SACRAMENTO (AP) — Democratic lawmakers and business leaders announced Thursday a package of bills designed to make California’s regulatory environment friendlier to businesses.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez announced an agreement with business leaders on two bills they hope to pass next week before the end of this year’s legislative session.

Job growth has been at the forefront for state leaders as California continues to struggle with a 12 percent unemployment rate, the second highest in the nation after Nevada.

“We are here … to put an end to the drumbeat that California is not friendly to business,” said Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento.

The main bill would require state agencies to assess the economic impact of regulations before they are adopted.

SB617 by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Monterey Park, and Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, would require state agencies to evaluate new regulations if they have an estimated $50 million economic impact or more on businesses.

The agencies would have to consider the least burdensome and cost-effective method of implementing those regulations.

A second bill would establish the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to develop an economic strategy and market California as a good place to do business. AB29 by Perez, a Los Angeles Democrat, also would create a business investment program to assist people who want to invest or expand in the state.

The bills are supported by the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, which called the package a good first step to reducing business costs.

“California is in a very deep hole right now,” said Jack Stewart, president of the manufacturers group. “We have 12 percent unemployment. We’re not seeing new investment. There are a lot of other things that need to happen to reduce costs in California to bring California in line with other states and nations.”

Businesses are most concerned with the uncertainty of doing business in California and the package brings “some certainty to the regulatory process,” said Allan Zaremberg, president and chief executive of the California Chamber of Commerce.

“First and foremost, the private sector economic impact of a regulation will be brought to the forefront,” Zaremberg said. “We will have protocols to make sure they are done right. We will have a review to make sure that analysis is done correctly.”

While Senate Republicans applauded Democrats for tackling the issue, other GOP lawmakers said the proposals do not go far enough. Democrats have largely rejected bills that GOP members have long sought, such as flexible work weeks so employers can pay less overtime. Other GOP bills sought to reduce taxes for businesses and curb lawsuits that could be filed against them.

“It is nice to see our friends in the majority party finally embrace a watered-down version of reform that Republicans have been advocating for years,” Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway said in a statement. “Ironically, the majority party blocked these types of common-sense reforms every time Republicans have proposed them in the past.”

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has worked with Perez on AB29, “looks forward to signing the bill into law as soon as it passes the Legislature,” said spokesman Gil Duran. He said the governor will evaluate SB617 once it reaches his desk.

Democrats couldn’t ignore the need for a smarter, responsive government amid California’s fiscal problems, Steinberg said. Although the governor signed a rare on-time budget in late June, the spending plan includes a contingency plan to cut schools and community colleges deeper if rosy revenue projections don’t materialize.

“This is not a partisan issue,” he said.

In the final days of session, lawmakers must also contend with companies like Waste Connections Inc., a waste management company based in Folsom, Calif. The company has threatened to leave the state and relocate to Texas because the Legislature has not passed a bill that would allow it to bypass a voter-approved cap on garbage imports to landfills in Solano County.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (17)
  1. Jeff says:

    We do not need Perez’s bill. Or any bill other than a bill to repeal regulations already in place

  2. billybob says:

    great another redundant and over paid committee to do nothing but create the appearance that CA is business friendly. What a bunch of dirtbag politicians we have.

    1. liberal hater says:

      Amen brother

  3. NORM says:

    If this is not as stupid opperation by a bunch of dismal dim wits then tell me what the Hell is this bill going to do to make Business Owners or New business owners to want ot open or stay in California??? Most of these clowns are nothing more than parasites who have never and will never contribute anything to the betterment of this State. PERIOD, FIRE THEM ALL CLEAN HOUSE and file for CHAPTER 11, ELIMINATE ALL THE EXPENDITURES THAT GO FOR CUSHIONING THE SO CALLED “RETIREMENT” PROGRAMS! OK

  4. M says:

    Ya. I’m sure people are just going to start plowing money into this state to establish businesses here because these reforms will undo decades of liberal agendas, regulations, policies that are inherently anti-business, and idiotic governmental controls…ya, here they come with all the jobs…oh….we are going to overflow with jobs…..oh…wait…..that’s Mexico….looking for free school…welfare…and sanctuary cities. Wow….wonder why successful people would possibly want to flee this state and take their businesses with them? Craziness, right politicians?

  5. DUMB MOVE says:

    The democrats running the state have done such a fantastic job with spending and taxing, this will no doubt lure more busines here…… NOT.

  6. liberal hater says:

    California is nothing but a nanny state who caters to illegal immigration and 4th generation welfare recipients. Buisness owners didn’t put these clowns in office , a bunch of liberal socialist did. Calderon the clown just proposed a bill yesterday to grant illegals student loans….Go figure. The only way this place is going to attract buisness is when rubber ducky toting assemblymen like Perez are voted out of office…and that isn’t coming any time soon as long as you pander to the special interest that votes for you.. I say we change the name of the state to Commiefornia..

  7. Sick of criminals says:

    Read the local news in Sacramento, why would any business want to come here with rampant crime, robberies, thuggery, gangs out of control and more violence than ever? I would suggest relocating your business to Baghdad or Tripoli where American tax dollars ( and troops) are hard at work making the streets safe for citizens and business owners alike.

  8. JoeB says:

    There’s got to be a catch…Democrats never do anything pro business…they only do things that are pro Democrat.

    1. Snarf says:

      Of COURSE there’s a catch….read between the lines:

      “AB29 by Perez, a Los Angeles Democrat, also would create a business investment program to assist people who want to invest or expand in the state.”

      Umm, guess which “people” are going to be “assisted” by this blatant redistribution effort?

  9. The_Truth says:

    So the Government is making more government, when the people want less government and more accountability, all this is a new paper shuffle for the government to pretend they are doing something.

  10. pete says:

    ca. from sun shine state to welfare state thanks dem and libs.

  11. Guy says:

    Nothing but lip service. I liken this to a guy who beats his wife saying “c’mon baby, give me one more chance, I’ll change”. We all know the next beating is just around the corner, only a matter of time.

  12. Fred says:

    Well, I have read the bills, and I just want to say that all of you are absolutely correct. Rather that repeal burdonsome regulations, like AB32, they want to form a committee to study the problem. What BS. This investment boondoggle is similarly stupid. Government does not create jobs, other than government jobs. They need to stop helping and just get the heck out of the way.

    In the mean time Amazon rolls in with a deal that says they ywill open distribution centers and create 7000 private sector jobs in exchange for sales tax exemption until 2015. Any savvy business person would jump on that deal, but no, JB and Stienberg said no – they would rather have a shot at some taxes to spend on scholorships for illegal aliens than they would private sector jobs.

    Time to get the ax handles and pitchforks and clean out the capital.

  13. David J. Ingraham says:

    Our state of California was created by gold miners, well another store that sells mining equipment is closing, with the price of gold at $1800/ounce.
    Other mining companies from Nevada, and other states see little opportunity to invest in California Mines. With the mineral wealth buried in the ground, hundreds of thousands of people could be back at work. It was the California Mining industry that was an economic driving force during our last depression. Not this time in our history. Thanks to the Environmentalist controlled democratic legislature.
    I wish the state would remove John Muirs image from the minted California Quarter.

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