, and the governor on Monday shutting down businesses again adds to their very precarious position. This bill is one more obstacle on their ability to maintain their operations.”

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce opposes SB 1383. Click on the link below to ask Senator Monning to oppose SB 1383 as well. Feel free to copy and paste this simple message, “Senator Monning, due to the negative impacts SB 1383 will have on small businesses, I strongly urge you to OPPOSE SB 1383.”
https://sd17.senate.ca.gov/contact-us

No Masking This Problem

No Masking This Problem… Or Is There?

Enforcing Mask Rules at Work

By CalChamber

In Episode 79 of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law expert Jennifer Shaw discuss ways employers can ensure employees comply with state guidelines on masks and social distancing, and continue fostering a healthy workplace.

Ask Why
While wearing a mask in the workplace is not law, it is recommended by local and state authorities, such as the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), that employees wear masks at work and maintain a distance of six feet from one another.

This guidance not only protects customers from the spread of COVID-19, but also helps keep employees healthy and safe in the workplace.

The guidance and orders issued by the CDPH and other government agencies, Shaw tells listeners, is the appropriate reasoning an employer needs to establish a mask and social distancing policy at work.

But what if, Frank asks, an employee is found not wearing a mask?

Shaw says that enforcing mask rules is not about getting people in trouble. As with any other violation, an employer should seek out why the worker is not wearing a mask. Is the reason due to a medical condition or is it a political statement?

If the employee chooses not to wear a mask because of a political stance, Shaw recommends that the employer state that the employee is expected to comply with all of the company’s rules and regulations, and that violations are subject to discipline.

“…Employees have to know [that] even though we are getting some mixed messages in the media and there are some political issues out there, when it comes to your workplace, you have to follow the rules that the employer has set for you as long as those are appropriate rules,” Shaw says.

Moreover, she continues, the employer should communicate that the rules put into place are to keep all employees safe.

Medical Accommodations
If an employee is not wearing a mask because they have a medical condition, the employer should treat it like any other medical accommodation request, but should keep in mind that this situation, is slightly different due to the direct threat to everyone’s health and safety, Shaw explains.

“Just because somebody has a medical condition that precludes them from being able to wear a mask doesn’t mean they get to expose…people to the virus,” she says.

Should a worker have a medical condition that precludes wearing a mask, employers should find ways to maintain safety, such as allowing the employee to telework or finding other ways to get the employee into the workplace, Shaw says.

Shaw compares the situation to having a service animal. Employees with service animals still have to abide by certain rules. For example, a service dog has to behave and cannot relieve itself at work. Similarly, she says, even though an individual has the right to an accommodation, there are going to be limitations on that, especially given the direct threat that not wearing a mask presents.

Set Reminders
Sometimes, the reason an employee is not wearing a mask is simply because they forgot. At work, people are rushing to finish projects, or have to get up to retrieve a document from the printer, or perhaps are hurrying to attend a customer, Shaw says.

Employers need to have grace, she says, and realize that “people are going to make mistakes occasionally.”

Still, it is critical that employers enforce the rules, and they should be transparent about all of the company’s expectations, Shaw says.

Employers should also find ways to remind employees of the mask and social distancing requirements. Employers can buy posters and decals to space out six-foot distances or use masking tape to establish an employee’s work zone.

Inappropriate Graphics
Now that face masks are more widely available, Frank points out that masks have become the new fashion accessory, and masks might contain logos, designs and messages. Can an employer prohibit masks with certain words, imagery or decals?

Similar to a dress code policy, employers can prohibit masks that contain expletives, inappropriate graphics, or messaging that violates the company’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policy, Shaw explains.

Although an employer can prohibit masks with messaging altogether, if an employer asks that employees wear only a certain color of mask so that it matches their company’s shirt, then the mask becomes a “uniform” requirement, and the employer will have to provide the mask, Shaw explains.

“So don’t get too specific about the color or the style or the design,” she says. “But you are allowed to say…nothing with a printed message, nothing with an inappropriate graphic or logo or screen print on it.”
In other words, Frank says, it’s back to the basics, “taking COVID out and going back to the basics of what would you do in this circumstance to try to solve the puzzle.”

Shaw recommends employers exercise common sense and remember “our point is workplace safety; we’re trying to keep people safe and healthy.” If employers think about that as being the goal, it helps with what steps they actually take.

Appeals Court Makes Tax Increases Easier

By Dan Walters, CalMatters

The March primary election was rough on advocates of new taxes.

Hundreds of tax hikes — sales and parcel taxes, mostly — were placed on the ballot by cities, counties and school districts whose finances were being squeezed. However, voters rejected roughly half of them, reversing what had been a recent trend.

The election occurred as the COVID-19 pandemic was erupting, followed by widespread economic shutdowns to curb the disease. The March election results, the pandemic and the deep recession that resulted gave pause to local officials hoping to place tax increases on the November ballot and one-by-one, local governments have throttled back on their plans.

Amidst that situation, a state appellate court last month issued an opinion that could make passage of new local taxes easier in the future. The state constitution’s two-thirds voter approval requirement for single-purpose taxes doesn’t apply, the three-judge panel declared, if they reach the ballot via initiative petitions signed by registered voters.

The decision is the latest wrinkle in a legal squabble over such taxes arising from a somewhat ambiguous 2017 state Supreme Court decision called “Upland” because it dealt with a ballot measure on taxing marijuana in that Southern California city.

Writing the 5-2 majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar declared, “Multiple provisions of the state constitution explicitly constrain the power of local governments to raise taxes. But we will not lightly apply such restrictions on local governments to voter initiatives.”

He thus implied that special purpose taxes placed before voters via initiative may not be affected by the two-thirds vote requirement for taxes sought by governments themselves.

Thereupon, advocates of new taxes quickly turned to the initiative process, hoping that Cuéllar’s opinion would allow them to succeed with only simple-majority votes. Several tests of the theory emerged from the 2018 elections, but trial court judges differed sharply on whether they should be validated.

Two of the tests were San Francisco taxes placed on the ballot via initiatives personally sponsored by members of the city’s Board of Supervisors, one for early childhood education, the other to battle homelessness.

Both received less than two-thirds votes, but a local judge, Ethan Schulman, validated them anyway.

However, Fresno Superior Court Judge Kimberly Gaab went the other way on a sales tax measure to improve city parks that received just 52% of the vote. Gaab wrote, “The two-thirds vote requirement applies to all special tax proposals, regardless of the proponent of the proposal.”

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronni MacLaren agreed with Gaab, declaring a 2018 Oakland parcel tax for education a failure with 62% of the vote. “Allowing Measure AA to be enacted with less than two-thirds of the votes would constitute a fraud on the voters,” MacLaren wrote.

Given the obvious conflict posed by those and other trial court decisions, the issue was destined to hit the appellate courts and the first to make it was the San Francisco measure imposing new taxes on business to battle homelessness.

It resulted in last month’s declaration by San Francisco’s First District Court of Appeal that Cuéllar’s Upland decision does, indeed, mean special taxes proposed in initiatives require only simple-majority passage, not supermajorities.

It was a setback for antitax groups, but other cases are still pending, including one involving Oakland’s education parcel tax. So it’s certain that the issue will eventually make its way back to the Supreme Court for an unambiguous decision.

If the San Francisco tax’s validity is upheld, as seems likely, voters will see a cavalcade of new special tax measures in future elections.

 

July 20, 2020

Gilroy Chamber Members See Big Savings on Health Benefits

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce members and their employees have access to unique healthcare options customized to be both affordable and accessible. The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is offering a low-cost health benefits program that employers, employees, and Gilroy residents can join.

Businesses can offer this plan to their employees at no cost to the employer. Employers can pay for a portion of the benefits if they choose, but it is not required. The health benefit opportunity being offered is ACA compliant and provides 3 minimum essential coverage plans which have all the preventative services included as well as dental and vision for children.

“In light of the difficult financial challenges residents, businesses and employees are facing,” said Scott Winant, Chair of the Gilroy Chamber, “it’s good to have options that can provide a savings to one’s budget.”

Here’s what members are saying:

“I started investigating CHCCHealth.net when my husband and I were coming off COBRA. I compared it to what we could get in the marketplace, and even with buying the most expensive (CHCC) plan, we saved $500 compared to the least expensive HMO in the marketplace – and we still get to keep all our private doctors! This is a 40% savings off the marketplace price, and a $750 savings on what we were paying for COBRA.”Karyn Corbett, Gilroy Chamber Member

“I joined the plan being offered through the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce / California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and am now paying $425 per month. Prior to joining this plan, I was paying $1,038 per month for Blue Cross Anthem.”Lisa Blagof, Realtor and Gilroy Chamber Member

Costs and outcomes vary depending on individuals’/families’ needs and available plans.

To learn more about this opportunity, join us for an informational webinar scheduled for Wednesday, August 5 at 3:00 p.m.  Sign up by clicking the button below.

Chamber Urges Newsom to Delay Minimum Wage Increase

Chamber Sends a Letter to the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology

More Time to Apply for Paycheck Protection Program Loans

By CalChamber

New Deadline: August 8, 2020

Legislation signed by the President last weekend extends the deadline to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to August 8, 2020.

An estimated $130 billion in funding remains for the program, which offers loans to help small businesses with fewer than 500 employees stay in business and keep workers employed.

Employers in need of assistance and who have not yet obtained a loan are encouraged to speak with a lender as soon as possible.

The PPP Extension Act signed on July 4 extends only the loan application deadline and does not expand the program.

Legislation signed on June 5 amended the original PPP and aimed to clarify matters such as how and when the funds should be spent and how to handle re-staffing problems.

The key aspect of the PPP is that the loans provided can be fully forgiven without repayment if the employer meets certain conditions, including spending the funds only on certain costs.

A summary of the June 5 revisions appeared in the June 12 Alert.

Information about the PPP loan, including links to an EZ application requiring fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers, and the full forgiveness application—both released on June 16—is available on the U.S. Small Business Administration web page about the program, located here.

Coronavirus Continues… Not So For These Relief Programs

The U.S. Set Up These Programs to Offset Covid Hardship. They’re All About to Expire

Written by Ben Holland and Laura Davison — With assistance by Jenny Leonard, Alan Levin, Alexandre Tanzi, Prashant Gopal, and Dave Merrill

America’s leaders face an urgent set of decisions on whether to extend history’s biggest rescue effort — or let parts of it lapse.

The government approved more than $2 trillion of extra spending after the coronavirus brought swaths of industry and commerce to a sudden halt. Some measures targeted those who took the biggest hit, like the unemployed and small business. Others were across-the-board, reaching every corner of the economy.

But these programs are due to run out in the coming weeks and months. Each expiration date will test the still-fragile U.S. recovery — unless policy makers opt to keep crisis supports in place.

End of Relief
COVID-19 financial support programs are due to run out in the coming weeks and months, but lawmakers may opt to keep some supports in place.

These kind of cutoff dates, when past decisions dictate a big change in net government spending unless further action is taken, are sometimes known as “fiscal cliffs.” They have a history of roiling markets, as politicians take the debate to the brink.

The Trump administration wants another relief bill, with a price tag not exceeding $1 trillion, before lawmakers head out of town for summer recess in early August. The Democrat-controlled House already approved additional measures worth $3.5 trillion, but Republicans who have a Senate majority oppose many of them.

Here are some of the looming deadlines, and the numbers involved.

Unemployment Insurance
The federal government added $600 a week to state-provided jobless benefits under the CARES Act, the main coronavirus relief measure passed by Congress in March. Those extra payments, which helped plug a hole in household finances, are due to run out in the final week of July.

$600 Lifeline
Extra payments helped plug giant gap in household finances.

What to do next has turned into a fierce political fight. With unemployment still at levels not seen since the Great Depression era, the Treasury has been disbursing the benefits at a record pace of about $100 billion a month since May. Republicans are concerned that the payments could deter people from resuming their jobs, and want some of the stimulus channeled into a “back-to-work bonus” instead.

Big Business
The government handed $25 billion in payroll support to America’s passenger airlines to help them retain staff through the end of September, as well as offering loans worth a similar amount.

The carriers have already signaled that layoffs will likely start as soon as that program expires. This month, United Airlines told some 36,000 employees — about 45% of its U.S. workforce — that their jobs will be at risk starting in October.

So far the trade group for major carriers, Airlines for America, says it isn’t seeking additional funding, although labor unions in the industry have called for an extension of the aid programs.

Small Business
The deadline to apply for more than $132 billion still available in the small-business relief program has been extended until Aug. 8.

Congress also took action to smooth the path for companies that already borrowed under the program. They were originally supposed to spend the money within eight weeks — mostly on payroll — to qualify for forgiveness of the loans. That was stretched out to as long as 24 weeks.

Student Loans
The CARES Act froze repayments through the end of September on student loans owned by the federal government, which make up about three-quarters of the $1.54 trillion total. Americans will likely save about $7 billion a month while the measure is in place.

When those bills start arriving again in October, there’s a risk that millions won’t be able to pay. Even in 2019, with unemployment at half-century lows, about 11% of student debt was delinquent — and the New York Fed says that the effective rate is twice as high, since half of the loans weren’t currently due for payment anyway.

Mortgage Borrowers
The CARES Act set up a forbearance program that covered federally insured mortgages. The total payments on loans that qualify for the plan would be about $55 billion a month, the New York Fed estimates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said this week that 8.2% of loan balances, owed by an estimated 4.1 million homeowners, were in forbearance.

Renters
The CARES Act imposed a freeze on evictions through July 25 for multifamily properties whose mortgages are financed by federal agencies like Fannie Mae. Owners who benefited from mortgage relief are barred from evicting tenants after that date too, for as long as their loans are in forbearance. And the Federal Housing Finance Agency has extended safeguards through at least Aug. 31 for tenants of single-family homes with federally insured mortgages.

All told, the federal measures cover about 12.3 million of the country’s 43.8 million rental homes, according to the Urban Institute. A patchwork of measures by states and cities also offered protection to renters. Some of those have already run out, and others are about to, according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

About one-third of tenants who responded to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey during the first week of July said they had little or no confidence that they could make next month’s payment.

Taxes
Americans were allowed until this week to file their income-tax returns, after the federal deadline was delayed by three months to July 15.

Two other measures will be in place through Dec. 31. Payroll-tax deferral allows businesses to defer their portion of the taxes and repay them in 2021 and 2022. Companies can also claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit through the end of the year. It’s worth as much as $5,000 per employee, and there’s bipartisan support in Congress for increasing that sum in the next stimulus package.

Most Magicians Would Be Envious

Beware of Sleight-of-Hand in Prop 15 Numbers

Opinion by Joel Fox, Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The Yes on Proposition 15 campaign has bandied about all kinds of figures on how many commercial properties will pay a bulk of the new record property tax increase if the measure passes.

First, they showed a study that reported 6% of the properties will pay 78% of the taxes. Next, we heard that 10% of the properties will pay 94% of the taxes. This week there was another study, pretty much all the studies generated from the same campaign-sponsored source, that said 10% of the properties pay 92% of the taxes.

So, which is it?

Correct answer: None of the above. Not when you consider who is actually covering the tax increase.

The Yes on Prop 15 campaign is trying to convince voters that only a few parcels owned by big business around the state will pay the bulk of the largest property tax increase in California history. In fact, they ignore the fact that the big property owners lease much of their property to small businesses. The study does not estimate the number of small business tenants in office parks or industrial complexes, for example. Those businesses end up paying the higher property taxes under their leases.

More than three out of four small businesses in California do not own real property. Most small businesses in shops, industrial areas and office buildings lease their spaces. Standard triple net leases require that the leasing businesses cover any of the increases of insurance, maintenance and taxes. Basically, these small businesses are required under the contract of the lease to pay the property tax increase.

In turn, if possible, the small businesses will pass the tax increases on to consumers in the form of higher costs. Goods and services will go up in price including gasoline, food, and retail goods.

This clearly understood economic fact of life makes it more astounding that Sacramento Mayor Darryl Steinberg, in endorsing Proposition 15, said the following in a statement: “Proposition 15 will help us recover by closing corporate property tax loopholes to generate $12 billion every year for schools, community colleges, essential workers and local governments — at zero cost to residents.”

Zero costs to residents? Really?

Business costs are passed on. That’s a basic economic dynamic in business or else businesses couldn’t survive. Does the mayor think that the commercial taxpayers will simply dip into a piggy bank to cover the $12 billion tax increase?

The cost of the increased tax will mostly be passed on or other adjustments will be made by businesses such as cutting jobs to manage the new tax.

Indeed, there will be a cost to residents in some form or another.

As the Proposition 15 campaign begins in earnest, voters should be wary of attempts at sleight-of-hand to mask the real victims of the largest tax increase in California history—small businesses and individuals.

California Ranks Highest… But Not For The Right Reasons

California Interstate System Ranks Among Highest in Nation for Rate of Congestion, Road / Bridge Deterioration

By CalChamber

The rate of congestion, road and bridge deterioration in the California Interstate system is among the highest in the country, according to a report released this week.

The report, Restoring the Interstate Highway System: Meeting America’s Transportation Needs with a Reliable, Safe & Well-Maintained National Highway Network, looks at the U.S. Interstate system’s use, condition and benefits, and the findings of a 2019 report prepared by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), at the request of Congress as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, on the condition and use of the Interstate system and on actions required to restore and upgrade it.

The report shows that the national Interstate system has a persistent and growing backlog of physical and operational deficiencies as a result of age, heavy use and deferred reinvestment, and is in need of major reconstruction and modernization. The conclusion: annual investment in the nation’s Interstate Highway System should be increased approximately two-and-a-half times, from $23 billion in 2018 to $57 billion annually over the next 20 years.

“Investing in our transportation infrastructure is a win-win,” said Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “It will get essential products to Californians and allow people to travel to work and school in a safer environment while providing much-needed jobs to improve California’s economy. California’s transportation infrastructure is the backbone of our economy.”

California
The report ranks state Interstate systems based on traffic congestion; increase in vehicle miles of travel (VMT) since 2000; share of commercial trucks carried; share of pavement in poor condition; bridges in poor/structurally deficient condition; and fatality rates.

On those metrics, California ranked No. 1 for most congested, No. 9 for poor condition of pavement, and No. 11 for bridges being in poor/structurally deficient condition.

Since 2000, travel on the U.S. Interstate system, the importance of which has been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased at a rate nearly triple that at which new lane capacity is being added.

In California, 86% of urban Interstate highways are considered congested during peak hours, the greatest share in the U.S., the report shows. Vehicle travel on California’s Interstates increased 17% from 2000 to 2018. Eight percent of Interstate travel in California is by combination trucks.

The design of the Interstate—which includes a separation from other roads and rail lines, a minimum of four lanes, paved shoulders and median barriers—makes California’s Interstates twice as safe to travel on as all other roadways. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on California’s Interstate in 2018 was 0.58, compared to 1.18 on the state’s non-Interstate routes, according to the report.

Funding Decreasing
Allocating funding to the state’s and nation’s infrastructure is critical at the moment, the report points out, as the system faces a double whammy of decreased revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the expiration of the FAST Act.

The FAST Act is the primary source of revenue for the Interstate Highway System and is used by states to fund transportation infrastructure planning and investment. The FAST Act is set to end on September 30, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic also has affected states’ abilities to pay for infrastructure repair.

“The ability of states to invest in Interstate highway repairs and improvements may be hampered by the tremendous decrease in vehicle travel that has occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials estimates will reduce state transportation revenues by at least 30 percent—approximately $50 billion—over the next 18 months,” the report states.

July 13, 2020

Gilroy Chamber Recognized for Their Advocacy Efforts

In the top 25 Business Advocacy Groups listed by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce ranked 14th. In developing their list, the Business Journal considered advocacy groups from 6 different Bay Area counties.

From its earliest days, the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce has advocated for its businesses, the local economy and the region as a whole. Two of the Chamber’s five core competencies are, “representing the interests of business with government” and “creating a strong local economy,” both requiring strong advocacy efforts.

Businesses turn to the Chamber for help with their expansion efforts, relocation, City interactions, and introductions to elected officials just to name a few. The Gilroy Chamber tracks issues, ordinances and legislative bills at all levels of government whether it’s the City of Gilroy, County of Santa Clara or the California State Legislature.

The Gilroy Chamber was on the forefront of the most recent issue regarding ABC’s visit to local restaurants attempting to close their outdoor dining operations. The Gilroy Chamber immediately jumped into action coordinating efforts with the City of Gilroy, City of Morgan Hill, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce, County of Santa Clara as well as at the state level.

Scott Winant, Chair of the Gilroy Chamber Board of Directors said, “More than ever, the Chamber has to remain diligent ensuring the business community has the best possible chance to be successful. We achieve this by making sure legislation at all levels of government is business friendly.”

The Gilroy Chamber is a member of CalChamber, the state’s largest advocacy group representing more than 14,000 members. The Chamber is also an affiliate member of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Gilroy Chamber’s President/CEO, Mark Turner, is the co-chair of the Silicon Valley Coalition of Chambers which includes 18 Chambers of Commerce representing thousands of businesses in and around Silicon Valley.

County Supervisor Wasserman, said, “I hear from Mark Turner often regarding issues affecting their local businesses. He and the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce are strong advocates for their community.”

Assemblymember Robert Rivas commented, “The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce represents South County businesses in a strong and decisive manner. Mark Turner consistently contacts my office indicating the Chamber’s position on bills working their way through the legislative process.”

The Gilroy Chamber has taken a position on more than 10 bills at the state level. The Chamber is also lobbying the Governor to defer the minimum wage increase scheduled for January 1, 2021. The Chamber is tracking another 6-10 bills and will reviewing the dozen propositions scheduled to be on the November ballot.

2020 State Budget Depends on Borrowing, New Taxes and Action by Congress

By Loren Kaye, President, California Foundation for Commerce

The new state budget went into effect on time last week, after Governor Gavin Newsom signed 20 bills enacting hundreds of pages of new legislation and spending authority. But even then the job is likely only partially complete.

Decisions about billions of dollars in possible future program reductions for public schools, higher education, and the social safety net are hanging on three events outside the control of Sacramento political leaders: revenues from delayed filing of 2020 income taxes (now due on July 15), the trajectory of the economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession, and any fiscal relief provided by Congress.

Education
Nobody has a bigger stake in the uncertainty than the public schools.

The $202 billion budget generally maintains spending on education at current levels—a far better outcome for schools than the Governor’s revised proposal last month. The budget draws down reserves and targets the initial congressional CARES Act state allocation to offset the more than $10 billion in revenue losses to K–14, and defers another $13 billion in payments into the next fiscal year to preserve programs and provide K–14 schools the resources needed to safely reopen. The accompanying legislation also prohibited any layoffs of teachers or certain other staff for the next year.

On the other hand, the state’s four-year colleges and universities will suffer greater reductions than the Governor originally proposed. The University of California and California State University will see their spending reduced by a total of $550 million from the current year.

If Congress provides additional financial assistance to states, then some or all of the cuts could be restored, or the systems could see their budgets increased, depending on the generosity of Congress. In the absence of congressional bailout, the most likely scenario would be student tuition increases.

Tax Increases
The Governor signed tax increases, primarily on businesses, totaling about $8.7 billion over the next three years. The bulk of these tax increases comprise a three-year suspension of the net operating loss deduction and $5 million-per-year limit on utilization of tax credits. Those tax changes are retroactive to January 1, and will apply to the 2020, 2021 and 2022 tax years.

Most state employees will not be taking the 10% pay reduction proposed by the Governor in May. Instead, collective bargaining agreements will provide the employees continue to work their regular hours at a lower pay rate, but also collect two “personal leave program” days per month, which can be used at any time, including cashed out upon separation—presumably at a higher salary rate.

Other Elements
Besides the tax increases, key elements of the budget solution include:

• Reserves: The budget draws down $8.8 billion in reserves from the Rainy Day Fund and other reserves.

• Triggers: The budget includes $11.1 billion in reductions and deferrals that will be restored if at least $14 billion in federal funds are received by October 15. If the state receives a lesser amount, the reductions and deferrals will be partially restored.

• Borrowing/Transfers/Deferrals: The budget includes $9.3 billion in special fund borrowing and transfers, as well as other deferrals for K–14 schools.

• Better revenue outlook: The budget is based on a slightly better revenue forecast than the Governor projected in May.

The legislative session continues to the end of August. By then, the state’s economic and revenue outlook will be better known, as will any action (or non-action) by Congress. The Legislature and Governor may continue to tinker with the budget into the late summer.

Plan For High-Speed Rail Rolls Out For SF to SJ

Plan For High-Speed Rail Rolls Out For SF to SJ – But With Little Cash
By Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle

California rolled out its vision for high-speed trains between San Jose and San Francisco on Thursday, plotting a 30-or-so-minute ride on what would be one of the busiest stretches of the state’s proposed 520-mile rail system — even as the project is mired in financial uncertainty.

The California High Speed Rail Authority is calling for 220-mph trains, coming from the Central Valley, to merge onto the Caltrain commuter line for a 49-mile jaunt up the Peninsula. Stops would be made at San Jose’s Diridon Station, a new hub in Millbrae and at the Caltrain depot in San Francisco. The San Francisco stop would eventually move to Transbay transit center.

Service between the Bay Area’s largest cities, scheduled to begin in 2031, is expected to take less than 45 minutes, including the stop in Millbrae near San Francisco International Airport. The ticket price is yet to be determined.

The details are part of an environmental review of the Bay Area segment of the ambitious Los Angeles-to-San Francisco project. While the rail authority so far has identified only enough money to build the line through the Central Valley, at a cost of about $20 billion, it’s moving ahead with planning the rest of the estimated $80 billion venture.

“The funding picture always evolves,” said Boris Lipkin, a regional director for the rail authority, in an interview. “We’re taking the steps and doing what we need to do to bring high-speed rail to Northern California.”

Public comment on the environmental impact report for the Bay Area segment is being taken through Aug. 24, and rail officials intend to finalize a plan next year.

Beyond laying out service details, the new document identifies a range of impacts the line will probably have on the area. Figuring out how to run high-speed trains on the densely populated Peninsula was challenging, and rail officials ultimately decided to share existing tracks with Caltrain that roughly parallel Highway 101.

Still, as many as 62 homes and 202 businesses may have to be displaced to upgrade the tracks and build new infrastructure, according to the report. Most of the properties subject to acquisition are in San Jose, San Mateo and Belmont. The Brisbane Fire Station, Millbrae Station Historic Depot and San Jose’s Templo La Hermosa church are among them, the report says.

Once the rail service is up and running, residents of the area also can expect to hear the rumble of more trains and the wail of more horns, the report says.

In anticipation of the project, Caltrain has already started electrifying its tracks to shift from diesel to electric trains that can match the 110-mph speeds the high-speed trains would travel while on the Peninsula.

The two systems will run in close coordination, rail officials say. Faster trains, for example, will be directed to use stretches of track in the rail corridor designed for passing. One of two alternative proposals laid out in the new report calls for several miles of additional passing tracks. That option, though, would come with the greatest expense and the greatest displacement of homes and businesses.

The high-speed trains initially would run twice an hour during peak times, and eventually four times an hour, rail officials say. Because there would be just one stop, it’s expected to be at least 15 minutes faster than Caltrain’s Baby Bullet service.

Service on the segment is scheduled to begin two years after the Bakersfield-to-Merced line, which is expected to start in 2029. The Peninsula stretch will kick off in tandem with the Merced-to-San Jose line, meaning riders will be able to travel from San Francisco to Bakersfield.

The segment south of Bakersfield, to Los Angeles, is scheduled to begin operation in 2033. Trains, at that point, would be able to make the entire journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which is scheduled to take two hours and 40 minutes.

The rail line is ultimately planned to continue to San Diego and Sacramento.

High-speed rail has long been a dream of many in California. The project got going in earnest in 2008, when voters approved a bond committing $9 billion to the effort. State and federal funds have since padded the enterprise.

While construction began in 2015 in several Central Valley counties, and continues today, many have raised doubts about the project’s viability. Repeated cost overruns and delays, on top of recent difficulties getting state and federal dollars, have dogged the effort.

The Trump administration canceled a nearly $1 billion federal grant last year, saying the state hadn’t made adequate progress. And this year, the coronavirus pandemic dealt a financial blow to California’s cap-and-trade program — an arrangement in which businesses pay to pollute and the money is channeled to climate-friendly projects like the train.

Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, are joined by some Democrats in calling for the project to be scrapped. They’d prefer the money be spent elsewhere.

Planning on Re-Opening Your Business Soon?

How to Build Your Home Office

By Ahalya Srikant, Researcher, San Francisco Business Times

With remote work becoming a widespread option for Bay Area companies, it’s important to have the tools and advice to build a home office that will serve you best to get your job done. While many employees adapt to remote work, companies are creating programs and methods to make it easier for their employees to function.

Ergonomic setup

To protect your body and increase productivity, it’s important to have a desk and chair that support your spine which will minimize neck and back pain. Since we spend so much time at our computers, we need a long-term setup, especially if we don’t end up returning to the office any time soon.

Fast internet

 

Separate work life and home life

For employees working remotely, it’s important to have a balance of workspace. While some employees may have to work and live in the same space, they can still separate their work time from their home time. If you have to work at your dining room table, pack up your work at the end of the day.

Get up and stretch

It’s also vital to leave your desk during the day. Walk the dog, stretch your legs, do some yoga. Since remote workers are always in the same space, it’s important to get out of the house.

Dual monitors

Some companies believe that dual monitors, or at least a very large single monitor, will improve the productivity of an employee. Having a larger screen allows employees to view their work as they would in their offices.

July 6, 2020

State Agency Creates Chaos in Gilroy

On Friday evening, July 3, officers from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) gave notice to restaurants in Gilroy and Morgan Hill to immediately cease all outdoor dining, in spite of the fact, State guidance allows for outdoor dining. ABC officers initially indicated that beginning July 1st a three-week cessation of all dining was required. When it was pointed out that the order only applied to indoor dining, ABC officers stated that Santa Clara County was never approved for outdoor dining by the State.

No one in the Cities of Gilroy, Morgan Hill or the County was given any notice that the State would be shutting down outdoor dining in Santa Clara County. Normally, when an operation like this is to occur, ABC would contact local law enforcement agencies, but in this case, neither Gilroy nor Morgan Hill Police were notified of the effort beforehand. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office was also kept in the dark. 

Upon learning of the attempt to shut down local restaurants, Gilroy Chamber President/CEO, Mark Turner, spent the evening communicating with Gilroy and Morgan Hill officials including Morgan Hill Chamber CEO, Brittney Sherman. Mark also contacted Supervisor Wasserman and Assemblymember Rivas. 

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce along with the City of Gilroy, Visit Gilroy and the Gilroy Downtown Business Association have taken action to ensure Gilroy businesses have the information and tools necessary to keep customers and employees safe during the reopening period. 

While the ABC agents and efforts by the state created confusion and chaos, Supervisor Wasserman indicated to Mark Turner that restaurants did not have to close their outdoor dining.

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is continuing to seek answers for the events that occurred this past Friday evening and ensure our local restaurateurs have the right and ability to continue their outdoor dining operations. 

Governor Newsom’s Confusing COVID-19 Decrees

Opinion by Dan Walters, CalMatters

Managing something as new and unpredictable as the COVID-19 pandemic is, by its nature, a difficult task.

That said, Californians are rightfully confused by the rapid, even erratic, changes of course that Gov. Gavin Newsom has steered in recent weeks after drawing praise for his early and straightforward actions in the first days of the public health crisis.

Newsom’s regular, although no longer weekly, webcasts on COVID-19 have evolved into repetitive talkathons resembling those annoying public television fundraising breaks. At one he will boast of the state’s progress in slowing the infection rate, and at another chastise Californians for not wearing their masks and threaten a crackdown.

In March, Newson shut down large segments of the state’s previously booming economy and soon laid out seemingly firm markers that had to be met before reopening them. But as the economic toll mounted, with millions of suddenly jobless workers, he began to back off even as infections and deaths continued to mount. He gave counties the option to reopen their economies if they met certain criteria, saying “localism is determinitive” and seemingly shifting the political onus to local officials,

By early June, many segments of the economy were opening, but within a couple of weeks, infections and deaths were spiking alarmingly and Newsom was becoming defensive about the wisdom of reopening.

“When you have people that are struggling and suffering with severe mental health and brain health issues, when people are not attending to their physical and emotional needs, those social determinants of health also must be considered,” Newsom said on June 15. “We have to recognize you can’t be in a permanent state where people are locked away — for months and months and months and months on end — to see lives and livelihoods completely destroyed, without considering the health impact of those decisions as well.”

However, from rationalizing the reopening, Newsom has shifted in recent days to admonishing Californians for not being diligent enough in wearing the masks he mandated and avoiding large, virus-spreading congregations. He has hinted that he might have to clamp down on the economy once again and threatened counties that ignore state guidelines with a loss of state aid.

“We give an enormous amount of power, control and authority to local government, but what we’re now looking for is accountability,” Newsom said. “If they decide, ‘You know what? Even though the numbers are going up, we’re done. We’ve got this, and we’re just going to dismiss these new rules and regulations,’ we’re going to attach some considerations and consequences to that,” he warned.

Last week, just hours after issuing harsh warnings about noncompliance, he staged still another webcast that was characteristically long-winded, repetitive and full of techo-speak but eschewed admonitions and mostly returned to friendly, even fatherly, reminders about wearing masks.

“We’re still in the first wave of this pandemic,” he said. “We’re not in the second wave.”

Reporters, confined to brief inquiries via telephone, attempted in vain to elicit more clarity from Newsom about his policies, such as asking whether school children would be required to be masked when they returned to classrooms. He called it “a more complicated question than you can imagine” and said it would be answered at some indefinite point in the future.

OK, managing a pandemic is difficult, but it’s made more so when the manager’s messaging is erratic. It undermines the trust that’s central to effective crisis management — or “foundational,” to use one of Newsom’s favorite, much-repeated buzzwords.

Split Roll Tax Initiative Will Have Substantial Impact on Agriculture

By Brian German, Multimedia Journalist for AgNet West

Agricultural groups have serious concerns as it pertains to the split roll tax initiative that will be appearing on the November ballot. If the measure is passed it will make serious changes to Proposition 13 in reassessing commercial and industrial properties at fair market value. The California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) has joined the Californians to Save Prop 13 + Stop Higher Property Taxes coalition in opposing the initiative, as it could have devastating effects on the agricultural sector.

“Since the initiative only exempts agricultural land, it leaves improvements and associated fixtures to be taxed at fair market value,” said Robert Spiegel, Policy Advocate for CFBF. “This could very well be a dairy barn for example, a food processing facility, wineries, irrigation systems are necessarily improvements as well. So, anything that has been constructed upon the property that is nonresidential that arguably the proponents believe is an industrial component or a commercial component for agriculture would be taxed.”

The Schools and Communities First group is leading the campaign in support of the ballot initiative, naming it the Schools and Local Communities Funding Act. While proponents of the ballot measure, Initiative 19-0008, claim that agriculture would be exempt, Spiegel explained that only the land itself would not be affected by the reassessment.  Permanent crops may be subject to the split roll tax initiative if the measure is passed.

“Split roll could have a very direct impact on those who might happen to be tree and nut orchard farmers and/or vineyards,” said Spiegel. “Each one of those trees arguably then, or that vineyard, would be open to a fair market value assessment now under the initiative.”

Depending on how the split roll tax initiative is interpreted and how commercial agricultural production is defined, the impact on the industry could be vast and severe.  Not only would farmers and ranchers be impacted, but there are also concerns related to how the initiative will affect the rest of the food supply chain.  The entire processing and distribution network will all be “impacted by this initiative at fair market evaluation associated with commercial and industrial property as this initiative is designed to do,” Spiegel explained.

Office Space for Lease in Downtown Gilroy

Here Are The 12 Propositions on California’s November Ballot

By John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times

California’s November election will feature 12 statewide ballot measures, dominated by an effort to repeal a ban on the consideration of race and gender in hiring and admissions decisions as well as complex rules on property taxation and criminal justice.

The combustible mix of proposals was presented on Wednesday by Secretary of State Alex Padilla and will be considered by what could be a record-high turnout of voters. Eight propositions earned a spot on the Nov. 3 ballot through the collection of voter signatures by prominent interest groups. Four were added to the list by the Legislature last month, each proposing to amend the California Constitution.

Here’s a quick glance at the key question each proposition will ask California voters to answer.

Proposition 14: More borrowing for stem cell research

It’s been 16 years since California voters approved borrowing $3 billion to finance a state government stem cell research program. The research organization created by that 2004 ballot measure has funded a variety of research projects and clinical trials, much of it through the University of California.

But now, the $3 billion has almost completely been spent. And the backers of the original effort want voters to authorize another round of borrowing by issuing $5.5 billion in government bonds to continue stem cell research. The total cost will be higher once interest payments are figured in.

There would be a few more rules for how research funds are spent by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the entity created by the 2004 ballot initiative. That includes a mandate to improve patient access to stem cell treatments. New grant awards would also be prioritized by projects that would use matching funds from outside sources. And some of the governance structure of the institute would also be changed in ways that supporters believe will improve public oversight.

Proposition 15: The battle over commercial property taxes

This is the political battle everyone has been expecting for decades, a long-debated effort to revise the property tax rules that have existed in California since the passage of the legendary Proposition 13 in 1978.

The ballot measure seeks to create a set of new rules for commercial property taxes while leaving the existing rules for residential property taxes in place. Commercial property owners would see their taxes go up and the resulting tax revenue would go to local government services and schools. The details, of course, are a little more complex.

Proposition 15 would allow market-rate values for commercial and industrial properties to be used as the basis for assessing property taxes owed and would phase in that change over three years. Some properties occupied by small businesses would have a longer transition period to the higher taxes, while some business property owners would be exempt from the new law.

The campaign will likely focus on whether the new tax revenue collected by loosening Proposition 13 — perhaps as much as $12.5 billion a year under one nonpartisan analysis — would outweigh any potential economic impact of requiring some businesses to pay more to operate in California. A variety of Democratic-leaning advocacy groups, including organized labor, believe it would. Business groups disagree and are staunchly opposed. This will be an expensive — and bitter — battle for your vote.

Proposition 16: A return to affirmative action

It’s been 24 years since California voters considered whether race, ethnicity and gender should be considered in awarding government contracts and admission to the state’s colleges and universities. The politics and demographics of the state were far different in 1996, when such considerations were outlawed with Proposition 209, an amendment to the California Constitution.

This ballot measure is only nine words long. It would simply repeal Proposition 209, allowing the practice often described as affirmative action to again be used in state. It was added to the ballot by the Legislature last month, setting up a discussion about systemic racism and inequities at the same time as a national reckoning on these topics.

Proposition 17: Would allow parolees to vote

There is a big difference between probation and parole in criminal justice and, at least in California, when it comes to having the right to vote. Probation is part of the sentence handed down and often allows those convicted of a felony to avoid time behind bars; parole begins upon release from prison, in advance of when the sentence ends.

But the California Constitution allows someone on probation to vote, while removing the voting rights of a parolee until the time of parole has been completed. This proposal, placed on the ballot by the Legislature, would remove that restriction and allow a person on parole to vote.

Rules barring parolees from voting vary by state, though the trend has been toward restoring those rights. A survey conducted by a pro-voting rights group last year estimated that the ban on parolees voting in elections affects about 40,000 Californians.

Proposition 18: Would allow some 17-year-olds to vote

This constitutional amendment, placed on the ballot by the Legislature, would allow 17-year-olds to register and vote in primary elections if they turn 18 by the time of the general election in November.

At least 18 states have similar laws on the books, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Supporters of the proposal argue that more of these new voters will get engaged with issues if they can participate in a full election cycle. As it stands now, an 18-year-old Californian whose birthday was after the March 3 presidential primary missed out on the chance to pick some candidates and now gets to vote only for one of the smaller group of hopefuls who made it to the Nov. 3 ballot.

Proposition 19: Adding and subtracting property tax breaks (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

The final measure added to the Nov. 3 ballot by the Legislature replaced a similar initiative drafted by the California Assn. of Realtors. Both had similar goals, but this measure is a bit more far-reaching.

If approved by voters, California homeowners who are 55 or older can purchase a new home and keep their property tax payment at the same level or a reduced rate — depending on the value of the new house. This expands a long-standing program that is available only in a few counties. The impact is clear: Older Californians who might otherwise be reluctant to change homes and pay higher property taxes would receive a new break.

Proposition 19 also expands the property tax break for older homeowners to those who lose their home to a wildfire, a program now limited to other kinds of natural disasters.

The ballot measure also cracks down on the transfer of a home from a parent to an adult child in which the property tax payment doesn’t change. In 2018, a Times investigation found wealthy Californians — including the families of Hollywood celebrities — who charged monthly rents much higher than the annual tax payment. This ballot measure would narrow the tax break to homes being lived in by the owner , and would place a new limit on how much of a home’s value could remain unchanged when the property was transferred. Most of the resulting revenues collected by narrowing this tax break would go toward local firefighting efforts.

Proposition 20: Tougher on parole, property crimes (Los Angeles Times)

California voters have weighed in twice in recent years to reduce the punishment for crimes considered by existing law to be among those less serious than violent felonies. In 2014, Proposition 47 was passed to reduce the penalties for some theft and drug crimes. In 2016, Proposition 57 offered a chance of parole to some serving prison sentences for crimes that don’t fall on the state’s list of violent crimes.

Both laws have been the subject of intense debate over whether they are the right step toward reducing the prison population and promoting rehabilitation or a wrong step that has led to an escalation in crime by repeat offenders.

This ballot measure would place new limits on some of the sentence reductions included in Proposition 47 and Proposition 57. It would allow some theft-related crimes to be charged as felonies and it would create two new crimes: serial theft (applicable only to a select list of crimes and to defendants who have prior convictions for certain crimes) and organized retail theft (two or more people involved in some theft crimes within a 180-day period). Both crimes could result in jail time.

Proposition 18 also would change the 2016 parole law championed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, which blocked inmates convicted of crimes including human trafficking and solicitation from being considered for early release. It also would change some of the rules that must be followed by the state Board of Parole Hearings and community probation programs. And it would expand DNA testing to require samples be taken from some people convicted of theft and domestic violence.

Proposition 21: Rent control redux

Growing concerns over California’s lack of affordable housing have made rent control — a government-imposed cap on what landlords can charge their tenants — a hot topic in the state’s biggest cities and at the state Capitol. Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law restricting annual rent increases to no more than 5% plus inflation, one of the strictest statewide caps on rent hikes in the country.

That law was written after California voters rejected a statewide rent control measure in 2018 championed by Los Angeles activist Michael Weinstein. This year, he’s trying again. Weinstein filed his new initiative just months after the defeat of his former effort, Proposition 10.

The 2018 ballot measure would have rescinded a state law that limits new local rent control ordinances. Proposition 21 is more modest, and would instead narrow that law. If it passes, cities and counties could apply rent control to housing that is more than 15 years old, with the exception of some single-family homes. The ballot measure would allow local governments to impose limits on rent increases when a new renter moved in.

The measure would supersede any local rent control rules. In Los Angeles, for example, it could mean many more housing units would be eligible for limits on what a landlord could charge.

Proposition 22: Special workplace rules for the gig economy (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

The bitter fight over designating a worker as an employee or an independent contractor dominated the final days of the legislative session in Sacramento last year. The resulting law, Assembly Bill 5, imposes new criteria to determine the correct employment status for what was estimated up to 1 million Californians.

But AB 5 wasn’t the end of the battle, with critics arguing that additional flexibility is needed in a variety of professions. Few were as unhappy with the law as app-based companies Uber and Lyft, which joined forces to immediately file a ballot measure creating another set of rules that would apply to their drivers.

In its simplest form, Proposition 22 would clearly designate those drivers to be independent contractors — contrary to what Democratic legislators and labor unions that backed AB 5 intended. But the companies wrote the ballot measure in a way that would offer those drivers several new but smaller benefits than they would have if they were actual company employees.

Drivers would be guaranteed an hourly wage — slightly above the state minimum wage — for time spent driving; a monthly health insurance stipend for some drivers, based on the hours they work per week; new medical and disability benefits if a driver is injured while driving; and new rules pertaining to rest periods, sexual harassment and criminal background checks.

In doing so, the ballot measure would distinguish the rules for app-based contractors from those applying to other sectors of the California economy.

Proposition 23: Kidney dialysis clinic rules revisited

Like the do-over ballot measure on rent control, this is the second straight November election in which California voters will be asked to approve a new law governing kidney dialysis clinics in the state.

About 600 dialysis clinics in California serve about 80,000 patients per month, according to a state legislative analysis. To address the patients’ needs, clinics often operate longer hours each day and are open for six days a week.

The ballot measure would require every clinic to have at least one physician present during all operating hours. The clinics would have to offer the same level of care to all patients, regardless of whether the treatment is paid for by private insurance or a government-funded program such as Medi-Cal or Medicare. Clinic administrators would have to report more information about infections among their dialysis patients, and the state Department of Public Health would have a new role in agreeing to changes at a clinic or its closure.

The initiative was placed on the ballot by a union representing healthcare workers and will be opposed by the dialysis clinics, with other healthcare industry groups also weighing in by election day. These were largely the same forces that fought it out over Proposition 8 in 2018, which also would have imposed new rules on dialysis clinics and was rejected by voters.

Proposition 24: New consumer privacy rules

California’s sweeping new consumer privacy law went into effect in January and strict state enforcement began on July 1. It gives individuals much more control over data collected by a variety of businesses. Consumers must be told if data is being collected or sold, they can ask that their information be deleted and businesses are prohibited from charging more to customers who ask for more privacy.

The measure on November’s ballot, championed by a San Francisco real estate developer who pushed lawmakers to enact the 2018 law, goes further. It creates a new definition in state law of data “sharing” in an attempt to make more businesses subject to privacy rules. Consumers would also have new rights to limit the sharing of their personal information and to correct inaccurate information.

Penalties for companies that break the law would go up under Proposition 24, with even higher fines for information related to children. And a new consumer protection agency would be established in state government.

Proposition 25: Yes or no on cash bail (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

This measure is a referendum, a special kind of ballot measure asking voters whether to approve or reject a law passed by the Legislature. In this case, it’s the fate of a 2018 law abolishing cash bail in California.

Companies representing the bail industry quickly gathered signatures on a referendum after the law was signed. As a result, it’s been on hold and is awaiting a final decision by voters this fall.

That the bail companies sought a second opinion isn’t surprising. The historic law would eliminate the industry’s practice of offering cash to those who can’t afford to pay for early release. Instead, the law gives judges wide discretion to decide who can be released prior to trial. Defendants deemed to be a danger to the community could be held under a policy known as “preventive detention.”

A wide array of state officials, including California’s chief justice, support the law.

Civil rights groups, in particular, say the cash bail system too often has led to decisions based less on public safety and more on the ability to pay.

Voters who say “yes” on this measure will be giving their approval of the law to end cash bail. Voters who say “no” will be rejecting the law and affirming the system as it has existed for decades.

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“Rosso’s Furniture has been a member of the Gilroy Chamber for over 40 years because we believe in the work of the Chamber. They provide leadership, promote businesses and support our community.”
– Jaime Rosso, CEO, Rosso’s Furniture